Rule #1 of Pet Ownership --never get a dog with an IQ higher than yours. For most of us, that would certainly include a border collie. Unfortunately, I didn't know this in 1983 when I adopted this gorgeous black and white ball of puppy fur from a local farm and brought him to the suburbs to live.
How to describe this dog? Challenging. Mischievous. Smart. Demanding. Funny. Unhinged. All this was very clear early in our relationship. And, as with a lot of dysfunctional relationships, I adored this dog, for all his high maintenance demands. He climbed fences, ran away, destroyed property, harassed my guests, jumped out car windows, and kept a vet in business with regular emergency runs for various self-inflicted injuries.
In the photo above Zack was about a year old. By this time I was beginning to understand a couple of things about this yearling. One, he was terrified of storms and served as a weather barometer on four legs. Even before the first rumblings of thunder or flash of lightening he was pacing, panting, and wild-eyed. If he was in the yard he ripped through screen doors and tried to chew and claw through the wooden door to get inside and in the only safe place he accepted--the bath tub. If he was inside, he'd knock open the storm or screen doors and run though the yard and garden like a crazed animal.
If you look closely at these photos, you can see that we went through several kinds of doors from metal storm to old-fashioned wooden screen with aluminum panel scratch guards--to no effect. Most of the time Zack either jumped through the torn screens or just knocked the door off its hinge to get outside.
In addition to fearing storms, Zack was bored and desperately needed a job. And, if you're familiar with border collies you understand that if they are not given a job they will find their own diversions. I was clueless about this (see Rule #1 above) . So, while I sat in the living room trying to read, Zack mounted the campaign to get me up and going. He began casually by snatching a book, newspaper or magazine out of my hand and tearing through the house with me in pursuit long enough to reclaim my reading material. If this low level pestering didn't get the the reaction he really wanted--a leash up and walk--he escalated by launching a bloomer raid. Zack knew where the laundry baskets were kept. In the bedroom he had only to nose the sliding closet door open to find the dirty clothes. And since his battle objective was to get me up and chasing him, his border collie brain understood that a sock or towel was not going to do the trick. He had to steal something potentially embarrassing. So, I'd see this black and white flash down the hall making a run for the back door with my Jockeys for Her clinched in his teeth. Through the torn screen door he'd sail and then fly around the backyard with my underwear unfurling like a truce flag--much to the amusement of my neighbors. Sometimes he'd just sit in the far corner of the yard pretending that he'd surrender if I got close enough. Other times he'd let me approach and sweet talk him into giving them up. Sometimes he'd just chew them up if I didn't make the chase interesting. Let's just say I spent a lot of my hard-earned salary on storm doors and replacement underwear in the '80s. Not a bad return for the many happy memories I have of living with Zack the Crazy Border Collie.
Now be sure to check out other kids and pets make us laugh stories over at Karisma's place. (Photo credit: Maxine's bloomers at jaymesjammies.com.)
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I'm hosting Fun Monday on May 11. Assignment will be up on Wednesday of this week if you want to play. The topic will be gardening since I'm seeing a lot of beautiful photos of flowers and gardens on blogs already. What are you doing right now in your garden? What's blooming? What kind of plants do you enjoy? Are there public gardens that you love? As always, you're free to bend the rules any way you want to participate!
If you want to sign up now, just tell me in the comments. Be sure to give me your web page link as I'm still not Mr. Linky savvy. If you'd rather wait, come back on Wednesday for the official signup. Hope you'll join us!