Supporting agility dogs with specialist lifetime cover


Small world

Jackieís Jessie (Lassie) & Franís Jessie (Smudge)

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.

In Jan 2002 I went to Battersea Old Windsor to look for a dog that I could train and hopefully could do agility. I had a six year old Springer Spaniel, Oscar who was so handsome he didnít think that he ought to work! My sons and I saw three dogs that we liked and decided to return the next morning to meet the one that we had decided on, a Border Collie bitch called Jessie.

When we went back we were told that Jessie had been reserved late the previous evening, but the other two that we had seen were still available. One of them was Smudge who had recovered from her kennel cough, but had been in kennels for 12 weeks and was running back and forth, chasing her tail. I was worried that she was a bit Ďstir-crazyí and would need more attention than I could give her, as I work part time, but the staff thought that with Oscarís calming influence she would be alright.

Anyway I had fallen for her, and we arranged to take her. We didnít think her name suited, and as we had decided to home the dog called Jessie, we changed her name to that. I also was told that she had had a sister rehomed the previous October and always wondered what had happened to her.


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.


About the author...
Fran Shuttleworth has had dogs of her own for 22 years. She got her first dog as soon as she gave up work, after her second son was born. The dog was a beautiful working Springer Spaniel called Teasel. After she died, Fran was without a dog for a year as she had restated work and felt it would be unfair on a new dog. But she felt it was unfair on her too - a house is not a home without a dog, so she took on an older, rescue Springer, Oscar.

Then in January 2002 as she was then only working afternoons, Fran added Jessie to the family, Oscar, unfortunately only lasted to December that year - a warning to the elder male when a young girl moves in! Fran was lucky enough to get the last pup of the litter from a friend. Bracken is a very handsome WSD.

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


© Copyright Agilitynet