When I was eight, dogs lived outside, barked at vehicles driving by and chased cats.
When I was twelve, Daddy bought a Border Collie–Sam–who herded cows, chased away snakes in the berry patch, and kept visitors in their trucks until one of us approved of them.
When I was twenty, my parents were gifted a stray dog by one of my brothers–that dog patrolled the dining room and kitchen floors for stray scraps that might accidentally fall from someone’s fork or plate. To my knowledge, he had no other useful purpose.
When my three boys were 3, 6, and 9, they enticed the neighbor’s dog to come live with us. Babette thought she was a little boy but kept the population of cats and possums and squirrels at bay–even the fat cat at the vet’s office regarded Babette with respect.
When my parents died, their dog–a very spoiled Lhasa Apsa–came to live with me–that breed is a one person dog–and I happened to be it. She let me know when it was time for bed with a disgusted snort and much thumping as she crawled underneath the bed–although each morning she was tucked behind my legs.
Several dog-less years went by. I enjoyed a flea-free household but after a burglary we decided it was time for a dog—or two.
Enter Toby–a rescue Border Collie puppy. Toby-short for Toe-Biter. Dora was next–Dora the Explorer–another rescue-Aussie and Border Collie mix.
They are now entering doggie middle age years–which means some of the energy is now more contained. Both know a lot of words and we have taken to describing nearby dog park as ‘large green expanse for canine romping’ as the words ‘dog park’ inspires much leaping about and barking. “leash” is greeted with the same enthusiasm.
In the morning, Dora fetches the daily paper. She has learned to search for it as sometimes it lands under the hedge, sometimes on the sidewalk, and sometimes on the grass. Toby has learned to sit patiently in the hallway awaiting Dora to appear with the newspaper. Occasionally they argue over who gets to present the paper to me.
While Dora is too excited to do anything more than bark, Toby ‘speaks’–and it sounds quite eerily like ‘I want one’ (referring to the treat reward) and sometimes she will look directly at us–with that Border Collie stare–and articulate more sounds—
While both of them seem to have a fairly large vocabulary, minding is something else–with Toby deciding if the command given is really something she wants to do, should do, or thinks there is a better thing she should be doing. (typical Border Collie attitude)
Both of us wish we could understand what she is saying–
and here’s Dora–she always looks a bit nervous.