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Reverse Border Collie Rescue


Eva Ciabattoni


            Our border collie joined our family the day before Thanksgiving in the year 2000; the next day he did not leave his spot in front of the stove until the turkey was brought to the table.  North Bay Canine Rescue had rescued him from an animal shelter in Modesto, named him Clint, and placed him in a foster home, where he was quickly socialized after 2 or 3 years as a stray.  The ad we answered was for a different dog, but Linda, the foster owner, thought that Clint would be a better fit for a family with small children since he didn’t instinctively try to herd them by nipping at their heels.


            To the profound puzzlement of our staunchly Republican neighbors, we commemorated the 2000 election year by changing the dog’s name to Clinton; they could not figure out if this signified laud or censure for the outgoing president.  The good times our family had enjoyed eroded over the next 5 years—serial unemployment and diminishing savings coupled with illness and the threat of losing healthcare coverage led to marital stress and divorce.


            The five years from 2005 until 2010 were difficult nomadic ones as the children and I moved back to Austria where I had been born and tried to establish ourselves among the extended family I had left behind after my parents moved to the United States in the 1960s.  We moved several times, made several false starts, and changed schools until arriving at a more peaceful place mid-2010 when I landed a secure job, got a pretty apartment and finally unpacked all the boxes.


            Throughout all this upheaval, Clinton was at our side, taking everything in stride.  Instead of walks on pavement in Silicon Valley, he now enjoyed walks along the wooded trails of the Vienna woods.  One of the things he loved was to wade into a river and let the water cool his belly as he drank.  Usually he would shake while still in the current.  He loved visits to the butcher shop where he always got a few meaty treats.  We noticed that he grew whiter around the muzzle, but his energy was unchanged.  He was always happy to see us, always at the door when one of us came home, and central to our family in every way.  Like me, whether by nature or experience or some combination, he was never destined to be an alpha personality.  Like me, he was eager to please, loyal, and grateful.


            Once our lives had been stable for nearly a year, Clinton’s kidneys began to fail and he declined rapidly.  The day before he died was a gorgeous day and the kids and I walked him in the woods and let him drink from the river not knowing that it was the last time.  That evening he stopped eating and the next morning he raised his head as if to ask if we could manage without him now, if we could let him go.  He died in my arms on May 30, 2011, at around 14 years of age, and as he died I thought that his is how I would like to die one day, in the arms of someone beloved.  And I realized that it wasn’t us who rescued Clinton, but Clinton who rescued us.


This is Ginger at 12 years old.

Ginger was a terrific dog. When we got her from North Bay Canine when she was 3 years old. She was extremely shy and fearful of us as well as other strangers. We took her to the SPCA for obedience training. By training her with treats, she became very social and seemed to think that everyone in the world was there to see her. We also enrolled her in agility training, she really enjoyed that! She never competed, she just did it for fun.

She is an example of how a shy and fearful dog can become a family pet with love and patience. You CAN teach an old dog new tricks!

Kay and George Teiber


This is little Pirata  He came to North Bay from a shelter in Long Beach, he was on death row. He had severe mites that caused most of his hair to fall out, he was underweight and he was unloved. Several people worked to get him out and finally he got to fly to Bakersfield. From there, he was picked up by a North Bay volunteer and brought to Napa where he was picked up by his foster mom and brought to Santa Rosa.

This is Geoffrey hugging his best pal. Geoffrey and his family had been looking for a dog for a while. Geoffrey saw Pirata's picture and said "That's my dog" His mom said "Are you sure, he is kind of small" He gave his mom one of those 'if looks could kill' looks and that was that.

It was not a fast adoption. Pirata needed months of treatment to get rid of the mites before he could go live with his new family. They were patient. They let him visit on weekends. They thought and thought and gave him a new name "Tiberious" after James T. Kirk of Star Trek. Fitting, since he got to help fly the plane from Long Beach to Bakersfield.

This is Tiberious. . He is one happy dog. He loves his family and they love him. (Well, not so much their cat, but they are working things out)

His new family sent us this note.

