Sunday, January 8, 2012

As Seen from the Crest of the Hill

The car parked next to the field, and the man opened the door.  Two dogs leaped out, tails wagging and gratitude expressed in every muscle.  The man motioned toward the green field and those dogs took off.

They flew.  The big black retriever ate up the ground with his long strides.  The black and white Border collie glided along the grass behind the bigger dog.  They bounded and rolled with each other, taking turns in the chase, and stopping reluctantly at their owner’s whistle.

The owner held a bright tennis ball, and the dogs lay at his feet in anticipation.  He teased them some, but then lofted the ball far off into the field.

The retriever burst into a full run, hind legs pushing off and front legs leaping forward.  He was fast and soon found the ball.

all photos courtesy of
Behind him ran the collie.  He had run his best and his fastest, but short legs never beat long legs.  Laws of physics demand consistency.

Again, they waited for the owner’s throw.  Again they raced each other to the ball.  Again, the retriever trotted back with the ball in his mouth, head high and tail waving from side to side.  He dropped the dripping ball at the man’s feet and looked up expectantly for the next throw.
Happy, happy, happy!  I'm so happy....

This time the collie didn’t return to the owner.  Instead, the wee black and white dog stopped half-way, and waited.
In your face, big dog!

The owner sent the ball off into the field.  The collie watched it go overhead, and ran with it, seeing it land in a patch of sea grass.  He plucked it from its perch, and trotted back.  Coming to a braking stop is hard for a locomotive retriever; he rolled head over tail, just as the perky collie carried the ball to the man.

The collie played the game well, getting to the ball first time after time.  The retriever poured on the power, ran his big dog heart out, but lost.  Finally the retriever gave up, and lay down. 

The man whistled and the dogs climbed into the open car door.  They moved slowly, but the retriever moved the slowest of all.

(Observations on a breezy ocean day: 2008)


  1. I LOVE the picture you painted with your words!
    And what a smart Collie!

  2. I don't think God made any stupid collies.

  3. Thank you. I think I had as much fun as the dogs on this post.

  4. Dear Susan,
    I read once that border collies are the smartest of all dog breeds. And this collie certainly is living, running, creative proof of that!

    Did you actually see this happen? Or is that another proof of your vivid and active imagination? You are a marvel.


  5. What a great story! I could see it all so clearly, but enjoyed the added photos. The black lab reminded me of my own crazy girl. She is just so darn thrilled to run and chase and spin around, and truly doesn't seem the least put out if she doesn't catch the ball. She's in it for the thrill of it all, not the win!

  6. Our black lab and border collie mix were the opposite. The lab was graceful with a keen understanding of the physics of ball throws. The border collie was and is a spas.
    Nice story.

  7. Oh, I was routing for the retriever, but had a feeling the collie would win out. After all Lassie was always the smart one.

  8. Delores is right--I don't think God made any stupid collies. My father had a border collie, and I think that dog could have run the farm if she had had opposable thumbs!

    Dee asked if I saw this event. Yes, I was on the hill looking out to the ocean, overlooking the park. I still recall how those dogs ran, how smart the collie was.

    Sandi and Erin--dog stories always bring back memories of our own dogs. Erin, maybe the collie blend has some crazy terrier in it?

    Arlene--Lassie always knew what to do, didn't she/her?

    K.O, Rachel, and Child--Glad you could see them through the words!

  9. You captured this moment so beautifully and inspired me to spend extra time playing fetch with our new puppy :0)

  10. Loved every second of reading this story. Having had both a border collie and two Golden Retrievers, this story is spot-on with their play ethics. Our golden is extremely athletic and very smart but if I had to put money on an IQ , it would go to the collie every time.

    Btw...yes, you may tag fewer than 11 ppl. I was just passing the "rules" along.

  11. You know your dogs. Nice story.


Go won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!