If Lassie were a Bouvier

Jane Miller and family, including Sadie, a rescued Bouvier, live in Pittsburgh.  Check out their journal and web site <http://www.ruffwriters.com/> . RUFF or bare bones stories help record family history while teaching children RUFF. (That's Bouvier-speak for Reading, ’ Riting and Respect Using Facts and Fiction.

If Lassie Were a Bouvier

By Jane Miller

© 2008 by Jane Miller

My husband and I were watching the herding category of a television dog show when a beautiful, gray Bouvier des Flandres trotted before the judges just before a Lassie-look-alike Collie, minus the white stripe down the nose. It got us wondering, what if Lassie were a Bouvier ? Every dog would bring its strengths and a few weaknesses--to the role. But if Lassie were a Bouvier, we could imagine the following scenes with Bouvier Lassie.

Neighborhood farm children are picking blackberries in a pasture when they realize that Farmer Jones' bull is nearby. The bull stamps, and is about to charge the children. But Bouvier Lassie doesn't dart and make eye contact to distract the bull until the children run safely out of the pasture. Bouvier Lassie bounds--no bounces--across the field and, BOOM!, shoulder tackles the bull. The limping bull retreats to the other side of the pasture to eat grass while the children finish picking blackberries and walk safely through the pasture gate, patting fluffy, Bouvier Lassie.

Farmer Brown's sheep are out, and about to cross a road. Farmer Brown is trapped beneath his tractor. Bouvier Lassie doesn't need to run for help, and bark helplessly until someone finally figures out they should follow her. In the time it would take for someone to say "What is it girl? What do you want? Do you want us to follow you? Hey, everybody, Lassie wants us to follow her," Bouvier Lassie pushes the tractor off Farmer Brown, herds the sheep into the barnyard, and returns to Farmer Brown who is now standing, watching her in amazement.  "Thank ye, thank ye kindly Lassie," he says. "Only one thing Lassie, kin ye kindly git the heck off my foot?"

Mrs. Smith has fallen asleep while her muffins are baking in the oven, which has caught fire. Highly intuitive Bouvier Lassie arrives before the muffins burn. Bouvier Lassie doesn't need to bark and bark until finally hearing impaired Mrs. Smith wakes up. All she has to do is nuzzle her face, and Mrs. Smith startles awake from an immense wet, nose and drool-soaked beard. "Oh, dear, Lassie. My muffins. My house. And me--You saved us all." Lassie does not move from Mrs. Smith's side.  Mrs. Smith pulls her nicely baked muffins from the oven. "I guess I owe you one, Lassie," she says. Now Bouvier Lassie can return to her master.

Master Timmy falls into a stream. Bouvier Lassie doesn't need to rip Timmy's pants lifting him out. She immediately jumps in the water beside Timmy, calming him, and offers her beard and mustache for Timmy to grab, so she can pull him safely to shore. But when Timmy has fallen into a well for the umpteenth time, Bouvier Lassie leans over the well and comunicates without a word, "You've got issues young man, and since you keep getting yourself into a well, you better start figuring out how to get yourself out."

Life with Bouvier Lassie couldn't be complete without at least one mealtime moment of "Lassie, head off the table, girl." And imagine a quiet evening scene in the family living room. Timmy's dad is reading, his mom is knitting, and Timmy is putting together a puzzle on the braided rug by the hearth, as Bouvier Lassie lies beside him. Suddenly, Timmy's dad coughs, gags, wheezes, and says, "Whew, Lassie! Geeze, Girl! Take it outside, will ya, Lassie?"

As his parents leave the room, Timmy leans over, hugs Bouvier Lassie, and whispers in her ear, "I Love you, Lassie’ and I owe ya one, Girl!"


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