"Dear Hollie (& North Bay Rescue Folks!),

We cannot thank you enough for all of the work you do for pets. We cherish our Tiberious and are thankful everyday that he was rescued so he could find his way into our family. My son, Geoffrey, just loves him so very much - they are never apart except when he's at school. We are still working with the vet to improve his skin issues, but he has come a long way. He is still quite yappy around other dogs, but we are socializing at parks, etc. and he is learning so fast. He's a smart little guy! Thanks!!!! Kim, Frank, Kyle, and Geoffrey Lewis"

We had a follow up on Tiberious on 2/26/2012

"Hello! It's been a long time since we have exchanged news. Tiberious now has luxuriously thick and shiny fur all over his body!  We put him on a daily dose of fish oil and it changed his skin like you wouldn't believe. He no longer itches himself and you can rub him up and down his back and his coat feels soooooo good. We just had some friends over for dinner last night and they were commenting on what a wonderful dog he is and how you just never know what you are going to get when you adopt a rescue dog. We were thinking of just how far he has come from when he first came to us. I thought I would share our thoughts with you and pass on the information about the fish oil. It made all the difference in the world to his skin and coat. He is a well behaved, happy, and very cuddly boy and he has brought so much joy to this family."


Even old dogs need love, and I got mine!


In 2011, LUCKY was 12 years old. He was dumped at Sonoma County Animal Control when his person was taken away from him.

His name befit him. He landed in a shelter that believes the old guy need a chance so they did not euthanize him immediately.  He needed medical help, which he had not received from his person and the shelter did for him. His Pet Finder listing was seen by Laura, who knew she had to rescue him.

Laura McCants saw the posting that we did on Pet Finder. She contacted us, we contacted the shelter, and now he has his forever home, FOREVER.  

Laura sent us this update:

"He is sound asleep in his big comfy bed.  He will be a house dog and will reap the benefits of being pampered like all dogs should...especially the senior dogs."

Literacy - Gone to the Dogs
July 26, 2009, 4:50PM MT
By Elizabeth Sundstrom

It’s 2:00 on Thursday afternoon at the Albany Public Library - time to begin the weekly session of Paws to Read, a program that allows children with reading difficulties to practice their skills with dogs.  Suzi Sargent, the children’s librarian, has carefully selected 15 books and arranged them on a long table. Today’s selection is all about dogs and includes Bertie Was a Watchdog, Animal Hospital, and Clifford Goes to Dog School

Franklin, Zedd and Buddy have arrived early to prepare for story time. Having eagerly greeted each other, they are now patiently lounging on oversized floor pillows positioned strategically throughout the room. The three are canine graduates of a non-profit organization called Therapy Pets and each has a story of his own to tell. 

“I’ve seen children who wouldn’t read a word if a parent was nearby. However, the same child would read with ease to Franklin once the parent stepped away,” says Leal Charonnet, Franklin’s guardian. Leal and his wife Terry rescued Franklin, an Australian Shepherd, from North Bay Canine Rescue in Petaluma eight years ago and trained him to be a therapy dog.        

The Charonnets already had a dog but were on a foster care list for dogs in desperate need. One afternoon at 4:30, Terry received an urgent call from the organization asking if she would be willing to adopt or foster a three-year-old male from the Martinez Shelter. Franklin, a beautiful, easy-going dog, had been at the shelter for a month but no one had contacted the local rescue groups because they were convinced Franklin would be adopted quickly. 

Terry was the last name on the foster care list and no one else had been able to help. The shelter was going to euthanize Franklin at 5:00. With so little time to act and no time to consider alternatives, Terry decided she and Leal would become a two-dog family and agreed, sight unseen, to adopt Franklin. 

The story continues with Zedd & Buddy at http://network.bestfriends.org/golocal/california/news.aspx?pID=11857 

Photo by Best Friends Volunteer Newswriter Elizabeth Sundstrom

Spirit's Story

One day while I was surfing the web for available Border Collie's, I came across Spirit.  He had these big black ears and gorgeous blue eyes.  I was immediately in love.  Who wouldn't?  I called Hollie at North Bay Canine and arranged to meet him.  I drove out to Petaluma to meet with Spirit's foster mom.  When I met Spirit, he had no interest in me.  He only kept his attention on me so he could avoid me.  I took 2 steps towards him and he backed up about 10 steps.  The only way I could get close to him was by taking him on a walk.  So his foster mom leashed him up and Spirit and I went on our first walk...  But still no real affection.  He didn't care I was there.  His foster mom told me that Spirit got a lot of calls but when people came by to meet him, they were turned off by his personality.  It's not that he was mean or aggressive but he just wasn't approachable and was very aloof.  So that was enough for me to say, 'I'll take him!' 

