It’s been 22 months now since that gorgeous sunny day in February 2016, when we made the 4-hour drive down to Carcassonne with our 11 year-old Border Collie, to meet our newest family member for the first time. Just 2 months old, Jazz (Tania) melted all our hearts and we were back again shortly afterwards to adopt and bring her home with us to Charente-Maritime. A mischievous bundle of energy, she loved exploring her new garden and getting to know us as well as her new big sister! With lots of summer visitors to our gîte she is never short of playmates and adores a game of chase on the field, rural and coastal walks, not to mention all the extra fuss and cuddles.

Her legs seemed to grow daily in the early days and it wasn’t long before we began to realise that she was, in fact a border collie crossed with another breed, quite possibly a lurcher, but certainly a sight hound, given her sheer speed and determination to chase rather than herd. Not a problem at all, although as long-time collie owners we knew we would have to change tack on the training front. Recall was going to be a bigger challenge than we expected, but we persevered and she is now much better.

Fast-forward to late summer and we noticed a protrusion when she needed to wee. A prolapse, we thought, so we headed off smartly to our local vet. A thorough examination and an x-ray later, we discovered that we are the proud (if somewhat non-plussed) owners of a dog in a million: Jazz is a hermaphrodite with elements of both male and female organs.  Our vet was amazed and explained that they did not have the expertise to carry out the required procedures to neuter her. Not an issue as we were headed to the UK for an extended visit, so a trip to our old veterinary clinic was duly booked.

Jazz became something of a celebrity as our UK vet had to seek advice worldwide in order to decide on the best course of action to neuter her, so rare is the condition. Her womb was removed along with testes that were found in place of her ovaries! Bless her, she was a little star as she recuperated from her operation although walkies were severely restricted for a few weeks. Repeat visits as she healed ensured she has a special place in the hearts of the vets and nurses back in the UK and they still ask after her. Pleased to report that she is back to her best and an integral part of the clan.

Variety is the spice of life they say, so after another summer of fun and frolics in the Charentais sun we are now temporarily relocated in NE England for the winter, where the beaches can rival anything the French Atlantic Coast has to offer. Daily walks along the sands, chasing a ball and playing with scores of other four-legged friends have become the norm and both dogs are delighted with their new surroundings, whatever the weather. It will be a joy to return to warmer weather, the fields and the peace of rural France in the spring, but for now Jazz and the rest of the family are looking forward to the festive season in NE England. It is, after all, the most wonderful Tyne of the year!

Jazz….like most border collies, a fast mover!

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