Thursday, December 28, 2006

Another Good Read: A Walk in the Dark by Joyce Stranger

The main character is bitter over his loss of sight.
Okay... I never pick up a Reader's Digest Condensed Books volume unless I am really desparate for something to read. And so such a time arrived this past summer!

An extra working dog in the hills

A Walk in the Dark was written by Joyce Stranger who has written lots of stories with Border Collies in it, either as a main character or not. She has become an author that I really enjoy! This book is a story of a man who is by all means, a typical "Olde" Shepherd. this means that he has beliefs that only the old fashion shepherds from the UK or those taught by those shepherds have... such as Border Collies are only happy if they are herding... and other myths (or Olde Shepherd's Tales as I call them). Anyway, this man is in an accident that leaves him blind. He has a hard time adjusting to this new disability, but rehabs and finds he must trust in a dog other than a Border Collie (gasp) in order for him to get around and go back to the hills to his sheep and sheep dog. One thing I find kind of funny is how the book implies that one must be very firm and on the harsh side in order to get a Border Collie to do as he is asked, but when this approach is used on a Golden Retriever, the dog is nearly emotionally crushed by such treatment. Although I do sometimes have to be very firm and sometimes very loud when Rosie is running around off leash, I have a hard time imagining a Golden being more emotionally fragile than Rosie is. But Joyce Stranger is native to the UK herding country and the story wouldn't work without this quirk in it. It is a good book regardless.


This (above) illustration goes with the part of the story when after the guy was too harsh with the dog during the training, the dog becomes scared or doesn't want anything to do with him, but later in a touching turning point, she comes to him and shows him the power of forgiveness so that he can try again and not flunk the class. Like me, the guy seems like a typical Border Collie handler, displaying plenty of the Border Collie characteristics himself: Obstinance, stubborn, willful, but at the same time hardworking and intelligent. If I might stereotype for a moment... Typical Scotsman if you ask me. He is definitely a Border Collie person... I don't know what is so wrong with a Border Collie guide dog. Oh, that would ruin the whole story too, wouldn't it.

Reader's Digest Condensed Books, Volume 4, 1988

Illustrated by Ted Lewin

Illustrations courtesy of the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, Inc., Smithtown, New York

Book Published by Michael Joseph Ltd., London

Copyright 1978 by Joyce Stranger Ltd.

Happy Reading!!

...And they lived happily Ever after!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hey, I was just blog-hopping and came across your blog. I am going to have to read the book that you talked about. I am blind and have a lab border collie cross for my guide dog, she is owner trained. She has also begun to work sheep (although her lessons have not progressed very far, because of hurricane katrina)
She is six and in a couple of years, I'm going to need to start looking for the next one, and I really want another bc.
Gracy has the coat of a lab but the brains are all bc and I totally love that, smile.
glad to see more people with bc sds!