My new employer Harvey was also the master of two Smooth Collies who came downstairs with him every morning. The mature one was named Princess with the baby called Allie. There was no doubt in my mind when I first saw Princess at the top of the stairs that she had royal blood pulsing through those doggie veins of hers. She made her descent elegantly as if she were entering a black tie affair at Scotland’s Balmoral Castle in the days of Queen Victoria. The Queen was solely responsible for the collie’s transformation from working farm dog to the family pet we know and love today. It all started when Queen Victoria became interested in the breed and purchased some for the castle in 1860. A herding dog, collies were originally brought to Scotland by the Romans to herd their sheep.
I had never seen a dog that looked like a short haired version of Lassie before. Princess was sable and white with a long snout, pointy ears and a muscular frame. There were no sharp edges on Princess and every move she made appeared to be intentional. Princess seemed to prance as she walked with those elegant long legs and her elongated, slender tail that curved with a white tip.
Allie's personality seemed more suited to her herding DNA than Royalty. Every morning, Allie ran as fast as she could down the stairs ahead of Princess, practically knocking down Harvey. so she could be the first to greet everyone, tail wagging furiously, squishing her body up against me and rubbing herself across my legs. I could picture her gathering sheep and bringing them to the shepherds in the 5th century. Her body was thin because she was still a puppy and hadn’t filled out yet but her black tri coat was shiny as glass and softly accented by her solid white chest. She had sable eyebrows, creating an almost human-like expressive face. Harvey was training her to be a service dog for the blind.