Over the weekend our female border collie was laid to rest. No one can remember when my husband came home from work with her in his arms. He'd gone to a farm store to get some parts and a man had Boots in the trunk of a car trying to give her away. She was limping. He said from jumping out of the trunk. The man told my husband if he didn't take her, he was going to knock her in the head.
Boots knew who her master was. She followed my husband everywhere he went. And she knew how to herd cattle better than he did. She worked with hand gestures that we learned from her. If you made a half circle with your arm, she'd go around behind the animal and move it out. If you pointed to a cow that wasn't with the rest, she gather it into the herd. If you pat your thigh, she'd come to you. If you put your hand up to stay, she stayed. And this was all instinctual, we never taught her any of it. And if you told her to stay, she did until you told her to move, no matter if cows were walking next to her or not.
Boots never liked to be pet. She wanted to be near you, but she didn't want you touching her. She was a gentle soul that only barked when startled. She didn't bark at the cows when we moved them through the chutes. She bit at their hocks. When one would kick and connect, sending her flying, she'd come back nipping harder at their hocks.
She did have a couple of quirky things. Boots didn't care to go in the water, even to just walk in and cool off, but she'd stand beside a small puddle of water and snap at the light reflecting in the water. When a dog would come near her food, or her master, when she was nearby, she'd clack her teeth together so hard it made my jaw ache just hearing it. But she never bit or fought with another dog.
Running and chasing were her favorite things to do. We've had other dogs during Boots' life who loved to chase sticks and balls. Boots would chase them chasing after the objects. But she would never fetch. She did like to sneak up on the deer who came into the yard and follow them around waiting for me to tell her to get them. She would chase cats but never catch them. Same with Rockchucks(marmots) she'd chase them in the fields and even help the other dogs with digging and moving rocks, and nipping at one end to get the animal to go out the other opening,m but she'd never kill them.
About half way through her 15 or 16 years, she jumped up onto the hay trailer and slid down the side, sliding a leg in a stake pocket. That was the only time she bit anyone. She clamped onto my husband's leg when he was getting her leg out. She had dislocated her elbow. My husband took her to the vet. She came home with her leg in a doggy sling of sorts. It was hard to keep her down while the leg healed.
Boots had always been gentle and forgiving with the grandkids. She was one of the best dogs we've ever had and she'll be missed. But she had a good life with us and that's all we could have hoped for the lonely puppy some man was going to knock in the head.