Category Archives: Mick of Borderland

One Woman’s Quest for an Extraordinary Dog

101 Reasons You Can’t Have a Border Collie (But I Can)

Lisa Lanser Rose

If you’ve been researching Border collie adoption, you’ve read the warning labels on all the Border collie websites. They boil down to:

1780891_10203424378996126_2110332612_n#1. Border collies are maniacs, and no sane person wants one.

#2. Border collies are the coolest dogs in the world, and you aren’t worthy.

By now you’ve concluded that only narcissistic know-it-alls get to have crazy-cool dogs, and you don’t. The reasons they give you look like this:

#3. You Don’t Have the Right Stuff

By now you know that in order to acquire a Border collie, you need to prove that you have:

  • a fenced yard,
  • eight to ten free hours a day,
  • your own sheep farm, or at least your own agility course,
  • a degree in law, veterinary medicine, ethics, animal behavior, sports management, cognitive psychology, and a minor in canine culinary science and nutrition,
  • no children, cats, computers, or other distractions,
  • six years of experience owning, training…

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Feeding the White Elephant: Three Ways to Make the Writing Life Work

For those of us so fascinated by Border Collies that we put down our leashes and spit out our shepherd’s whistles and go write about them, here’s a little piece I was asked to write about the writing life:

My friend and sister Siren Susan Lilley tapped me for a blog tour on writing processes. Writing about writing is serious work for us, but whatever Susan instigates, you can bet it’ll feel like running off to play hooky. In fact, you can scamper away with her by picking up her collection of poems, Satellite Beach, and disappear on forbidden field trips of her devising. Time spent reading her work is impossible to regret.

Before offering you the three ways to make the writing life work, let me begin by answering a few simple questions the tour asks about writing. As a writing teacher, I should be prepared to answer them with clarity and concinnity. Therefore, give me the simple thread of the following questions, let me bat them around a bit, and see if I don’t leave them frayed in a wet knot on the rug. Continue reading

That’ll Do, Muse

Just thought I’d let you know how it’s going writing Mick’s book. I’ve been keeping tabs on my progress on my own website, but I know some of you are very supportive of this project, and I wanted to you to know I’m determined not to let you down. Also, I’ll take this opportunity to tell you that Mick’s latest blood work showed his liver stores of cobalamin have finally reached normal levels, and we can lower his doses. The doctor at the University of Florida gave the go-ahead to neuter, but we’re in the middle of moving house. I think I’ll wait until we’re settled. That is all!

Lisa Lanser Rose

So to keep apace, I needed to write 3,284 words today (3,999 – 715 surplus from the other day).

Happy, tuckered pup Happy, tuckered pup

Today’s output:

leaving me with a surplus of 1,062. I don’t usually factor them in, but it’s nice to know that I have them to soften the blow of a weak day should I need it. My target for today, 17 days into this challenge, is 22,661, so I’m actually ahead by 1,887 words. Not a big lead, but it’s a lot better than being behind.

My progress toward goal now looks like this:

I’m more than a quarter of the way through!

And yet, I’m thinking 80,000 isn’t going to be enough to get me a complete draft. Plus I got feedback from an editor who rejected the proposal on the grounds that it wasn’t cohesive–is it a dog book or a family book? I think I need to cut the…

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Bathing Mick

“So I was thinking along such lines, one recent Saturday morning as I took a shower alone, musing about those things and more, a whole range of things, from “It’s time to get him neutered” to “It’s time to turn him over to a sheepdog handler who can use his oomph.”  Then I remembered he was invited to my friend’s party, so he’d better get a shower too–and some Axe Body Spray.”


Happy Saturday–Play Hard!


Why My House is a Wreck

I guess it doesn’t help that since Alby’s been working at home, the house is filled with computers and monitors, and components are snaking out of boxes and bookcases and across the floor. But no matter to Mick–his eye’s on nothing but the ball!P1060450

Amazing Mick News!

Hi, fellow Border Collie fans!

Mick and I have some exciting news! Here’s what happened:

An agent at Fine Print Literary Management, CEO Peter Rubie, agreed to represent Mick and me and our story. He’s taking our book proposal to editors at the top publishing houses hoping to negotiate a great book deal.

The world of book publishing is capricious, and I have a lot of work to do, so it’ll be a while before anything happens–if anything happens. But it’s a hugely encouraging step, and Peter Rubie is warm and wonderful and committed to this story and my career. I couldn’t feel luckier.

My hope is to do justice to all the people and Border collies whose lives are so powerfully intertwined and to explore what home and family mean when we’re divided geographically and united through the Internet and a shared love. I also just hope to tell a good story. It is a good story–I hope to tell it well.

As Peter said when we first discussed the book last October, “The dog has to live.” And he does!

And as my mother would say, I better get crackin’. Luckily, Mick’s been healthy and sweet, and he’s practicing his best tricks because I promised I’d take him to visit his friends at the International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts, known as ICFA. Of course, he’s calling it “Mickfa,” and he gets all full of himself and says, “I am the fantastic in the arts.”

When asked what it’s like to have a literary agent, Mick said, “I’m not sure. Can he throw a Frisbee?”


Happy Birthday, Terri!

Birthday Mick

The Border Collie Eye of the Beholder

A little New Year’s note from WordPress informed me that this post, “The Border Collie Eye of the Beholder,” was the most popular for the year 2013–but it had been posted in 2012. In fact, it gets daily traffic. I have no idea why. WP said, “Write more posts like this,” and so I reread it, a over a year and a half after it was written. As many of you know, I have found the puppy I was searching for, BCI’s “Miracle Mick.” The drama of Mick’s first year has changed my life and my plans for the book I mention in this post in such unexpected, heartbreaking and inspiring ways. I was shaking in my shoes to know now what lay ahead for the woman who wrote this post.

Lisa Lanser Rose

My puppy hunt has begun in earnest, and already I’ve gone slopping straight into the muck of my first muddle. I said I was looking for a merle. And I felt sick to my stomach saying so.

What’s wrong with asking for a specific coat? You may wonder, but any border collie aficionado worth a wag would know better than that. Just asking for a merle is a gaffe and a half. Yet, if you’re making a fifteen-year commitment, if you’re willing to pay top dollar, if you’re crazy enough to work part-time just to devote more time to your dog, if you’re willing to search patiently for the perfect personality as well, shouldn’t you also hold out for a dog looks pretty in family photos?

The breeder is a wise and gracious woman. She wrote back that I sounded like a PERFECT (caps hers) prospect for a puppy, but, alas…

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Thank you, Santa

It’s perfect.