Kathy Bassett: Who's the boss? Ani, the border collie


Kathy Bassett

Kathy Bassett's column, "The View from Maybell," appears in the Saturday Morning Press.

When you Google "border collies," you find a man named Stanley Coren who wrote "The Intelligence of Dogs."

It is no surprise, at least to me, that border collies are rated the No. 1 most intelligent dog in the world. It takes less than five repetitions for them to understand a command.

Mr. Coren didn't mention "bull-headed" or " ignore."

From the time I acquired my Ani when she was 8 weeks old to now, I am totally amazed at her actions and behavior. She understands every word people say and even if you try to spell out the word, she has it in a flash.

She can be sound asleep in one end of the house, but you try to sneak your boots on to go outside, and suddenly there she is, trying to help you put them on because she's ready to go, too.

If you are looking out the window and say something like, "Oh, there is a deer over there by the fence," she jumps up and looks out the window with you.

One evening, I was watching a Western movie and a scene came up where the cowboys were branding cattle. The cows were bawling like you know they do, and Ani jumped straight up and ran over to the TV, sat and watched, cocking her head one way and then the other. Of course, the scene changed, so she went and laid back down.

In a few moments, they showed the branding scene again with more cows bawling. Ani jumped up again, and tried to get behind the TV to see where those cows were.

People can throw orders at her all day long until they are blue in the face, and she will flat out ignore them. But, everyone gets a kick out of her when I pick up the flyswatter. She immediately goes and lays down. It is a hoot. Sometimes all I have to do is say "I'm going to get the fly-banger."

Oh, and lest we forget, all visitors probably should bring presents.

Preferably the ones known as "Pupperoni Sticks." Those are her favorites. The UPS man, Drew, brings her yummy big red doggie bone treats. Ani won't eat doggie bones. But, Ani eats Drew's doggie bones. Yum. She can hear that UPS truck coming for a mile and a half.

When her food and water bowls become empty, she will promptly turn them upside down to make sure you know to fill them back up again. She loves every dog visitor, unless they sniff her food bowl, and then she turns into "Cujo."

And oh, we mustn't forget the cats.

I once owned a cat that hated dogs. Dogs didn't even have to be doing anything, and the cat would just walk by and claw the poor dog's nose just for the fun of it and swat it around a few times to make sure the dog knew she was boss cat.

But Ani?

She liked Ani, and they were inseparable.

Yes, we now have other cats. And those are OK. One cat is a wild one that showed up and nobody could get close to, but I kept feeding him anyway. Ani finally got him to play with her, and they sleep outside in the sun together. The other cats come and join in on the fun. But let any other cat that doesn't belong here come around, and they get herded right off the place. If it's not her cat, it's not allowed in her yard.

This is her house.

She is the guardian and protector of Grandma and me. During the day, she is anybody's game as long as they never quit petting her. But, once nightfall hits, if anyone is stupid enough to enter the house by any means other than an invitation through the front door, then he or she belongs to Ani.

There will be no outrunning her, because after all, she is quick. She is a cow dog.

And she is the boss.

Everyone should be in their proper place and behave. If they aren't, she will put them there. This is her house, her rules. Everything here belongs to her.


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