Linda Blubaugh, February 28, 2015
I lost my dad a few months ago. He was 91 and had a great life, but I still miss him terribly. Dad had a special bond with each of us kids. He and my oldest brother shared a love of flying airplanes. He and my other brother shared a love of fly-fishing. Daddy and I shared a love of collies.
Daddy’s love of collies began as a boy when he read Albert Payson Terhune’s books about the Sunnybank collies. My love of collies has existed for as long as I can remember, and that love began with Daddy telling me about his own collie, Thane.
After Daddy discovered collies through Terhune’s stories, he came upon a collie puppy for sale; it was love at first sight, and Daddy named him Thane. Daddy wanted Thane so much that he gave up high school football and got a job so that Grandpa would loan him the money to pay for Thane. Thane was Daddy’s pride and joy, and the feeling was mutual. In a time when life was much simpler than today, Thane would jump over their fence and go meet Daddy every day when school let out.
When I was in grade school and wanted a collie puppy more than anything, Daddy said he would get me one if I read all of Terhune’s books. I faithfully read them, but Mom still wouldn’t let me get a collie because we couldn’t afford a fenced-in yard. Ha — I guess Moms have to be the practical ones! But in the summer of 1969 we finally fenced our yard and Daddy kept his promise. He took me to Glen Twiford’s Wind-Call Collies and I got to pick out my very own puppy. I named him Meteor, and he was my pride and joy, just like Thane was to Daddy.
Daddy served our country as a Navy pilot during WWII and the Korean Conflict, continuing in the Naval Reserves until he retired as a lieutenant commander. Thane also served our country; he was a War Dog in the Army during WWII, enlisting on 6/10/43, and being honorably discharged on 1/9/45.
I’m very fortunate to have a few old photos of Daddy and Thane, and also to be the caretaker of Thane’s military documents as well as a wooden sculpture of Thane that Daddy’s brother carved. Although Thane was the only collie that Daddy ever called his own, I know he loved Meteor almost as much as I did. When Meteor died, Daddy said he’d never get another collie because the pain of losing them was just too much to bear. But he certainly loved my other collies through the years and he got a lot of joy from them. And oh, how they loved Daddy! When he came to visit they followed him everywhere, even sleeping with him instead of me. I’ve been collie-less now for 2-1/2 years, but I hope to be blessed with another one before too long. And although I’m sad that Daddy won’t be here to share in my joy, I am grateful that he shared his love of collies with me, and I will be honored to pass along his love.