The Story – P2

Following in Mango”s wake is MacLeod, or “Cloudie.” I had always wanted a collie – I grew up on Albert Payson Terhune books and swore one day I would have a great collie of my own… I found MacLeod”s breeder, Tanya Volovnik of Orion Collies, through word of mouth from several different collie breeders in the NJ area. I had been searching for a breeder who shared my ethics and preferences in the breed and Tanya was it. Having a small breeding program, she had no puppies available at the time, but she did have two 18 month old males she had “grown out.” I went to go look, and that was it. I fell in love with the large mahogany sable male (named “Leo” at the time), and he was mine.

MacLeod has far exceeded my expectations. He was so easy to train, it scared me. His sensitivity and intelligence are more than worthy of a Terhune novel. He currently serves as an Assistance Dog for me on occasion (I have prosthetic hips and I have trained him to help me in and out of bed or bath as needed, retrieve dropped objects, support my weight while walking or climbing stairs, etc.) and my girlfriend of many years, Bonnie Giacovelli (we met while attending College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, ME), shows him in Conformation. MacLeod even served as the ringbearer at our wedding – a dream come true for me.

Shortly after Mango”s passing, my husband Ed told me that the house was too quiet. MacLeod was very ill from grieving for her, and I, too, was suffering from Malinois withdrawal. So I contacted Tri Sorts Malinois kennel in Vienna, VA, whose dogs I”d seen on occasion and liked. I have very specific ideas about the “type” I like in both collies and malinois… in collies I prefer a more old-fashioned look – the “stovepipe” head and squarer body, and in malinois, I tend to like the typey French dogs – finer heads and lighter bones than you see in the coarser “working” lines, and that deer-like grace I feel is a hallmark of the breed.

I spoke at length with Carol Knock, and the next thing we knew, Ed and I were driving down to VA to meet with them, be interviewed, and hopefully adopt a dog. At the time, I didn”t want a puppy – I was looking for an adult to work, show and love, and the Knocks had a couple of females they were willing to adopt out. We fell in love instantly with a demure little female they had retired from showing and spayed. She was (and still is) the most gorgeous Malinois female I have ever seen. We took her home and named her Maiya.

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