Zz Border Collies Dilemma Or Lessons Of A Working Dog Br Humourous Prose

I never laughed any harder in my life, not about anything or at anytime.

We were watching a television show called “Worlds Most Amazing Animal Videos”
Boredom became bedlam the instant the Border Collie segment aired.
I laughed long, loud, continuously and consistently.
I laughed to the point my husband was forced to fret for my sanity.
It had that profound an effect on me.

Some fool had dressed capuchin monkeys up in miniature cowboy outfits complete with chaps and cowboy hats, and then set them on tiny saddles strapped onto the backs of Border Collies.
The monkeys stayed in the saddles somehow.
(Technicalities didn’t matter then or now.)
The Border Collies ran around inside a corral doing what Border Collies do. They herded sheep.
Heads down, masterfully maneuvering, with bright eyes staring, as if to burn dread into the hearts of those sheep, using every bit of natural talent that centuries of selective breeding had instilled, they worked those sheep.
They paid not one iota of attention to the monkeys.
Stark simply they were ignoring the ridiculous predicament of the monkeys and any effect it might have on them as they worked the sheep.
The Border Collies did not react to the monkeys at all.
They simply worked the sheep, and watching them, I simply laughed hysterically.

The film clip only lasted a few seconds.
I doubt it lasted more than a minute, but I laughed for nearly an hour.
“Are you ok? Do I need to call for some help? ” My husband became that concerned.
Still I laughed, laughed, laughed and laughed.
“It wasn’t that funny” My husband stated what seemed obvious.
It took me a while to regain composure, and catch my breath.
Once I recovered I tried to offer an explanation.
The dogs didn’t care at all. It wasn’t as though they did not know they had monkeys riding on their backs. It was quite simply that the monkeys didn’t matter.
The Border Collies had simply decided to herd the sheep in spite of the monkeys.
Exactly why did I find that so extremely funny?

Because I had been there - I had lived the Border Collies’ Dilemma.

Watching those dogs work I knew exactly what they were dealing with.
I worked in an office for three plus decades and we working dogs had spent years learning what those Border Collies seemed to comprehend instinctively.
A continuous parade of managers and supervisors spent their days putting various monkeys on our backs. They might have been dressed in cowboy getups or even ballerina’s tutus.
Either way the “monkeys” on our backs were simply ridiculous and superfluous.
So we learned, each of us according to the rate of our own curve of comprehension, that nothing they saddled us with mattered.
- Not one iota - It was all just for show.-
We learned to keep our heads down, maneuver masterfully, and get our work done in spite of Management and whichever monkeys they may have currently saddled us with.
We working dogs learned to simply ignore it all and get things done.

Oh, and we learned another thing. We learned to laugh.
Quietly, inside our heads, we working dogs were laughing hysterically.
I hope that inside their heads the Border Collies may have been laughing too.

by Mary Havran

Comments (2)

Oh Mary! I'm so happy I stumbled upon this very 'Humourous Prose' as I am the proud mom of two border collies...probably one of the most misunderstood breeds...as we know, there is never a dull moment with a border collie...perfect insight on the 'Work' of a BC and the 'Work' of humans...choosing their task intently, regardless of the monkeys on 'All' our backs...There is nothing more beautiful than a border collie at work, isn't there? -Cathy
I have seen Border Collie herding trials and these dogs are single-minded about their work.