There is just something about having a smart breed of dog.
No matter what, they learn. If you allow them to, they will learn you. They will focus on you like a laser. They’re adaptable.
When I got my dog, Rack the McNab SuperDog (TM), his spirit was crushed.
His fear level was over the top, and the first time I ever moved a trash can with him along, he flattened on the ground and shivered.
He’s past that, well past that.
In fact he did something I saw my Lettie, the McNab and Border Collie cross do before him that shows just how well they watch.
You see, there are some breeders of dogs that have a closed mind. A dog is for a task they will tell you. If you don’t exhibit what their definition of that task is, then they won’t recommend that dog to you and may not sell you the dog.
Many herding breed dog breeders are that way. I don’t agree with that at all.
Yes, a herding breed dog needs a job. Actually, scratch that, ALL dogs need a job. After all, deep down, a dog is a wolf in fancy clothes.
In our case, Rack’s job is me. He treats me as a pack leader, or rather his pack leader, and his job is to watch over and support me in what I do.
Never sell a dog short, because if it does not live up to your expectations, it’s probably because you aren’t making your needs understood.
I’m at the point where if I speak to him in English, I simply expect him to understand. I just have to make sure I use what I personally consider Dog Command Words and he will get them right.
He also speaks English. As in, if I am saying to someone that I want to go to a specific place next, he goes there without being directed.
I was out walking him and we needed newspapers. I said “Lets go to the drive and get them then”.
He did. No muss and no fuss.
One of his favorite things in the world is a Ride In The Car! As in I can’t say it strongly enough in text how much he likes a Ride in The Car. He loses his mind. I have to tell him “Sorry, you get to stay home and watch the house, Rack” to get him to calm down if he is not coming along. Otherwise he does “math” to figure out whether he’s included if I go out.
The other morning, we went out for a walk an hour before sunrise. That’s normal. I have a set route. I have a set routine. We know it well. If I say “you need your leash” he goes to his crate and waits for me to get the thing or he will come back there if I am standing there and flip the harness over his nose in order to get me going.
We left the block and headed into the darkness to the little M.E. DePalma Park near the house.
I’m walking in my pre-dawn haze and all the sudden Rack is in front of me and won’t move.
That is the herding dog signal for “Human, stop, danger is ahead”.
Lettie did it once and there was a wild animal up ahead. She would not allow me to go until danger was past.
In this case, Rack spotted something very strange.
In the flowers.
Yes, a foot.
He told me I was not going somewhere until I acknowledged it.
“What the actual hell is this?”
Rack went Off Duty.
I realized it wasn’t just a disembodied foot.
It was a body.
Then I realized from 10 feet away, literally, it wasn’t a body, it was a person. Male, under 40, about 5’10” in “Bar Clothes”.
Smelling a thick haze of alcohol from down wind, I realized that it was a drunk who passed out in the flowers in the park. He was about 1000 feet from the bars, staggered off, found the park and collapsed into a drunken heap.
Don’t light a match, there will be an explosion level of Alcohol on the Wind.
I muttered to myself “All a part of living in a tourist area”, and then I touched the instep of his foot with my right boot.
Yes, bare foot. His shoes had been knocked off and ended up somewhere else. Maybe even back in the bar, who knows.
I have been trained in First Aid and maintained my certification for about 20 years. There are courses for that and literally the first thing they tell you is that “You are under no obligation to act”.
So I acted.
Actually the drunk groaned, pulled his foot away, and rolled over. Made a rather nice pillow out of the flowers there and went back to snoring.
Sheesh, yet another drunk.
Rack realized the danger had passed, and I was just… well I realized I wasn’t able to help him any more.
I left the guy to sleep it off. It was an hour and a half to sunrise and I really didn’t want to try to help hoist some guy to his feet so he could sleep it off.
Besides, the sprinklers are scheduled to come on shortly in that park. If he hasn’t awakened by then, the ground water would make sure he did.
“Rack come on, let him sleep it off.”
We left. Rack had gotten bored with it all. The drunk was in what I felt was a safe place for the time being, and we had our own drama to finish with.
After all, you can’t fix stupid.
If you want to live your life like a Jimmy Buffett song where you “threw off your flip flops” in a park in South Florida, just make sure it’s a safe spot to pass out.
We went on our way. “Come on Rack let’s go”.
Off we went.
My morning walk is a 30 minute loop around town. We came, We saw, We watered a tree or three, and We came back.
But Rack, knew what I was saying when I said “Let’s go to the park”. He took me right there.
The drunk tourist had moved on, as did the sprinklers.
When I said “Ok, we’re done, lets go home and get you your food.” He looked up at me.
“Hungry, boy?” With a wag or three, he knew where to go. Back home. No more drunks, we’re done.