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Sunday, March 14 2010

This is the reason we have to have a cow dog:


And this:

Thus . . . we have to have a dog that works cows.

  First String Cow Dog!

The problem with First String Cow Dog is that (bless his little pointy head) he cannot think outside the box, and he is also very sensitive to criticism (space cadet).  If things are not going well in the pasture and Other Half yells at Blue Heeler (for not listening to him!)  Blue Heeler will simply say "Well then pen 'em your own damned self!"

That has happened on several occasions and Other Half has repeatedly asked me when I was ready to put Border Collie on cows.  Border Collie can think outside the box. Border Collie never quits.  Border Collie was bred from cow working dogs. Border Collie has turned into a cracking good dog for working sheep and goats. "So WHEN" Other Half asks, "are you going to put her on COWS??"

"NEVER!" I exclaim.  "I love her too much to have a cow kick her in the head."  (my nightmare) And so the argument continues. He wants to use the dog.  She's MY dog, so I win the argument.  Border Collie doesn't have a vote.  She is only one year old and thus is too young to vote.

So yesterday when Stupid-Yearling-Heifer-Who-Can-Do-The-Limbo-Under-Fences-Despite-Electricity-And-Barbed-Wire got out AGAIN, the old argument started AGAIN.

 The Suspect (This calf is destined for the market instead of breeding because she is a direct descendant of Harry Houdini.)

  Other Half walks (stalks) over with Blue Heeler to retrieve Heifer-Destined-To-Be-Hamburger. Blue Heeler has picked up Heifer but is now driving her too fast and goes past the hole that Other Half has cut in the fence to allow Idiot Heifer to come back home. Other Half has yelled at Blue Heeler to SLOW DOWN.  Blue Heeler ignores him.  Other Half has just worked a 12 hour shift and is a Cranky Person.  He cusses out Blue Heeler.  Blue Heeler turns around (in the picture) and informs Other Half that he can, "Just pen her yer own damned self then!"

Other Half is livid. (He is ready to put a bullet in Blue Heeler.)  I argue that Blue Heeler is a sensitive soul (space cadet) and Other Half should not cuss at him no matter how angry he gets.  (Translated: "You KNOW he's a spook. If you cuss at him and he quits it's your own damned fault!")

I encourage them to start again.  Blue Heeler chases Heifer out of pasture and into ANOTHER pasture.  Other Half throws his hands up and quits.  He doesn't CARE if the neighbor gets another cow ("Good riddance!") and he doesn't care if Blue Heeler comes home.  (which he does as soon as I call him in a sweet voice)

Other Half feeds the rest of the cows.  Idiot Heifer climbs through two more fences (bitch!) to return to the feeder in the roping arena.  We lock her in where she must remain until Market Day.  Since there is no sense leaving the rest of the mommas and babies in the roping arena, Other Half wants to cut out Idiot Heifer and Bully (also going to Market) and run everyone else out of the arena.  This should be easy. 

Blue Heeler complicates things by chasing the wrong cows. Other Half is beside himself with anger (and no sleep) and throws crook at Blue Heeler.  Blue Heeler says, and I quote, "Well just pen 'em up yer own damned self then!"

We get the cattle separated while Blue Heeler waits at the fence. He doesn't want to work anymore.  Other Half is in a bad mood and Blue Heeler is sensitive. But there IS someone sitting on the bench (in the truck) who has been screaming her fool head off.  She has been screaming, and I quote, "Put ME in, Coach! Put ME in, Coach!"

Other Half points out AGAIN, that we need a cow dog who can listen to instructions, think outside the box, and won't get her feelings hurt and quit when things get too exciting.  I look at Border Collie who is begging me to let her work the cows.

 "Please! Please! Pul-ease! Let me work the cows!  I promise I'll be careful!  PLEASE MOM!"

I take a deep breath. Border Collie is my baby.  She sleeps on my bed.  But then I remember that she has been bred to be a cow dog, not a lap dog.  Every fiber in her body is telling her that she is supposed to work livestock. I worry about her. What if she gets hurt? Then I remember that I am a cop. Other Half is cop. We are the kind of people who run TOWARDS the shooting when the guns fire.  It's who we are. Of course we can get hurt, but we accept that risk. I look at Border Collie as she begs me to let her do what she was bred to do.  Then I gulp and say, "Okay, but only on the calves, not on the mommas and babies."

Other Half nods and Border Collie whoops with joy.

  She hops out of the truck and heads for the arena.  She was gonna be a COW DOG just like her parents, and her grandparents, and her great grandparents. I say a prayer and let her work the cows.  (I didn't take any pictures because I was handling her as she worked the yearling calves.  She did a FANTASTIC job and she clearly understood that unlike sheep and goats, cows kick. In less than three minutes she had the calves saluting and under control. (fast teeth)

"I float like a butterfly and sting like a bee!"

And thus is the Birth of a Cow Dog. Keep my little Lily in your prayers.  I will be hysterical if a cow kicks her in the head, but I also understand that working cows is what she was bred to do. It's in her genes.  (I will probably still say a prayer and cross myself whenever she goes in with the cows.)



Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 10:46 am   |  Permalink   |  4 Comments  |  Email
Get 'em Lily. I'll keep her in my prayers, too Sue She's awesome! just like my Emma
Posted by Sue on 03/14/2010 - 09:38 PM
She definitely needs your prayers! Look at the photos taken on her second day of cow work. Holy Cow! Those pictures scared the crap out of me!
Posted by forensicfarmgirl on 03/15/2010 - 12:17 AM
LOL...I think what you're feeling is similar to what a dear friend felt when her only son took up bull-riding. She was a basket case, barely able to watch!! Will Lily and Blue ever work as a team on the cows???
Posted by Diane I. on 03/16/2010 - 07:30 AM
I won't put them together until Lily knows what she's doing. I don't want Ranger to distract her and cause her to get kicked.
Posted by forensicfarmgirl on 03/16/2010 - 09:57 AM

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