Lassie around 1965, sitting under my dad's chair. Just a pup.
We lived in the country at the time and there were no leashes or fenced-in yards. We just went outside and played. Lassie would come and go as she pleased. She did chase cars as a puppy and actually got clipped by one, but it wasn't serious and she stopped chasing cars after that. The years went by and my family moved a lot, and Lassie adjusted every time. And still, I don't ever remember having a leash for her. We just let her out and she wandered around, always coming back home. I remember once, at a campground in the 70s, having to tie a rope around her neck to walk her because they had instituted a leash rule, but that was the only time.
A photo I took of Lassie in 1975. She was still in good health then.
In 1977 I was a senior in high school and Lassie was thirteen years old. She developed a series of problems and my dad took her to the vet a few times. The prognosis wasn't good and the last time she went to the vet she didn't come back. I was in denial about it all and pretended that everything was ok, but I really missed that dog. It wasn't until 1992 that Ken and I adopted my second dog, Collette. She was a Shetland mix and looked like a smaller version of Lassie. Now we have Callie, another collie (actually a border collie, but they're all related). There's something about sheep dogs!