We still run together although for me it is a
struggle. One of his favourite outdoor games is racing me in the woods.
has learned alternative paths and he goes one way and I go the other. Usually I
find him sitting waiting where the paths join. As old joints (mine) slowed me
down more he was beating me easily, so one day I made him sit while I got a 30
metre start. That did it! Now it was a real game and a real race. The next day
without prompting by me he sat down at the same place and waited until I said
"go". He thrashed me!
The very next time, without a word from me, HE
increased the start to about 40 metres and still thrashed me, triumphantly
leaping out of the undergrowth just ahead of me. Within a week the cheeky dog
had stretched my start to 60 metres and still just won. A year later and still
this endless game goes on, no matter whether I am jogging or walking with my
wife. He suddenly stops walking and stands motionless while I get sufficiently
far ahead. If he thinks he has overdone it I see him creeping along until it is
right. Sometimes the race is a bit close and he races past the junction of the
paths with a cheeky sideways glance like a winning 100 metre Olympic
His intelligence is such that he now thinks of other situations
where he can take an alternative route to me. He looks at me as if to say "What
about a race?" I just say "OK!" and he suddenly takes off at high speed through
the trees and bracken expecting me to sprint along the other route. Then he
appears ahead of me looking smug. He loves it.
Telfer's country jogs are possibly his favourite
pastime, and each one becomes a constant game of dropping behind me to
investigate an interesting smell and then racing past to his proper position,
with the occasional distraction to chase a rabbit or squirrel. The main problem
is his lovely long flowing coat, as his legs and undersides get so wet and
dirty from the muddy paths.
On his 4th
Like most dogs he loves chasing and finding things.
Although we always run in an endless variety of 3 to 4 mile circles he seems to
know when we are on the return part, and begins to grab sticks or fir cones and
taunts me to catch him.
Meanwhile his home companion, Zippy, is now an
old cat of 16 (2003) but still capable of setting up a "chase me" game with his
big pal. Being half Siamese he has the Siamese howl which upsets Telfer no end.
Telfer seems to be able to anticipate it and tries to get close to one of us
Zippy at 16
The kitchen door has a cat flap which Zippy
dashes through during their games. Telfer can just get his muzzle through the
cat flap and enjoys peeping through as it gives his long nose access to the
scents of the outside world. It also comes in handy as his "doorbell" when he
wants to come in from the garden.
Like many pets Telfer soon learned to
put as much distance as possible between himself and the scene of any
"incidents" which either of the pair were involved in. However sometimes it
does not work!
A loud sound of breaking plastic and wood from the
kitchen turned out not to be burglars but Telfer chasing Zippy, who dashed
through the cat flap. This time Telfer went too far!
He carried the evidence with
"Please take it off"
As you can imagine Telfer is now very obedient. Most of
the time we don't need to command him, we just talk to him using the vital
words which he knows.
It takes some time on our part to devote attention
to him but the response is worth it. He learns words so fast that I talk to him
on his walks at the time he does things and within days he knows ( or
rather associates) what I say. I can say "Go and wash your feet" and he will
instantly go in to the nearest stream or pool and paddle around.
narrow lane I can say "Car" and he instantly gets off the road and sits down,
or if we are jogging he slows down and instantly comes into a "heel" position
trotting alongside me.
Coming to a junction of footpaths on the edge of the
woods the words "We'll go across the fields today" causes him to turn onto a
path which leads across an open field.
So his remarkable knowledge
increases month after month. At home when we say " I think it's bedtime" he
instantly gets up from his sleep on the floor and walks to the outside door to
be let out for his last "call of nature" of the
a Border Collie has convinced me that it would be cruel to own one if you do
not have time to devote to it. In no way should anyone who goes out to work
full-timeconsider a Border Collie as a pet if there is no other person at
These dogs are really working dogs and that means they crave
activity, particularly mental activity. If your circumstances do not permit
such attention then for the sake of the dog, do not buy a Border Collie....
The same principle applies to most dogs but more so with a Border
Collie. Choose another breed.
We only decided on a Border Collie because I am retired
but still very active and can find the time for regular walks of over 3 miles
on most days. Of course on occasions he does have to be left on his own, but
for only a couple of hours or so. If necessity demands more then we arrange for
someone to have him, which is an essential consideration when deciding to have
a dog. The same problem occurs at holiday times. We are lucky in having a very
competent "dog boarder" friend nearby.
Chris loves having him and
Telfer loves visiting Chris (but hates it when we leave him). When we
visit her by car he now gets excited at the sound of my car's indicator before
the turningto her road !!).
As you will guess Telfer lives in the house
not outside in a kennel. He shares our lives and is an important part of
His favourite toy in home is a tennis ball, particularly catching
one. A popular game is "Throw". Telfer takes his ball to the top of the stairs
and "throws" it down....bump...bump...bump.. we hear. He is hoping someone will
respond and throw the ball back up to him so he can repeat the