Pooch Power

I read a heartwarming story today.


{Image courtesy of CSIRO, Australia}

There is an island off the south coast of Australia that had an endangered colony of fairy penguins. Some sheepdogs were brought in to protect the little fellows from feral animals. And they did an excellent job. The colony is thriving. You can read about it here.

This story reminded me of a similar story from my childhood and made me realise how intelligent and caring dogs can be towards littler creatures.


The Irish side of my family  has always had Border Collies on their farm. This dog was my Grandad’s favourite – Spring. Spring was one of the best dogs I have ever met. Highly intelligent, obedient, intuitive. Although he was 19 when he died and had a fantastic life, I still cry for him every now and then. He was one of those dogs that immediately filled you with confidence. My cousins and I would go on really long walks with him and not for an instant did we ever feel that anything bad would befall us.

One summer when the chicks had hatched, the foxes came.

If you ever want to know the true meaning of the expression having your heart in your mouth, you will know if it you are unfortunate enough to witness a clutch of those little balls of yellow fluff covered in blood. It is a horrible sight. My heart jumped straight into my mouth and stayed there. I didn’t know whether to scream or cry.

‘Don’t fret, don’t fret,’ said my Grandad. ‘Spring will sort it out.’

And Spring did sort it out. He guarded the remaining chicks day and night. They thrived under his care. I will never forget going out to get some herbs from the veggie patch one afternoon and seeing all of the chicks (about a dozen of them) curled up, sound asleep under Spring’s tail.

When the chicks were too old to snuggle with Spring anymore, he actually seemed to feel sad about it. He often looked over at the coop longingly as if thinking of the good old days.

I think we have more to learn from our dear animal friends than we could possibly know. If they can save fairy penguins and chicks, perhaps they could save other species too. It seems they are the natural guardians of the animal world!

17 thoughts on “Pooch Power

  1. I certainly think something strange happens with domesticated or working dogs. They naturally hunt in packs, so don’t have much of this inter-species sympathy, so from where could it come?
    I have a feeling that livng in close proximity to humans, they have evolved, first from mimicking us, to taking on part of our psychology. And it is here where the traits we place on dogs come from.
    Sadly, though, WE have forgotten so many of our own traits. This is maybe why dogs could go some way to teach us how to be human again.


  2. ANTHONY – you are definitely on to something there. From what I have seen of canine behaviour in the past I do think dogs are capable of taking on some human traits. We have forgotten many of our (nicer)traits. How ironic if it was the humble dog that allowed us to regain our lost humanity.


  3. Border collies are wondrous creatures. We used to have one who played cricket. My dad would be bowler, my younger brother batsman and Pepsi (the dog) would lay in wait behind the wickets. As soon as my brother hit the ball she would go tearing off down the beach, bring the ball back to Dad and then lay behind the wickets again. Some people on the beach accused us of being cruel…I know…some people ae clueless. The dog was in her element and would have and could have stopped whenever she wanted.

    She would also run around in an arc as if she was rounding up imaginary sheep. It must be an instinctual thing. The world would be a poorer place without the love of a dog.


  4. There’s no question in my mind that dogs have real love in their hearts to give. As real as any love from a person.


  5. ROMANY – I would have loved to have seen your dog playing cricket. What a fantastic story. I do think Pepsi was imagining she was rounding up sheep – it is an instinctive thing. I really enjoyed hearing about this!

    RICHARD – very well said. I couldn’t agree more!!

    MELEAH – they will look after you if you let them. You really can’t beat a good, well-behaved dog.

    CHRIS – I’m sure Molly understood your reasons for giving her up, but there’s no doubt she would have had moments when she missed you. I’m sorry you had to make such a tough decision.

    GEL – you don’t ever forget them, do you? They stay in our hearts just as people do.

    NAT – thanks, hon!

    KAREN – isn’t it amazing about the penguins. Who would have thought a sheepdog would save the day! Fantastic stuff!


  6. It is amazing what these dogs do! Right now my kids are driving me crazy to get them a dog and I’m so close to pulling the trigger – but it’s another responsibility for me!!

    Nice story!


  7. MACMURPHY – I just know you’ll give in. It won’t be long until you’re wakened by little woofs in the middle of the night or puddles on the floor. LOL.


  8. That’s dogs for you. A nobler animal is hard to find on this planet. When my dog Shawny was around, we also had a big bird cage for 6 love birds. At night when I used to let my dog out of her kennel, the first thing she would do was to go check on the birds and when they had little ones, it was like she was guarding them and letting them know that it was time to go to sleep and not to worry, she was there to protect them.


  9. Hi Selma–I just clicked on, to check in with you, and I scrolled to the pic of this doggie….You have NO idea how moved I am, by your post…
    On Jan. 15th(tomorrow–Thursday)it will be one year, since our beloved Australian Shepherd(they are presumed “cousins” of Border Collies), Frisco, passed away. Seeing the photo of this cutie-pie, made me smile. And my heart was lifted as I read about your doggie, Spring, from your days in Ireland.
    Also loved reading about “Pepsi” from the commenter, above.
    I planned to post a “In Memoriam” tomorrow for “Frisco”. It will be easier to do, having been buoyed today by what I just read!
    Peace & Blessings, Ms. Selma!


    1. LISA:
      I look forward to reading your tribute. Sometimes it is so hard to write about pets who have passed away. I loved hearing about Frisco and the chicks!!


  10. OH! Forgot to mention–when we got “Frisco”–she was on a working farm–her daddy herded the chickens, and it was both adorable, and AMAZING, to see a huge male dog be so tender in his fierce protectiveness of the chickens and their chicks.


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