Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Working Dog

Maggie's photo by Robyn Bevins

Border collies are bred to work, and Maggie is no exception. She’s cow dog on her mama’s side and sheep dog on her daddy’s. Unfortunately, we don’t have cows or sheep.

What we do have are two old mares—Cupcake, a 26-year-old racking horse, and Melody, an 18-year-old Tennessee Walker. The horse paddock adjoins the kennel. Lately the horses are staying close to the common fence because Melody unrolled a round bale, the remains of which when came to rest against the fence. Consequently, Maggie has become a horse watcher.

When the horses are near, Maggie sits and gives them the border collie stare. They ignore her. She can watch them for hours. They are her herd, her responsibility.

A few days ago, I stood on the far side of the kennel and visited with the dogs. Maggie reluctantly left her horse-watching post and came to see me. But she still kept an eye on her horses, even though they were at the top of the rise and not against the fence.

Suddenly, Cupcake dropped and rolled. Maggie knew this wasn’t normal. She dashed to the fence to check on Cupcake and then dashed back to me. Do something, her eyes implored.

I did. “Cupcake, get up!” I hollered.

Cupcake rolled once more, then rose and shook. She wasn’t colicking—merely removing the itchy dried sweat from her coat. If dogs can heave a sigh of relief, Maggie probably did.

All was right with Maggie’s world. She’d done her job.

I know my little herd is in good hands. Er, good paws.

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Anonymous Carla Inman, Halfway, OR said...

What fun to read! We have two older TWHs and Cody, a very young mixed-breed herding dog, that loves to send them flying out to pasture every morning. This spring he had a herd of goats to mind, as well as 10 pairs of mama cows and their calves. Cody lined up the calves at the fence and sniffed noses with each.

7:59 PM  

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