Four Legged Pal Carries Books

By Jess Williams

Stacey Conner has a friend who carries her books to class for her out of love, but it’s not what you think.

Conner’s friend is a Queensland blue heeler/Australian shepherd mix who’s outfitted with specially made saddle bags. The dog’s name is Honey. Honey carries Stacey’s books.

In the fall of 1986, Conner said she was talking to a friend about how carrying heavy school books in a bag around her neck was killing her back. “I said I should get a dog to carry my books.” Conner said. “I was just kidding, though.” But her friend thought it was a pretty nifty idea.

A couple of weeks later, Conner’s friend showed up on the TSU campus with a little grey puppy about 5 weeks old. “I took her to class with me,” Conner said, “and she slept all the way through it.”

It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Without any knowledge of how to train a dog, Conner — with her usual tenacity — set upon teaching Honey all the essentials, like sit, stay, down, come and go outside.

“This is the smartest dog I ever saw,” Conner said. “And I’m not just saying that because she’s my dog. She learned everything really fast.”

Among the things Honey learned, Conner said, is to stand still while Conner, using her toes, fastens a saddle bag to the dogs back and puts her school books in.

“She won’t walk if it’s too heavy or if it’s not balanced,” Conner said. “I have to balance it just right or she just sits there. She won’t go.”

Once the books are balanced, though, Honey and Stacey set off across the TSU campus toward class. Once inside, Conner takes notes with one foot and rubs Honey’s belly with the other.

Honey will sit relatively still, Conner said, for an hour or two at a time before she “gets antsy.” For long labs and classes, Conner said, she still carries her own books and leaves Honey at home, but on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, when the classes are shorter, she lets Honey do the work.

“I figure my back hurt long enough, I’ll let hers hurt a little,” Conner said facetiously

Chuck Elms of Stephenville made the bags that strap on to Honey’s back, Conner said. A special leash that slips around Conner’s neck was made by Garrett Dickey, also of Stephenville.

Thus equipped, Conner and Honey are pursuing Conner’s degree in accounting. Come graduation, Honey’s book bags will be retired, and Honey will live a dog’s life to beat all others while Conner supports the two.

This article appeared in the Stephenville Empire-Tribune, Stephenville, Texas