My uncle gave my grandparents their first collie, Jade. He was a sweet, tri-color, rough collie and made a lasting impression on my sister. Because as an adult, when she was ready for a puppy, she asked my uncle to send her a collie of her own. That collie, another male tri-color, was different than Jade though. My sister’s first collie was a smooth collie, and she named him Reggie.
|Jade with my Grandmother
I grew up loving all dogs, completely dog crazy. (and that hasn’t changed) But I was also a huge fan of the Lassie movies, and Albert Payson Terhune’s books, which were written about his Sunnybank Collies. I eagerly looked forward to my Uncle and cousins visiting us, but also couldn’t wait to see their beautiful collies. So it isn’t really a surprise that I planned and dreamed of the day I would one day have a collie of my own.
When I read one of Terhune’s books or when I watched one of the old Lassie movies, I am transported back in time, back to a time when I believed a collie could fix all of life’s problems. I remember how much I loved watching those reruns of the old Lassie movies on a rainy afternoon, or reading those musty, out of print books. So it was with both delight and some misgivings that I learned of DreamWorks Animation’s intention to produce a new Lassie movie. In the past whenever a new movie came out featuring a specific dog breed it would mean disaster for that breed. There would be a rash of individuals and puppy mills producing the puppies of that particular breed. The puppies were mass-produced to cash in on the current popularity of the breed, and the parents of these puppies were not health tested, and little thought was given to temperament or genetic issues. Before long, all those poorly bred puppies, that were the current fad, ended up in rescues and animal shelters.
Because of this, I naturally worry what a new Lassie movie might mean for the collie breed. However, it would be wonderful to see Lassie capture the hearts and imaginations of a new generation. When people were asked what words they associated with Lassie, the most common answers were “loyal, brave, hero and heartwarming.” When we take our collies for a walk, someone always calls out to them, “Hi Lassie!” And all too often I hear people say to each other as we pass, “Look, it’s a collie, isn’t she beautiful? You never see collies anymore!” In fact there are so few collies being registered with the AKC these days, that collie owners are encouraged by the Collie Club of America to have their collies act at ambassadors for the breed. So while it would be great if there was more recognition of what this wonderful breed has to offer, collie breeders are greeting the news of a new Lassie movie with some trepidation.
What do you think? Is a new Lassie movie a good thing or a bad thing? Do you have a dog breed that was part of a past fad? (Dalmatian, Chihuahua, German Shepherd, Great Dane, etc)