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posted Jan 22, 2016, 1:42 PM by Christa McElroy
The VanderKlok's Brando:

Wasn’t he handsome? That’s our Brando. Our best friend that came into our lives in 2000. Soon after purchasing our first home our desire to own a dog was huge. I had such a great relationship with a collie as a child, I knew that was the breed for us. After much research, my husband and I found TCCR, specifically, Pegi Hack. She told us she had recently rescued a sable male (4 months old) that was abandoned on a farm. We couldn’t wait to meet him! We sat on the floor in Pegi’s living room for two hours playing with him, discussing collie facts with Pegi, and dodging those sharp, puppy teeth. Thankfully, we were given the green light to take him home soon after our initial meeting. Brando instantly became our first “child.”

That playful puppy turned into an 80 lb. gentle giant. During our eight years with Brando, we also added two little girls to our family. We couldn’t have handmade a more patient, loving dog to be around our babies. He looked huge laying next
to them when they were infants, but he was never anything less than kind. Our vet appropriately called Brando…”a gentleman.” We became identified in our neighborhood not by ourselves but by our ”beautiful dog.” If we had a nickel for every time we heard that – we’d be rich! We were also probably known for the famous collie bark. Brando always had something to say! He was also a hit at parades. While attending one, someone took his picture and he ended up on the cover of a local magazine. He loved attending the annual collie picnic. Our oldest daughter referred to it as, “Brando’s birthday party with his cousins.” He enjoyed car rides with us even if it meant just a trip to the store. He loved to lay in big piles of freshly raked leaves. He loved PB & J and pizza and would poke at us with his signature long, collie nose while we were eating just hoping for a crumb to drop. He was a real trooper when our girls dressed him up in princess dresses or used him as a pretend “seeing eye dog.” He enjoyed running wildly in new fallen snow. He loved laying in bed with us. He was so big and we were such suckers for him that we’d let him have most of the bed even if it meant we were almost falling off of it! He always had us wrapped around his big paw.

Brando passed away after a long battle of renal (kidney) failure on Sept 12, 2008. If you didn’t know him, you wouldn’t have even thought he was sick. He was a strong boy. He never wanted to let us down and ended everything on the best note he could. Even on that sad day in the vet’s office, I nudged him gently with one of his toys and though he wasn’t feeling good, he wagged his tail, looked at me with those sweet, brown eyes and tugged back at it for a moment. He really didn’t want to play, but I honestly believe he did it to tell me, ”It’s okay mom. I’ll see you again.” He was always our source of calm in an often stressful world.

I ran into a woman two weeks after we lost Brando at a parade. At the end of her dog leash was a five-month old collie. My heart melted and I HAD to go pet her puppy. When she learned I too once owned a collie, she asked if I had any advice. I said to her, “No. Not really. Just know you’re probably holding one of the best dogs you’ll ever have in your life. So, give him lots of love.”

Thank you to everyone at TCCR for all your efforts in helping to protect one of the best dog breeds out there. Thank you, Pegi, for taking a chance on a couple 20-something’s. I know you’re having fun with our baby boy. Take care of him 'til we get there. Miss and love you B. ~ Jennifer, Dave, Teagan and Kinsley VanderKlok