“The relationship between a dog and a human is always complicated. The two know each other in a way nobody else quite understands, a connection shrouded in personal history, temperament, experience, instinct, and love.”
― Jon Katz, A Dog Year: Twelve Months, Four Dogs, and Me
I ran away from home when I was 9 and three quarters, four of us in total, my travelling companions were: Patches, my stout hearted cross-terrier mongrel, best friend Philomena Myers (call me Phila) and her border collie, Penny. We and those dogs were joined at the hip – Patches, feisty, loyal and enthusiastic and Penny, a gentle natured animal who could run like the wind, we couldn’t ask for better co-conspirators. Penny was my first experience of border collies and every time I see one I am reminded of her sweet disposition and the time we ran away.
Being so young, Phila and I didn’t think the whole “running away” thing through, for starters we didn’t take any food with us. I had with me, a polka dot patterned purse I got for Christmas and the coinage it contained went as follows; one half crown (gorgeous coin with a horse depicted on one side and a harp on the other), one sixpence (a wolfhound ) and a threepence (a hare). Phila didn’t have any money but she did have 2 pairs of jeans, 3 pairs of socks, 2 jumpers and an anorak, all of which she was wearing at once, a bag would have raised some suspicious questions from her Mother. So there we were, running away with 3 shillings threepence, extra clothes and our dogs.
So there we were, running away with 3 shillings threepence, extra clothes and our dogs.
We thought catching a bus was a grand idea and rode as far as it would take us, which wasn’t very far as it turned out. We reached the seaside town of Greystones, County Wicklow where we bought a bag of chips to share and started walking. Not far down the road the sky began to darken and a light rain to fall, seeking refuge under a hedge in a field and already worn out from our adventures, the four of us huddled together and decided to spend the night right there.
Now when you are only 9 and three quarters, there are all sorts of rustlings and night sounds under a hedge, in a field on the east coast of Ireland at 8 o clock at night, that could scare a person half to death. The kind of noises that made two young girls hug their canine companions very tightly, for warmth but mainly for courage. After about two or three more hours of huddling we finally lost heart and headed towards the nearest cottage, the warm glow from it’s windows friendly and beckoning in the darkness. Mrs Kind-cottage-lady, plied us with tea and fruit cake – “Ah, Jesus, Mary and Joseph – you poor things, out in the dark at this time o’ night. You must be frozen!”, then she promptly phoned my mother who sent a taxi to collect us, dogs and all.
“Ah, Jesus, Mary and Joseph – you poor things, out in the dark at this time o’ night. You must be frozen!”
Our parents met us tight lipped and stony-faced at our respective front doors, I can’t recall what our punishment was but I do remember Phila’s being far worse than mine. I felt bad about that for a long time, it was me after all who’d talked her into it.
“A thing can be true and still be desperate folly, Hazel.”
― Richard Adams, Watership Down
A while ago I had the opportunity to photograph two border collies; Buzz and Truffle.
Buzz is the fellow with one blue and one amber eye, he has an inquisitive and out-going personality.
While Truffle on the other hand, reminds me of Penny. She has sweet little black spots on her muzzle, both eyes are amber and she is far more timid and gentle.
Truffle looking alert and ready to run…
Buzz relaxing on the deck, he prefers drinking water out of the fountain instead of his water-bowl.
Remember, if you are going to run away, always take a dog with you, they make the best travelling companions.