Studio Report

I'm sure some of you noticed from my Instagram, I recently adopted a one year old border collie.

When my Siberian husky Tasha was about 10 years old, I had an opportunity to take care of a brown border collie for a couple of weeks. I fell in love with her and with the breed, I knew then that if I ever got another dog, it was going to be a border collie.

It took me nearly four years since Tasha's passing to finally feel ready for a new pup. That's more than sufficient time to form a vision of how this dog is going to be — a lop-eared, long-haired, green-eyed, eight-week old, brown border collie puppy from a good breeder.

The problem was no real "good" breeder was willing to let an apartment dweller take one of their puppies home. It didn't matter whether that apartment dweller was a consistent runner, who loves the outdoors and even had goat and sheep farms researched out for herding sessions. Yes, there is such a thing. While it was frustrating, I also appreciated their point of view. Border collies need to run, herd, work, get their minds stimulated instead of getting cooped up in a small apartment all day, waiting for their owners to come home from work, granted that it clearly wasn't going to be the case with me. It's not that much different from my stance that a Siberian husky should always be in a pack with other huskies mushing for a meaningful task in a subzero environment — an unwavering opinion after having had a husky in my care for 17 years in sunny Southern California.

When I reluctantly turned to local shelters, I quickly learned that it was even more difficult to make things happen via that route. For one thing, puppies are wildly popular, and border collies, even if they were mixed breed adults, were getting snatched up well before their pictures hit the "Available Dogs" section of the website. I know this, because my persistence impressed one of the staff members at the shelter, she actually allowed me to see a number of herding breeds that got turned in before they had become officially available online.

After over four months of searching, I nonchalantly answered an ad from a pet adoption site with no expectation that it was going to work out. The ad was posted by the actual owner of the dog. No pictures. She was in northern Washington. I only called out of routine, but she called back right away, and few minutes later I was in my car headed up to meet this dog.

Border collies are the most intelligent of all known breeds. So my thoughts as I drove north were what if she doesn't respond well to this stranger? what if she's sad that her family is giving her up? what if she resists coming with me? But when I entered their place with her owner who just pulled up the driveway from work, she ran right up to me first with her tail wagging and let me cup her head in my hands with her eyes intensely set on me. I knew instantly that she was mine — this upright-eared, short-haired, brown-eyed, one-year-old, black border collie.

We got home extremely late that night. The next morning, we got up early and went for a run as if we have been doing this together for years.

A little update on the work side of things. Portland Saturday Market is picking up and getting busier than ever. You can also find my booth at First Thursday Art Walk in the Pearl. Between the outdoor markets and online shops, couple shows that are in the works (more on that later) and all the behind the scenes details to tend to, I haven't been able to paint, like, at all since my last one, "A Rescue." With the tax season behind me, and the final touches to the booth decor that seems to be in perpetual transition, I should be able to delve into painting in the next week or two...and quite frankly, I'm just dying to be able to do that. Believe it or not, having a canine companion actually has been very helpful. It's energizing to keep a pet — to have that daily routine of "doing things together" in place.

Lately, when busyness of the business becomes overwhelming (which is often), I keep thinking back to what James, my friend from UCLA days used to say to me. He was a pre-med, and me, an art major. Whenever the weight of mid-terms and finals crushed down on us, he used to sarcastically ask, "How nice is it, Joy, to just doodle all day and walk away with an 'A'?"

James is a good man, but boy, it never was, and still isn't that simple.

If only I could just doodle all day.