Michelle Taylor


I LOVE animals. Of all kinds. When I was in elementary school, one of my favorite books was an animal encyclopedia with a spine about 3 inches thick and a hardback cover that began to fall off because I had perused it so many times. 🤓 I was the kid who said “I want to be a veterinarian when I grow up” all the way into college.  That is, until I took an “animal restraint” class as an undergrad at BYU (since you need to be able to know how to control an animal in order to give it an injection, take a temperature, etc)... and it was only about a week into that class when I realized being a veterinarian was just not for me.  Animals don’t know you’re trying to make them better, and I did not like being the "bad guy."

Anyways, so given my love for animals, when I was around 7 years old I asked my parents if we could get a dog. Thus far, my family had several pets over the years —usually because of my requests— a rat, bunny, and two hamsters. But I wanted a dog. Sooooo badly. My mom was down but my dad needed convincing. So my 7-year-old brain devised this genius idea to take my dad to see the remake of the movie Lassie that was in theaters featuring a heroic dog; surely then he would see how awesome and helpful a dog can be and want to get me one immediately! Or at least that's how I saw it playing out in my mind. "See Dad, the dog would keep me safe! Like saving me from a river like Lassie! And I'll feed it and walk it and brush it and everything! Dad can I get a dog like this one, please?" 

 I highly doubt that this actually did the trick (more likely he thought my scheming attempts and persistence were endearing), but nevertheless soon afterwards my dad finally agreed. I got a Rough Collie puppy, one that looks just like Lassie, and I named her Annie. When I took her for walks outside, people would even say, "Hey, look it's Lassie!"

Collies are an intelligent herding breed, and my brothers and I invented this game with Annie that unknowingly tapped into her herding instincts where she would try to "herd" us together in the backyard. We would start on the far side of the pool with her on the other and the trampoline behind her which is the "safe zone."  Like a game of tag, she is "it," and you have to avoid her to get to the safe zone before she catches up with you. If you tried to run down the left side of the pool, she would go left too to block your way. Since the safe zone was behind her, you had to try to bluff which way you are going to run down the pool to fake her out in order to be able to get to the safe zone. I have no idea how this game started (it wasn't something we trained her to do), but it was always super fun and amusing to other people.  

Also among Annie's talents, she could walk on our treadmill. So I when I was feeling exceptionally lazy, I "walked" her on the treadmill while I watched TV. Even though she wasn't the fictional Lassie, Annie was the sweetest, smartest, and fluffiest doggie and I loved her so.
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