How Two Positive Stories...

 

 

Pauline Nevins  March 18, 2020 - Auburn Journal

 

At five each morning, my brother, Kevan, runs his two border collies across the meadows near his village, come rain or shine. Mostly rain. It’s England.

I have a soft spot for border collies. Oreo, our pet for the years our children were young, was one. My husband, Jim, selected him from the litter birthed by his mother’s dog. Oreo was the only black-and-white pup. The rest were brown and white. If you’ve met me, you’d know my husband likes the unusual.

During the phone conversation, my brother and I commiserated about our shared experience with border collies. We agreed they were a gentle breed but one that needed exercising, hence Kevan’s morning hikes.

Where did the breed border collie originate, I wondered. I knew they were herding dogs long before I had the pleasure of watching a sheepdog demonstration a couple of years ago at Kells Sheep Centre while on a tour of Ireland’s Ring of Kerry. I learned the breed was so named because they were bred on the border between England and Scotland. That made sense.

As Kevan and I chit-chatted about various dog breeds, I told him pit bulls scared me. I’d read about their gruesome attacks. “Can’t own one in the U.K.,” he said in his usual brusque manner. I learned Parliament passed the Dangerous Dogs Act in 1991, banning pit bulls and several other breeds. Exemptions are possible, but the dog has to be muzzled in public and you can’t breed or sell them. Apparently, not everyone was thrilled with this ruling. Blame is placed on the owners who train the dogs to be aggressive.

During our phone chat, I told Kev about the stout little pit bull that roamed our property not too long ago. My husband would shoo it away. It never growled or turned toward him — just kept on chugging down the trail.

Pretty soon, we stopped seeing it. That summer, we were invited to a neighborhood barbecue. As I sat on the patio munching away I turned when I heard a screen door bang. Strolling out of the house was none other than the chunky pit bull. I froze. The dog lumbered by me and lay down a few feet away. I kept a suspicious eye on it for the rest of the afternoon.