I Never Imagined

"I think we are drawn to dogs because they are the uninhibited creatures we might be if we weren't certain we knew better."        GEORGE BIRD EVANS

When I was dreaming of returning to the farm my imagination never conjured up a life quite like this.

My imagination molded a farm life built up on fragments of what it knew already, which was controlled crop farming, a little bit about cattle and less about grass. All of my imagining was large scale. From there I studied natural and holistic farming methods and dreamed up some goals about how to make it all happen.

In those dream building days I did not imagine a life as revolved around sheep and dogs as it is.

Then again maybe it was my knowing that life would always deeply involve dogs that led me to a circumstance in which they are such an integral part.

It's a comforting thought. 

The second part that causes me to think far too hard about the how's and why's of things, is just how the dogs play a role.

This too, is far from anything I imagined living and working with dogs to be. My background is all about dogs as part of the family, clicker training, competition agility, and socializing your pup into an all round canine good citizen.

Only a small portion of that still exists for me in relation to dogs today.  The good and the ugly sides of stock dogs and livestock guardian dogs have molded my idea of canines in such a vast way.

Now I rely on stock dogs to help me farm. I count on them to make good decisions about the movement of stock - to teach me. I have been challenged to open my mind to different concepts of obedience and respect and to constantly hold my ego in check.

Now I sit upon hill tops and watch a group of livestock guardian dogs interact with each other and with sheep. They are not pets, they certainly are not the human idea of a canine good citizen, they do not hold any great depth of love for me like I imagine my house dogs do, they don't travel well, they may bite.

And they are utterly fascinating. While they are not wild dogs by any stretch, they are as close as I may get to experiencing true canine. A canine life less influenced by humans.

I could not have imagined living with dogs in this fashion earlier on - the concept was foreign to me then because then I lived with pets.  Now I work with dogs.

I didn't imagine my mind would be so altered by living with dogs in this fashion. The lumps and bumps, the successes and the tragedies, it is all a grand experience. And I didn't know it would run so deep, feel this good and be this whole.

This is why I love dogs.