Oreo was a direct result of my experience with Muff and the man at the door.  This isn’t actually Oreo, but it looks a whole lot like her–she had a little more white on her neck.  I have come to believe that she might have been what they now call a Bordernese (a hybrid of a Border Collie and a Bernese Mountain Dog).Bordernesecharlieoutside3I had been the Education Director for the Humane Association for a while.  I had been out in the kennels on many occasions, but this particular day there was a puppy that caught my eye.  She was colored like a border collie, a beautiful bundle of black and white fur.  She looked at me, I looked at her, and we immediately fell in love.  I adopted her right then and there. No one had any idea what combination made up her lineage, but they felt like she would get to be about 45 pounds—“of course, she did have awfully big paws…”

I took her to classrooms when I spoke about caring for your dog.  She was always a big hit.  As far as I was concerned, it was the perfect job—I got to be with Oreo all day and still got to interact with kids.  Unfortunately, the position at the Humane Association was phased out, so I had to go back to full time teaching.  That meant that Oreo had to stay with Muff.  The wonderful thing was that she was happy either way.

As time passed, 45 pounds came and went.  She finally ended up at 85 pounds!  That was when I realized I LOVED big dogs!  She was so funny—she desperately wanted to be a lap dog, but she wasn’t allowed on the furniture.  So, anyone that sat on the floor was fair game.  As soon as anyone would sit down on the floor, she would come and plant her butt in their lap.  It made her the perfect size for hugging!  She was soo huggable!

Her heritage was still up for debate.  She looked like a border collie, but was built like a Mack Truck!  People were constantly asking what she was and I had no idea.

Because of her coloring there was a possibility that she might have some border collie.  We thought she might have some herding instinct, so decided to give it a try.  I took her out to a farm where she could interact with some sheep.  She seemed to be having a pretty good time until one of the sheep turned around and butted her in the head!  She stopped, stunned, then made a bee-line straight for me and would have nothing more to do with the sheep!  Didn’t have a picture of the event, but if you imagine a sheep instead of a horse and a Mack Truck sized black and white collie…..well….you get the idea

Another time we tried ‘lure coursing’.  If you don’t know what that is, it involves setting up a course with a line attached to a motor.  On the line is a handkerchief.  It takes advantage of a dog’s natural instinct to chase anything that moves!  It is really designed for dogs like whippets and greyhounds–and apparently, basenji!    Oreo tried  it, and actually had fun, but she wasn’t built for the speed.  Of course, we did it in Albuquerque in a field with dry grass and tumbleweeds.  We only did it one day, it didn’t seem like it was quite right.

At the time, I had not heard of rally or agility.  It’s a pity, because she probably would really have enjoyed one of those.  As it was, she and Muff were just my best friends and that was good enough.

Oreo was really intelligent and also head strong.  When she decided she wanted something, she figured out a way to get it.  One day I tried to lock her out of the house by putting a steel plate over the doggie door.  She would have none of it, and being 85 pounds just came through the steel plate!  No problem!

She had some many incidents like that.  My favorite story though was the time she snarled at my neighbor.  Now you have to understand, that she had never snarled at him before.  She, Muff and I had just driven up into the driveway when my neighbor came over.  He proceeded to tell me how earlier in the day he had seen Oreo on the roof!  I had taken the screen off a window upstairs and left the window open.  I never dreamed that she would go out, but apparently she did!  He said that he had watched her and was trying to decide what to do next when she went back through the window.  As he was telling the story, she was sitting in the backseat snarling at him!  It was if she understood every word he was saying and was ticked off that he was telling on her!  It was hilarious!

She was a dear, dear girl and I loved her very much!  She left me much too soon.  Unfortunately, she was stricken with bloat.  If you have a large dog and don’t know about bloat, you need to educate yourself.  I’m afraid that I was not informed and in many ways blame myself for her untimely end.  By the time I got her to the vet, it was too late.  I had her cremated and she resides in the nightstand by my bed.

Today I have many happy memories of the time we had together.  I am thankful for the time we had and for the path she guided me along.  I miss her, but I feel sure that someday I will see her and Muff again.

If there is a heaven, it’s certain our animals are to be there. Their lives become so interwoven with our own, it would take more than an archangel to detangle them.

Pam Brown



2 Responses

  1. Hi Sue,

    This is a very touching and entertaining reminiscence.
    Thanks for sending me your blog address.

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