We picked him up on the 4th of July from Chicago’s O’Hare airport. He toddled out of his crate like he owned the world, wagging his little tail and greeting a rather large family of strangers who had so anxiously been awaiting his arrival. He was the offspring of an old line English Shepherd and a Rough Collie and he was my introduction to the purpose-bred all around “farmcollie”. His breeder gave him the puppy name Bruce (in honor of A.P. Terhune). We named him Judah in honor of his ES father, Soujourner’s Jacob. Until his dying day he would answer to either one or a combination of both (when I was mad at him). He was the best of dogs.
His beautiful face reflected his Collie ancestry but his intuitiveness as a farmdog I think filtered down from the ES in him. He was a dog with a good opinion of himself and a devoted nature. He was exceedingly kind and nurturing to all things small and helpless and a best friend to his kids. He was a guardian first and foremost and there are many stories of him protecting or rescuing his wards, whether animal or human. He had an almost regal air that belied his sense of humor. You felt safe with him around.
He was an expert squirrel chaser but rarely caught one; instead he took out his frustration on the bark of the tree providing refuge to the enemy. The trees in my woods all bore the mark of this squirrel chasing passion. He loved to hear himself bark and everyone was announced loudly. Strangers were wary of the black-faced dog with the deep serious bark but those who knew him knew he was a gentle soul. He was a heart dog, not just of mine but of many in my family and that perhaps is his greatest testimony. One of the hardest things to watch is the life of a friend speed past your own idling one. Eleven years of honest living and working took it’s toll on him and his body just wore out. I’ve said goodbye to many a good dog in my life but Judah Bruce, I believe it was hardest to say good bye to you. Thank you for being such a wonderful friend. I’ll remember you always.