The Border Collie Chronicles

Observations from (arguably) the World's Smartest Dogs;
(but, without question, the bestest friends!)
or, Life As We Understand It, as told from dad's shop.

Posted December 8, 2016

You Gotta Adjust, Dude …

(Or Dudette!!)

By Merritt and Taffy


You know … I’ve had some crappy things occur to me during my short, little life.  Abandonded and involved in a pretty serious accident where I lost my right rear appendage, I was alone and lonely - but never scared!  (you don’t need to know the rest of the nitty gritty details)!!


My story is a little different, I had a home and a job … but I got hurt on that job.  When my former owner learned that I probably wouldn’t ever be a top performer due to the “on the job” injury – they asked the vet to put me down. 


We both learned that sometimes you might have to adjust some of your beliefs in order to deal with some of the crappy things that happen to you in your life[i]!


You see, we believe - that what you believe, has a significant impact on just how you will perceive the bad crap that happens to you (it can also influence things that you just “think” might happen!).  As an example, if you build your life around your job, losing it can hurt you a lot more than if you believe that you can switch jobs and still be happy.  Changing your beliefs can help make the inevitable bad events, that occur to all of us, easier to deal with.


When you’ve dealt with the sort of things that we’ve both dealt with, a “Negative Nellie” attitude probably would’ve gotten us both some really bad outcomes!  We were both extremely … what’s that?  What does “Negative Nellie” mean?  Well, this phrase has been around for a long time – you see, "Old Nell" was a playful nickname for an old, worn down horse.  A high strung horse became a "Nervous Nellie".  The name started to be applied to fearful or nervous people, and later acquired the connotation of cowardly.  “Nervous Nellie” then acquired the connotation of "naysayer" and gave rise to similar terms like “Negative Nellie”, “Naysayer Nellie”, “Negative Ned” and “Negative Nancy” (no offense intended Mrs. Nancy – we know that you’re a pretty positive kind of lady!).  So there you are … can we proceed now?  As we were saying, we were both extremely fortunate that the fine folks at ABCR became involved in each of our respective predicaments and took some heroic action to help save our lives!  We suspect that ABCR tries their dangedest to rescue all of the BC’s that are in need … but, we believe, that our individual attitudes most likely made their decisions easier (or, at a minimum, made them happier about their decision to expend their limited resources for our future after they learned how bright and shiny that our personalities and dispositions were!)!  That is, we never lost our hopeful, optimistic and loving attitudes – and they were actually strengthened by the events that brought about our involvement with ABCR!   


I was fostered by GiGi who took me into her home after my leg was amputated and she shared her home and lots of love until I was ready to head out west! 


And I was fostered by Shirley who took me in after my leg was fixed up - she also shared her home, lots of love, and even some “physical therapy” on my bum hip.  I too, then headed out west. 


We saw some thinking on “Barking Up the Wrong Tree”[ii] that espoused that many of the bad events in our life are only as bad as we want to think that they are.  For example, a kiddo might break down and cry over something as simple as a broken toy, but to them that toy is important.  Likewise, even adults might feel like their life is over if someone “breaks up” with them.  However, a slight perspective change can make a world of difference:


Let’s say that you get dumped by someone you’re totally in love with.  Feel sad?  Heck, yeah.  The world (as you know it) is going to end!


Okay, let’s play the same scenario, but after you get dumped, let’s say that you find out that person was actually a psychopath who killed their last three partners.  Feel sad you got dumped now?  Nope!  You’re tickled!!  How could you be so lucky.


So clearly “getting dumped” isn’t the important factor here.  What changed?  Nothing but the beliefs that you carried into the encounter.


If you lose your job and believe it was a lousy position and believe it won’t be hard for you to get a better job, you’re unfazed by it.


If you believe it was the greatest job ever and believe you’ll never get another one that good — you’re gonna be devastated. 


You see, emotions aren’t random - they come from our beliefs.  Or … the Stoics[iii] (those are the brilliant old guys, you know … Ancient Wisdom – not to be confused with our dear ol’ Ronny (who regurgitates a different kind of wisdom!!!)!!!) are saying there are no good or bad events, there’s only your perception.  Shakespeare said it well, “Nothing either good nor bad but thinking makes it so.”  Shakespeare and the Stoics are saying that the world around us is indifferent, it is objective.  The Stoics are saying that, “This happened to me,” is not the same as, “This happened to me and that’s bad.”  They’re telling you that if you stop at the first part, you will be much more resilient and much more able to make some good out of anything that happens.  (Well, actually - Ol' Ronny shares this wisdom ... but don't tell him we said this!)


We believe that this is soooo true!


Dad said that it has been almost a year (but I’ve only started on his training!  He has a pretty long way to go!) that I’ve been on the place.  Through it all – I can assure you that I have never lost my sunny disposition, and add in my stubborn, bull headed attitude … we will make it work – Dang It!!  I have made a home here, and it is the bestest place that I have ever been.  Dad stays amazed at my resilience, and is proud that I act as if I have no idea that I am missing a leg!  I don’t let it slow me down, or limit me, at all! 


So far, I am letting Miss Merritt take the lead on the training of all of our people (especially dad!), but I am setting my agenda too!  Me too – through it all, I never lost my puppy enthusiasm and my acceptance of – and love for – life … but … hey … isn’t this the way it’s supposed to be?  It’s all I know, after all!  No point in whining about it, shake it off and go do something worthwhile (even if it’s just laying in the sun!)!  I have nothing but love for ALL the people I meet in my forever home and the other black dogs too!


Obviously you can’t change your entire world view every time you drop your ice cream cone (and some of the crap that happens will just be really BAD crap … let’s just face that!), but if you are able to make some small tweaks to your belief system, you might be able to manage some of your bad events more better than you have.  Sometimes life sucks, but how you think about the bad times matters just as much as what you do about it.  The way we see it - is that if you’re still breathing … go on out there and SIEZE THE DAY (you know … yeah , it’s that ol’ CARPE DIEM stuff again!)  It can be worse MY FRIENDS!!


Hey – I am destined to hop around on three legs for the rest of my life … and I AM a bad-ass!  Sometimes, though, it’s tough to pull off the bad-ass attitude when you are hopping around … but I CAN (and will!) pull it off!  Just try me … !  Yeah, Life is More Better Than Good!  (and yeah, maybe I was a little scared.)


And me … I’m gimped up (and skinny … not to mention that dad says that I am not that most attractive BC specimen that he has ever seen … well actually he says that I am pretty “Fugly”) – but they love me bunches around this place, and I love them too!  God is Great!


Love to all of you, especially during this most Holy of Seasons!


We wish nothing but the best for all of you!  And, if you encounter any difficulties, we hope that this little article helps … at least a little!




Merritt and Taffy







Neither of us had the opportunity to meet Miss Patches, but she was (and still is) extremely well thought of around this place and her stories serve as inspiration to both of us.  Therefore, instead of quotes, we’d like to close out with some links to some articles that we think are well worth reading (or re-reading) and absolutely tie into our message today (there really is some good stuff back there – go back and re-read some)!



Just Get Over It …, by Patches – updated 12-10-15 (originally posted 02-16-12)


Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero, by Patches – 02-26-15


When It All Looks Like Crap … Be Ossimistic!, by Patches – 06-24-13


Life Is Good (vs. 107 degrees) …, By Patches – 08-09-12


It Just Feels Good!, by Patches – 01-26-12





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[ii] You can read all about the site at:


[iii] Stoicism teaches the development of self-control and fortitude as a means of overcoming destructive emotions.  You can read a lot more (we didn’t really understand it) at:


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