I am switching gears here and writing a little bitty book review with some personal insights attached. I just finished Jon Katz’s book, The Dogs of Bedlam Farm. And like usual, I began to speculate if I had read this book before. I am always re reading books that I like because I forgot which one of this author or that author’s book I read already. I tend to read everything by a certain writer if I like that writer. I guess most people do this. Anyway, I’ve ready many books by Jon Katz. He is all about dogs, and I love dogs, as well.
I feel an affinity with him because he’s had a troublesome border collie and we have, too. We presently have a troublesome corgi, which is not one tenth as traumatic as the trouble we went through with our border collie, Dunkin, even though we’ve had our corgi attacked in our own yard twice now by a pit bull who busted through our gate.
This book is biographical. It’s about a guy who obtained a border collie with behavior problems and decided to train him to herd sheep to combat some of those problems. To make a long story short, by this particular book, he has three border collies and bought himself a sheep farm. His little anecdotes are really humorous. I particularly liked the story about how he traveled states away to his sister’s neighborhood where there were some runaway sheep that had gone very feral and herded them back into a makeshift corral. It took hours and he ended up roping them each separately and being drug around by them until he tired them out. Having a sheep farm is more work than you could ever guess, and sheep are not particularly bright. He also has two donkeys that love cookies to keep life even more interesting. It’s a very good read. My favorite book by Katz is A Good Dog, about his troublesome border collie.
I wanted to go into my border collie, Dunkin, a bit. We got Dunkin from the humane league at eleven months. He had a sister there, too, but she barked so much that we bypassed her and decided on Dunkin. He was just sitting there so forlorn in his cage, and he put a paw out to us and it broke my heart. We adopted him and my life was very different for having him. We had Dunkin about ten years until we had to have him put down because he had cancer. I had nightmares about walking him because every time I did, he would end up lunging at a child or another dog or freaking out over noises or plastic bags blowing around. He hated fireworks, kids and random people. He bit around a dozen forgiving people and he was lucky that way, and so were we, that not one person turned him or us in for his lack of sociability. Dunkin loved me and followed me everywhere, even into the bathroom.
I walked him most everyday even though he had me to the point of anxiety attacks on our walks. I went through various harnesses, trying to figure out how to control an uncontrollable dog, but he loved hikes in the woods where he could be off leash and run to his heart’s content. He also loved frisbee and tennis balls. If I ever dared to sit or stand in one place, I always had a tennis ball dropped at my feet. Playtime? Through my experiences with Dunkin, I learned unconditional love, loyalty and patience. I still miss him so much. Dogs are family, and when people call their dogs their children, I understand wholeheartedly.
I started to write a book about Dunkin, but I misplaced it. Someday when I find it again, I may finish it. Dunkin taught me that I can love people/pets through their many imperfections. Perfect isn’t very interesting anyway.