Friday, April 27, 2012

A True Collie

Lida was the fulfillment of a life long dream for her loving and devoted owner Harry.

She was one of three puppies in a carefully planned litter.  Her mother was a bitch I had imported from Brazil and her father was imported from the US, both from outstanding bloodlines noted both for beauty and excellent temperament. As one of the major goals of my breeding program was to produce dogs that could become working service dogs, these characteristics are as important to me as show wins.  Lida’s two sisters indeed did go on to become service dogs, one working with an epileptic child and the other with an autistic child.

Lida was the most beautiful, and I thought about keeping her. But after Harry got in touch with me and I got to know him, even if only through correspondence and mutual friends in Greece, where he lives, I knew that Lida couldn’t have a better home than with him.  He had always wanted a pedigreed collie, and now finally had the possibility, and I could make his dream come true.

Lida had to stay with me until she was seven months old, due to the regulations for importing dogs into EU countries from Israel, and it was really hard to part with her.  But Harry welcomed her with an open heart, and she quickly adjusted and returned his love.

Harry lives in Athens, and Lida learned to live as a city dog.  She was a favorite of friends and family, and also had a successful show career, becoming a Greek champion.  The only problem she had in the show ring was enthusiasm – she was so happy to prance around, meet people, and show off, that she often carried her tail quite high and always in motion.  But despite her happy tail, she had a string of wins and excellent critiques.

I visited them in Greece, and saw first hand how much they loved each other, and what a lovely person Harry is. I was really happy with my decision to let him have this happy girl.

Motherhood was another successful experience for her, she produced a lovely litter of puppies, and the most beautiful daughter stayed with Harry.

Harry’s mother, quite elderly and frail, was living alone in a village outside of Athens.  She dearly loved Lida and the affection was mutual.  Harry had Lida’s daughter at home also, so decided that it would be great for both his mother and Lida if she had a country vacation.  Lida could give Mrs. L. companionship and she would have a nice yard to play in, rather than the busy Athens streets.  The arrangement worked out really well; although Lida was happy to see Harry on his frequent visits, she was very bonded to Mrs. L. and very satisfied with country life.

Greece is a country with many problems these days, and the rising crime rate is one of them. One of the reasons that Mrs. L. was so pleased to have Lida with her was for the additional security that having a dog provided.  Lida was a very perceptive dog, and instinctively knew who were welcome guests, and who needed to be barked at and not allowed to enter the yard.  There were a number of situations where Lida stood in front of Mrs. L. at the front gate and wouldn’t allow suspicious strangers to come any closer.

And then one day a month or so ago, I received the tragic news – Lida was dead.  Robbers had broken into Mrs. L’s little house and Lida had attacked them to protect her beloved partner, and was beaten to death.  As Lida lay dying, Mrs. L. was beaten and dragged across the floor, her purse and money were stolen, and she was left lying bleeding on the floor.

The cruelty is still impossible to comprehend.  Harry is heartbroken and his mother feels that she has lost a true member of the family, another being that she loved like a child, and that lost her life defending her.

There are no more words to describe this.  Lida was six years old when she died.

This is the story of a true collie.

Addition:  We have been notified that Lida has been honred posthumously by the Collie Club of America for her bravery and devotion, with the Shining Star award.  It is a great honor and also a comfort to us all.


  1. What a tragic end to this beautiful story! Lida has behaved like a hero. It is worthy of a true collie! No doubt what awaits his mistress on the bridge of the rainbow.
    From Cairngorms'collies France.

  2. Oh, my heart is sad for this family and their wonderful dog. It is hard to comprehend the cruelty of people. You know that Lida had a happy life and she fulfilled her duty, to protect her family. I hope the mother is recovering from her injuries. I'm so sorry to hear about this.

  3. What a beautiful story with such a sad end. Lida was a true hero.

  4. What a sad ending for such a brave and devoted dog. My heart goes out to both owners at the loss of this animal, and, of course, to the breeder who found this great home. Someone once told me that happiness should be measure by quality and not quantity. I guess by that standard Lida lived a long time.

  5. Lida was a true collie and a hero - so sorry that she had to end her life in this way, but she will be remembered with love <3<3<3

  6. A beautiful story of love and devotion albeit one with a very tragic ending. My heart goes out to all of you. May God speed a full recovery for Mrs. L both from her physical and emotional injuries. Lida your earthly walk was done, your work complete. Play and run free across the Rainbow Bridge until you are reunited with Mrs. L

  7. What horrible criminal cruelty!

  8. I am so sorry to hear of this beautiful and loyal collie's horrific tragedy. Every August, at the Collie Health Foundation's Annual fundraiser, "The Gathering" at the legendary home/park of Albert Payson Terhune, in Wayne, NJ, they have a memorial service for collies that have passed with a Scottish bag piper and a reading of the names of all the collies.

    If I may, I would like to sponsor her name and her story to be read at this year's upcoming CHF Gathering at the Sunnybank memorial.

    I would be happy to mail back the memorial card to you or to whom ever you would like.

    Sincerely yours,

    Leigh Cohen

  9. Hi Myrna,

    True to my promise, I have sponsored a memorial card for Lida. Can you privately email me again your address and the owners address so I can mail them to you.

    Warmest regards,

    Leigh Cohen