Last night, Wally and I picked out and brought home four ewe sheep each with two lambs on them. This was something that’s been in the making for some time now.
We are blessed to have more pasture than we have animals to consume it which I guess is a good thing. There’s a man who is not too far from us who has a large flock of sheep that he keeps livestock guard dogs with and uses a Border Collie to work.
The Border Collie he’s using right now happens to be a son of Gel’s. We got to see him work last night. While he looks like Gel, he works like his mother, Split. I’m actually glad he did not work like Gel because I would have ended up in a pile of blubbering mess in the dirt.
There will never be another Gel. Never.
But then there’s Jack, a/k/a Jack-ass, Jack-leg, Jack-in-the-box and most recently, Cracker-Jack. Like Gel, Jack came to us as a herding reject. Like Gel, he’s well-bred but didn’t cut it as a stock dog in the hands of his breeder.
Jack is a Border Collie on crack. Most Border Collies are wound tight, but Jack is wound tighter than most. He’s got so much “want to” that he can’t use the brain that I know he has.
An old-time stock dog trainer once told me that Gel didn’t really care much about working stock (which is why I got him as an agility dog) but he did it for me. It was true. There were times that Gel worked because he wanted to but most of the time, he did it for me.
Maybe with some love, time, patience and attention Jack can turn into a useful dog. Jack was low dog on the totem pole all the time Gel was alive. Now I’m pouring attention into him because it’s a way for me to heal. I’m glad we have him – there were many times I wanted to move him on elsewhere because, quite frankly, he irritated me.
Gel was so push-button. Gel knew what I wanted before I did. Gel was aggravating too. When he went missing Saturday morning we thought maybe someone had stolen him. Gel would have gone with anyone – that was Gel. He was an attention hound. Jack, not so much. He likely wouldn’t go near a stranger, especially if it was a man.
When we first went to look at Jack we almost didn’t take him home because he charged us like a rabid dog. Wally was a bit afraid to put him in the truck. I’m glad we did take him.
When we got the sheep in the pasture here Jack wanted to work them so bad. If Gel was still here I would have worked them with Gel and marveled at how good he was and Jack would have been running and screeching like a banshee – yes, he does that. But Gel isn’t here any more, Jack is.
So I let Jack work them a bit. The four ewes turned on him stamping and snorting. Jack held his ground. An earlier Jack would have jumped in on them and busted them up, but last night, he held his ground. I walked closer to help him move them and they ran off. Jack ran to stop them and was able to move them back towards me.
It will take time but maybe Jack can, to some small extent, fill the shoes that Gel vacated. They are pretty big shoes to fill.
Until later …