Here I was,; a first time dog owner, and really didn't know what I was in for, but Spirit melted my heart. So our lives together started on July 8, 2000.  He was about a year old when I adopted him but I soon realized that he hadn't seen the world.  Everything was new to him which meant he was fearful of a lot of things.  He barked at the TV, was terrified of skateboarders and men, and certainly didn't trust me.  You could tell that he never bonded to a human before and wasn't used to the human touch.  I was told that it was possible he spent a lot time in a crate.  His canines were worn on the inside, showing that he chewed on metal bars.

As time went on, I learned that he was a good escape artist and was not to be trusted outdoors off leash.  No way.  He was so emotionally detached, it was as if he gave up on life.  He didn't like me for a long time. He just tolerated me because I was there.  Finally, one day, I got a sign that he was starting to like and trust me.  I was walking around doing stuff, usually he could care less where I was or what I was doing but on this particular day, I noticed that he was following me.  Of course the minute he recognized that I saw him, he wandered off into his own space.  From that day on, our relationship blossomed. 

Spirit and I had a rough start but with a lot of patience and love, Spirit transformed into a totally different dog.  He is not the dog I met in Petaluma.  He's now 12 years old but still acts like he is a puppy.  He has endless energy, is super intelligent, wants to always play ball, squeaks his doggie toys, and wants to give love and affection.  He is eager to please and is ready to learn something new.  He is confident and walks with his tail in the air rather than in-between his legs.  He enjoys running off leash outdoors and probably could walk himself if he could have it his way.  Spirit is so very loyal and whenever I see him, even if only a minute has passed, he always greets me with big tail wags and with a ball in his mouth. 

Adopting Spirit is the best thing I ever did. I'm so grateful to Hollie and North Bay Canine for giving me a chance with Spirit.  I thought I was saving Spirit but in a way, Spirit saved me.  He's taught me so much and I have a forever best friend.  Spirit got married to Mia, a red and white Border Collie mix! 


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Elliot Tucker Clark

Elliot (alias Tucker) came to us in November of 1993 from North Bay Canine Rescue and Placement.  We had only a couple of months earlier pulled our Kelpie/Border Collie, Rosie, out of pound in San Francisco.  Being 9 to fivers, we were away from home all day and we felt Rosie needed a pal.  Much to the chagrin of many, we wanted an Australian Cattle Dog.  Several weeks later, after someone referred us to NBCR&P, and we passed the rigorous screening of the scrupulous Hollie Lama, we arranged to meet Tucker (now known as Elliot) so that he could meet Rosie and we could meet Hollie and she could meet us.  That, dear friends, was Elliot's last day of bacon double cheese burgers from Jack in the Box, which, we were told, he got to enjoy on the way to our first meeting.  

But was it love at first sight?  Hardly.  In fact, as my partner and I were driving back to San Francisco after meeting Elliot and Hollie in Novato, I said to her, "Ooooh, he sure was funny looking.  How come his head is so small and his body is so round?  He looks like a sausage."  I was feeling quite dejected and crushed: This was not the classic cattle dog that I had just seen in the movie Road Warrior.  My partner looked at me and said, "You'll get over it."  She was right, I did. And somehow, as time passed, magically his head and body grew into proportion to each other and he became the striking beast you see in the photo to the left.  

Elliot today, along with his sisters, Rosie and Rocket (our most recent addition/a ratty and quite comical miniature schnauzer) is an integral part of our family.  These animals have taught us invaluable lessons about unconditional love and keeping our hearts open when sometimes we rather have them shut down.  Thanks, North Bay Canine Rescue & Placement!


Here lies a success story of a little border collie that almost didn’t make it except for Gertie (the Modesto dog's guardian angel) who first saw him in the pound and wanted to get him out; Hollie, who took the chance and spent the money to bring him back to health; and Patty, the foster mom gone mom, who saw him through the rest of the way! 


Thanks to them all, Gandy today is the dog he always wanted to be!!

It was a sweltering hot day in Modesto, California when Gertie called Hollie about another wonderful Border Collie, a young adult classic rough coat, probably a purebred, that was being held captive in the Modesto pound. With a few phone calls, a new foster home was waiting and, luckily for this little guy, he was to be saved!  The wheels of the canine underground railroad were set into motion, and the relay set up to fetch him from afar went as planned.  The first leg of the trip was about an hour and a half and the second leg about the same --  it was in the heat of the day and in commuter traffic to boot! 

