In October 2001 two Border Collies called Lassie and Smudge were handed in to Battersea for rehoming. They were litter sisters, exactly one year old and they'd probably never been apart. They were sent to Battersea Old Windsor where staff separated them because they did not settle. They wound each other up and both were getting upset. It was agreed that it was better not to home them together. So how did they meet almost six years later? Fran Shuttleworth tells their story of their reunion.
On 21 April this year, I was at an agility competition at Newbury Show Ground when I met Jackie Alderman who had her dog, Jessie, with her. I had my two dogs with me. One is also called Jessie. Jackie said that the two of them looked similar. We chatted a bit and realised that both dogs had been rehomed from Battersea Old Windsor and were the same age. Suddenly Jackie asked if my Jessie had originally been called Smudge. Surprised, I said she was. It turned out that the two dogs were sisters. They had not seen each other for 5 Ĺ years and had both been renamed Jessie.
Jackie Alderman and her husband went to Battersea in October 2001, looking for a trainable, medium-sized dog. She was told that they thought they had the dog to suit called Lassie, but she decided to look at all the dogs in kennels that day. The last dog she saw seemed to be just right. Jackie talked to staff about her only to be told she was the same Lassie that they had suggested, so it seemed meant to be. Formalities were completed, and Lassie left for her new home. In the car park, Jackie decided that her new dog didnít look like a Lassie and decided to rename her Jessie.
When Jackie adopted her, she was told that Lassie had a sister, Smudge, who unfortunately had developed severe kennel cough and was so ill that she was on a drip and was being transferred to Battersea, London for care. They werenít sure whether she would live.
After settling in to their new lives, both Jessieís started agility training at two years old and now compete. Jackieís Jessie is competing at Grade 2, but has a touch of arthritis, so competes for fun. My Jessie won out of Starters last year and so we are competing at Grade 3.
Jackie and I were really excited that the two sisters were reunited after so long. They, of course, couldn't care less.
Jessie is a dream to run in agility, but often lacks the power to win the big courses. Bracken has the speed and enthusiasm, but not always the control and direction! Hopefully they will have many years to enjoy learning together.
First published 23 May 2007