I’m partial to collies. My family owned two of them when I was a boy, and they were the most wonderful animals. I was seven when my dad traded our last one away. He liked bird dogs, and so do I, but I never forgot Lassie or Goldie (this was during the height of the TV show’s popularity). When my wife and I started discussion about getting a new dog some six years back, I advanced the idea of getting a collie. Lily never had one before. Her favorite dog as a child was a Siberian husky that bit everyone in the family. I was not enamored of that idea. After much searching, we came upon this little jewel through a mutual friend.
Needless to say, I had to have him. But he was in Michigan! Fortunately, our friend was headed there to pick up a smooth collie pup for her kennel, and agreed to pick him up for us. So we got him in October of 2003. He was very quiet for several days, but then started to perk up and act like a pup. We immediately started crate training, and within a few weeks he was house trained. We’ve never had any significant problems with Toby in this vein. If he has to go, even in the middle of the night, he’ll come up to me and, breathing heavily, start barking. I get him harnessed and he patiently waits for me to get some shoes on. What a great dog.
Toby chewed a lot when he was young, but he’s grown out of that and is the calmest dog imaginable, though he hates a few things still, like cats and fireworks. I loathe fireworks now. He won’t walk during that period when fireworks are popping all around. July Fourth and New Years Eve are the worst times. I walk him before it gets too bad on those nights.
Toby warms up to strangers if he is introduced to them, but he’s a good watch dog. We don’t let him out of the house much, because Florida is bacteria-rich, and we went through a lot of vet visits before we devised strategies to keep him from having allergic reactions to certain foods and the dirt at certain times of the year. My collie is a finicky eater, and he eats boutique dog food consisting of sweet potato and herring. We give him vitamins and joint supplements to keep him as healthy as we possibly can. We’ve made a pledge that we will do whatever we have to to extend Toby’s life into his late teens. The only bad thing about falling in love with a great dog is knowing it can’t last.
I can’t dwell on that though. I’m grateful for each day we have him.