When you look at the photo, you must keep one important fact in mind: plaid was fashionable in 1977. And I was just 7 years old, so I probably didn’t know better.
I grew up with a Collie. My parents brought home this little fuzzball of a Collie puppy when I was about a year old, and we literally grew up together.
But her maternal and herding instincts kicked in very quickly, and she protected me from anything she thought might be a danger. This included a neighbor’s dog who was harmless and a garter snake who couldn’t have bitten me if it wanted to because they have no teeth. Still, she believed in being safe, not sorry, and she herded me away.
She died just shy of her 11th birthday, a victim of cancer. My dad told me that spent much of that last night in the backyard with her, trying to make her as comfortable as he could. The first time she stopped breathing, he actually performed CPR and revived her. The second time, he let her go.
And he said he sat there and just cried over her.
She was that kind of dog. Here’s the picture:
When my mom showed me this picture, a picture I had completely forgotten about, I had mixed feelings. I smiled at her face — and don’t get me started about those plaid pants. I smiled at her smile, and how happy I remember her acting any time her “pack” was with her. But I was also a little sad, too, because even now, 30 years after her death, I still miss that dog.
If there’s a better sign that she was a great dog, I can’t think of what it would be.