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.
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.
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?