This is the story of how we came to find and buy Lassie from a local Amish family here in Wisconsin.
It all started when I was reading about Scotch Collies for the first time. I was reminded of a farm dog I had seen while visiting a local Amish business. Something about the dog’s affection and understanding of her master stuck with me. I left a message with them that I was interested in getting a dog like they had.
A couple of months later I saw an ad in our rural newspaper selling collie/heeler puppies. It only listed an address. This usually means the sellers are Amish. Hoping to see the dog that made up the collie part of the puppies, I decided to drive there. As soon as I saw Lassie, I thought Scotch Collie. They had named her Lassie after the book (of course). The father of her puppies was the neighbor’s heeler.
When I asked if Lassie herds any animals around the farm, I was told, “Oh yeah, she brings the cows in.” On their farm they had 8 or so milk cows and raised layer chickens, along with a pony and I’m not sure what else. Their children were all young, so I knew Lassie was used to kids!
They didn’t know anything of Lassie’s background, just that “someone in our community raises them.” I was very intrigued about Lassie after that visit. A few weeks later we were on our way to Missouri to pick up Captain Jack. Lassie remained in the back of my mind, but now we had our own Scotch Collie puppy and he was our main focus.
About a year later I stopped by to see Lassie and talk with her owners about a possible breeding with Captain Jack. We really didn’t want to breed Jack yet, but wanted to see if they were receptive to the idea of the pairing. Lassie had another litter of heeler puppies when we stopped out again, so we thought we could get a word in for Jack.
After thinking things over, we decided to pursue a purchase of Lassie to bring her to Halcyon Lane Farm. I hated to even mention it to Lassie’s owners, since she was their family dog, but when I did they welcomed the idea. Lassie is missing her left hind foot, which we found out was from a hay cutting accident (yikes!). This, coupled with the fact that she was getting “older” (we found out later that she was only 4 years old) and “too friendly,” persuaded them to sell Lassie to us!
We arranged to pick her up the following Saturday to bring her home. That Saturday was September 28th, 2013 and Captain Jack was now over a year old. It happened to be chicken butchering day on the farm, so both Lassie and Jack had their fill of gizzards and livers by the end of the day.
Lassie really seemed to accept her new home and us as her new family. She has been really great with the kids. She does well with our free range chickens, likes to help herd our family cow and calf, and plays nice with the family cats. She and Captain Jack are great friends, too.