When Hollie met this little guy in the delta, he seemed a little down and listless. She thought it might be due to the long and stressful day he had already had.  Nonetheless, he was on his way to the vet to a neuter appointment that had already been scheduled for him and he would get a good check up as well. But by the time Hollie got half way to the vet, she knew that this dog was seriously ill!  His breathing was become more labored by the minute and he was now blowing and coughing up green mucous. She stopped on the road and called the vet to tell him to cancel the neuter appointment but that she was still coming in as an emergency case.  When she arrived the little guy was carried inside to the isolation, and was diagnosed with an extreme case of pneumonia.  Gandy, as he was later to be named, was given massive amounts of antibiotics, subcutaneous fluids, and steroids to help his breathing. He had become so ill that the vet said that he might not make it through the night – though he did.  Hollie nursed him back to health and he was eventually able to go to foster care.  The recovery process was a long one for Gandy and his foster family became so attached to him throughout the process that they adopted him.  Gandolf now competes in the agility ring and quite often brings home blue ribbons.  Gandy has started sheep herding and has a wonderful and natural instinct for it! 


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"Wake me up when we get there."

The Fable of Abel 


My name is Abel and this is my story….

I was born April 19, 1997. I had a very poor beginning and almost died before I was rescued by the North Bay Canine Rescue and Placement.  They fed me, gave me medication, and found a foster home for me until I was well enough to be adopted.

I was adopted into the Macdonald family on July 3, 1997. We are a very happy family and do a lot of traveling in our motor home.  I help by being an alert navigator from my position on the dash. So far, we have traveled a total of 33,131 miles!  We have been as far east as Alabama, as far north as Canada, and as far south as Port Lavaca, Texas. We even followed the old Rte. 66 from St. Louis to Santa Monica.

I received my "Obedient Dog" graduation certificate on January 27, 1998.  It's on the refrigerator door for all to see.  I know I am loved not only by the care I receive but also by all the pictures that have been taken of me.  These are just a few of these pictures so you can see how handsome I really am  -- everyone says so.  My family and I want to thank North Bay Canine Rescue and Placement for what they did for me.  We hope they continue in their efforts to help others in need.

Joker . . .

It seemed like everybody wanted him -- from Texas to Colorado to Southern California.  Folks just fell in love with his picture.  Joker got all the calls. We even joked that we should try to get a really bad picture of him so the other dogs could stand half a chance.  Joker was a little hesitant with those he didn't know and yet he was such a joyous dog he just had to jump in your face, which people found a little overwhelming.  After all, such puppy bliss is sometimes hard to take when it's that close to your face.  It would take a while to find just the right for this handsome pup.

One day, this fellow, Rich, called and Hollie gives him her usual spiel, "There's a lot of Aussies available, but you're probably going to see Joker's picture and want him."  Rich did of course want Joker, but it was more than simple superficial physical attraction -- It was a match!!  Joker now lives with Rich and May, his new sister, and goes jogging everyday!!

And we're not kidding!!

This just in from Fiddletown, California  . . .

Joey, was once a rather withdrawn Australian Cattle Dog who just couldn't find his niche until these swell folks came along. Jeff and Kim write:

"He's doing very well. He's such a smart guy! The five of us have been getting along wonderfully. Although he's still quite serious, he seems to be coming out of his shell. As I write, he's trying to entice me to go for a walk. Our trainer has fallen in love with him (it may have something to do with a challenge). Training-wise he is great. It's just that  he never seems to have any fun. He isn't interested in toys or agility courses. He'll do a bit of rough-housing but we still need more work on the "man" issue. (We comment: Hmmmmm, he must find men rather delectable in a bite-em-in-the-butt sort of way.)

Jeff takes him to work nearly everyday. He has made a hit with all the ladies of the houses where Jeff works.  He seems to like us and likes living here. We love him very much. Hope all is well with you. Joey was lucky to have found his way to you and so were we."

Why is Penny so Perky?  She found someone who thinks she's worth a million!!

"Thank you for the special love and care you have given Penny.

She is a joy and delight in my life. She's a marvelous supervisor at work and as you can see she loves the perks at one of my favorite gardens.

We have started dog (owner) obedience and she is being wonderful.

I look forward to each day as we venture forth."



Maestro says, "enough already, let's go for a ride!!

Maestro found a little slice of heavy when he went to live with Dayton and Diana in Washington state.

