September 19th 2009 10:40 am
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I am Antonia the badly frightened Border Collie. My human being was looking for a BC pup when her special Iris went to The Bridge, but her heart broke when she saw how many older BCs are in shelters everywhere. We are a special bunch and often misunderstood by those who know and do not know better. After months of being harrassed, reprimanded and ordered around by BC rescue organizations, this silly human drove a long way up into CO to get me from a shelter before a rescue group got there. That was pretty lucky for me because I am now the sole resident Border Collie on a nice little cattle ranch/hay farm in No. NM. Later the process will start all over again, and I will have a buddy Border Collie.
I am not yet 1 year old, but I have been around a lot of blocks already. I am tiny, feminine and getting really frisky. My human being drove a long way to get me out of a shelter - the second shelter I have been in. I couldn't believe it was happening again. My human being thinks I was in a very abusive home when I was little, dumped in a NM shelter, then adopted by a rancher in CO. It was so awful and overwhelming that I can barely remember being given to the hired guys and getting the crap beat out of me. I was sooo scared of those big, mean cows and the speedy well trained Border Collies. I thought they would help me, but all those cows were always chasing me and trying to run me down. OMG. I thought it was really the end. When the hired guys got mad and frustrated with me, they chased me with the four wheelers and horses, then they kicked me and hit me with their ropes. My human being guessed this because when she crossed her legs or tried to put a lead on me, I got so flat on the ground and became Ten Ton Dog. And I am more terrified of the horses and motor vehicles even than the cows. Since stock dogs are often trained with a long rope on their necks, it's possible from my behavior that I was dragged by somebody on horseback. It's all just a blur.
My human covered her living room wood floors with little rugs so I wouldn't spin my wheels so much. I spent the first days in the yard at the house about 2" from her face looking from one of her eyes to the other. Then when she was sitting on the ground talking to me, I snuck up behind her and wrapped my little legs around her neck. Not so scary that way. I was too scared to eat little meat treats from her hands, but I had a little beef in with my kibble. Yummmyyy! Now I'm not skinny anymore. And my chewed up ears are all healed up. My human thought there was something wrong with my hips because I didn't speed around much. But one day I did a huge big happy dog wiggle and took off! I ran around hay bales and through the irrigation ditches and creeks for hours. No cows! No horses! Yippeeee! And my human did not want me to flatten on the ground at her feet when she called me. I was so good at this flat dog trick that I could hide every part of my tiny body except the top of my head and my back - I especially hid my extremely beautiful plume. I'm not going to wave that plume around for just anybody. She just wants me to run around and sit next to her with my head held up and proud. All she had to do was call me and lift her hands up in the air when I approached her. I knew right away what she wanted! At first I would lay down flat, sit down, run around her in a panic and a lot of other exhausting things pretty much at the same time. But when she called me and put her hands up in the air I sprang straight up, then sat up straight and proud to be there. It was so cool.
The third day I was here my human being took me down to the meadow behind the house. OMG. I thought it was going to all start again because there were a bunch of big old cow calf pairs down there. She asked me politely to move them which I did very carefully - they never broke out of a lazy walk! But I was sure I didn't do it right and started doing 10 different things at once to try to make her happy. Then when she called me I flattened on the ground and wouldn't budge. I can turn into Ten Ton Dog pretty fast. Well, instead of throwing me in the pickup, kicking me or screaming at me with swinging ropes, my human started to walk with me around those old cows. All I had to do was walk with her!!! WOWIE. When a calf tried to chase me I looked at my human who told me I was perfect, talented and totally gorgeous in every way. Suddenly I found my inner Border Collie and did a speedy creep up to the calf. I snapped at that silly baby cow who ran away! I couldn't believe it and ran all the way back to the house. When my human showed up, she let me sit on her lap where I started trying to do a lot of different things to make her happy. No need. I wondered what was going on - she seemed thrilled with me. I showed her my herding instinct is there, but may not let her see it again for a long time.
