It has been a long time coming, but comedian Ellen DeGeneres and I finally have something in common. We’re both members of the doggie mafia.

Unfortunately, Ellen did not realize she had joined the family until she tried to leave it. I, on the other hand, have made myself quite comfortable and hope to be a lifelong member.

Confused yet? I’ll explain.

When we adopted Glory from the San Diego chapter of Border Collie Rescue, we signed a contract agreeing to call the agency if she was not a good “fit” for our home.

There would be no taking our new pet to the animal shelter if she bit someone or pooped all over our house. Border Collie Rescue and only Border Collie Rescue would get the call we hoped to never make.

And we didn’t make that call. Glory stole our hearts while also stealing every bit of food she could reach.

She also roamed the neighborhood the minute our front door was left open, but her misbehavior only made her fit in more with the rest of us.

When Glory proved to be the worst student in her obedience school class, we laughed it off. “Why should our dog obey Ron’s commands when no one else in the family pays attention to them?” I joked.

Ellen wasn’t her usual joking self when she explained how she ended up at odds with the Mutts and Moms dog rescue agency.

The dog Ellen adopted Sept. 20 had been mean to her cats, so she gave him to her hairdresser without telling Mutts and Moms.

Those of us who are “in the know” realize Ellen made a grave error.

Those dog rescue agencies mean serious business and don’t take no for an answer. If you break their rules, you pay the price.

For Ellen, that meant a repossessed dog and the humiliation of having to explain herself on daytime television.

Ron and I read all the fine print when we adopted Glory. I’m not sure if we were being extra careful after recently having a bad experience as doggie parents or if I just needed something to do on the long ride to get her.

She was living on a sheep farm with a bunch of other Border collies. While some of them were actually herding sheep, Glory stood out as the skinny, hyper one intent on finding every stray morsel of kibble on the ground.

We couldn’t resist her and quickly signed our names in blood on the dotted line.

Since that day, Ron and I have joked about joining the Border collie mafia, reminding ourselves that we had better behave or face the consequences.

When Glory ate Tommy’s birthday present that year and got a string of loud reprimands from Ron, I teased, “What if they’re listening? Shouldn’t you lower your voice?”

I even considered calling Border Collie Rescue the following year to make sure we had permission to take Glory out of the state of California. “They” are probably keeping tabs on me right now by reading this column!

All joking aside, dog rescue agencies do a great job of making sure people are committed when they take on the responsibility of owning a pet.

Without Border Collie Rescue, Glory might be herding sheep in the cold, cruel world instead of curled up on our couch where she belongs.

She’s a perfect fit … and an offer we couldn’t refuse.

A mother of three boys, Pam Zich has moved eight times in 17 years of marriage to her Marine Corps husband. E-mail her at or find the Zichs online at

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up