Dayton writes, "One day, I clicked onto a site called North Bay Canine Rescue & Placement and there he was, Mr. 'special Aussie' himself, Maestro.  After several weeks, many emails, a couple of videos, and a few phone conversations, a plan was hatched to transport Maestro to our door 700 miles away . . . On October 7th, they pulled into our driveway and we had our first face-to-face with  with Maestro.  He is everything we hoped for and more.  He does everything with style and enthusiasm.

Our love for this wonderful friend grows with each passing day.  Hollie was right when she described him as a sweet, sweet boy."

How beautiful is this? A snowy day on his new 5-acre home in southwest Washington.

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Hopper, who was once landlocked, loves the ocean



Hopper . . .

"Once again, we can't thank you enough for joining us with Hopper!  He is such a fabulous, sweet presence in our family, and he is dearly loved.  We hope you enjoy the photos and if you don't mind, we'll send more now and then, just to keep you up to date!"

Content.  Who, me?

Jake was a rescue who was returned more than once because he "had too much energy."


Now he has two agility championship titles and gets lots of squeaky-toy time.

Balou: Third Time’s a Charm

Balou lost his home three times in a row.   Then he got some special help from us when we posted his picture on our web site. He is a classic blue merle Australian Shepherd with a docked tail and he appeared to be approximately 7 years old.  

A local couple here in Rohnert Park, California spotted his picture and bio on our webpage and just knew that he was the dog for them.  Even though Balou was living at the Best Friends Animal Society located in Utah, the Maxtons decided that they would make the long trip out and bring him back themselves. Turns out it was a perfect match for both dog and new owners and Balou has found himself a permanent forever-home.  

Here’s what the proud new owners had to say: 

We must thank NBCR&P for posting Balou's picture and story on behalf of Best Friends Animal Society. Utah was a long drive to pick up a rescue dog, but Balou was SO worth it! 

What a sweetheart he is.  He's so loveable (a "Velcro" dog), sweet, mellow, intelligent, and fits in perfectly with our family, which includes 2 other rescue dogs. He is remarkably well-behaved and well-adjusted for a dog that has been abandoned 3 previous times (we'll never understand why).  With your help, he's now in his forever-home.

Thank you, Jean, Hollie, Abbie, and all the NBCRP volunteers for the wonderful work you do!!! 


Ellen and Emil Maxton

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The Heart-Warming Story of Bullet

‘Frank’ was a scared little Cattle Dog who came to the shelter. He had been shot in his back right leg, but was still able to walk. He was only there a short while, when Hollie took him out of the shelter and placed him in a wonderful foster home. Frank had surgery to remove his bad leg, and was re-named “Bullet”.

He began to flourish and fell in love with his new family, the Simons. The feeling was mutual and they decided that instead of just fostering Bullet, they would adopt him.

With the love and guidance of his new family, Bullet now runs with Ready, one of their other dogs, and loves to play ball. Bullet and Ready are now best buddies and love to run and play Frisbee together.

In the words of Jo, his new Mom, “Bullet is thriving!!!  He has fit into his own special niche with us, almost as though there was a Bullet-shaped space in our family, just waiting for him to arrive and fill it!  He looks great, his fur has grown back and you can only barely make out where his leg was shaved.  We are successfully keeping him at a perfect weight.  Bullet continues to blossom, surprising us with new antics all the time. 

“We all think Bullet is a terrific member of our family!  At least every couple of days I tell Steve --- I LOVE this dog!!!!!  Bullet truly warms my heart in that special way in which certain dogs touch us sometimes.  How "win-win" can you get?!?!!”

Not only has Bullet won the hearts of the rest of the Simons’ family, but he has a special place in the hearts of  two of the Simons’ younger boys, Zachary and Jacob. Both boys, who suffer from Down’s Syndrome, find hours of love and companionship with Bullet. "Zachary and Bullet are totally bonded.  Bullet is so gentle and walks so nicely that Zach loves to be the one to hold his leash when we take our strolls through the neighborhood.  As for me, Bullet is a real source of comfort -- he has the most endearing way of quietly sitting next to my chair and carefully giving me a little tap with his nose, just to let me know he's there, in case I need some love."

 Rescuing a wonderful dog like Bullet is not only about saving him from a bad, life-threatening situation merely out of pity.  Like so many dogs who are rescued, Bullet’s story is just as much about giving him the opportunity to make the world a better place for someone.

Bullet is one of our best success stories.  Going from a scared little boy to a happy camper in just a few short months, made all the difference in the world to him.

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Last updated on: 06/21/2013

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