The Collector

Unbelievably, it has now been almost eight months since our little Miz Peaches LaRoo waltzed into our lives. The time has really zipped by and she has made wonderful progress integrating into our little family unit.

Peaches settled and happy

I need another treat!

She is Border Collie through and through, so there are quirks aplenty, of course. She learns everything (whether we want her to or not) with lightning speed. She goes towards every action with joy and enthusiasm, consequences be damned. No one will EVER sneak up on us, as unlike her placid brother Shmoo, Peaches is protective of her family and will bark at the slightest noise. This is good if a burglar wants to get in; this is bad if we are trying to sleep with the windows open on a warm summer’s night.

New things in the home are greeted with a certain modicum of suspicion and must prove themselves to be not a threat. It took several days for the new fan we purchased for the television room to be accepted as a “good” thing and not a “bad” one. It was a bit touch and go for a while though, but we are now all able to enjoy a cool breeze while watching TV of an evening.

I was quite concerned about thunderstorms, as our darling Diva Maggie was completely terrorized by them and only managed to get through them with a dose of Xanax. In fact, that didn’t even totally calm her down, just made it so that she was a quaking puddle of terror. I was very pleased to note that Miz Peaches doesn’t seem to mind thunder in the least; following the lead of big brother Shmoo and snoozing peacefully right through even the loudest booms without the slightest twitch of an ear.

We still have to get through the 14th of July next week, of course, so fingers remain crossed for that. I am not expecting miracles, but luckily, as long as she is safely inside our house, she seems to feel secure no matter what is going on outside, and I’m hoping this will hold true for firecrackers and fireworks as well.

I am also very pleased that the Peach is totally reliable off-leash as long as her big brother is not free to roam. I’m afraid that Shmoo-Alexander’s roaming days are over now that he’s shown his true  colors and Husky spirit. Even an obedient Miss like Peaches can’t be expected to obey when her beloved brother is out in the fields having fun and chasing voles!

She has, however, developed a very strange habit. It started slowly. When I would go out she would take one of my bedroom slippers and put it on her cushion downstairs. Then, she would take both of my slippers. Soon, she started taking them and putting them up on the couch in my office, which has become “her” place. I began to put my slippers out of her reach after she couldn’t control herself one day and instead of just taking my slippers took a little nibble.

She graduated to JM’s slippers, then to his sports shoes, which she chewed to pieces. So he had to start putting those out of her reach as well. We thought the problem was resolved. But lately, while I am taking my shower, she has started to remove JM’s socks from the bedroom. Now, we don’t have a chest of drawers, he just keeps them on a piece of furniture with shelves, so it’s hard to have them totally hidden away.

At first, I guess she was running a test, because I would come out and find one sock on the floor. Then a couple of socks on the floor. Then I would find one sock in my office, but this morning there were about half-a-dozen of them in my office! Clearly, the OCD is kicking in! I’m sure that it means something to her, because she looks very irritated when I pick them up and put them back.

Border Collies; you’ve gotta love ’em!

Ciao for now and don’t chase too many voles!


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8 thoughts on “The Collector

  1. I have a feeling your dog is saying that playtime is needed… my Mini, a small Yorky, sometimes brings things to my feet, turns around fast and barks looking at me. She wants me to play with her. I realize that giving her special bones that can be chewed safely, gets her busy for a long time and she then leaves me alone as a potential game player! Just a tought!
    It seems the heat is all over the world; here in Montreal, we had temperature from 30 to 34 all week but with the humidity index, it feels 41 on your skin. Its coming again next week after a short 2 days break of cooler weather for this weekend. We are breaking all records.

  2. If she gets any more playtime I won’t get anything done, Suzanne! As it is, she gets about 2 hours of walks and play a day! No, this is something else entirely; she just likes to have possessions and it’s a security thing. She likes to know that she has things that are “hers.” As to toys, the house is full of them; in fact, walking around can be a bit dangerous for the two-foots if we’re not careful.

    Paris and the Strasbourg region are under an Orange Alert for heat wave, but we’ve suddenly gotten very overcast and cooled off considerably; it is bliss!

  3. I had a dog that was part border collie, part Australian shepherd and all herd dog. He was adopted from a shelter, so no idea of his past but his instinctual herding function made him herd an escaped rooster from the street back into the yard (not my rooster) and to ‘herd’ small children into corners where they would be ‘safer’. When my neighbor took him for a walk he would always try to gently herd her (slight pressure against her leg) to the side of the road.

    Shadow didn’t have the need to cache things but since footwear and socks usually have their owner’s scent on them, dogs often take them as an extension of the owner–and some things are just too good not to eat.
    Peaches may get a lot of play time but as a working dog she may need to have some ‘work’ not just for exercise but to satisfy the instincts.
    I know you can’t get a sheep just so she can herd it but try to come up with some regular task she can do.
    Does she understand the word ‘guard’? When I would take my dog in the car with me I would leave her (window open, etc) and stell him ‘stay’ and ‘guard’. When I returned I would praise him. Dogs usually relate travelling in a car with hunting as a pack. The driver is usually the pack leader (not always, depends on family dynamics), and the dog(s) are on a hunt with them. When shopping has been accomplished (successful hunt!) the entire pack has accomplished their goal.
    Involve her in your activities (let’s go visit, let’s go shopping) so she has pack activity and returns home a satisfied dog. Remember dogs can develop a large vocabulary so do use basic words and she’ll probably come to understand them. Let her learn people’s names as well. If you’re going to your mother’s, it’s ‘let’s go to ___’ and chances are she’ll lead you there.

    • Thanks, for this, Lynda, but Peaches isn’t my first BC. We were lucky enough to have Diva Maggie McMiggins in our lives for 10 years before this and because of her I became co-moderator of BCs4me, a very active list on Yahoo Groups, where I’ve learned a lot about BCs over the years. She has plenty of little jobs around the house and I spend a lot of effort training her, as well as her big brother Shmoo. Our pack is very active and always together. She knows the names of the whole family and all of our friends, the names of her toys, all our activities, etc.

      No, she just likes socks.

  4. LOL, Herd Randy Herd!!!
    I still can’t believe the whole story of how Miss Peaches was sent to you. It is one of life’s small miracles. “No border collies just walking around the streets in France.”. Then what seemed like moments later you find a border collie walking around the streets of France. She was sent that’s for sure. I got Bling and you got Peaches, life sure has some unexpected surprises. Those were a couple of the best, even though at times they try our patience.

  5. Here in East Sussex bofire, and therefore firework, season lasts for all November and it drives our poor westie, Nessie, mad. Last year I bought a gadget from the vet which you plug into the mains and it exudes the calming feromones of a lactating bitch. You plug it in a week before the expected problem and leave it until the fireworks are over. It didn’t make the problem go away completely but she was much calmer and happier. Just a thought!

  6. I tried one of those DAP things with Maggie, Kathryn and never really noticed that it did much good; just cost lots of money!

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