|Abby as a young puppy|
Today’s post is going to be about our smooth collie, Abby. She is a 6 year old, sable and white, smooth collie. Abby is the quietest of all our collies, and she is also the sweetest. She does not demand attention and will not compete with the others for it. Abby is very sensitive, and the slightest reprimand will have this girl acting as if her heart has been broken. Her personality is considered “soft,” and only positive training methods will work. (Personally, I think positive training methods should be used for training all dogs.)
Abby becomes upset when she hears raised voices, and quickly leaves the room. One time a broom tipped over while she was walking by it. The handle landed across her back, startling her. She now leaves the room whenever I use the broom to sweep the floor.
|Abby and Lad|
When Abby was a small puppy, and first came to live with us, we already had a collie named Lad. She became very attached to him, and followed him everywhere. She adored her “big brother,” and she would hold the tip of his tail in her mouth as she followed along behind him. When we lost Lad in 2011, Abby grieved for him just like I did. I think she still misses him, even though we have other collies in our family now. We recently had a large, smooth, sable and white male collie spend the night at our house. The dog, Sam, was staying with us so my daughter could handle him at a dog show the next day. When Abby first saw him coming in the door, she became very excited and happy, and ran up to him with her tail wagging. When she got close to him, and smelled him, she dropped her head and slowly went back to her dog bed. She looked dejected, and I think she believed Sam was our Lad, finally returning home to us.
Abby is special to me for a few reasons. She is my first champion, and her mother was one of the top smooth collies in the country. Abby is also the mother of both of the litters that I bred. Without her, we wouldn’t have Ryder, Kori and Scarlett. And while she loves my daughter, Abby has chosen me as her person. I am the one she runs to when she is in need of comfort or reassurance. If I leave the room, Abby will be right behind me. She will curl up with me on the couch, but if my daughter or anyone else tries to sit next to her, Abby will get up and leave. I don’t know what I did to inspire such devotion, but she will do anything I ask of her. And Abby loved Lad as much as I did.
Abby has a talent for herding sheep, and I was told by people who compete in herding with their collies, that I was “wasting her talent!” Unfortunately, there are no farms or facilities in our area where we could learn how to compete for a herding title. I think Abby is fine with that, as she is prefers the comforts of a couch or bed to running around chasing sheep. She doesn’t like to get dirty. When she was going for her herding instinct test, the person giving the test had a staff. When Abby spotted the staff she immediately stopped herding the sheep. I think it reminded her of a broom, and she didn't want to get too close to that!
|Abby on the banks of Sunnybank|
When we take the collies to the dog park, they all avoid the muddy areas, while watching the other dogs running, splashing and playing in the mud. I think most collies prefer to stay clean, it’s rare to see a collie without four sparkling white paws! But Abby in particular, avoids all mud and rain puddles, it makes me smile watching her navigate around them. While we are at the park, Abby is the one all the young dogs are drawn to, I think it is her calm, friendly manner. She also seems to enjoy playing with the puppies, and will play with them while the rest of our collies run all over the park with the other big dogs.
Abby was a very good mother, and took excellent care of her puppies. But after two weeks or so, she was once again trying to follow me around and I had to stay by the whelping box with her so she would remain with the puppies. (which is where I spent most of my time anyway! Watching puppies grow and develop is a wonderful experience.)
So what has Abby taught me? She has taught me to slow down, and just enjoy watching the world around me. Through Abby, I learned both the joy and heartache involved in breeding a litter. Joy, when the healthy, strong puppies are born, and sadness when one is stillborn. Joy in watching them grow and discover the world around them, and heartache when it’s time to let them go to their new families. And Abby has reminded me that dogs can be more than just companions to each other, they can also be best friends. She is an absolute sweetheart, and one of the most calm and gentle collies I have ever met.