“No body can go back and start a new beginning but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” Maria Robinson
Hank and I returned to obedience school this Spring, hoping to be inspired. Our mentor and friend, Lynn Fox, had promised to remove all the balls from the room before we arrived. Hank arrives and comes crashing in through the door heading for the toy box but no toys! After a moment or two of shock, he recovers and begins to search high and low and finds one last ball sitting on a shelf. Too late! We decide to let him have a play; back and forth and around and around he pushes the ball until he becomes breathless and frenzied. Maggie walks in who is wise and experienced with border collies with issues. “That will never do,” she quietly says. “Take the ball away ; he must calm down” The ball is set on the shelf and we make Hank lie down, stroking him gently, telling him, “good settle.” “Breathe Hank Breathe,” we say although out of the corner of his eye, he is watching the ball. We talk in soothing tones to him and hear our own breathes slow down, feeling calmer ourselves. Finally his breathing becomes synchronous with ours and slowly we all get up. I walk over to get the ball…one or two moments of play and then it’s taken away. “Look Hank.” He takes his eyes off the ball for a fraction of a second and lifts them to me , then like a magnet, they land back on the ball. That will do for a start. And we repeat the cycle….play, settle, look, play until I am worn out.
Hank is an addict and without his balls or sheep, he becomes restless and anxious. That is what drives him and makes him brilliant at times, yet far away. He cannot hear his master. “Breathe Hank, Breathe.”