Jigsaw Julia

The Art of Toy Herding

by Patricia Kimbell, BCI Contributor

Julia's "I'm So Bored" Look.

Julia’s “I’m So Bored” Look.

Julia, my five-year-old, smooth-coated Border Collie, couldn’t play outside or practice her Agility skills very long each day due to the severe Texas heat this summer.  She learned to conquer her boredom by “herding” her toys.

Sometimes she arranges them, always the pink ones, on the floor and most times on her bed.  Apparently, pink is her favorite color, as she always chooses that color from her toy box. The color choice surprises me, because I had always heard that dogs were colorblind.

She may not be able to control anything else in her little world, but she can control the order of her toys!


DSCN1307DSCN1326I could find no information on any other BC exhibiting this behavior, so thought you might like to see pictures of Julia’s toy arrangements.

The intricate way in which she intertwines her toys reminds me of a jigsaw puzzle.

Four years ago, I found her at an abandoned ranch near me when she was approximately a year old.  She was  starving  and heart-worm infected, trying to dig water out of a dried-up pond. That was on the 4th of July, hence the name “Julia.” She’s the best thing that ever happened to me.

5205096764708059358We began Agility training and so far  she has added five titles to her name!

Click to learn more and buy!

Click to learn more and buy!

Editor’s Note: Julia’s artistic arrangements are reminiscent of Dog Works: The Meaning and Magic of Canine Constructions by Vicki Mathison.

19 responses to “Jigsaw Julia

  1. My border collie mix arranges the toys on his bed as well. He is the only one of my three dogs who likes an orderly house. The other two (his sister and a Shepherd/ Husky mix) play with the toys and once they get bored they just drop it in a random place.

  2. So funny! Looks like a game of stuffed toy Jenga. Also, congratulations on your accomplishments in agility with Julia! Keep up the great work.

  3. What a smart girl that Julia is!! The photos of her deliberate arrangements made me smile 🙂

  4. Patricia Kimbell

    Thank you all very much for your comments on Julia. I just now found this response section! I’m not very computer savvy. lol She is such a little love and I am so lucky to have found her, (or maybe she found me).

  5. Patricia Kimbell

    She is still arranging her toys. Last week I had to laugh. She arranged several of her pink toys on the floor in a circle and added her little white chew bone. She just couldn’t decide where to put it and changed it’s position about 4 times before just giving up and hiding it under the bed!

    • Patricia, I was just wondering about Julia last night when Mick was looking for mischief. I wished he’d invent a game like Julia’s! I wondered what it is that most dogs think to destroy and some few to build. Julia is fascinating!

  6. Patricia Kimbell

    A follow-up on Julia’s activities. She is taking a hiatus from Agility due to a thyroid problem. The vet is working to get her thyroid level on a even keel. I am sure that once we can get her all straightened out she will be back in the Agility ring. Meanwhile she spends a great deal of time sleeping and playing in her room. I feel that soon she will be back to the yard chasing the birds and little rabbits.

  7. Patricia Kimbell

    I bought the book DOG WORKS suggested by Lisa Lanser-Rose. Those dogs are just amazing!!! Who knew things like this were possible?? A worthwhile read. Thanks for the suggestion Lisa.

    • Patricia Kimbell

      It is terrible sadness that I must tell you that my sweet little Julia crossed over the Rainbow Bridge this morning. She was surrounded and in the arms of those who loved her most as she crossed. She will be missed and remembered forever. . Patricia Kimbell

  8. Godspeed, Julia. We’re all so sorry for your loss, Patricia.

    • Patricia Kimbell

      Thank you terri. All of her friends have been so supportive. Our Agility class surprised me with a dinner at a nice restaurant and presented me with the most beautiful portrait of Julia and me. The picture was taken about 2 weeks before her unexpected death.at our class picnic. Still can’t look at it without crying.

  9. Patricia Kimbell

    To clarify the above note I wrote. The picture was taken at the class picnic. Her death occurred two weeks after the picnic.

  10. Patricia kimbell

    Hard to believe sweet Julia has been gone a year. Still miss her a if it were yesterday. This site brings me solace, seeing her sweet face and remembering the fun games she played. .RIP my sweet Julia…..

    • Oh, Patricia! The grief never really goes away, does it? It still sneaks up on me too, and Casey died five years ago. It happened earlier this morning, in fact. But Mick is a tremendous comfort!

  11. Patricia kimbell

    Lisa, I just saw your post today. I did not know of your dog Casey. Yes, it is brought to mind that she is gone when I am not expecting it….Trying to corral Caesar takes up a good bit of my time. I believe his aggressive/possessive behavior stems from her loss. He thought she was his Mommy…and then….poof, she was gone. He is my self-appointed guardian.

  12. Patricia Kimbell

    If you have not yet read the book mentioned above, “Dog Works”, do so now. Amazing things done by dogs!!!

Whatcha thinking? Gimme that! Grr! Grr!

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