Border Collie Soliloquy

by Baxter Black
<listen to MP3>

Just a word about one of the greatest genetic creations on the face of this
earth . . . the border collie.
Faster than a speeding bullet. More powerful than a locomotive. Able
to leap tall fences in a single bound.
The dog that all sheep talk about but never want to meet. The fur that
legends are made of. Makes coyotes cringe, sheep trip the light fantastic
and eagles soar somewhere else.
Invested with the energy of a litter of puppies, the work ethic of a boat
person and the loyalty of Lassie, they ply their trade on sagebrush flats,
grassy fields and precipitous peaks from sea to shining sea.
“Away to me!” I command. They streak and sail, zipping like pucks on
the ice. Black and white hummingbirds, in out, up down, come by.
Sheep. With head up, one eye cocked over their shoulder asking directions.
To the gate through the race. Mighty dog moves behind the bunch
like a towboat pushing barges around a bend.
And heart. Do they try? “Just let me at’em, Dad!” Stay! “C’mon, I’m
ready!” Stay! “Can’t you feel me hummin’? Listen to my heart, it’s
purrin’ like a cat! I am primed! Aim me, point me, pull the trigger!”
“Away to me!” It makes me feel like Robin Hood. He leaves my side
like an arrow.
Workin’ dogs is like manipulating a screwdriver with chopsticks. Like
doing calligraphy with a plastic whip. Like bobbing for apples. Like threading
a needle with no hands. Like playing pool on the kitchen table.
There are no straight lines in nature. Only arcs. Great sweeping curves
of sight and thought and voice and dog. Always having to lead your command
about a dog’s length.
Sheep bunched like logs on the river. Dogs paddling in the current,
always pushing upstream. A ewe breaks loose. Then another. Another.
The log jam breaks. Dogs and sheep tumble about in the white water.
Calm again, they start back upstream.
Border collies. Are they truly smarter than a chimpanzee? Cuddlier than
a koala? More dedicated than Batman’s valet?
Can they change course in mid air? Drag Nell from the tracks and locate
the missing microfilm?
Yes. I believe they can. They are the best of the best, the epitome of
‘above and beyond the call of duty’. Head Dog. Top Gun.
I salute you, for man has never had a better friend.

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About Christopher

Christopher Landauer is a fifth generation Colorado native and second generation Border Collie enthusiast. Border Collies have been the Landauer family dogs since the 1960s and Christopher got his first one as a toddler. He began his own modest breeding program with the purchase of Dublin and Celeste in 2006 and currently shares his home with their children Mercury and Gemma as well. His interest in genetics began in AP Chemistry and AP Biology and was honed at Stanford University.