Stock Dog Rush

I had a funny and exhilarating moment this morning.

The flock was in a large paddock near the yard so we could sort cull ewes today. This morning I walked through and collected guardian dogs. I leashed each of them and walked them to nearby dog runs. I did not latch the gate behind me. I knew I wasn’t going far and was immediately returning.

No the sheep didn’t escape and yes, I did return very shortly - with three Kelpies, whom I did not bother to leash up and allowed to run ahead of me, since they’d all stop ahead at the gate. Yah, you can see where this is going can’t you.

All I caught sight of was the last Kelpie just before she disappeared over the hill and amongst a whole lot of sheep.

“Shit,” I exclaimed. 

“I think you left the gate open”, Allen nonchalantly commented as I ran past.

I ran down the trail and up the hill, hoping sheep would still be in the paddock. Just as I neared the top of the hill a whole lot of sheep crested it, barreling toward me. I ran back the way I came, now in front of a fast moving flock of several hundred animals. In a moment of quick thinking I decided to take advantage of the situation and just headed for the barn which is where I wanted the flock anyway. I just hoped the dogs had collected all of them.

The flock poured around the bend, into the barn paddock and down the alleyway (usually a very tough spot to move them into) in no time at all and not a word spoken. I had to catch my breath. I think the dogs were smiling. They seemed very invigorated by the event and admittedly so was I. I hooted and laughed. What a rush; what a treat to see them go to work like that. I think I’ll use three dogs more often.