Sunday, February 05, 2006

Sheila Rae

We got this dog at the pound after we had to put down our last dog, Gretchen, because of bladder cancer. Actually there was another dog in there, but we only kept him for a week. Jing was a Border Collie we got at the pound. I have always wanted a dog who could help with herding cows. It doesn't happen often, but once in a while cows wind up where they don't belong, or I need to move them to the barn for something. It's times like that where having a half decent cow dog would make my life a lot easier. Well, we thought we were onto something when we found Jing, and he seemed alright for the first day. Then he got progressively more aggressive, and with young children concerned I wasn't willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. So he went back to the pound. We actually found Sheila on the internet. One of our local SPCA's posts pictures and info on available animals on their website. When we went to look at her someone had already decided to take her. We looked at some other dogs but nothing really suited us. I couple of days later my wife called the SPCA on a hunch to see what was happening with this dog. The hold had expired so she took the kids down to see her and decided she was the right dog. I went and picked her up a couple of days later.

At first I thought I might have a natural cow dog on my hands. She was pretty good at getting them moving, but after a few days some of the Jersey steers I have decided they should make her prove it. A little bit of a challenge was enough to shake her confidence. That and her unfortunate introduction to electric fencing combined to dampen her enthusiasm altogether for a few months. But other than that she's a good farm dog. She takes anything the kids want to do, and barks at all the appropriate times without making the customers and UPS driver question the wisdom of getting out of their vehicles. I would still like to have a stock dog but this one will do. Maybe the next dog will be the one. A couple of days ago I read that stock dogs should be started on sheep until they gain their confidence, which makes a lot of sense, but i don't have any sheep and ultimately I hardly need a cow dog.


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