from the Seattle Times, written by Alexa Vaugh.................
For as ancient as the centuries-old skill of sheepherding is, it still attracts a growing mix of both rural and urban dog-lovers who travel hundreds of miles a year to competitions like this weekend’s Vashon Sheepdog Classic.
The scene of a border collie herding sheep over undulating knolls as fog rolls through a nearby stand of trees could convince you for a moment that you’re somewhere on a bucolic Scottish countryside.
But then the oohs and aahs of hundreds of people watching carefully to see if a whistling handler can direct the dog and sheep through the right course remind you: You’re at the Vashon Sheepdog Classic.
For as ancient as the skill of sheepherding is, it still attracts a growing mix of rural and urban dog-lovers who travel hundreds of miles a year to compete locally and nationally. More than 60 sheepdogs are showcasing the result of years of careful dog training at the trial at Misty Isle Farms on Vashon Island until about 6 p.m. Sunday. Top qualifiers will compete in a national event next month in Virginia.
While some of the handlers wound up addicted to the sport because they grew up or worked in farming communities, others became smitten by chance.
“If someone had told me 15 years ago that I’d be living on a sheep farm now, I’d say ‘You want to make a bet?’ ” said Diane Pagel, 55, who came from Carnation to compete with her border collie, Nan.
Pagel said her life transformed when she saved her late border collie, Tess, from a breeder who intended to kill the dog when she was an eight-week-old puppy. As Pagel found out more about how naturally sheepherding comes to her pet’s breed, she directed more hours of her life away from a stressful job to training Tess for the sport.
By the time Tess was two years old, Pagel and her husband decided to move from Bellevue to a sheep farm in Carnation.
Here is an interview with Patrick Shannahan. Nan is in this clip as well.....laying down and looking about. Patrick is one of the top ranked handlers and a genuine, down to earth, super nice man!