Adopted: River

Quick Facts:

  • Breed: Border Collie
  • Gender: Male, Neutered
  • Age: 1.5 years young
  • Size: 50 pounds
  • Good with…
    • Dogs? Scared of them, sorry not so much!
    • Cats? Nope, sorry!
    • Kids? Too nervous, nope!

Hello! My name is River and I am a beautiful boy who is full of energy!

** River is not a CDR dog but please fill out an application and it will be forwarded to his people!***


I was born in Smyrna, NY to some backyard breeders. My parents were on site. I was only 6 weeks old when I went home with my new family, but they didn’t figure that out until we got home. At that point though, they were not about to bring me back–I was too cute, and the place I came from did not seem like a good place for any dog, let alone a puppy. I have been with the same family since then. We live on one acre in the town of Ithaca.


Let’s play! 😊 I am a bundle of playful energy in a very handsome and loving package! When I’m home, I really like to be actively engaged with my family. I follow them around, and if they sit down, I beg for them to play tug, and throw toys for me to keep bringing back! A highlight of my day is playing ball with the Chuckit! I love the Chuckit!! I am working on catching the ball in the air, but so far am really good at catching it on the bounce! I jump up really high to try to catch balls.!I am super agile and never tire of playing ball. I also really like chew toys and chew bones, and they keep me busy, so it’s great to have lots of them around.

I love my people and I love to observe the world! When my people let me outside (on a tether), I take stock of my surroundings. I sniff the air, look all around (perhaps there are sheep out there somewhere?) and my lower lip quivers with interest and pleasure (which I am told is extra adorable). I like lots of outdoor time please, and am fine to stay out there on my own (as long as you are home!) and lay down in the yard and watch the world go by (even if the ground is covered in snow!).

I love sweet interaction with my people. When my mom scratches right above my tail, I walk backward into her and do a little dance! And when my mom sits down, I lean or drape the top half of my body across her lap?

I like to go on leashed walks too, and am pretty good at walking on a leash! I stick my nose in holes in the snow, and sometimes I bury my head in the snow, haha, I can be a clown! True to my border collie nature, I herd things that move. Including cars…ack, not so good! My current owner is trying to help me with that, and we are making some progress with regular cars, but big snow plow trucks, UPS trucks, and mail carrier vehicles still bring out my strong herding instinct!

I am pretty chill at nighttime. I have dog beds and will lay on them, but because my mom sleeps in bed, I like to join her there. I like to rest my head on things that are slightly raised: pillows, arm rests, human legs, bellies, and hips! When my mom gets up to go to the bathroom, I will steal her warm spot! But when she asks me to move so she can get back in bed, I do so without any trouble. When my mom starts her day, I like to go everywhere she does. I even lay right outside the bathtub when she’s in the shower. I love belly rubs, butt scratches, head scratches, back scratches…you get the picture! I love you to pet and pay attention to me!

It’s very important that you understand that I am a nervous dog around any humans or dogs that I don’t know well. For example, my mom’s boyfriend became one of my favorite people, but it took meeting him 4-5 times before I got to a place where I felt comfortable being around him, and during the process (at meeting #3), I snapped at him and left a bruise on his butt. By the next meeting we were buddies and have been so ever since, but you have to manage those early meetings really carefully to keep others safe, and so that I am not too panicked.


I am a sweet and loving boy when it’s just me and my family at home. I do really well with my familiar friends, but need a lot of help getting comfortable with new people. I need a home where there are not a lot of people visiting, as that would be really tough for me (and for you).

No kids in the home for nervous dogs like me please!

I am currently living with another dog, but I have known her since I was a tiny puppy, so feel comfortable with her. With other dogs, I am scared. If you have a very nice, very mellow, very respectful dog, and you don’t mind doing a bunch of careful meetings between me and him/her, it’s possible I could live well with another dog, but I would also be a terrific only dog.

I haven’t been around cats, so safest for me to be in a home without any.

Favorite activities

    • Playing ball!
    • Playing tug with my mom!
    • Going for walks!
    • Chewing whatever I can get my paws on, haha!
    • Back scratches, head scratches, belly rubs!
    • Going for car rides!

Why I’m looking for a new home

My current family has kids in it and my mom works a lot. Anxious dogs like me need to be in a kid-free home, and to be with people who have plenty of time to work with us with lots of positive training, so that we can (slowly) become comfortable with a wider group of people (and dogs). Since it takes me 3-6 (on average) careful meetings with a new person before I relax and become their friend, (and stop barking and lunging at them), my person has to have the time to do those meetings with each of their friends/family members, as well as with any potential dogsitter (dogs like me are usually terrified in a kennel situation, as it is filled with unknown people and dogs!). I know there are people out there with that time and dog training know-how and I am so very hopeful that we can find them and then I can be in a home in which I am well-matched for them and they are well-matched for me!


I’m in great health! My only medical issues are related to my anxiety and reactivity. Along with having a trainer, I also see a behaviorist at Cornell who has prescribed Paxil (twice a day), and Gabapentin to help me sleep. These medications are helping a bit! (I tried Zoloft and Trazadone at first, but they didn’t seem to help much.) When I go to the vet, I take gabapentin and trazadone to help me not feel so anxious (and so that I can behave a bit more calmly).


I am a truly smart, sweet, active boy and I have so much terrific personality. I love to interact with my people and have so much fun, light, laughter, and joy to bring to the right person! Please understand though, I will need to meet you several times so I can become familiar and comfortable with you, and for sure I will bark and lunge and growl at you at first, but as long as you act helpfully (ignoring me is best! do not approach, do not look me in the eyes, do not try to pet me and don’t get too close!), I will likely start to be your friend by meeting 3-4. I will wear a muzzle (I don’t mind!) until I feel calmer around you so that all is safe. I am hoping to find someone who will love me as much as I will grow to love them. Someone that has time to work with me and give me the training, exercise, stimulation, and attention that I need. I am excited at the prospect that my perfect home is out there!

So if you think River might be the perfect addition to your family please fill out an online adoption application and live close to Ithaca, Syracuse, Binghamton, Rochester, or Elmira. We do home visits on every applicant, and can’t do home visits where we don’t have local volunteers. The rescue will forward it to my current mom, who will a) be in touch with you and b) make all decisions about my placement!

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