Editor’s Note

Raise your hand if you have a pandemic pet…

Mine’s up, too.

After one of our beloved border collies died in 2019 at age 14, we were on a list for a pup and our lucky number came up in September.

Roxanne (her dad’s name is Sting) is a bundle of affection. Like many of you, we had someone working from home (my husband, Myles) and that was perfect for house training, crate training and general company-keeping. We also had Oliver, a 12-year-old border collie at home, who was less than pleased. It seems getting his nose constantly booped was not how he planned to spend his golden years.

As with our other dogs, we signed up for obedience classes. We learned how to socialize with other dogs, how to sit, down, stay, come, leave it. Leave it. Leave IT. (We only said it once, we just said it often!) It was a challenge with masks on, as puppies have a way of getting behind you, beside you, underneath your feet!

She had lots of company in the neighborhood as everyone else seemed to be getting puppies, too, and we heard the good news that Pittsburgh shelters were empty as abandoned pets were easily finding homes.

We are hoping to do agility with Roxanne. If you’ve never seen it, it goes like this: You run your dog through obstacles, such as jumps, teeter-totters and vertical tires, for speed, and at the end, your dog jumps into your arms amid applause. Actually, that’s the way it’s supposed to go. For me, it’s my dog running way faster than me, going over the wrong jump, stealing the cones that mark the obstacles, me tripping over my feet and my dog running off the course and into the waiting area where all the other dogs are lined up.

But that was Oliver. I have a feeling Roxanne will be a superstar. Stay tuned.

For all the things that those smarty-pants border collies can do, there’s something they cannot: Make you breakfast. Merle Jantz profiles some Mt. Lebanon families whose pet chickens are not only cuddly, they feed the household with a constant supply of eggs. One chicken owner even gets her birds to come when called. If you’re considering bringing home some hens, don’t wing it; check out the story for the rules. That’ll keep your birds safe, your neighbors happy and the whole situation from becoming, um, foul.