Everywhere I go with my dog, I hear from people who say they grew up with a Rough Collie, then add it was the greatest dog ever.
I recently took my dog to the vet for an annual checkup. And it happened again.
It happens every time.
Someone will approach and compliment my dog, a Rough Collie, otherwise known as a “Lassie Dog” after the title character in movies and TV, and add that they (or their kids) grew up with a Collie.
They’ll usually point out that you don’t see Collies that often these days.
The latter seems to be true: Collies do stand out when you see one because it’s not that common a breed.
But as to the former, I just wonder.
I actually did grow up with a Rough Collie. My parents brought home a Rough Collie puppy for Christmas the year I turned 1. She and I grew up together, but it took her no time at all to take on the role of protector of me. As far as she was concerned, I was her puppy.
And she had great maternal instincts. My mom and I recently recalled a day in which a thunderstorm moved in within a couple of months of her having a litter of puppies. The dog carefully gathered up each puppy, placed them in the straw in her dog house and then lay down with her back to the door so that no puppy could escape and that she could keep her watchful eye on each one of her babies.
She treated me that same way for years until she figured I was able to take care of myself.
The question I keep wanting to ask.
An older lady approached me and my current dog in a pet store and told me she had one when she was growing up and that it was the greatest dog she ever had.
A man told me almost exactly the same thing.
Another woman once told me that she had a Rough Collie that watched over her kids and was so protective that it wouldn’t allow them to go to the mailbox because she was afraid they were headed for the road.
Collies, after all, are working dogs, bred in Scotland to herd sheep.
About 90% of the people who approach to compliment me on my dog (and pet him, of course) tells me they had one and they’re all unanimous in their love of the breed. (The remaining 10% ask, “What breed of dog is that?” — a question that I can’t imagine anyone asking: there are some dog breeds that even non-dog-owners should be able to recognize.)
I always want to ask them a simple question: If you are that fond of the breed, why was that one you grew up with the only one you ever had?
Honestly, I think some of them are suffering from false memories from having grown up with the television series Lassie, the Collie who was always getting young Timmy out of trouble. Maybe they somehow have convinced themselves that they actually had one of those dogs.
My first Collie died just shy of her 11th birthday. My current Collie is the fourth one I’ve owned. I’ve owned other breeds, including a “Heinz 57” mixed breed I adopted from a shelter. But in my experience, I’ve found there’s nothing quite like a Collie.
That’s why I can’t understand why people who seem to love them as much as I do haven’t had another one since.