In the year 2000 it happened that we, two "city-people" ended up in Könneckenrode in the German Harz-Region. An old inn in almost single location with forest and fields around seemed to have been waiting for us to be revived. And plenty of garden and paddocks as well: What possibilities! The never-ending renovations and refurbishments mainly made our first days (and years) here, while lots of animals, poultry, rabbits, cats and others began to fill our gardens. Our first two dogs had already moved here with us, my four-year-old "Gila", a collie-mix, and "Connor", a six -month old Irish Wolfhound. Both lived a long healthy live and were getting on very well with our cats and our two "Not-at-all-mini-pigs", the completely free range poultry has never been hunted.
Because these days I did run the guest-house as a coffee-bar as well, and also provided four guest-rooms, I needed dogs, who would be friendly against visitors, no permanent barking, no typical watchdogs. Anyway Connor with his huge size ensured that no potential burglar could develop funny ideas.
On one of my many visits to the vet (for years people do bring us supernumerary nursing cases: kittens, rabbits, squirrels, songbirds, chickens, dogs and hedgehogs), I came across a picture in a really big dog-book: the first smooth-collie I saw. Blue-merle and beautiful. And it looked, as if there would not too much brushing be necessary (Gila and Connor used to bring half the forest with them in their long fur!). But actually I was really excited about the description of the character of collies: Friendly and with a deep attachment to "their" people. This was years ago, that I decided, a smooth-collie would be it, when my beloved Gilas time has come. Luckily, she grew old, but I did not forget the picture in the book, shortly after Gilas death 2010 I met Billie. I preferred an adult dog to a puppy, I needed a friend, not a child. I was hoping to witness her puppies from their day of birth, a new experience to me!
But that was not too easy with the puppies! Smooth-collies, a rare breed, where to find a stud-dog? Not exactly around the corner. I also learned that all the stud-dogs and their owners belong to associations and they would not provide the dogs to "everybody". Everything seemed to be more complicated than expected. First of all I had to join a club ( I never liked to be in clubs!) and unexpectedly I found myself on the way to become an "official" breeder. Certificates of competence, kennel decrease, breeding regulations and health certificates. I had not imagined it this way! And everything should be properly done before Billie would be in heat nine months later. Once chosen a stud, I travelled with her to let them meet before, to make sure she would like him. Oh, she liked him. But she did not want to mate! Despite check-ups and tests, relaxed atmosphere, good weather, no rush, and as we humans saw it, best conditions. Meanwhile Billie has met four nice "boys", she liked them all, (and vice versa), but she resisted all serious overtures. She will have her own reasons, we would never try to force our animals to do something, that they do not want to do. And Billie will be loved with all my heart anyway. With or without puppies.
Since Billie lives with us, she had our grandfather "Benno" as companion. He came to live with us when he was already ten years old. His parents have been a Labrador-retriever and a German dachshund, he has a decent hunting instinct and was always willing to roam the woods with Billie. In old age now, he cannot keep up with her. Therefore we decided to buy a second "smoothie", Benno is allowed to have his "retirement" (he does not like that very much, he thinks it's boring!). Thanks to a hint of Mrs. Harth from Ihlpol-Collies we got in contact with the owner of Ares in spring 2012. Mrs. Zwygart could not bring all her dogs to the new place she was moving to, so 3-year-old Ares has been offered to me. With Mrs Harth and Billie as competent counsellors the decision that Ares would join our family was quickly made. After a long journey he won all hearts of human and animals in a blink of the eye. Since Ares is with us, we believe that smooth-collies are the breed we will continue to make our life-partners. Although Billie and Ares have quite different temperaments, they have in common what is important to us: sensitivity, attentiveness and intelligence, and the desire to be close with "their" people. They are not aggressive or timid, just wonderful companions!
After Ares was finally registered as stud-dog and I had met some collie-owners, who helped me with advice and support, I made my peace with being a "club-member". I learned a lot, made quite a few new experiences, for example on shows, and met nice people.
Now we hope for many healthy little smooth-puppies in the coming years! Who wants to visit us, with or without dogs, will be welcome, if we know a bit in advance.
Overnight-accommodation in our Tannenhof is not a problem, we have our guest rooms!