Thursday, January 28, 2016

For the love of a collie...

They say that art mirrors life, and I have found this to be true in many cases.  In Albert Payson Terhune’s books you will find heroic tales of canine loyalty.  While the acts of those gallant Sunnybank collies may seem exaggerated, those stories originated from tales of the real hero dogs of Terhune’s day.  He would take the stories from newspapers and magazines of real dogs saving people, and of accomplishing other amazing feats, and incorporate them into his stories.  He also included his collies’ own acts of bravery in his stories.  

Terhune with Bruce, Wolf, Lass and Lad

Collies are amazing creatures, as are all dogs.  They love us even when we are less than perfect, they are always happy to see us, and they forgive us when we fail them.  I am a dog lover, but collies in particular hold a special place in my heart.  My family has a history with this breed that now goes back generations.  My uncle first fell in love with the collie breed, and he gave my grandparents their first collie, Jade.  Because of Jade, my sister also fell in love with the breed as did I.  My mother has had three collies in her lifetime, and now my daughter is devoted to this breed as well.  She has grown up showing collies at dog shows and competing with collies in junior handling.  She is now an adult, has recently become a veterinary assistant, and is handling collies for other collie breeders as a professional dog handler.  So dogs play a very important role in all of our lives, which I guess is obvious to anyone reading my blog.
Grandpa with Jade

Collies in particular have captured the hearts of many of my family members because they are special.  They are beautiful and graceful animals, but that is only part of their appeal.  They are sweet and caring, and they are extremely loyal.  Collies also have the ability to make us laugh, and if you look into their eyes you can see a sense of humor and how they delight in making us happy.  Collies were bred to work with humans, to assist us.  They were bred for a purpose, and because of this, they are intelligent dogs who love to please their families.  

My uncle actually wrote a true story about one of his collies, that was published by one of the collie magazines back in the 1960’s.  He was camping on the Cape with his children and his 2 year old daughter wandered off and became lost.  The family collie, Dove, found my cousin and alerted my uncle to her location.  Dove was a beautiful, rough coated collie, and she was devoted to her family.
Pretty Dove

My sister’s first collie, Reggie also showed remarkable intelligence.  Reggie was a smooth, tri color collie.  As a puppy my sister brought Reggie over to our Grandmother’s house to visit.  The distance between their two houses was about 3 miles, and my sister drove Reggie to our Grandmother’s home for the visit.    A few months later Reggie, then about eight months old, escaped my sister’s fenced back yard.  We know he wandered down to the beach, as her neighbors reported seeing him heading down there.  A short while later my Grandmother heard her dog barking in the back yard.  When she went out to see what was happening, she spotted Reggie on the other side of her back gate, standing proudly and wagging his tail in greeting.  Even though he had only visited once, and arrived there by car, he had somehow found his way to our Grandmother’s house and was waiting to be invited inside.  My grandmother called my sister, who drove over to pick up her happy, albeit sandy and wet, collie boy.  We still do not know how he managed to find his way there.
Handsome Reggie

Collies really are incredible dogs, with a great capacity to love, a sense of humor, uncanny intelligence and an inherent loyalty that guides all their actions.  And these are just a few of the reasons I love this breed so deeply, and why they have captured the hearts of so many families over the years.  I am always surprised when people tell me they never see collies any more, they are such perfect companions.  If you have a favorite dog breed, what drew you to your chosen breed?


  1. I have many collie stories too, Max, my second collie was the one closest to my heart & followed me everywhere.One day when he couldn`t be by my side as we were having furniture delivered he went clear up to the attic to look out the window to see what was going on & to bark,of course,phyllis

  2. We actually saw a collie the other day - only the second one we have seen in real furs since living in the USA - we have also only ever seen 4 shelties so go figure :)

  3. Well our mom has always loved Goldens, but that awful day she was trapped at the puppy mill brought me into her life, and after me, came all the others, so right now she is living the puglife, but I know one day I will probably have a senior golden as a brother or sister.
    stella rose

  4. We have great admiration for this Beautiful Breed.

  5. Thank you for this wonderful info about Collies! one of the first dogs I ever loved was who else? LASSIE!! DakotasDen

  6. I loved hearing about the amazing collies in your family. Wonderful!

    My first childhood dog came from a litter between my grandparent's collie and their wolf/GSD hybrid. Yep, wow! Even all these years later, I remember what a good mama that collie was to my beloved Duchess. And how fierce his father was.

    But my dog was devoted to me and my very best friend. I can only think that his collie side was coming out strong. :)

  7. What wonderful collies you have had in your family!! We aren't breed particular, but we are partial to Lhasa Apsos... :-)

  8. So interesting and what cool pictures
    Lily & Edward

  9. Every collie I've ever met, I've fallen in love with instantly. They are magic!

  10. I love your stories-as I mentioned before I love Collies, we just can't have them due to their hair. I am partial to Bichon's, I also love Labs, and our grandson is getting a Standard Poodle in March so I'm sure that will become a favorite breed too.
    Have a great weekend.
    Noreen and Hunter

  11. What wonderful stories indeed! And love the photos. I had two collies growing up and loved them so. The one was my Mom's heart dog...she always thought of him, so many years later missing him still brought tears to her eyes. Such a special boy who would follow me on horseback where I went. Collies hold a special place in my heart. I love many breeds - Collies among them, for their beauty, gentleness, and loyalty. German Shepherds were part of my family, too, and of course, for the past decade, Siberian Huskies. What drew me to German Shepherds? Their beauty and loyalty. What drew me to Siberians? Their stunning looks, intelligence, and their eyes - so soulful. And they are quite the characters! They really do have a sense of humor!

  12. Hi hi hi! Ojo here! My person has a tear in her eye! Why is this??

  13. I know, another comment from me -- Tired of hearing from me?! :-) I really enjoyed this post and getting to know you a bit better! Your roots and the fabric of your life truly does have Collie's running through it, and it shows by you and your family's devotion to this beautiful breed. How wonderful that your daughter is feeling that connection to them too.

    I don't know if I've ever told you, but the family dog I really remember was a collie. As a family dog, she was exactly as you said they are, loyal and devoted and smart. I've always wanted to get one, but somehow we ended up with Goldens - I'm not sure how we chose Goldens, or if they maybe chose us. Of course it goes without saying that I'm smitten with Scotties, but my heart will always belong to Golden Retrievers, but there is a special place there for a Collie!

  14. Collie's are beautiful! How wonderful that the love for them goes back generations in your family. And writing about them, too. Thank you for joining the Pet Parade! ~RascalandRocco