As you may know, Sunday marked the start of the famed Westminster Kennel Club dog show in the Big Apple. Westminster comes just before things begin swinging into action again after a bit of winter’s rest—there will be seeds to be sown and outbuildings to plan—and as a gal hailing from a very long line of dog lovers, it’s a fun two evenings during these cold, mixed-precipitation-y February evenings.
From my mom’s side of the family comes a love for herding dogs—specifically, rough collies. At least three generations of us have had them now, and since we are in fact part Irish and part Scottish, I’d be willing to bet a batch of cookies many, many generations of my ancestors have had a collie or three in the house or on the farm.
Collies are amazing dogs—a little weird, sometimes, but wonderful creatures, especially and famously around children. Of course our very own Benedict is truly the most faithful and wonderful of collies. Years ago, I thought about training him for agility—good, fun exercise for both of us, and herding dogs excel in agility—but my own health kept me from doing this. It’s okay. Ben is still a fine dog. In fact, we are about to celebrate the tenth anniversary of bringing him into our family within a couple of weeks. Talk about timing—Westminster and ten years of Benedict the Brave at the same time? This, my friends, is too much temptation to resist. Let’s talk about Westminster Kennel Club titles Ben would absolutely win!
Despite his striking good looks and life of being undeniably pampered—even when in the throes of serious, lost-ten-pounds-in-two-days illness, I’ve taken him out for his walks during heavy rainstorms—Ben can lay on the Sad. Big time.
He can’t help that collies are naturally grave and serious most of the time. Besides, with those good looks, he probably worries no one takes him seriously. The unbearable heaviness of being handsome: Ben knows it.
Friend To Kitties
Perhaps it’s that herding nature of his—to protect and serve small fuzzy things that can be quite daft from time to time—but Ben truly is a friend to the feline overlord population. (We consider it a great blessing that he has not yet tried to mistakenly befriend one of those black and white ‘cats’ so prevalent in the woods. Ahem.)
This is the dog that rescued kittens whose mother didn’t come back.
Ben: Friend to Kitties. Other dogs may not approve, but Ben doesn’t seem to care.
Obedient (Most of the Time)
In an era when no one, it seems, is capable of obeying rules or even acknowledging rules…Ben is usually a good dog.
Your honour student can’t ‘leave it’, but Ben can, and has been able to do so after we’d had him for only a few days. 😉
As you know, I love gardening. Be it a few planters or a big veggie garden, the summer is spent in it—and Ben is great company! He has been since I was working on that first garden back in West Virginia, when he was just a pup.
Thunderstorm Alert System
Many dogs don’t like storms, fireworks, and the like, but it seems to be a quirk flat-out bred into collies. Based solely on Ben’s behaviour, we can tell you if there’s a thunderstorm within seventy miles.
If they are right over the house, he will follow you everywhere. And I do mean everywhere.
Stop And Smell The Roses Walking Buddy
Being a Type A can be a bad thing. When we’re out walking, Ben does not allow that to take over; he tags along a bit slowly sometimes, sort of forcing us to stop and therefore affording us to enjoy more of the beauty around us. Ben is an excellent watchdog, too, but since that’s the kind of thing dogs are supposed to do…no prize!
Founder of Collie Football
Beginning your own sport? Come on, now!
(Halloween costumes are my husband’s idea. But as you can see, an hour and a half later…)
Now that we live in the woods, he is always bringing us thornbranches to throw for him. Ben…? Are you okay?
Top this. I dare you.
Ben wears these titles proudly, but it must be said—”Buddy” is probably the one he’s proudest of.