Sunday, June 27, 2010
A rescue, a great friend: James Bond
James Bond was a beautiful thorough-bred roughcoat collie. He came to me through a very dear friend who has given me many true and amazing animal companions over the years to care for and nurture. Many of them, James included, had troubled backgrounds.
James' original name was Bondai. I have no idea what that means, but for some reason I was muttering his name over and over out loud "Bond - Bond, James Bond" - (one of my favourite characters in both literature and film). I almost yelled "Eureka!" and so I began calling this wonderful creature James Bond. An animal psychic once told me he liked the name... he certainly responded to it.
James' problem was that he was blind. When my friend's husband admired him, his owner offered the dog to him, since his vision was becoming a problem he didn't know how to deal with. My friend's husband knew that his wife would accept him into her large, multi-rescue critter family. She, like me, fell in love - she has a kind, huge heart.
Of course what was not to love about this beautiful boy. He was gentle and and sweet-natured, but he couldn't see well - a progressive genetic problem with this breed apparently. Although it seemed as if he could see some things, he kept wandering away from his home searching for the door to let him inside. My friend had many calls from neighbours when she'd gone away for a while and he'd ambled off. My friend finally called me for help though I know it broke her heart.
What a sweet dog.
I hated to take him because I knew that my friend would miss him terribly. But I knew too, that he would be safe at my little property. Invisible Fence again. (And yes I'm shamelessly promoting this as a life-saving animal tool. And no I don't receive any advertising money for this. It's just that it works.)
It didn't take long for James to learn the ropes, and soon he was following Coffee (another rescue) and me around the pasture. I noticed before long that he stayed on the path even though he was blind. I watched him carefully and realized that his sense of touch around his whiskers (which I understand are incredibly sensitive) was very highly developed. If his nose or face brushed against the grasses he would quickly veer back into the path. Similarly when he heard the beep from the receiver on his collar, he turned immediately inward into the pasture. As time went by I believe he memorized the paths we followed.
He broke through the fence only twice - both times by accident, falling into a culvert. The scariest time happened during a snow storm at 4:30 in the morning when he told me by his agitated pacing, he needed to go outside to relieve himself. I sort of dozed in a chair waiting for him to return. Finally I realized he'd been gone for more than 10 minutes - way too long... I was into boots and big coat in a heartbeat and out the door.
I called and called and finally saw him on the road heading away from the house - his tracks showed where he'd fallen into the culvert and then his endless attempts to climb the bank and return to the property... I ran after him, gave him a big hug and brought him home, taking off his collar as we approached the house. I toweled him down, hugging him at the same time when we got back to the warm fire. Believe me, I said many thank yous that night.
I miss him still. He had a huge heart and, I hope, had a good life with me. He learned to play with the cats, with my son's dog and to bark enthusiastically when he was really really having a good time. What a dog!