Saturday, March 17, 2007


I did not get a chance to post anything yesterday as it was a sewing day with H. I got lots done and, eventually, will have a really lovely project to show you. Instead of a fibre related post, I decided I would post about our best friend.

Para and I visiting the Cape Anguille lighthouse near Port aux Basques, Newfoundland.

I received a comment from Mrs. H regarding our Border Collie, Para, and decided to do an exposé on our puppy. I am very aware that, with a new baby being introduced into our home within the next few months, our little Border Collie may begin to feel a little left out. Therefore, I’m trying my best to spoil her rotten now and hope to do so just as much as after the baby is born (luckily, doing as little as lying on the floor with your arm over her counts as ‘spoiling’ to Para. And I’m sure I’ll be tired enough to want to lie on the floor with her on a regular basis!). Between cuddles and regular walks, she’s pretty easy to please.

A stick is always welcome for this Border Collie. On a hike near Battle Harbour, Labrador.

WARNING: Skip this post if you aren’t some kind of extreme animal lover…
  • Para is a pure bred Border Collie, bred by Jackie Parkin at Besslin Border Collies. When she was 10 weeks old, Para made her first aeroplane trip (certainly not her last) to Goose Bay, Labrador to live with us.
  • Para is the truest of Scottish doggies as she was born on January 25th – the same day as the Scotland’s national poet hero, Robbie Burns.
  • Para is 12 years old but someone forgot to tell her she is getting older as she still acts like a five year old dog. She is having some trouble getting her back end up and down these days, so she no longer has to ‘sit’ for treats. Other than that, when we go on a walk, you’d never know she gets stiff in the morning!
  • Para never outgrew her ‘teething’ treat of ice cubes and is the first being in the kitchen if she hears the ice cube tray being cracked. A very healthy snack that’s great for her teeth!
  • Para’s name is Scottish Gaelic and actually means ‘Pete’ in Gaelic (Like Para, DH is of Scottish descent). However, we thought that name sounded kind of feminine so, chose it anyway. Her nicknames over the years include ‘Paragraph’, ‘Parawara’, ‘Parascara’, ‘Parapaint’…I’m sure you get the idea. Because of the human names in the house, the three of us are collectively known as ‘The Three P’s’.

Relaxing at a rest stop in Quebec en route to our summer holidays in Newfoundland and Labrador.

  • We have never worked Para on sheep or other livestock. She is a household pet. As DH is in the military and we move often, we knew it would be too difficult to keep up the herding practice with livestock. Additionally, I am not quite ready for my own sheep. However, Para gets a nice long walk every day (we wanted an active dog to encourage us to be active and she has certainly kept up her end of the bargain). That, together with lots of indoor play (tug, fetching the ball and games of hide and seek!), she has not displayed any destructive behaviour that bright Border Collie’s sometimes invent. That being said, she does love to dig outside…

Para and DH in a photo op after a sandy hike on Cape Breton Island.

  • Although she has never been formally trained, Para does her best to keep Mother Nature in line and has worked really hard to develop her Border Collie herding instinct. She has the Border Collie ‘stare’ (also known as ‘the eye’) down quite well. She herds any birds from our property or camping sites – no landing rights at all when the Border Collie is on patrol! Squirrels are the same. She will stand and ‘stare’ at squirrels in our back yard for hours. She also herds our cats. As you can imagine, the cats do not like this behaviour. However, Para is a real tattletale and if she feels one of the cats is up to something she should not be, Para finds us and whines and then runs back to the crime scene hoping we will follow and catch the nasty creature in the act.

Para and DH on Saddle Island, Red Bay, Labrador visiting the Basque Whalers archeological site.

  • Para is a bit biased. For example, in our house one of the cats is the ‘evil sister’ and one of the cats is the ‘good sister’. Tobi, for example (the tortie coloured one), is Para’s good sister. Even if Tobi is clawing at the couch (which Para knows darn well the cat should not be doing) and we discipline Tobi, Para is right there looking at us as if to say "What’s wrong? Surely Tobi couldn’t be doing anything wrong?!? Not Tobi?!?" Now if it’s Checkers, our new black and white cat, misbehaving, Para is the first one in, driving her away from whatever she is doing. Para used to also herd her other ‘evil sister’ – our cat Nala who passed away a year and a half ago.

Para and I on the beach in my favourite area of the world: Norris Point in Gros Morne National Park overlooking beautiful Bonne Bay, Newfoundland. Woody Point is barely discernable across the bay.

  • Para is quite used to flying and has logged more airline points than a lot of Border Collies her age. For example, she has flown from Goose Bay, Labrador to Edmonton, Alberta. From Edmonton, Alberta to Frankfurt, Germany. From Frankfurt, Germany, to Ottawa, Ontario. And a few other flights when we were visiting family and friends (e.g. from Goose Bay to Toronto, etc). Most of these flights were a result of a military posting message and occurred a few years apart. We have always tried to take Para on any of our holidays, even if it’s meant flying her. We hope to drive to Nova Scotia with her for our move this summer and I’m sure she’ll be much happier about that. She is always fine when she gets off a plane but does seem happier to be with us and we’re certainly happier having her right next to us. We will also be driving in our 1988 VW Westfalia camper van and Para LOVES to camp!

Para always has a ball at the ready. Camping along the beautiful Saint John River, New Brunswick.

  • Para is a wonderful companion and my right arm. She follows me everywhere and even tells me when it’s time to go to bed. If DH goes to bed first and Para thinks I’m up too late, she will come over and stand and stare at me and sigh. If a couple of sighs aren’t effective in getting me to come to bed, she gives a BIG sigh before lying down to wait for me!

Ten wonderful things about my dog amy be enough to inundate even my most faithful of blogging fans with. Hopefully Mrs. H isn’t regretting asking any questions by now!

PS With this exposé, I may just be out of the ‘dog house’ with regards to Para’s complaint of over abundant cat information being posted on this blog. It’s now time for a cuddle!

Happy St. Patty's Day! It's the day to celebrate all of the great 'Patty's' of the world!


Elizabeth said...

Para sounds wonderful. Being the owner of a high energy lab I chuckled a lot :) Prior to bringing home baby in our house we brought home the blanket the babe slept in the first night and let Jack sniff it and play with it. He then took it to his bed and slept with it. He's been a very content older brother LOL. I'm sure Para will do just as well!

Mrs. H said...

Para is wonderful! Thanks so much for posting about her. I had to laugh a few times while reading this. My Grandpa and Para share the same birthday and we celebrate every year by attending the Burns Supper in Peoria, Illinois. Grandpa's parents came from Scotland and named him John Robert Burns Barclay since he was born on January 25th. Also, my Border Collie LOVES ice cubes! He'll do anything to get one as a treat and as soon as he hears us getting ive from the fridge he comes running!

Renee said...

The dog is lovely but you certainly know how to make a girl homesick, don't you. The photos are making me ACHE!

Samantha said...

What a cutie!! :)

Blog Info. said...

Happy St. Patricks Day Patty, Pete, and Para... and baby Iain too :-)

Para looks great! We almost lost her sister Ceilidgh just before Christmas (2008), but she had life saving surgery and is now 100% back to normal & made it to her thirteenth birthday. And just like Para, she has no idea that she is "getting on" in years :-) The highlight of Ceilidgh's day is her evening trek over to the barn to help feed the sheep, goats, llama, and rabbits.
Have a great day!