Sunday, October 5, 2008


Summer is officially over but today it came to say good bye. It was but a fleeting moment, but it was good. I was bundled up in rain pants, a thick coat, wool sweater and thick undershirt. As the hot rays bombarded me, I peeled off layers and wondered why my last layer was a long sleeve black undershirt that retained heat so well?

Taking off the last layer was not an option and I held fast. Soon, the clouds raced over and the temperature dropped to a crisp fall bite. But it didn’t rain and then the sun teased us again, for a few moments.

We played a game of tag, “sun on, clouds on, coat and sweater off and then on.” But it was a game we all played willingly.

We worked dogs today, Nancy, Courtney, Kathleen, Pam, Audrey and I. The sun was glorious as well as the dogs. Black and red streaks behind while wooly rumps was our viewing pleasure. Laughter intermingled with the commands and long, red tongues hung down to the ground while brown sheep eyes looked for an escape. There was no escape today for the wayward woolies as the dogs worked like professional soccer players gliding the ball into the net for the winning goal.

Today was a full day for me. I have gotten my pain meds down to a minimum amount and felt strong enough to work in the fields with the dogs. Tess was in fine form today, her new lean body was hard at work sorting sheep and holding down the back line so the sheep would not escape into the marsh. Tess has been on a diet to remove the excessive weight she had gained while being my nursemaid and it was good to see her running and enjoying herself. Her gray muzzle and white tipped hindend feathers showed she was an aged bitch but her heart was strong and she then dog broke flock in the far field. The lambs have not been work except when they were with their mothers and now they were eight month of age and wild as March hares. The ewes were light and ran like they were at the final stretch of the Kentucky Derby.

They ran, no change that to bolted, then turned on Tess. She had worked many hours and years on sheep and these sheep soon learned to flock proper and be worked well. Tess took a well deserved break while Blaze, Mig, Logan, Emma, Anson and Colin worked. She would get up and cover the backline when she thought the dog needed help.

Blaze worked well, turning in at the top and coming in soft on the sheep and figuring out the pressure point on these sheep. He soon realized that these were not the dog broke sheep that he had been working on that were at the farm. He adjusted well and soon was working like a seasoned dog.

Logan had to come in closer to keep the sheep from running and Courtney did the circle drill to have him feel the pressure up close. He was learning to be close to the sheep and stay on the edge of the bubble to keep the sheep from bolting. He is a young dog and is very responsive.

Mig, the dog named after the Jet, lived up to her name. She soon settled and was getting the feel. She will need a few more miles on her but is doing well

Emma, the red and white lean machine, did quite well too. She has worked a large flock on the range, chute work and chores. She went out like a bullet but quickly figured out the pressure point and worked like a champ. Later we worked on her driving and again, Tess assisted by covering one side while we walked in parallel with Emma to drive them down the field. After a few bobbles, Emma was walking confidently behind the sheep. She pushed them up and down the field and by the end; she was walking strong in driving.

Colin, the tall rangy Kelpie was bouncing up and down as we took a break and we wondered why. Well, we silly humans got to talking too much and the sheep were making their getaway down the field. Pam released him and Pam walked down the field to help him. The sheep were over 300 yards away and Colin brought them back. They had escaped in the tall grass but he found them.

After Colin brought the sheep back, we worked on his fetches. Needless to say, he went out with gusto and we kept working on his enthusiasm. We also did close work on the gate and he had no problem lifting them off. He is a fine kelpie and showed that he was paying more attention to the sheep than we were!!

I was feeling good and it was late afternoon when we went back to the house. The one pain pill was sufficient enough and the lunch that Pam had brought held me fast. Nancy and Courtney headed home while Kathleen, Pam and I went back to the farm

Since the day was so glorious, we let the dogs run in the pond pasture. Colin, being the only Kelpie was unsure, but soon was swimming to get the stick for us. When he realized that Tess was the Alpha bitch who had the stick, he was not fazed. He then rummaged around in the pasture and brought Pam a large branch. Seeing her pleasure, he soon brought several more while we laughed.

Audrey and Neal showed up and Kael rushed to the fence line, wiggling and dancing with joy when he saw his *mom* had arrived. All thoughts of playing quickly escaped and giving kisses to his mom was his top priority.

Soon he was rewarding by working with Audrey on the sheep, He was happy and quickly covered the sheep with great enthusiasm. He hit balance and had square turns into the sheep. He is a young pup and has a lot of talent. Not to mention, he is a handsome dog to boot!!

Dan, his half brother, is a strong dog. He has been working well for Audrey and now I can see the teamwork. He was pushing strong on his drive but we worked on him steadying up and holding his side. By the end he was doing a nice drive and I think I saw Audrey smile.

Rainey was the last dog to be worked. Audrey worked Rainey and she was a fireball. She is very clever and when the sheep thought they would escape around the hog fuel pile, Rainey quickly cut them off at the pass. The sheep decided to behave themselves and the rest of the work session was nice. She has a bit of an eye and has no problem in going in to do the job. She is 29 pounds of fearless pup.

Soon the night began to show its darkened tentacles and we were done for the day. The dogs were tired, we were all tired and a hot shower was waiting for me. I took a second pain pill at night and it was nice to know that I have gone from taking major pain pills to just a couple and soon it will be none.
I still feel pain in my chest when I drive, and when I push myself I feel it. So I have to remember that I am still healing and will be for a long time.

They say the sun will help you heal. It did that today.

The sun, dogs, good friends and laughter are all good for healing. I felt much better at the end of the day.

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