Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Difference in Dogs

The original three collies, rear Gael and Mike, foreground Nick

Long time readers will remember my once in a lifetime border collie, Mike. Mike was amazing, a hard, stubborn, brilliant, guy, a so called "line dog" and the best canine friend I ever had. Once we came to terms that is. He would and did work anything we pointed him at and mistakes...and there were many...were generally mine.

Nick is his 3/4 (ish) brother..his mom was Mike's half sister (our Gael) by an open trial dog of national caliber and his father was Mike's father.

You may remember the story of the day Liz, (who was around thirteen at the time, and home terribly sick), had an intruder try to get in the house with her. I was out. The boss was at the barn choring.

She was in the shower trying to get relief for her lungs...the kids all have asthma and she was, as I said, really, really ill.

Mike was loose in the house with her.

We reconstructed events later, based on forensic evidence and what the boss saw from the barn.

Somebody came on the back porch from a rental van and opened the kitchen door and tried to walk inside the house. (They did NOT succeed at this attempt.)

The door was still partly open when the boss came over after seeing someone leaping through the snow like a gazelle, great, big, loping steps, and diving into the rental and racing away.

Indoors everything was torn off the counter and there were claw marks three quarters of the way up the door...eight foot door btw. The whole kitchen looked like a cyclone had hit.

The only cyclone was Mike though, protecting his girl and his property. I will wager that the guy in the van (whom we suspect was looking to fill it up with stuff out of our house) ever even gave thought to coming back. I wonder if he even knew what hit him when he stuck his foot in that door.

Fast forward to Nick, who is getting old enough that he doesn't quite recognize folks at the door any more. The boss and Becky came in that same door yesterday. He was barking furiously right at the crack where it opens.... 

Teasing, the boss stuck his hand inside and made a noise.

Nick bolted in terror to sit on my feet, quaking like an aspen, for at least an hour.

And there is the difference in dogs. Short of being full sibs they couldn't share much more DNA and yet.......


Jan said...

Each dog has a distinct personality. Sometimes breeders seem to forget that.

Linda said...

I noticed the same thing here. Sally was my brave dog who'd do anything for me and Kit (a half sister) mostly does her own thing and will change from being "my" dog to the Bossman's depending on how she's feeling about the job at hand.

Shirley said...

I've always thought that border collies are the best dogs for protecting the home. but you are right about how different they are. My Tess will. not. allow. anyone to come on the deck when we aren't home- but her mom Reba would probably bat her eyes at the intruder and get them a ball to throw for her.

Ava said...

I enjoyed this post and the story that went with it. There is such a vast difference in dogs. I have also found this to be true of my dogs. Sure do love them!

akaGaGa said...

Aw,'cmon, give poor Nick a break, everybody. Just how old is he? I suspect Mike was in his prime when he protected Liz.

Cathy said...

I read the previous comments . . . really interesting to hear about the variation in temperaments among dogs of the same breed and even closely shared genes.

As for Nick . . . awwwwwww

Give him a scratch behind the ears for me.

BTW. Aren't you tempted to have a sidearm close by?

On the other hand . . . I guess a good dog will get the job done :)

June said...

Every dog is his own self, absolutely. Here I have two boys from the very same mother and father (not recommended, I hasten to add) and their bodies are shaped differently, their personalities are completely different, their coats are different.

threecollie said...

Jan, it amazes me how different they are, except in their amazing devotion. They both had that nailed from the start

Linda, I wanted another Mike when we bred Nick...but I am very happy with Nick just the same. He is a nice dog for us right now.

Shirley, Mike was really a bit too much dog, but he sure made us feel safe. Nick is good for now, but not much of a defender, alas.

Ava, thank you! Can't imagine life without dogs...must be awful

aka, good point. Nick is 11. Mike was younger...and I love Nick, really, he is a sweet, biddable, nice dog...

Cathy, no sidearm, but the shotguns are real close...

June, Nick is from a litter of eight...all very different...I get a Christmas card from one of his brothers every year. lol

Terry and Linda said...

We seem to get the dog that fits us the best for where we are in our lives. Having a protector, though, WOW!


threecollie said...

Linda, he was a wonder..but a handful...I had to be so careful with him all the time. Nick is much easier for me and as I am quite a lot slower and older it is indeed a good thing. I miss Mike though. he was a lot of fun.