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Our border collie, Hal, has amazing instincts. He lives to herd anything. Cattle, sheep, cars, children… he’s not picky.
This afternoon I was washing the dishes and looking out my window at the amazing view of our pastures, fields, and neighboring farmland. As I stood there scrubbing fried egg off of a skillet my mind wandered to who knows where. My thoughts were interrupted by the sound of a 4-wheeler and barking.
I focused in on where the noise was coming from and quickly realized Hal was trying his best to help my brother-in-law herd the cattle. Unfortunately, my brother-in-law wasn’t try to herd the cattle. He was trying to move them from one pasture to another. Hal wouldn’t allow it. His instincts told him to keep those cattle right where they were.
I giggled to myself, because it was quite a funny site. Then I felt guilty, because I’m sure my brother-in-law saw no humor in this situation at all. I grabbed Hal’s leash and figured I would at least try to remove Hal from the situation. I hiked out into the pasture, down our big sledding hill, and up to Hal, the cattle, my brother-in-law, and Andy, an employee. Hal paid no attention to me, he had work to do.
I had seen Hal follow our 4-wheelers many times, so suggested that Andy drive his 4-wheeler up towards our house. Andy slowly moved up the hill with me walking beside him. It worked! Hal ran along behind the 4-wheeler. Whew! The cattle were moved onto fresh grass and the work day continued.
It looks like we may have one more job this summer… training Hal.
After our first puppy ten years ago, I swore I would never allow the kids to get another puppy. Our dog, Meredith, chewed everything! Bike seats, toys, boots, Christmas lights, everything. Eventually she mellowed into a wonderful dog. Whereever the kids are is where Meredith is. She only goes to the farm, which is 1/4 mile away, when the kids are over there working. She used to sprint back and forth to the farm multiple times a day. In recent years her run has turned into a labored walk. She used to go for three mile runs with me. Now she waits for my return at the end of the driveway.
Knowing Meredith is aging quickly got us thinking about another dog. “A dog”, I said, “NOT a puppy.” When we were on vacation in July, Brandon’s brother called him and asked if we wanted a puppy. He was making a farm delivery and the customer had puppies and he needed a decision right then and there. Brandon said “yes” and we came home to a 6-week-old border collie.
The first thing we did was went and bought the usual supplies. Collar, food, kennel, Puppies for Dummies book, the usual. And then we needed to decide on a name. My one requirement was that the name needed to be one syllable. Having “Meredith” for ten years has taught me one thing anyway. The kids started throwing out the typical dog names. Spot… no, Rover… no, Fido… no, Boots… no, Hal… hey, there’s a name. Hal, I like that. Hal it is. So Hal has joined our family.
The first night Hal cried all night in our garage and I couldn’t find Meredith the next morning. Meredith normally sleeps in our garage. I finally found Meredith sleeping in our culvert. The noise must have driven her out of the garage. Meredith is slowly warming up to Hal.
Hal is full of energy with a herding instinct that won’t quit. He tried to help the kids walk their fair pigs, he tries to help with the cattle, and he even herds the kids themselves. Hal also likes to jump and chew and run. If I start getting frustrated with him, all he needs to do is look at me with those big brown eyes, and I smile. I didn’t think we needed a puppy… what did I know.