Every shop needs a shop dog, and my home shop is no exception. So meet Mollie the Collie. She’s our family pet, a member of our family and a fun distraction from life’s bumpy road.
My family and I are dog lovers. If there’s reincarnation, I hope to come back as one of our dogs. My wife Maria and I would love to have several collies if we could. Just like dogs, our relationship with them is uncomplicated.
This tri-color collie is actually Mollie the Collie II. Her predecessor, Mollie the Collie I, was also a tri-color. She was such a great dog, that when she left us, we knew we wanted another dog just like her. Besides looking alike, ‘old Mollie’ and ‘new Mollie’ (see photo) share some of the same mannerisms and personality traits.
Some people may think that getting the same type of dog and giving her the same name is a bit strange, but they’re probably not dog owners. Different strokes for different folks. For us, it’s a little bit like having old Mollie back in a new puppy body.
A different kind of shop dog
So, what’s unique about a shop dog? I’ll give you an example. A & B Lock & Safe in Allentown (PA) is where I always go for motorcycle keys. They never let me down. They’re so good that they don’t need a web site, Facebook page, or other social media. The store has been there for decades and it has that vibe too. Their shop dog—I want to say Gracie but I’m terrible with names—always greets the customer and hangs out as long as she gets attention.
The thing about shop dogs is that they become perfectly socialized because they encounter many different types of people. Everyone looks different, smells different, acts different and sounds different. Shop dogs take it all in and deal with it. They tend to be mellow and laid back.
Now our Mollie is a bit different. Shop dogs are supposed to go into the shop, right? Well, not our Mollie. The shop in the basement requires her to navigate semi-slick wooden steps, and that’s not going to happen. She developed a skittish feeling about slick or slippery surfaces, like tiled floors.
The shop in the garage has a different set of issues. It’s dirty (not like a carpeted room in the house) and has strong industrial smells (like gasoline, oil, brake cleaner and so on). She’s not thrilled about lying in or breathing in any of that. Basically, Mollie is more of a princess than a true shop dog.
On the other hand, she is the ever-vigilant watchdog. Anything ‘suspicious’ elicits a good bark, including squirrels and cats, and especially the mailman or UPS truck. This is her home, her family and her pack, and she is always on the job.
Weighing in at seventy pounds, Mollie isn’t little. In addition, her black coat makes her appear aggressive and menacing to some people. It’s called Black Dog Syndrome. Our brains are simply wired like that. While she’ll do plenty of alert barking to get our attention if she thinks something’s amiss, the fact is, she’s a sweetheart and a real attention hound.
Collies, like Mollie, are intelligent dogs. Old Mollie alerted me to situations several times. For instance, she barked and pestered me when I forgot about a pot on the stove that was boiling over. She also alerted me when a leak in the bathroom started to drip into the first-floor dining room.
New Mollie, I swear, can tell time. She knows exactly when it’s time to eat (4 PM) and when it’s time to go out and get an evening snack (7 PM). Yesterday, Maria and I were working in the basement with the door closed. At 4 PM, she barked at the door…time to eat. She’s had the food crazies since we brought her home as a puppy. She can be like the dog in the Beggin’ Strips television commercial, except she’s crazy about any and all food.
That’s our shop dog and mascot. She’s seen her share of troubles in her four years—demodex mange, recurring pyoderma and now seizures. But, she’s a real trooper. The glass is always half-full with her. She does her job day in and day out with a bark that’s worse than her bite and is more than happy to be paid with treats and pats on the head…which is good for me because I can’t afford an employee in the shop.
Oh yeah, the bike
Speaking of the shop, let’s get back to BYOB. Several smaller projects are waiting in the wings—disassemble and clean the carburetors, cut and buff the tank, repair and paint the plastic side covers, install new valve shims, try a creative in-tank fuel filter and so on. Something—weather, parts or illness—keeps interrupting the flow of the overall project. To keep things moving, I’ve been bouncing from one thing to the next without finishing anything. It’s been like this: start this, then start that, then start this other thing, then back to that and so on and so on. I have a feeling all of these little projects will come to a head at one time, so be on the lookout for more posts soon.
Next: A cleaner for every job