“Our five month old border collie puppy, Davinci, loves to play soccer any chance she can get her paws on a ball - inside or outside,” say her owners, Sara and Tom. “Border collies have so much energy, they really need something to keep them amused, and Davinci's obsessed with soccer.”
Tom is Davinci's soccer coach, although it's debatable who's coaching whom.
“Tom is very nimble on his feet – and I'm not,' says Sara.
“She loves to practise at Pukekohe's Bledisloe Park, although one day she took her eye off her ball and started watching a ball in a game being played by a local team. Before we knew it, Davinci had intercepted their game and was tearing past all their players with THEIR ball!”
Sara and Tom are long time fans of border collies. Their children, now adult, were brought up with collies and the couple reckons they are ideal family dogs.
“Border collies are super-intelligent and that makes them easy to train. As long as you have the energy for them and train them from the beginning they can be such a lot of fun. And of course they love to herd everyone.”
Sara and Tom remember the first time they set eyes on Davinci, although she probably wasn't aware of them.
“She was only an hour old when we met her at Tylerwild Border Collies in Katikati, one of a litter of 10. We visited her several times so by the time we brought her home at eight weeks old she had already got to know us.
“Davinci is the second pup we've got from Tylerwild. Catherine, the owner, is a great breeder and always really looks after her dogs.”
Although Davinci is the traditional black and white, Sara points out that border collies can come in other colours, including blues and reds.
Davinci was named after her favourite artist/inventor, Leonardo da Vinci.
“She has a wonderful appreciation of art and design and has even done her own paw paintings!” says Sara. “She's also a bit of an opera buff and loves watching opera on TV.”
Her sensitive side is something Sara believes can be put to good use when Davinici is more mature.
“She can pick up on moods and can tell when something's not right. She's very empathetic and I'd eventually like to take her round schools and hospitals to help people.”
Davinci loves the parks and beautiful bush walks in Pukekohe and enjoys going to the beach, although she's still a little worried by the waves. She enjoys leaping high for her frisbee, but Sara makes sure the puppy doesn't bother the horses exercising at Karioitahi. Sara and Tom have trained Davinci from the outset, using praise rather than food rewards.
But she still has a few tricks up her sleeve – and she's lightning fast.
“If one day you look down to find both your shoelaces undone, you may have just met the Great Davinci. She will have undone both your laces at lightning speed and be walking towards you on the other side of the road.
“How? She's Davinci the Border Collie!”