Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Vicki and the Collie

When I was about 8 years old, my family lived on the west side of Willmar, Minnesota.  My father rented a small house in that typically blue collar neighborhood that was full of families with lots of kids and dogs.  It seemed, to my 8 year old way of thinking, that everybody in the neighborhood had a dog - except us.  My mother wasn't fond of animals.  They were too messy, she said.  She didn't want muddy paw prints on her kitchen floor.  Or dog hair on her rugs.  And because Mother's word was law, we didn't have a dog.

Until I brought one home.

This was in the 1950's.  Kids didn't have "play dates."  We just played outside all summer long.  We roamed the neighborhood with the other neighbor kids, sometimes several blocks away.  We built forts in the trees on a vacant lot.  We played on the swings at the elementary school five blocks away.  We clamped roller skates to our shoes and went flying over the sidewalks.  We rode our bikes everywhere.

Nobody got into trouble.  We couldn't.  If we even thought about doing something bad, somebody's mother would yell at us to get out of whatever it was we were about to get into.  We knew that if we were bad, the phone would ring at our house and somebody's mother would tell mine what I had done.  We just had fun.

My travels through the neighborhood often took me past a house in the next block.  The house was surrounded by a wooden picket fence.  Behind the fence a very large Collie dog often played.  I loved dogs, so I would stop and pet him and talk to him.  But it wasn't as good as having my very own dog.  So I did something about that.

Mother told me many years later that she had watched me come up the street, struggling to drag an unwilling Collie dog on a rope behind me.  It took a long time, for the dog would sit back on his haunches and refuse to move, at which time I had to get behind him and push to get him moving again.  I think it was lucky for me that he had a mellow personality and he adored kids, for he never once tried to nip at me.  He probably should have, between the rope and the dragging and the pushing.

I finally arrived at my front door.  Hot and sweaty and dirty and out of breath.  Mother was waiting there for me.  After the typical "He followed me home.  Can I keep him?", Mother informed me that she had watched me drag the poor dog for a block and a half, that the dog had not followed but I had stolen him from his own yard, and I would take him back this very minute.

The Collie trotted back home much easier than he had travelled to my house.  Mother followed us.  I untied the dog back in his own yard.  I knocked on the door.  The lady of the house answered.  I told her I was sorry I had stolen her dog.  I promised never to steal him again.  I wondered why she was smiling all the while and why she gave my mother a wink.

It wasn't until we moved to the farm that my Dad was able to sneak a small dog into our household.  I still don't know how he got the dog past Mother.


  1. DOG THIEF!!! lol. I'm SO glad you took him back and made him happy in the process. Every time I brought a dog home, he was magically "gone" the next day. It took years before I finally realized those poor little lives had been taken to the dog pound by my mom, and those places were nothing but horror for the animals. They're not much better now. Keep us posted on Jane, please.

  2. Dana...I have been collecting dogs and cats all of my life. Not so much as a kid, but as an adult I have had trouble turning down an animal in need. I only stole one other dog and that was a great dane that was being abused.
    My daughter is coming to get Jessie Jane shortly. There is no improvement and she still refuses food and water. I have spent the day with her and I know that there is really no choice. She is not living, just existing now. I'll post tomorrow about her, for I don't think I am quite up to it today. Thanks for your concern.

  3. Ah good memories of good times. You where a little stinker yes indeed.

  4. Rob...Yes I was, but I came by it honestly. Runs in the family on my Dad's side!

  5. Vicki - I read this posting on my phone the other night and dearly wanted to reply, but my phone keypad is so small I end up writing completely illegible comments due to typo's.

    I SO identify with the comment about "play dates". Good grief, what has mankind come to where kids have to MAKE dates in order to get together and play????

    I'm so glad you got your dog eventually - judging from the dog you tried to adopt and the dogs you now have, it seems as though the "small" stayed with you ;) Clever girl - they are much easier to handle / pick up and take to the vet, etc LOL

  6. Dani...I think we have become such a deranged society that kids can no longer just play and be kids without the threat of child predators, and that is so sad. Kids miss out on so much of the fun of just playing as we did as children.

    I have had, over the years, Collies and Old English Sheep Dogs and Saint Bernards. Of course that was in a country living situation. My little apartment isn't much bigger than a dog house for one of those larger breeds! lol The ten pound average size is just right for this environment.