I love my dog but some days he can drive me positively mad. Chip is a big lumbering hunk of a beast who basically resembles a barrel with legs. We got him from Animal Compassion Network and, according to them, his mother was at least part border collie and only 40 lbs. When I was looking him over the Animal Lover People told me that he would only grow to "about 40 lbs." Idiot I was, I didn't realize that the darling pup was likely already 40 lbs. with miles yet to go.
Chip has been a fabulous dog. Certainly the best dog we've ever had. Quite possibly the best dog on the planet. That is until it comes to walkies. For several years he was a good boy. He would poop in the woods and come when we called and say "please" and "thank you" (well, not really with words, anyway). He would stay in the vicinity of our yard, with no fence, and we could walk him off the leash for the most part. Good boy that he was, he was in voice command maybe 98% of the time with Matt and oh, maybe 80% of the time with me.
But there were times when he was a goner. Deaf as a doornail. That was when there was the smell of some critter about. It was like he could only have a couple of senses going at the same time so if his nose turned on, his ears turned off and he was all alone in the world. Just him and his little precious bunny, oh, so scrumptious.
Then one day he caught sight of a cat. Not any cat but the cat of an elderly couple on the next street. He took off much faster than I thought was physically possible, given his heft, and shut his ears to the hand that feeds him. By the time I got to the scene of the crime he was spinning himself in circles with poor, evil Fluffy affixed to his torso, resisting the pull of the centrifugal force by the sheer power of her claws. When it was all said and done, the cat was fine except for a bruised ego but refused to eat for days, necessitating two trips to the vet. A slightly nasty and condescending letter from her owner and $152 pet bill later, Chip was on a leash.
So, I had to walk the boy on the leash. A pain, of course, but he was emotionally traumatized and would refuse to walk that direction in the neighborhood anyway. So I took to going farther afield and he seemed happy enough until the day he got the hankering for chicken.
Remember that we had no fenced in yard for this pup. A short distance through some woods is an illegally placed camper type residential option whose occupants are not the most savory characters on the planet. One fall day I was busy with the leaves when Chip disappeared for a while. Later we got a visit from one of the characters. I don't think it was the one commonly referred to as "Wild Bill," but I could be wrong. According to him, Chip had eaten his chickens. Or at least killed them. Or maybe he was attempting to greet them up close and personal and all and was a bit too vigorous in his hospitality. I don't know, but they swore up and down Chip was the culprit and their precious chickens were gone.
Not wanting to start a feud with our neighbors, illegal as they were, Matt offered to pay them for the chickens. "Them's fightin' chickens!" Say, what? Mr. Take You For All You're Worth proceeded to tell us that these were prize chickens, worth $100 a piece. Knowing that we were being taken but not wanting to fight over something like poultry when there may one day be bigger fish (or chicken) to fry (there had been an easement dispute with the property owner), Matt coughed over the money in a show of good will all the while being told that if Chip came over there again they would feel free to shoot him. And that's when we fenced in the yard.
Back to my initial point. I love my dog but he drives me crazy. Turns out he's considerably larger than a Border Collie, perhaps part St. Bernard, and, with the onset of middle age and the confinement that comes from leash walking and fence-in living, he's grown into quite the portly fellow. The vet wants him to lose 15 lbs. but Chip isn't getting with the program. When I walk him I'm DRAGGING the dog up hill, all the while his collar is up around his ears, the only thing keeping it from coming off is the roll of fat that comes with it. It's like ratcheting up the tension on an exercise bike, only I'm the one getting the exercise and he is ambling along looking positively miserable.
Maybe one day I'll have success with the Doggie Spa and Fitness Center and he will have energy again. But I'm not banking on it. Meanwhile, he is fairly self contained and happy, unless he's walking.