Advantages a faithful and loyal friend
Disadvantages like losing a member of the family
The true story of Lassie, a dog that I had initially disliked but who became a very loyal and faithful friend and a very much missed member of our family.My stepfather kept Welsh Border Collies. When one died, after a suitable period another Border Collie would be purchased. The dogs were always called Laddie and the bitches were called Lassie.
So when Laddie the sixth died at the age of 12 my mother decided that they would not have another dog. My stepfather was in his late 60’s and too frail for all the exercise that a Border Collie would need. But he desperately missed having a dog, so she eventually relented and decided that they would look for another. My mother spotted an advertisement in the local paper – a 2-year-old Border Collie bitch needed a good home – so they decided to take a look at her.I had suggested that a small dog, like a Cairn or a West Highland White terrier might be more suitable, but to no avail.
Lassie (yes, she was already called Lassie) was a working sheepdog. Her owner, a farmer, had died and his son was selling the farm and needed to find a home for the dog. So Lassie, not surprisingly, came home with my mother and stepfather.When meeting her for the first time I was very apprehensive. She had roamed freely around the farm; she was not housetrained, in fact I doubt she had ever been inside a house, had never been on a lead and was very very timid indeed. In fact, she hid behind a chair and there she stayed, no amount of coaxing could get her to come out. Were my elderly parents, who lived in a small bungalow, going to be able to cope with this dog?
After a visit to the vets for spaying and all the necessary injections, my stepfather took on the task of training her to walk on a lead. It will never cease to amaze me, even though her life had changed so drastically, how well she adapted to her new lifestyle and surroundings. Border Collies are very intelligent and she was soon house trained as well. She loved my stepfather and he loved her – they were inseparable. Everywhere he went, Lassie also went.On one occasion, when my stepfather went to one of his army reunions, I offered to look after his dog. Lassie never liked me very much, and I must say at this point that the feeling was mutual. But I could look after her, take her for walks, and feed her, after all it was only for one day, I could manage this. When she came into my home, the first thing she did was jump onto my brand new sofa. This was not allowed. But could I get her off? She growled at me. I tried to coax her; to be nice to her, to bribe her with food and finally shouted at her and tried to remove her forcibly, but had to remove my hand after narrowly missed being bitten. So there she stayed all day until my parents collected her.
In 1984 my mother died unexpectedly. My stepfather coped very well by himself and he had his beloved Lassie. Then when Lassie was nine years old my stepfather died. So now I was left with a problem – what was I going to do with his dog?
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