Why I chose the Collie ...
Of course I do not know why people choose a collie; I only know why I did.
I chose it for its ancient origins, for its history, for its thousand legends, for the humble and glorious things it has done over the centuries, for the extraordinary people it has accompanied and whose wonderful stories I have sometimes tried to tell.
I chose it because when looking into the collie’s eyes I can see flocks of sheep grazing on the mountains of Scotland while swept by the wind and the rain. This is where, through storms and snow blizzards, these dogs and their shepherds honourably follow their vocation for work.
I chose it because I love the poetry that is to be found in humble work and find consolation in the loneliness and effort in those two silent eyes that look at me as if I were a god.
I chose it because the verses that Byron wrote about the work of this dog make my heart beat faster and others like him have told hundreds of stories about the collie’s spirit of sacrifice, stories that still make me weep such tears of emotion and joy.
I chose it because I discovered the collie’s heroism alongside the soldiers on the battlefield and I am proud I was able to tell the stories of thousands of wounded men saved from death by this dog’s hidden work.
I chose it because I do not believe that dogs are better than men. However, I do firmly believe that many men should learn about loyalty, fidelity, self-denial, sacrifice and unconditional love from dogs. The road to hell is always crowded with people and a dog is seldom to be seen, unless it is a collie that is willing to follow its master even there.
I chose it and I love it because the stories of the poet-shepherd James Hogg, written at a time when the collie was primarily a fellow worker, showed me an animal that was able to think, to learn, to decide and to act autonomously. That is what I expect from my collie. So that is why I chose it.
I was a young boy when I had my first collie, so many years ago. It was then that I began, with patient precision, to seek information about the breed. I have devoted a good part of my free time in life to this occupation and I am now at the point where I am competing with destiny in the hope of gaining more time, time to learn something more. So I assure my few readers that today I feel more at ease in the role of a thoughtful and precise narrator than in that very restrictive role of a teacher.
There are many people in the world who know this dog very well. I have learned and continue to learn from some of them to the point of being ashamed of my actions, to the point that I want to go back to being just a diligent and eager disciple. I hold them in my heart, along with many of the past masters whom I have never met and who have created the history of the breed. Everyone of us has the right to knowledge, but sharing it with others is an act of love! (L.R.)