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Dear Doggers,

I retired 10 year old Fly last August. She never did like trialing and she was 10 years old. Subsequently 3 year old Jake has done the 3 T's (training,traveling, trialing). He's much more biddable than Fly, has a good outrun, doesn't mind shedding but is not as keen and far less natural.


Last night Anne woke me to say the shearer was on the phone. He's a west virginian and we'd postponed shearing because of the floods. He assured me he still had cleanup to do but he could resume shearing. Although we are pasturing a couple hundred ewes we've only 7 sentimentals of our own: rank, cranky, clever dog breakers. A neighbor has six. It's hard to find a shearer for such a small number and when he calls, we rearrange. Sunday afternoon. Okay.


Unfortunately, Sunday I'd planned to visit a friend in prison. He's had a hard time lately and it's no routine visit. It's a 3 hourdrive but if I get there at 8 and visit for an hour I'll be back before the shearer arrives And he says he can shear seven sheep without any help from me anyway.


But it's supposed to rain this afternoon and tmorrow morning and wet wool doesn't shear.


The grass is thigh high, unmowed, so I'm teaching Jake to ride the ATV behind me. I set up the barn for shearing and went out where the Magificent Seven usually hide and when I spotted them, sent Jake. They split up and ran into the woods. I guessed where they were and Jake brought them out again but soon as they could they split back into the woods. Tall grass in the field, impenetrable woods.


Regroup. I went back to the house took my pharmacopia of morning pills, ate a couple biscuits and went back out with Fly. I bought the ATV after I retired her but somebody had taught her because she jumped right on.


The sheep had had time to regroup and return to their favored bedground and when I spotted them I sent Fly. Fly brought them and held them together until they streamed into the woods again. Maybe, just maybe . . .there was this place they usually came out of the woods winters when I'd sent Fly to gather them for feeding. Maybe . . .Yes! She brought them out into the narrow path I'd bushhogged into the next field and drove them ahead of her into the barnlot and into the barn. I drove up and fastened the gate.


She was quite pleased with herself.


Donald McCaig



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Hi Donald,


What a wonderful retelling of the momentous occasion! Fly is still a very useful dog!




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An experienced dog is invaluable, some days you just need the dogs that have been there and done that! it is getting those young ones that much needed experience that can be trying, I bet Jake learned something yesterday as well.

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