Talking to Animals

By Mike Johnson

“Pooper, Penny.”

Yes, I’ve trained my Border Collie to poop on command. That word, combined with proper timing and location always gets a speedy result.

It’s even easier to get her to go #1 because dogs always keep something in the tank.

“Potty, Penny.” Sure enough, she immediately squats. This is a great tool to use before car rides, leaving her home alone, or the last “outside” before bed.

Border Collies have been tested to determine the number of individual words they understand. “Chaser” holds the record at 1,022 words. They verified this by using a giant pile of toys. Each toy was given a separate name. The dog was able to identify, grab and return the correct toy from the pile every time. The story is told in the book, “Chaser: Unlocking the Genius of the Dog Who Knows a Thousand Words.”

We don’t tax Penny that heavily around here. But it's an effortless miracle to totally sync with your best canine friend. It helps to live far from frenzied civilization. No roads. No people. No leashes. The dog comfortably stays near the house or near the person leading the hike. As you can see, she's even earned the trust of our wild deer friends.

A single word gets the desired response. Add a different tonality and the word gets a different response. This makes it easy to play. Obey. Stay.

A little goes a long way with Border Collies. Words with rounded edges work best. They are too devastated by sharp scolding.

There is a familiar comfort that develops with an older dog. You’ve both put in your time. Bonded. Trust. Love.

You’re partners. Pals. Effortlessly merged. Blind to the difference in species.

Dog is my copilot.

She’s eager to please, provides unconditional love and always focusing those brown eyes on me for her cues.

Every human deserves to go through life with a fawning fan by their side.

This is our third Border Collie. Like anyone you've loved, they’ve all taught us how to be better people.

It’s been said that animals are a good judge of character.

I sleep best when I dream of heaven, reunite with every furry friend, and imagine their evaluation playing a significant role in God's judgment.


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