About Me

My photo
Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Smarter than a Border Collie

(Our host for this week's Fun Monday is Karisma from Aussieland. Karisma invites us to share some bits of comedic relief from either our kids or pets. My only source is Zack the Crazy Border Collie. I fear that he's been somewhat overexposed in this blog, but there's always one more good story where he's involved. Like his bloomer fetish.)

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.)

* * *

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!


m (the misanthrope) said...

HAHAHA!!! Wonderful story, my friend! I totally forgot about the inclusion of pets in this week's FM topic...so that's why I remain post-less. What a wonderful story about the dog with an undie obsession!

I worked a little bit with a border collie at a shelter (I volunteered back in the day). I also wondered if that dog was, by chance, smarter than I was. I loved her and would have bent heaven, earth and my landlord's rules to take her home, but she was already spoken for *sigh* Someday! Thanks for sharing!

Janice said...

How I love Sam . . I mean Zack. If it weren't for your wonderful puppy prose, I'd think I had the only mutant.

TROLL Y2K said...

Very nice story. AMEN on border collies needing "a job". Hope Derby Week was fun!

KittyHawk said...

I always enjoy Zack stories. Just imagine what he could have done if you'd known then what you know now about dogs!

Janis said...

Zack the border collie sounds like a real trip. I know how smart they are. That is so funny him stealing your undies. I can just see it now, you chasing after him. Thanks for the fun story.

Pamela said...

we've had our dogs chew on the bloomers... but your dog must have known about that "It takes a village' theme.

He wanted to include the village in your embarrassment.

Karmyn R said...

hahaha - very funny!!! I can just picture you running after the dog with your underwear hanging out of his mouth.

Tiggerlane said...

That is too cute! Border collies are VERY smart...and pesky...and rotten, but in a good way! Great story!

Cazzie!!! said...

Awww, I cry when I see a border collie, because I had one growing up called "Mate". He could talk, I swear it. So you are right, those dogs have a similar IQ to us, and, no doubt, a higher one than most humans that I have ever met, LOL

The Church Lady said...

Zack is GORGEOUS! Seems he has quite the personality. My guess is you are never bored with him around. My dog, Cooper likes to take everything he can get his grubby little paws on. He is a labrador retriever...so I guess he always has the need to "retrieve" something!

Faye said...

misanthrope--I'm sure you have tales to tell from your menagarie. Go ahead! Post! I'm thinking about shelter volunteering in the future since not getting many calls to do dog transports between rescue groups.

janice--all doglovers have a crazy on the canine family tree, right?

Troll Y2K--Derby week was a SURPRISE for everyone!

kittyhawk--remember getting introduced to Zack on his way home from the farm?

janis--a laundry basket raid was a bust for Zack unless there was a "jockey flag" ceremony in the back yard!

pamela--there's no accounting for taste, it would seem. We did entertain the village regularly.

karmyn--border collie speed and dexterity; pit bull jaws.

tiggerlane--we could use up a pile of adjectives to describe border collies and still not get the job done.

cazzie--"Mate". You've just given me the name for my next dog--perfect!

church lady--you won't believe this, but Willie and I regularly stop to visit Cooper the yellow lab on our walks. The two have peeing matches through the fence.

Sayre said...

Life would not be complete unless there was a "crazy dog" in there that absolutely wins your heart.

We've had three dogs that were rescues from various situations. All of them crazily neurotic. None of them were border collies though and through lots of love and patience, they all became lovely animals.

karisma said...

LOL! Oh yes I am familiar with the antics of Border Collies, my mum had one and he was always making us laugh. Thankfully he refrained from stealing mums undies though. That must have been a sight!

My puppy Miko is the cheeky one around here. She thinks she owns the place and back chats on a daily basis!

Bobbie Leigh said...

Hahahahahhahahahhaa!!! I love your dog! My great aunt's dog would drag her bra's around the house, and she would give to guests as gifts when they came over to visit. What made it worse? The woman was over 350 pounds and her bras were "special made". LOL!!!

MommyW said...

Ha! You sure must've loved that dog. I'm not sure I could handle all the repairs!

I love the bloomer story though, that was great!

Thanks for sharing!

Have a great week!


Gattina said...

That was really nice to read ! So funny ! I just imagine the dog sitting there with your underwear !
My cat once took a bra outside the street !

Peter said...

You have all the traits of a border collie down to a tee there Faye, we had one of these gems when I was growing up, on a farm fortunately, the one I mentioned, Boston, was a border collie/kelpie cross, very popular working dog in Australia he was also on a farm!!!

Faye said...

sayre--a little craziness makes both dogs and people memorable. I've had three other very good dogs, but only one crazy border collie.

karisma--Willie is my Miko--the boss from puppyhood.

bobbie leigh--regretfully, dragging my bra around would not be nearly as impressive as Great Aunt's!

mommyW--re expenses, I used to ask Zack what major expense he planned to ring up this month so we could budget for it!

gattina--was Arthur the bra thief?

peter--I watched a special on the Australian kelpie once--they were herding deer, as I recall. What sturdy little dogs they were.

Lane said...

What a character. A few pairs of knickers and some doors must have been a small price to pay for all the wonderful times you must have had together. Mind you, that's easy to say with hindsight. When your knick knocks were being paraded through the neighbourhood for all to see, I'm sure you had a few choice words for Mr Zack.

Dogs certainly have ways to teach us what they need. Zack taught you imaginatively:-)

Sayre said...

I'll sign up... My yard can be the comic relief.


Gattina said...

I can participate because I have a garden, but what do the once who live in a flat in the middle of a big city ?

m (the misanthrope) said...

Hello my friend! I'm in, I think, for FM. I can write about my "garden" in two sentences: Ha!! What?! (One-word sentences.)

Also, your wonderful Border Collie story has inspired me. It's too late for FM, but I decided to expand on my Border Collie story. I hope to get it posted tonight.