Grandma’s little helper

Grandma’s little helper

Five-month-old border collie Shadow lives with a busy family of four. Lucky for her, grandma Pippa breaks up the long hours when everyone is at work and school by taking her out to play fetch.

“The children are really meant to look after her, but it tends to fall to Granny, which is fine because I love dogs too,” Pippa laughed.

“I like to move around, so it’s perfect that I have some time with this one and some time without a dog, without the responsibilities.”

Pippa is from a long line of dog lovers. When she was young, her mother used to breed boxers.

The next generation has inherited this affection, and Shadow loves them all in return.

“Shadow was initially called Lottie, and then when she was very little the children changed it to Shadow because she just followed them everywhere,” Pippa said.

“She’s very devoted to my granddaughter who is at the school just down here. If I walk down past the school, she won’t go past the gate, she’s waiting for Grace to come out.”

Shadow is the third border collie the family has owned, but the first they have had since it was a puppy.

Although border collies are bred for farm work, Pippa said they could adapt well to inner city life.

“[It’s] absolutely fine as long as you exercise them and give them something to round up, which in her case is a ball.”

Thanks to her heredity, Shadow is “very smart” and picks up quickly on how to act with other dogs.

She’s learned to be wary after rushing up to dogs that weren’t so happy to see her.

“I think they learn as they get older what the signals are in the dog world,” Pippa said.

There are plenty of chances for Shadow to socialise at her local in Carlton.

“There must be a lot of dog lovers here because this park is always full of people with lovely dogs,” said Pippa. •

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