The time finally came when my wife and I decided it was time to add another member to the family. We were ready. Except that after three wonderful children, we decided this next new member should have four legs instead of two. Yes, a dog. But not just any dog, it had to be a Collie. Since age five, I had had Collies in my life. Macintosh, the humongous rusty red collie, Lad, a sable and white Collie; the noble guardian of our family in my teen years and now we have a stunning tri-color (black with white chest and tan accents). Collies are notoriously mischievous, largely due to their high intelligence. They are always seeking stimulation; sometimes in ways that you don’t want to experience. This new family member is wonderful loveable and highly boisterous. He is trouble with a tail and aptly named; Captain Jack Sparrow. Some people even say he has Johnny Depp’s eyes!

Jack was a Christmas gift. He was to be the perfect Christmas gift, or so we thought. We checked and researched breeders and farms sought out our best options – avoiding puppy mills and amateurs, but looking for someone who knew the breed; understood majesty of this Scottish import and appreciated their unique qualities as we did. We found them. Jack was perfect in every way. Less than a year later, a little before that next Thanksgiving, we found out that he was not quite the perfect gift we thought we had found. Jack had a serious case of hip dysplasia. The irony was that he was checked several times and guaranteed to be free of that and other dreaded conditions. Rather than take the route that so many take and put him down, we chose to send him in for surgery. It was a sacrifice and he did require considerable daily care and therapy from the family, but what a wonderful lesson for the children. Jack was the perfect gift, but with a few perfect flaws. Today he is healthy, active and still causing significant trouble, crunching up remote controls, destroying very nice digital cameras and ripping pieces of pizza or hot dogs out of our girl’s hands when they are not paying close enough attention; truly a pirate at heart! Like most good Collies, he herds and scolds his “sheep” and runs the household while protecting all of us through his constant vigilance at all hours.

— Kevin from Staford, VA