Zoe, our first border collie

After Jedi couldn't be a service dog due to her behavior, we knew that we needed to find a dog with the suitable temperament. So we started looking for another dog. We found two border collies at one of the local rescue organizations, a male and a female. So we took them both for a night to see how they did.

The female was super sweet. She had the best temperament! Loved people, loved other dogs, happy go lucky. We took her for the night and decided to keep her, and called her Zoe. She was perfect!

The male was quite handsome, but he was also nervous and skittish, he was so scared that he wouldn't leave the closet. Definitely NOT service dog material. So we brought him back to the rescue for them to find a home. We did work with his new owners, but behavior is 1/3 genetic, 1/3 early environment, and 1/3 current environment. We can't change genetics, and we can't go back in time, and we can only modify ingrained, deep-rooted behavior only so much. And a shy, nervous, fearful, skittish dog will not make a good service dog.

Zoe was a fantastic training partner! She understands the human world, and the dog world. We trust her with the dogs we work with, and trust her judgement about them. 

After her basic and advanced training, and her "dog trainer demo dog" training, which included dog friendly stores and restaurants, we continued with her trick dog training (she has her trick dog championship and canine good citizen). Zoe was a therapy dog, when we would set up at events, she came with us, so people could pet her and tell her how pretty she is. 

Zoe completed her task training and was working as my service dog. She flew with me to Phoenix for a dog trainer workshop. She was fantastic and we enjoyed that trip together. But when we returned, something happened that changed her career path. 

Zoe hurt her back. She was walking, and just cried out and lay down. She couldn't move without pain for a day. We brought her to the vet, she had acupuncture and meds, but this became a recurring problem. It would happen whenever, so she was able to do the event outings, but I could not rely on her to be my service dog. 

After having a service dog who changed my life (Boo), and two dogs who were not fit for service dog work (Jedi & Zoe), I was discouraged. Would I ever have another service dog?