Gareth was patient, kind, and loved to have a job to do. Every night, he would escort my Grandmother up the stairs to bed ( and she patiently allowed him to do so). Then he would go about his "Butler Duties" as we called it. He would very deliberately go around the house closing doors, the fireplace metal screen, and shoving in any drawers that might have carelessly been left partly open. He took it upon himself to protect me during our walks, and not a single young man from the high school football team was allowed to speak to me as they passed us on their way to practice. That did not particularly please me, but by that time I'd learned it was futile to argue with a Collie who had made up his mind. He had a brief show career where he won a couple of minor ribbons, but I had so much fun that it didn't matter. Gareth on the other hand, hated going into the ring, and the instant his paws hit the ring, he would pop up his carefully coaxed down ear, drop his head, slouch, and drag himself around the ring with a mournful look on his face, for the most part ignoring my hissed pleas to 'Straighten up for Heaven sakes!' As I said, it was a very brief career.
Perhaps his strangest quirk was his love of Scotch. I know, dogs should absolutely NOT have alcohol. But this sweet Collie, who was kind, patient, and loving with all of us, and supposedly my very own dog, decided that he was really my Father's dog. Every evening, the people who walked by our house and who often glanced in our big front window, were treated to the sight of a huge black Collie sitting in a chair beside the fireplace, apparently reading the newspaper and with a glass of Scotch by his side. Gareth was so big that no one ever saw my father underneath and behind him, attempting to read his paper around Gareth and enjoy a pre dinner drink, but loving the dog too much to ask him to move. And always, just before he got down, Gareth would lean over and take a little lap of the Scotch. We came to understand "Eccentric" was his middle name. :D
We were so lucky to have him in our lives, and it never would have happened if not for Albert Payson Terhune. And yes, I did eventually come to live in the country, on a little piece of land at the edge of a small village, where I work from home and have my flock of dogs, Shelties now, with the occasional rescue Collie, our cats, and until a few years ago, our lovely old Morgan. Dreams do come true, especially Dog Dreams.
Til next time,
*all photos and drawings are copyright of Heather Anderson.