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Column: Collies, trees just don't mix well

 

Associated Press

LADDY, A wayward border collie, was found 10 feet high in a tree after being lost for a few days in Iowa. His owners conducted a frantic search before a neighbor discovered the pooch barking from the tree.

Reading the story this week about a border collie that was stuck in a tree for a few days brought back fond memories of my pooches.

It seems Laddy, a 7-year-old, vanished from his home in Iowa. The clever pooch made a break for it when he discovered the battery in his collar was dead, so the electronic boundary his masters had designed didn’t work.

The family desperately searched for the dog, found two days later 10 feet up in a tree by a neighbor, who heard Laddy barking. He took a photo of the dog in the tree before calling police to confirm his story and verify his sanity.

The theory was Laddy may have chased a squirrel up the tree.

The story hit home because when I was a little kid, we had a sweeping, weeping willow tree in the front yard. Its magnificent branches grew into huge trunks and we could climb high into the 30-foot tall tree in all directions, pretty dangerous stuff for a gang of tykes from the neighborhood.

My family had a collie at that time, ironically named Laddy. He would become enraged when a kid would climb the tree. He’d tug at your pants and try to pull you down to keep you on the ground and out of the tree. If you slipped by Laddy’s keen protective eye and got up in the tree, he’d stand at the bottom of the tree and bark, a nervous canine wreck until each and every kid would descend.

There was a considerable bunch of kids in the neighborhood 50 years ago and we kept that dog pretty busy.

Both the tree and dog are long since gone and there have been many pets since, with their own peculiar traits, such as my border collie buddy, Sterling, who was jealous of automobiles.

On the first day I purchased a new Chevrolet, good ol’ Sterling climbed on the roof of the car and slept there until I chased him off. When he realized he wasn’t permitted to use the car roof for a bed, he took his revenge by chewing on the entire plastic framing of the license plate, even bending the metal plate itself with his teeth.

He loved my blue truck and never bothered it, because opening the door meant he’d get to go for a ride, and he enjoyed exploring new locales, although he was a nervous and whining passenger.

Sterling liked to particularly chase certain brands of cars, including passing vehicles on Wisconsin 122. I figure that might have been because he was seeking revenge on the rotten scoundrels who got rid of him by dropping him off from a vehicle, or maybe he just hated Fords.