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!

"News Update on the Little Female Deaf Puppy"

Although I had success finding a home for "Lilly" the deaf Border Collie puppy, Lilly's brother Oscar was not quite so fortunate. Now named Oscar (Lilly's brother, named Oscar for reasons that will become clear by the end of this article) did not get out in time. Oscar, pictured in upper left corner when he was found and pictured again under a desk, doing MUCH BETTER! Oscar is one special pup!

I received an e-mail updating me on how "Lily" was doing (now nicknamed "Crash") about a week ago. Rosie's and my pals found Crash a home and had planned on picking Crash up from the breeder and shipping her out to her new home in Chicago after Thanksgiving. And so, as planned, the pup was picked up. Born 7/11/2006, Crash was five months old when she was picked up from the breeder. The photos accompanying this post were taken soon after picking her up from the breeder... and after she returned from spending a little time at the vets as well. When they picked her up, she weighed only 7 and 1/2 pounds, and as you can see, looks more like how big Rowena was at 8 weeks (but weighing less). When reading this, I was indeed shocked at the extent of the neglect of this little puppy. If I had decided and was able to adopt this little pup, I would not have been able to ship her by air until she was healthy enough to do so, which she was not. So our Dogster pals got her home from the vet and had her for a day before having to send her off to her new loving home. My e[mail said: "She was extremely sweet and loving, and full of puppy energy." They did fall in love with her quickly. Her new family also fell in love with her and Lily has been described by her new mom as being "the best puppy ever." Crash's best friend is her mini-Aussie sister, and Crash is now up to 17 pounds (in less than a month)... closer to her healthy weight. At the end of the e-mail my Dogster pal stated that because of my help, Crash was removed from a bad situation. I felt good until I got to the next sentence that stated that Crash's brother, Oscar was not as lucky.
Apparently, Crash's brother has epilepsy which is one of those health problems that CAN be common in Border Collies. "Someone" allegedly beat the puppy and threw him in a dumpster for dead. When ACO got to him, he had been buried in piles of trash and bottles and was indeed near death. He is now in Foster care and is doing much better. The ACO of Butte, Montana area is trying to find out (beyond a doubt) who did this to this little pup. I have called the ACO over in the Butte area myself and they are very motivated to find out who did this to him and to prosecute.
I will keep my blog informed on this case as it is close to my heart.
These 2 pups are my special Christmas miracles!

If you would like to read more about Oscar, click on the links below:
Thank you Dogster family of Avi for helping to rescue this little puppy for me! I am so happy and grateful! Through this rescue of Crash, we will get justice for poor Oscar!

Pictures of Oscar are from the Chelsea, Bailey, Butte-Silver Bow Animal Shelter in Butte, Montana.

If you would like to view Rowena's page (lots of pictures that change regularly) and check out Dogster for yourself, click on this link: