Queenie, the Collie Who Saved A Child

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Collies know when they’re being admired and when someone is not a threat. So it was whines, not deep, protective barks that drew my attention to the man standing near the back window of my parked car, staring at my Rough Collies with a beatific smile on his face.

Jim gave off good vibes, so I got out of the front seat to stand in the parking lot and talk to him while I waited for my friend to reemerge from the store. As is so often the case with the older generation, seeing my Collies Gustav and Yoshi had brought back memories of his childhood Collie. And what a Collie she was! This is Jim’s story.

Vintage black and white photo of a sable and white Rough Collie lying at the feet of 3 children, one boy standing with his arms around the shoulders of 2 younger girls

My Dog Queenie

I was about 10 years old in the 1950s when given a young Lassie-like Collie. The intelligence, beauty and love we received from her is indescribable, and she instantly became one of the family.

Mom would remark, “That dog needs a bath…” – meaning I needed to bathe Queenie. When Queenie heard what Mom said, she would immediately paw open the back door and go outside! After cleaning and grooming, I would teach Queenie some tricks: sit, down, shake hands (even the back leg) and speak for food with that unique collie bark.

My little sister Pam was a toddler, and one day when I was “watching” her and turned my back, she toddled down our driveway into the street as a vehicle was fast approaching. Before I could reach Pam, Queenie ran into the street, got a mouth full of diaper and dragged her to safety!

Black and white photo of a Rough Collie sitting outside between 2 kneeling children, one young girl and an older boy
Pam, Queenie, and Jim

When older, *Pam again slipped away from me, riding her trike down the sidewalk. When I realized that Queenie was also gone, I had an idea where she was. I jumped on my bike, catching up with them two blocks around the street corner from our house. Pam was pedaling furiously and not steering well, but Queenie was protecting her by pushing her back from the road if she strayed from the sidewalk.

One day when hiking in the California hills, Queenie was pushed off the narrow trail into a cactus bed while protecting my sis by trotting on the outside of the trail. I carried her home in my arms, about four blocks distance. We picked needles for hours!

Dad had Queenie bred with a tricolor Collie, and she had two pups. One was sable and white like her and the other was a beautiful tricolor Collie named Duchess.

Black and white photo of a small tricolor Collie puppy posing outside with a smiling boy and younger girl wearing suspenders
Jim, Pam, and Queenie’s puppy Duchess

Queenie suffered with a skin condition, and the animal doctor once sent her home with all her hair shaved from her neck to her tail. When we took her for a walk, someone called the cops saying there was a lion loose!! The police came out but laughed when they saw Queenie.

In 1955 we moved to North Carolina and lived by a busy new interstate across from a restaurant where we frequently went to eat. I would tell Queen to “Stay” and not follow us. From the restaurant, I always saw her peeking over the embankment, watching us. She knew not to cross!

black and white photo of pam and jim sitting on the ground outside with Queenie

In a few years, she was in bad shape with mange and rheumatism. The vet said she was suffering and suggested putting her down. I couldn’t stand for her to suffer and with tears flowing down my seventeen-year-old cheeks, I picked her up, hugged her goodbye and handed her to the doc. Queenie looked back over the doc’s shoulder to see if I was coming, and that look of dismay will always haunt me. That was the last I ever saw of my awesome Queenie.

Dogs are marvelous creatures, but they don’t live long. I have had to bid farewell to a dozen or more great dogs in my 79 years, but Queenie was my first dog and is still number one!

A closer picture of Queenie as she lies outside, showing her white muzzle and white patch of fur over her rump, with a baby goat standing behind her
Queenie with a baby goat she helped raise

About the Author

Jim Stutts has led a varied and interesting life. He has drag raced, been part of singing groups, worked as a hospital and prison chaplain, written for several Christian publications, and has had many speaking engagements, including preaching all around the United States and in countries such as Cameroon and Trinidad. Jim also enjoys restoring antique automobiles and competing in old car shows. In 2019, he sustained injuries from a freak accident that left him hospitalized, but says he is now “back to being abnormal.” He has been married to his wife Joyce since 1957, and together they have 4 children, 11 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren.

* Probably thanks to Queenie, Pam Morgan is still alive to this day and contributed some of the photos used in this post.

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Emily Sowulewski

Emily is an avid writer, blogger, and Collie lover who collects and posts stories about Collies from around the world. Submit a story, ask a question, or just say hi; Emily would love to hear from you.
  • My wife and I had three rough collies years ago. Our first was, Micah, a sable/ red Merle, a giant but lean 98 lbs! If you asked him to bring you a toy, he’d bring you every toy except the one you asked for, he’d smile with a twinkle in his eye, to say: I fooled you, silly human, ha ha!
    Our second, Caleb, a tri-color, a large, lean 89 lbs. Sweet, gentle, and unflappably happy. Out for a walk, an angry Yorkie busted through the neighbors’ screen door and came after the collies and I, as the Yorkie was about to bite my ankle, Caleb reached down, picked up the Yorkie gently by the scruff like a whelp, looked at me as to say: what do I do with him papa? We took him home safe…
    Our third was a sable Irish collie, we called her Mother Superior Maeve, strict as a Nun, no tolerance for silliness or quarreling, if my wife and I were arguing, Maeve would get between us and scold us. We would forget the argument and just laugh…

    • I love all of this!

      I currently have a father and son (both Rough Collies) who have a great approach to small dog attacks too, though I have to say Caleb’s method was even better.

      (By the way, whoever says two unneutered male dogs can’t get along has never had Collies. Sir Gustav loved Vakaa from the get-go, and they still play together though Gus is 11 years old now. His son keeps him young.)

      Those are some good-sized Collies! Gus and Vakaa are both 75 pound dogs – also lean – and I thought they were big. Gustav is a dark mahogany sable, so some people have thought he was a German Shepherd mix.

      Anyway, their strategy has been to snarl a correction – all noise, no contact, even if the other dog actually made contact – and pin smaller aggressive dogs to the ground. Their weight stays on their hind legs, and they use just enough pressure with their front legs to hold the dog in place without hurting them. Then they look at me or sometimes I swear straight at the dog’s owner like, “Come collect this idiot.” I love Collies’ natural tolerance and gentleness. The way they treat small dogs as unruly puppies is really humorous and probably humiliating for the little terrors.

      Maeve sounds like the perfect peacekeeper!

      Also Vakaa is a sable merle, and he is mischievous as well. He likes to do a different trick than the one we asked for.

      Thank you for sharing your stories!