The Harlan Chronicles 4


He Speaks!
A year had passed and Harlan and I had come to a comfortable arrangement. Adopting Harlan was just a matter of paperwork and $75.00. I fed him, provided fresh water and a safe environment for him, ensured that he would get his annual shots and medicines (finding a Vet who made house calls wasn’t a problem – just pricey) and he would silently hang out in his house/garage and backyard. We were getting along famously.

Friends didn’t really ‘get’ Harlan's quirks so I felt a need to advocate for him by posting a sign outside his house that nicely informed visitors to allow him privacy - I think it said something to the effect of "GO AWAY".

Harlan occasionally came out of his house whenever he felt the need and seemed to live a life of restful solitude.

One afternoon, I had invited a few friends over for a cookout in the backyard. Everyone seemed to be having a nice time. A couple of people were playing basketball, two or three were about ten feet away from the grill and I was doing my thing by passing out burgers, drinks etc.

Suddenly, Harlan came sneakily skulking (head and tail down, shoulders raised) out of his house. Then, much to our collective surprise - he barked. Harlan speaks? I was thrilled. Good boy!!! Harlan continued to bark but then began to pace in a semi circular fashion, back and forth, all the while surrounding my guests. The semi circle became smaller and smaller as my guests and I became physically closer to one another. As we all stood together, Harlan continued to bark at us. I guess it was time to sit down. We all took our seats at the table. Harlan stopped barking, turned his back to us, sat down and kept an eye out for wolves.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but Harlan was “herding” us. Later that year, I attended a Border Collie exhibit at The State Fair of Texas. It was then that I realized Harlan was demonstrating innate Border Collie traits and wasn’t so screwy after all... I'm thinking that by now you're just dying to learn more about Border Collie behaviour so check out Animal Planet's video - http//

Part 5:  Betsy 

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