That afternoon, I learned I could speed through the house, in the kitchen door, through the living room, out the living room door then around the yard, jump the wood pile and bushes, weave through the portal posts and it was a lot of fun. That's when I got my new nickname Speedyboom. I kept crashing on the wood floors, so suddenly there were little rugs all around on my speedway. I can scramble them all up in a matter of seconds. I AM SOOO TALENTED!!!!!!! My human had spent sooo much time with me that she was completely behind with work around the place. A kettle of water was boiling over on the stove, so I ran out and told her and wouldn't leave her alone until she came with me. I have not spent any time in a human habitat before, but that water hitting the hot burner didn't seem right to me. My human being gave me a big hug and a little treat that she had to put on the floor. WOW. I thought she might get mad because I was barking, woofing and otherwise talking. Sometimes I just have soooo much to say!! While she was hugging me I got really happy and scared her by showing all my teeth. Didn't she know that was a big smile just for her???? Those stupid humans need to wise up. They all seem totally deficient in all the most important areas.
My human being lives out here in the middle of every where high up in the mountains with her unemployed cow horses. They are pretty scarey creatures, but I am getting better about that. Yesterday we got in the pickup and went to town. I like that alright since my human figured out that I was really just scared of the lead rope and approach to the pickup - I will not be jumping out of my pickup even with the door open so I don't need a rope hanging on my neck. Seems pretty safe in there to me, although the approach is really scarey. The first couple of time I heard that diesel engine fire up I ran and hid and got really, really tiny, but it's better now. Some English tourists on motorcycles saw me at the gas station and got really excited because they have BCs like me somewhere far away. The nice lady asked my human what my name is, and when she called to me I looked at my human, then gave the English lady at least half a smile. In a very talented way, I can show just one canine and a couple of very pearly white teeth on one side. At least the nice lady was smart enough to know it was a smile and clapped her hands together at me. This made me start acting like a puppy for the first time right there in the pickup!
My human being and I made a deal. She needs a guard dog, and I need a guard human. Perfect. Now I alert her to any unusual sounds which might not be too great. That's a regular occurance out here in the mountain villages of northern New Mexico. And my human promises to protect me from other humans who have no brains to speak of. Once in a while we hold our breath together and listen. Also, when my human told me that when she and her last special pooch were working on way remote ranches, their favorite (only) after dark entertainment was to get into singing with the coyotes. I can do that, too! I'm not part hound dog, but I can copy any sound my human makes with no trouble at all. It makes me really happy and I concentrated really hard and started singing along. AFter that my human being got really happy and I did my first extra super agile happy dog wiggle and actually jumped on the couch! That scared me so bad that I took off and started speeding around. But is was OK! Now I even sleep on the end of the bed where I can look out the window and see the scarey four leggeds. I seem to be really safe now.
My human being told me that people always make fun of her for things like giving her horses extra feed with oil so they get a good thick winter coat, but she doesn't care. It's sort of like letting me sleep on the end of the bed to get out of the 100 year old adobe house draft on the floor. She knows we are all important individuals and deserve love, care and respect 100% of the time. We should never be tied up outside or left alone in the garage or barn. My human told me that it's the horses and dogs that make the ranches run, and I believe her. She told me a four wheeler will NEVER be any good at watching for ditches in the tall grass. I believe that's true. I had a hard time with that myself and crashed three times with a big thud into ditches hidden in tall grass during our first outing around the place. She told me a good dog like me can do the work of 10 riders, and after I feel better, she will never have to get on the ground with the bulls and fight through oak brush with the timber rattlers again. For sure I can run in insane crazy circles for hours without even getting out of breath even though I am just a pup so maybe I can do the job of 20 or 30 riders!!! Why not!!??!! I am thrilled to be so talented. It actually is beginning to feel like we will all be OK, and have a bunch of fun around here this winter and forever.
Also, my human being has promised me many times every day that if I can never regain my confidence, I will never have to work cattle or go out with the horses. She told me that we both have what she calls the Farm and Ranch Gene. She said that this is a genetic defect that causes a person with 12 years of college to want to do nothing but sit on a disturbed horse or a tractor without suspension for 14 or 16 hours a day in scorching heat, lightening storms and blizzards. My human says that either you've got this gene, or you don't. If you've got it, you can never wait to go broke again and stay that way. Sure enough, that sounds like a pretty darn attractive lifestyle to me, too! Or I can just spend my whole life sitting on the end of the bed looking out the window - or watching auctions on RFD TV. That's a pretty fun thing to do. But it does seem like it could get pretty boring so when I get tired of RFD TV, maybe I will just unleash that inner Border Collie and have the time of my life! The possibilities are endless. Maybe we could just get a nice flock of ducks for me to herd if I get tired of hay bales, a couple of nice little rescue donkeys to guard them, a few goats to entertain the equine population, some sheep so my human bean has wool to spin when she gets old, a few haywire disgarded race horses.......