This blog is in memory of our beloved Border Collie Tippy who died on July 28th 2010. Every Sunday over the course of the next few months I will post memories and pictures of her life with us, both as a working farm dog, family pet, best friend and work mate.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Easy Rider.

In this picture you can see Tippy on the quad bike with daughter Fallon. From just a few months old Tippy leant to ride the quad bike and became totally at one with it, I only ever know of her falling off it one time by accident and even then the bike was virtually on it's side after I drove it in to a hidden gully on John Mosley's moor.

Her first ever ride was from the car garage to the gate at the end of the drive and she showed no signs of wanting to escape the noisey machine. For a while she would ride it sitting between my legs as she is with Fallon in the picture. This was mainly so I could protect her from falling off and not to prevent her from escaping. Eventually she became to big for me to ride with her this way so she promoted to the carrier behind me. This became her own space, not even the scariest cow could remove her from it. You could tell her to get on the bike and you knew she would stay on the bike until you told her to get off it. Even when herding the sheep and she was busting to join in the fun she wouldn't get off the bike until I told her to and this is how it should be because there were time that I sent her there for her own well being like for instance when dealing with cows or traveling on the road between fields. As you can imagine the last thing anyone wanted was for her to be jumping off in front of cars. If anyone was to see us sometimes though you would have thought that at any moment she was about to part company with the bike as she used to cling to the very edges of it all the time. The only time she lay down on it was when it was parked up somewhere. When in hot pursuit of something she would be jumping around all over the back in excitement but she was obviously master of the situation and at one with the bike and its motions.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Raw Taste.

I’m jumping the gun a little with this next post but as the story I have to tell is relevant to this time of year I thought it best told now rather than later.

At this stage Tippy would be about four months old and was now up for proper big dog walks down the fields so after dinner one fine evening we took a walk down the fields and through the wood where the scary wind rustles in the tops of the pine trees to a little neglected area that was home to a few blackberry patches. Here with the help of Tippy I picked a good lot of blackberries. I say ‘with the help’ of Tippy for good reason because I noticed while I was filling my container that she too was plucking off the berries. She wasn’t as fussy as I though and was helping herself to any colour she could reach including little green ones. This all happened in the days before mobiles phones with cameras or even camera’s without film so unfortunately all the pictures I have of this episode and a lot more in her life are just the ones left in my head so instead I will post this picture because from green Blackberries she progressed in future years to green beans carrots and raw apple. Every night up until just a few nights before she died she would come for a piece of my apple.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Great fun for a nippy Border Collie.

In this picture you can just see Tippy under the hedge, it looks to me like she has just been in hiding and is looking to see if the coast is clear.

If you also notice in the bottom left of the picture there is some tall plant growth, these are yellow Iris growing in an old garden pond. This pond was all cracked and held no water at all. For the first few days of her time with us Tippy moved in to the old pond and spent a lot of time hiding in the tall Iris. It was nice to think she had found a place to call home although it wasn’t much fun for those wanting to lavish attention on her. Eventually she moved out of the old pond but she was very adept at seeking out all the best hiding places the garden had to offer which at times was a great source of frustration to all, especially when you had to play hide and seek with the dog just to get her in the house so you could go and attend important business. The trouble was she was so darn fast that after rooting around and prodding a conifer bush for 10 minutes trying to dislodge a Border Collie that you knew was in there somewhere, she would suddenly dart out of the said bush into another one before you could even get off the ground. This was a great game if you were a nippy little Border Collie with nothing else to do all day.

Monday, 6 September 2010

The Chosen Ones.

First pictures of Tippy.

For five years before our move to the farm where I was to become farm manager we had lived in Alloa which is near to Sterling in central Scotland. During this time the subject of having a dog had come up several times but it was always decided that we were away from home to much during the day. When I first met Vicki she had a dog but it died before we married. I too had grown up with a dog in the house but my enthusiasm for them never really developed beyond petting them when I felt the urge so I have to confess that whenever the subject of getting a dog was raised I felt less than enthusiastic about it seeing them as a burden and a tie.

A few weeks after moving in to the farm the subject of getting a dog came up once more and as all of the obstacles had been removed by the move I could find no objection on my part, my only stipulation being that it was a Border Collie. My reasoning behind this being that as it was to be our daughters dog and I was aware that children and pets can grow apart very quickly so at least being a Border Collie I could take to it later if need be.

So after browsing the local paper for Border Collie pups for sale and finding a place at Wingerworth near Chesterfield we set off one Friday evening after dinner to choose our puppy. My parents always came for a visit on a Friday evening so they also piled in to the car and came with us.

When we arrived the farmer showed us six pups, there was a brown and white one, a blue and white one and four black and white ones. The red one disappeared behind a corrugated iron sheet leaning against a wall so dad said not to bother with that one as it would probably always be timid. Soon everyone was taken with this particular black and white puppy and were on the verge of making the decision final when this other little pup came up to us and made it be know that she too was interested in finding a home so more or less straight away it was decided that if she wanted us who were we to refuse so after paying the farmer £65 he gave us some food for her and we took her home with us there and then.

By the time we had got back to the farm she had been named Tippy because all the tips of her extremities, tail, feet and nose, were marked white. Of course everyone was very excided so it was hard not to overwhelm her. So that is how we came to have Tippy in our lives, and to this day no one ever regretted being her chosen ones.