I'm sorry to have to tell you that a sable and white male puppy was born as part of the litter I was talking about, but he was very small and didn't breathe right and died within a day of his birth. The other five puppies were all, every one, female. I'd never even seen this puppy and I didn't hear about his death until two days later, but I just feel so terrible I can't find words to describe it. I think all the (human) deaths in the family have made me really sensitive on the subject.
Anyway, the breeder asked me again if we really had to have a puppy, not an older dog. We talked it over and I called her back to discuss the matter. She has a lovely (six points toward a championship in the conformation ring) sable merle and white rough-coated male collie she's looking for a home for. He's three years old and, she says, an absolute sweetie who would love to be the only dog of doting owners. He's been lying around her house, being adorable but not earning his keep, because he retired himself from the show ring after deciding that he absolutely did not like dog shows any more at all whatsoever. Part of the deal is that we'll keep him unaltered for a while, in case she decides she wants to use him in her breeding program. As soon as the breeder can get away from the puppies (she's having to supplement their feeding, as the dam didn't have enough milk), she'll bring him over and make sure we all like each other. Then he's ours.
And--I'm crossing my fingers here--it appears we've sold my mother's house. As soon as I sign the paperwork that's coming tomorrow and get it back (what would we do without Fedex?), the house goes into escrow. It's an FHA loan, too, which means a forty-five day escrow. Now you and I both know that houses can fall out of escrow for a zillion reasons, but I think we can safely let ourselves be a little optimistic here.