On sheep dogs

Do sheep dogs care about the sheep who stay where they’re told? Do they even notice them?

***

Today my thoughts kept circling back to sheepdogs.

I don’t think I’ve spent more than a handful of hours in my whole life watching sheepdogs working, but every time I get the chance, I am impressed.

Where the sheepdog-thoughts came from I have no idea. Here they are though.

And if anyone is actually knowledgeable about sheepdogs, please share your wisdom. ­čÖé

***

They presumably know the sheep who step outside the flock better than the rest; certainly spend more time attending to them.
Would they prefer to run with the flock themselves? Or do they like being outside it, playing an integral part, and still not really belonging? Not getting involved, yet still being involved.

Does all that running about energise them or wear them out? When all the sheep get to where they’re going, are they proud of their results or frustrated by the knowledge that it won’t last, that the next day is sure to present many of the same situations?

Are they going through the motions, doing what’s expected of them, or do they choose what to do, enjoying themselves and relishing in the challenges, stretching themselves with more and more ways to solve the same issues.

On sleeping in the doghouse

The radio comes on loudly, waking us up the way it does every morning.

DB sits up and looks across at the dog (C) we’re looking after, who’s sleeping on the floor next to his side of the bed.

DB: (excited) Good morning C! It’s time to get up! Yup yup yup! It really is! (Hugs dog.) Now I’m going to get up! And then you can have breakfast! That means I have to get dressed! And you’re standing on my socks! (Starts howl-singing so that the dog joins in. Starts getting dressed, interrupting both his monologue and his dressing himself every couple of seconds to pat/hug/sing to the dog). (Ad infinitum)

Me: Good morning DB.

DB: Good morning Jesska. Come on C! Let’s go downstairs and get some breakfast!

***

Good thing I know my rank in the herd….

On yelling

Early evening. Dark, except for a few streetlights. A couple with a dog. Walking.

Behind them, at the far end of a side street 2 figures can just about be made out in the shadows.

Yelling. Shouting. Mean words, angry voices. Screams. “Help!” Shrieks. “Help! Let go of me! Help! He’s going to kill me! Please help me!”

One of the figures starts running, followed by the second, arms raised and flailing. The shouting continues.

The couple stops, listens, looks at each other, turns around, begins walking towards the screaming. Purposefully, intentionally, with racing hearts but level heads, unintentionally confusing the dog.

When they reach the figures, they’ve stopped screaming. Stopped flailing. They’re walking together, laughing at a private joke.

The man, cool up to the moment, loses his cool, yells at the laughing teenagers on their way back from football training, tells the dog “heel”, tells the boys that the next time the wolf might be real, that there might really be a situation requiring help from a passerby. That they should never risk lessening the power of calling for help.

The boys laugh, scowl, walk home together.

Hopefully, they didn’t stop learning when they left the field.

****

I don’t particularly like dogs, and I get really annoyed with DB’s dad’s dog who we’re looking after again, because he’s incapable of walking on one side of the pavement at the same speed as I’m going, and also because we have to reduce our walks, to cater for his decrepitness.

This morning, on a short walk through the woods, involving stopping to sniff every tree, I told DB off for yelling at the dog.

This evening, on a short walk through the housing estate, I told him I was proud of him for yelling at two kids.

Do I place kids below dogs? No. I’m not nearly German enough for that. I just really think civilisation needs people to respect cries for help, and not mess about when there’s no problem.

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On my problem with dogs

Dogs are fine. I don’t want one, but I can see the attraction of having it love you devotedly, of going for long walks with it, of snuggling up┬á with it while reading. In return for those things I could probably put up with the muddy pawprints, with feeding it, with generally looking after it.

My real problem isn’t actually with dogs per se.

My problem is with dogs who are so ridiculously contrary you need a psychology degree to get them to walk with you.

 

(written on 10th Sept 2015, actually posted on 10th Jan 2017 as part of emptying my draft folder… not sure why not earlier, backdated so as to not confuse things :))

On unhappy dogs

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His owner’s on holiday. He is very unhappy, and unhappiness is best twinned with hiding in small places. This was small place of choice today.