My introduction to Border Collies began when my sister-in-law and her husband got a black and white one, Mac. I couldn’t believe how smart they were. At that time we had two other dogs, Barney and Sam. They were dogs that have stories behind them but intelligence – not much. Well, because Mac was such a handsome specimen, he was called upon for stud service and with that came the offer to my in-laws to pick a pup from the litter. The in-laws were not interested in having another dog but they asked if we wanted one. Well yes – no. We couldn’t make up our minds. When we finally said okay, they only had the runt left. But we still said okay.
The runt was smaller (runts usually are) but also brown and white (not the usual black and white) and also shorthaired, not long and silky. But we were not going to be showing her and beside that she was cute. What she did carry from the breed was – she was SMART!
She had a special kinship with kids that had special needs. She always latched on to any youngster that had a physical or mental need. We always had lots of children coming to visit on the farm so she always had a good time.
One young girl stands out – Susanna. She had Down’s Syndrome. By this time we had named the dog Ginger. Well, she always went right to Susanna when she came. One day (her birthday) we were all eating cake and ice cream when we suddenly saw Ginger with Susanna. One spoonful for Susanna and the next spoonful for Ginger and so that is how the ice cream was eaten. To this day (Ginger is gone and Susanna is in her late twenties) whenever I see her, she always says, “I miss Ginger.”
Ginger was also very protective of small children. I remember one time I had my granddaughter, Trisha, staying overnight. She was about four. At the time, her family was living in Idaho and they were in town for some special reason and I was to keep Trisha overnight. This was her first overnight stay without her parents. Of course she didn’t know me very well because of her living in Idaho, so I wasn’t too sure how she would be. She was going to sleep in our guest room. It had twin beds. I thought she might wake up during the night and would not know where she was, so I thought that I should sleep in the other bed.
Sure enough she woke up during the night and was crying. I got out of bed and went over to her bed. They were antique beds so they were pretty high up. I knelt down so that I would be at her level to comfort her but Ginger wedged herself between me and Trish and when I went to touch her, she growled and snarled and would not let me touch Trisha. My husband came to the rescue and took Ginger out so that I could get to Trisha. Well, to this day, 20+ years later, Ginger is still top dog to Trisha.
I wonder whether Ginger knew that she was not a perfect specimen Border Collie! She had this special gift of understanding. Because of this gift, she was still TOP DOG for us.
— by Jutta Eisele