A Westie's legs are very short. So short in fact the Westie breed is one of the 'little people' of the dog world. His body is average sized; he has a big head and impressive jaws; he is in all ways a mid sized dog except for one. A Westie's legs are very short.
Short legs are good. Being low to the ground gives good balance and traction. Having a regular sized body on short legs aids in making hairpin turns. The Westie's short legs are thick and sturdy and great for driving his powerful front claws. Short legs allows a Westie to 'go to ground' and get into holes and burrows where varmints live. Short legs are good.
A Border Collie's legs are very long. So long in fact the Border Collie is one of the 'gazelles' of the dog world. Her body is long and light and might have some Suluki ancestry which makes her fast. Oh she is so fast. A Border Collie's legs are very long.
Long legs are good. Having long legs allows you to make long strides which takes up a lot of ground with each step and leap over things in your path. Long legs and a long body allow a Border Collie to make tight hairpin turns. A Border Collie's long legs are strong and springy and allow her to fly. Long legs are good.
I never really thought that much about legs. I certainly did not spend a lot of time pondering my dog's legs. Sure the Westie had short legs, but he was totally okay with that and very agile. He might not have been the fastest dog running in a straight line, but he could turn on a dime, a fact that used to cause our Mini Schnauzer all sorts of frustration.
Dogs like to chase things and they also like to be chased. Unlike a human children's game, the one who is 'it' is not the one who is chasing. The 'it' is the one being chased. If you catch me then you can be 'it' otherwise - I get to stay 'it'. Oh, how the dogs really, really want to be 'it'.
For the Schnauzer and the Westie the match was fairly even. The Schnauzer was faster on the open straight path, but the Westie was able to make incredible hairpin turns, leaving the Schnauzer yipping in frustration as he shot past the turn the Westie performed.
Zoom ahead a few years and now the game is between the Westie and the Border Collie. The Border Collie has steadily been losing the 'it' position since as a puppy she could not outrun the Westie. He was able to outdistance her and make his famous turns to outsmart her. What he didn't count on was that she was not always going to be a little girl.
Suddenly it seemed that everything came together for the Border Collie. Not only could she run fast, but she had learned from the master and could make these incredible hairpin turns. She got to stay 'it' more and more. Since he was not able to catch her very often anymore, the Westie stopped trying very hard. He would run for a few steps and then just give up. He didn't seem to be upset about it, but he wasn't going to waste his time. She could stay 'it' for all he cared.
It turns out the 'it' game is not very fun unless someone will chase you. She would circle back after he stopped chasing her and initiate a wrestling match. How dare he not chase her! Then she decided she was not going to be 'it'. The Westie was 'it' and he needed to run from her.
The Westie did not want to run and he certainly did not want to run with her chasing him. She could catch him easily now and he did not want to admit she was better than him. He decided to win by not playing the game. This did not please the Border Collie, so she decided to force the issue.
We were in the garden together and the Border Collie began to run full out around the yard. Every time she passed close to the Westie she paused to snap and wrestle with him. This annoyed him and he began to move from the outer edge of the garden area to a center area near a large fig tree. As the Border Collie made her circuit this time she did not pause.
|This time she took aim at his long side and ran hard into him, leaping only after she had made contact.|
|This blast did not just knock the Westie over, it rolled him over several times and he ended up smacking into the trunk of the fig tree.|
The Ufff he made sounded painful and he struggled to get back to his feet. Since I had witnessed this heartless attack I was shouting at the Border Collie and making my way toward the Westie to see if he was okay. He was shaken and snorting and angry, but also scared. The Border Collie was not stopping her mad run and was zooming from one end of the yard to the other, faster and faster, oblivious to my yells.
I straddled the Westie because the Border Collie was making another pass and I could tell she was aiming right for him again. She had a gleeful look in her eyes as she came near. I crouched down to further shield the Westie with my arms and as she came close I swatted out at her to drive her off.
|Just as I swept my arms out toward the Border Collie, the Westie decided to take matters into his own hands, or jaws as it was. He surged forward toward the Border Collie just as I swatted at her and my arm ended up in his mouth. He bit down hard.|
Once the Border Collie discovered this new way of 'playing' with her pal, she wanted to do it again and again. We intervened when we were outside and chastised her for this action, but we couldn't be there all the time and she learned to do this when we were not there to put a stop to it. But eventually these bashings did stop. We were worried, but it turns out we didn't need to be. The Westie had a plan.
The Border Collie is running and barking at the edges of the yard but then she pauses. The Westie looks up and I look up and it starts. The Border Collie begins to run full out. As she starts to zoom down the path way the Westie starts to run toward the patio. He knows that depending on where he is when she starts the chase he may need to change course several times.
He must not be in the open when she comes close. He must not be broadside to her nor can his back be turned to her. He is in the middle of the garden when she starts and he runs to the orange trees and places his back to them. She zooms close on her first pass and he turns and makes a fake lunge toward her as if he will chase her. He must make it look good so she will make a full circuit away instead of circling back too soon. The distance from the orange tree to the patio is long and completely open. Once he commits to it he will have no cover.
|He is running harder now, sensing her approach. He must make it. He is almost there. |
He. Is. Almost. There.
According to the Westie's rule of life, if you cannot change something then you should learn to cope with it.