Saturday, March 6, 2010

Old Pair of Shoes

A fellow handler commented on the old dog being like an "Old pair of shoes" and hence the title of this blog. Thank you Jennifer Clark-Ewers for the title!!

Today we had to move ewes and lambs. It was over 60 degrees today, t-shirt weather and just a wonderful day to work dogs. I had to put lamb brass tags on the lambs so decided to use Tess. She was so excited to be pulled back into duty. Nan and Roo still do not calm the ewes down enough so with several ewes just having babies in the last hour to 24 hours, I decided that steady Tess would be the lambing dog. She really calms the sheep and can put pressure on as needed. She also will move newborn lambs by putting her nose under their butts and lifting the butts and moving them like a wheelbarrow. She will do air snaps to move the older lambs. She is very gentle with the lambs and the ewes respect her. They move very easy for her, I can turn my back on Tess, and she knows what to do.

I had sheep in various stalls and we quickly got the brass tags on most of them. I still have to do the older ones this week. I also checked the newer born lambs to see how healthy they were. Ron is here for the weekend since we are going to shear tomorrow.

After I tagged them, Ron came back from the other field when he was working his dogs. I wanted to trim the hooves of the very pg ewes and new moms since I didn't want them to be in the tilt table. Tess brought the new set in from the lambing corral and put them in the barn corner. The lambs were 50 different directions and the ewes followed. Tess worked like a champion cutting horse and put them in the corner. Any stray lambs she nudged back. It was quite a bit of work as some of the lambs would get "lamb zoomies" and they would dart off.

Ron held the ewes while I gave them their vax and did hoof trimming. Then we moved that set into the barn and got the second (older lambs) and did the ewe as well as a few ready-to-pop ewes. Tess was in heaven and it went smoothly. She knew the game plan and executed it perfectly.

After we did the selected group, then it back to the far fields to bring home the rest of the flock as well as Nayab's sheep. Ron took Ruby, Tigr and Kane and Tess went along. Her eyes gleamed when she saw that she could work yet again, more ewes and lambs. This flock is tough Suffolks, which turn quickly on the dogs. She has no issue. After we worked them, (actually I took pixs) we sat on the ground with her head in my lap while I took some pixs of Ruby. The hot sun beat upon my face and I basked in its warm glow. What a life!! I looked down at Tess and she was snoring.

Later, Ron brought the flock back to the farm. While he was doing that, I had Tess sort sheep at the farm so everyone would be in the proper pasture. Then she put away the chickens, guineas and ducks.
I sat down to have a pop and she threw herself next to me on the ground and her eyes locked onto my mine and she said , "It was a fine day to be working, just you and I". And I replied, "It was a fine day, my partner" and then we watched the sunset on the shadowy mountains.

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