…..'A sense of humour lends you poise, it gives you balance and it helps you to bend without breaking'…..

(HH Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda)

Monday is menosukhi day - the one in which I go all sentimental. For a few weeks this means you are sharing my memories of two darling creatures, Jade Dog MacWoof and Jasper Cat MacMeow.

I spoke last week of a family in the neighbourhood who were the subject of local concern.  For many, it was the behaviours of the kids and, indeed, the father which caused consternation.

For me, although related to same, it was specific to their attitude to pets.  I do not wish here to get wrapped up in the social context and psychological issues that clearly abounded.  The basics are this; Father only, as mother had died of leukaemia when the youngest was 3yrs.  When I moved into 21a, that young boy was 8yrs, his two sisters, 10yrs and 14yrs, respectively.  The elder girl managed to move out of home into the granny flat across the road at age 15 and the minute she gained entry to college, she was off.

The father was a hapless soul and it was never entirely clear what his line of business was.  It involved strange hours, certainly.  So to keep the younger kids happy, he pretty much gave them whatever they asked for and apparently put no restriction on their movements.

These were not poor folks.  Quite the opposite one suspects.  However, the concept of property upkeep, hygiene and general manners appeared to have passed them by.  Life was all a show, a great big monopoly game and it didn't matter what became of the pieces within it.  Not that they were deliberately cruel or hard-hearted.  More that they were ignorant.

I had very few dealings except through younger son, who doted on Jade.  It was little surprise, then, to one day find they had developed a pup of their own.  A cocker spaniel by the name of Miff.  Miff did everything she could to escape that home and I really don't know how many dog pound fees they would have paid over the 18 months she was with them.  One day she wasn't there.  "Gone to an aunt's place up the coast", was the line given.  Best not to enquire too deeply.

For a few months there were no more knocks at the door asking if we'd seen Miff the Mirage and all was peaceful in the street.

Then Jade came running in one sunny morning, accompanied by a young border collie of considerable energy and highly strung.  Gorgeous Molly.  Clearly a well-bred animal - of true working stock.  Not at all designed for suburban living in an enclosed environment with a family of eccentrics. I knew she had to belong to them - they had at least put a collar and tag on her!  Barely out of puppyhood, Molly was mostly black apart form the paws and a white blaze over the right eye and muzzle. That eye was blue.  An absolute stunner and Jade loved her even though she'd somehow jumped their 8 feet-high solid fence and bounded over our three feet picket one.  I don't even want to think about the crossing of the main road.

Border collies are a favourite of mine.  My shepherding grandfather and uncles all had collies and did their own training, so I learned a good deal of the handling of them, under working conditions.  That first morning, in order to prevent the demolition of everything in the living room, I found myself quite naturally issuing orders to her with hand shapes and whistles.

If you know anything about these wonderful dogs, you will know that 'biddability' is bred into them.  They love to please and have a preconditioned instinct for following certain patterns.  Knowing what these are and working your collie accordingly will ensure a long and joyful relationship.  Shutting one up in a 4 metre enclosure for most of the day is not the way.  It's fine if the animal has had it's full quota of exercise and "active tasking".  Otherwise trouble looms.

I had words with the father. I had words with the kids.  As did the dog-catcher and the police.  Once Molly had found Jade and me though, we were inevitably the port of call after escape.  Jade was brilliant with her and I have to confess that for a brief spell I was tempted to offer I would take ownership.  I came to my senses though, for I really could not afford it and I didn't like seeing a collie in the 'burbs anyway.  I did get younger son to come over a half dozen times to try learning how to handle Molly.  Give him his due, he did put some effort in.  But Borders are not daft.  Indeed, they have been consistently at the top of the dog intelligence scale - and they don't suffer fools gladly!  She just wasn't interested in being with that family.  When over at 21a she was the very model of goodness, herding all Jades toys at given commands (Jade even learned a thing or two!), moving around the garden to points then dropping.  All the good stuff.

Then came the incident of the herded ducks down by the creek.  Said ducks were not at all happy and a fair ruckus ensued.  I learned of this only through younger son much later, who was under the impression that his dog having fun at the expense of local wildlife held no harm.  Certainly no damage was done, except to father's pocket.  A short while after, Molly stopped coming to play.
Jade doing her 'playing possum' doga pose.

For a long time I could never figure out how it was that the Family were never banned from owning dogs and Molly kept being given back to them.  Turned out they had 'connexions'.  However,  I wondered if this final bid for freedom had ended in unfortunate results for the dog.

"She's gone to aunty's up the coast" was the line.

Lucky aunty.  Lucky dogs.  Best not enquire too deeply.

BOZO awaits your call and there is different doggy reading over at MY TAKE TOO.


  1. Clearly remember this. Met the dogs when I dropped by at your place.

  2. Oh, sad story. Pets can be so wonderful teachers to kids with special needs. But here is too much going wrong for a happy end. Poor dad, poor kids, poor pets. Sometimes we are a poor society in our rich world......

    Liebe Grüße,

  3. Hari Om
    So true Pia; my love to you and Luna Piggy!! xx


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