UnNews:Dissolute border collie has no boundaries

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Henry, the Epicurean border collie, stumbling back from another hard night.

27 June 2007

STRANRAER, Scotland -- It's past noon, and shepherd Joe McGillicuddy is having a difficult time keeping his flock in place. He's been at it for hours, trying to keep the lambs together.

Soon he sees a small black dot comes over the horizon. It's moving slowly, taking a few halting steps toward the flock, struggling to stay on its paws.

Joe frowns. Henry is back.

"Ah, damnit, Henry," McGillicuddy yells at the 3-year-old border collie. "Do your boozing and whoring on your own time. Not on mine."

Henry, pretending not to notice, barks weakly at the sheep, then slinks off to a dog house and sleeps until 8 p.m.

While most border collies in the Southern Highlands direct their considerable energy toward herding sheep and defending them from natural predators, Henry has focused his on luxury, pleasure and general wantonness. The dog's hedonism is apparently unrestrained by morality, responsibility or his own stamina.

"It started when he was a puppy, really, McGillicuddy says. "I taught his whole litter the whistles and signals, but Henry never really seemed interested. And when he discovered he could lick himself -- ho, then it was over."

The dog generally shuns his duties toward the sheep and focuses on rounding up liquor, drugs and sexual partners from a variety of towns, breeds and species. Henry spends a great deal of time in taverns, and despite his significant size disadvantage and small liver, the collie repeatedly drinks other townsmen under the table.

"I must've emptied 12 shot glasses that night," said Andrew Martin, a Hamilton College student on holiday. "Christ, I was a second from texting the paramedics. And meanwhile, Henry is drinking bowl after bowl of scotch like it was nothing. Bastard even looked at me, beggin' for more.

"That dog is a total fucking booze hound," Martin added.

Henry has been seen by many Stranraer residents in the alleys late night, coupling with one or more partners, unafraid of the consequences. The dog was arrested last February for indecent exposure: According to court records, Henry was caught with a wolfhound, an Irish setter, three of McGillicuddy's sheep, a Scottish Fold cat and hardware store owner John Engels.

"That dog was insistent," Engels said. "He kept yipping at me and pushing me out of my store and into that place, and, well, one thing led to another."

Henry has fathered at least 52 puppies, 12 of which have been registered as new breeds by the World Wide Kennel Club.

The border collie's apparently bottomless appetites and destructive behavior may be a result of boredom caused by his rural lifestyles, according to Mariel Johnson, a professor of sociology at Cambridge and author of A Breed Apart: Scottish Agricultural Decline and Canine Alienation.

"Our generation could be satisfied with a life rooted in the soil and a steady routine," Johnson said. "But dogs like Henry aren't satisfied with chasing sheep forever. They feel a void that, unfortunately, they choose to fill with these adverse behaviors."

Henry declined to speak to a reporter before wandering into Stranraer at 9 p.m., apparently looking for a heroin fix.


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