Lancashire Dogs - Misty Blue, Burlington Slate
PUBLISHED: 15:02 11 May 2012 | UPDATED: 21:23 20 February 2013
This Border Collie is more than just a dog's body at work, as Emily Rothery discovers
The summit of Grizebeck hill on the Furness Peninsula can be a cold and windy place. Workers dressed in high visibility clothing are dotted about the hillside and huge vehicles rumble past. It is a relief to enter the warmth and quiet of Burlington Slates reception.
I go to the window at the desk to pay for the stone my husband has loaded into his trailer and I am met by a very attentive member of staff who takes my chitty and returns for the payment. She is friendly and efficient and, as my husband comments, rather beautiful.
I have to admit that she is an eye-catcher and very good at customer relations. I am impressed as she returns to place her front paws on the counter and without fuss passes us our change.
This member of staff is a dog, a Blue Merle Border Collie called Misty Blue. To the staff and customers she is much loved and usually just called Misty. She first came to the office as a pup and, without any specific training, seems to have learned what to do to help keep the office running smoothly. Elaine, her proud owner, never intended for her to stay, but six years later Misty is still here happily working and luring customers back. Elaine tells me that her fellow workers insisted she returned each day even after growing beyond the puppy stage.
It seems that the office would not be the same place without her as she eagerly trots to the desk window as each new customer arrives. She firmly plants her paws on the counter, fixes each person with her expectant gaze and patiently awaits the relevant paper work or payment which she takes gently in her mouth. She then pads quietly back across the floor to deliver it to the correct recipient and awaits the next instruction. Misty will happily take credit cards or paper money but, as Elaine informs me with a smile, she struggles with the loose change.
She is the gentlest of dogs and happily settles onto her rug when her services are not required. If hungry or thirsty she will carry her small plastic bowls to Elaine to let her know she would like them filled. The bond between Elaine and her beloved dog is clear for all to see.
Like all good workers, Misty can multi-task as shown during a recent spell as a sheep dog on a West Cumbrian farm where she has been equally eager to please.
The dog is past pup rearing age but Elaine tells me that over the years Misty has had three litters and, of course, has been a caring mother.
Her only fault, it seems, is she is camera shy but I am lucky and, after a few missed shots, she happily lets me photograph her as she works and even stops to pose at one point. This uncharacteristic behaviour induces much incredulity and laughter from her co-workers who obviously enjoy her company.
Perhaps if we all took a dog to work the world would be a more relaxed and happier place.
Emily will be bringing us remarkable mutts every month. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you know of an exceptional animal.