A Great Dog?

By Timber Jones

We all have that one great dog in our life that we won’t forget. I have always wanted a Border Collie, but never had Border Collie money. A local logger had some pups to give away so I went looking. The pups looked like Labs but with Border Collie markings…close enough!

I held her in my arms and named her Millie, a reference to sawmilling. Just looking at that coat of black and white fur made me proud. 

The sole purpose, by the way, of wanting this dog was for her to be a chore hand and a companion in the woods. So, the next day I took her with me into the woods and she followed me wherever I went. My pure bred Ozark Mountain Dog, as I call her, would be a great companion. 

One night, as some friends and I were sitting around the fire, I heard the distinct grunting of a pig. One of my pigs was out of its pen! Up and down the hills I did my best to wrangle the pig, but to no avail. Then in an act of desperation I shouted, “Millie, get that pig!” At once, Millie herded the pig like it was a sheep back to its pen. No training whatsoever, just gut instinct of the Border, eh-hem, Ozark Mountain Dog. What a dog! 

She is a great dog, the perfect dog. That was the greatest thing she ever did and it was also the last great thing she has done.

Since then, she has eaten the corner off my late mother’s hope chest chewed the corners off my mother-in-law’s vanity. I had a wool knit hat that was made for me…she ate it. My beloved vintage Woolrich coat, you guessed it, she ate the collar right off it. That collar was saved and repaired by an expert tailor…phew! You could feed her a treat by hand if you want your hand to be bit off in one giant bite. I think, perhaps, I am like a grandparent to her. When my wife slowly told me that she ate my coat I actually said to her, “Well, she must have been hungry, that’s all.”   

So I’ve asked myself, is she still a great dog if she really isn’t? 

To her credit, I have trained her to do some very useful tasks. For instance, if you say, “Millie, did you miss me?” she will pile herself on top of you and lick your face. Very useful. Or, if you ask her for a hug, she will actually put her paws on your shoulders and hug you. Very useful. So if you are feeling lonely or blue, I have the dog for you! Like most any dog she loves to see you come home. She looks great lying at my feet as I sit in my rocking chair on the porch. She has a convincing and protective bark. She truly does the best she can. And right now she is looking at me with the same look she had when I decided to bring her home.

So the answer to my question is yes. My Ozark Mountain Dog is certainly great, even if she isn’t.