On Christmas Day 2009, when a little black and white ball of fur burst forth from a big box tied with a red bow, my son promptly named him Bolt. Little did we know how fitting that name would be, because as he grew so did his energy level. He's like a bolt of lightening--quick, fast, and uncontainable. His swiftness and stamina are unmatched on our homestead, and when all the rest of us have collapsed in a heap of exhaustion, Bolt is still raring to go.
Border Collies are known for these abilities. In fact, the American Kennel Club calls them "the workaholic of the dog world". They are widely considered to be the most intelligent of dog breeds, and their athletic abilities combined with their intense, commanding gaze make them the ideal livestock herding dog.
It didn't work did it? Told ya. That intimidating "eye" allows him to control even animals twice his size. It's an ability that sure comes in handy around here, and Bolt uses it to his best advantage. He's a dog of many talents.
He can catch a Frisbee in mid air, track down a lost chicken in no time flat, and race the mailman's truck down the driveway as if he were a Greyhound training for the dog track.
As I said, he's laser-focused. Thank goodness, because nobody else around here is. We can be kind of a laid back bunch.
He looks kind of sad, doesn't he? That's because I had just kicked him out of the backyard for over-herding the geese. It was feeding time, and he was so eager to work that he kept moving them around as they were trying to eat.
I hate to eat and run, and so do they. I decided it was break time for Bolt.
The most extraordinary thing I've ever seen Bolt do, though, happened a few years ago. I had some newly hatched chicks inside the warm greenhouse, and I had gone in to feed them. Bolt, of course, had followed me in the greenhouse that morning and watched me as I took care of the chicks. When I finished and turned away, Bolt didn't. I was busy watering my seedlings when I noticed Bolt quickly plunge his head inside a bucket of rain water that was near the chick cage. At first I couldn't figure out what he was doing, but then he raised his head out of the bucket, walked over to me, opened his mouth, and gently lay a water-soaked chick at my feet. Unbeknownst to me, a chick had escaped while I was feeding them, and it had fallen into the bucket. I hadn't noticed, but Bolt had. Nothing escapes him. And nobody was going to drown on his watch. Amazing.
Bolt and I have certainly had our run ins throughout our years together, but I never fail to marvel at his depth of intelligence, his moments of extreme compassion, and his excellent work ethic.
But I have a thing for smart, caring, hard-working farmhands. Especially when I can pay them in dog food...and belly rubs!
I think he's a keeper. Now let's go play some fetch!