Denali, not the one in Alaska

Denali, or Ali (pronounced Alley) as we call her is the second Koerner dog.  She is a border collie and not only looks the part but acts the part.   She is an amazing companion, a dog above all other dogs for intelligence, for care, and the like.  That is not to say she doesn’t have her issues, just on Thanksgiving we had to put her in the back room.  She is very protective of her “sheep” and particularly protective of some more than others.  Charlie, our fourth son, not biological, probably a blog subject to come,  was the reason for Ali’s being put in the back room.

Charlie is one of the first in our “family” that Ali bonded with when she was a puppy.  This means a lot to her.  When Stephen, our grand nephew moved quickly in the direction of Charlie, Ali decided it was “nip” time.  So, off to her back room.  Ali takes this in stride; she actually doesn’t like to be in situations where she might misbehave.

Ali is so bright that she pretty much stays within our yard without needing a fence.  She has strayed every once in a while, but for the most part, she is really good.  She gets the newspaper every day.  She does overdo it in exuberance every so often, though, and rips up the paper a bit.

If you say, “kill,” she will go crazy with whatever is in her mouth and makes it quickly go back and forth in a pendulum like way at fast speed.  She will do this as well if you mention the name of a well known rapper as she doesn’t like him.

She loves to watch TV.  Her favorite movie is “Shrek.”  Her favorite way of having her dinner is to have all of her “sheep” downstairs in the family room and then turn on the TV.  Feed her and leave the family room and she often will just not eat.  We have been known to come home from a party, late at night, and have to sit and watch TV as Ali eats.

She is, as her predecessor, Freckles was, the world’s best child/people psychologist.  If you are having a bad day or are sick,  she will spend time with you.  If voices are raised, she gets upset and runs to the person she deems as the “victim” of the bad behavior.  The times the boys came home and were upset, Freckles would do her job and cuddle with them until they felt better.

Both Freckles and Ali share the common trait of being black and white.  Although I thought Freckles was a great dog, Ali has her beat since she is so smart and intuitive.  Freckles was an inveterate hunter (Brittany Spaniel and Shelty combo) whereas Ali thinks she is and is not.  Ali has managed to prove her prowess in the field with cows, though.  She definitely knows what to do when it comes to herding animals.

Ali was a great surprise to us all.  Freckles was getting up in years.  The boys were concerned that Mikey was going to be the only one left with the parents.  We left for the only weekend I ever remember leaving the two of them alone, to go to Lansing, Michigan for a swimming banquet for their older brother.  We warned them against parties and such.  We came home to find they had taken their tax return money and gone off to Carol Stream, IL or somewhere like that and purchased a dog.  When we saw her with her little bow, we couldn’t resist her, even though we knew better.  Freckles hated other dogs, having a puppy was a major concern.  We were frankly always afraid to leave them alone.  In any case, Freckles exerted her alpha female power and managed to keep Ali in line without killing her.  Ali learned how to maintain her existence, pick up some few bad Freckles traits, and avoid trouble with her.

Freckles lasted, I think, about a year before getting very ill and then finally being put to sleep with the two older boys in attendance.  It was a very sad time for us all and we were thankful to have Ali.

Ali has managed to surprise us all, she is not fond of other dogs, and, as mentioned, little kids, especially those who move fast.  With the arrival of Samantha on the scene, we were all concerned.  Ali rose to the occasion and now views Samantha as an excuse to go outside, play Frisbee, and eat like a queen.  Samantha just loves sharing her food with Ali!

Dogs can be a pain, but they can be such a wonderful addition to a family and help out emotionally at all times.  Ali and her predecessor, Freckles, have definitely fit that bill!


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