Friday, December 21, 2007

Working dog

Border collies don't have the same loutish reputation as Dobermanns or Staffordshire bull terriers, but they can still be pretty intimidating when they want to be. Once they assume the position, that head-down arse-up thing they do, then it's time to make your excuses and leave. They give you the old 'come by' look, and you suddenly remember you're supposed to be somewhere else entirely.

I get attacked by a Welsh Border collie about once every three weeks on average. Same dog, same place. I've kind of gotten used to it, and nowadays I barely flinch. The mad beast hurls itself at me, teeth snapping, but I've just learned to look straight ahead and ignore it. Cool under fire, that's me.

Being in a car helps of course. I don't drive anything very swanky - in fact it's a battered old wreck, in keeping with its owner - but it does at least have the merit of being dog-proof. The critter in question patrols a stretch of pavement outside a pub on the road to Huddersfield. It likes to hide beneath one of the outside tables, waiting for some unsuspecting motorist like me to come tootling along. Then at the last possible second it shoots out from its lair and makes like it's going to bite your wheels off.

The first time this happened to me I damn near had a heart attack. I thought that I'd run the thing over, and swerved out into the middle of the road to try and avoid carnage. But it was just having a little joke with me. I saw it in my rear view mirror, sauntering back to its table and having a good laugh. I didn't find it particularly amusing at the time.

However, I've since begun to see the humour of it all and joined in the fun. Yes, I've had many a chuckle watching some other poor sap bang his skull on the sidescreen in alarm as the dog comes springing out of nowhere. And I suppose the dog's behaviour is understandable. In the absence of any Welsh valleys or sheep to chase around said valleys, it makes do with what it can get. Quite appropriate, in a way. Here we all are, commuting backwards and forwards to Huddersfield like armour-plated sheep, and the dog's just making sure we stay in line, keeping us moving smartly along. It's only doing its job after all.


bevjackson said...

this is hilarious. and charming.

Steve Augarde said...

Ha. Thanks, Bev. It's weird. Since writing that piece, I haven't seen the dog. I kind of miss it.