Thursday 8 December 2011

Glen's a happy lad

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An odd day or two herding tups and Glen finds himself in his element. He's in the above photo - honest!

Eleven years old now and doesn't look any older than he did as a youngster, not a grey hair to be seen and still full of sparkly enthusiasm. It's been a pleasure to let him do what he loves doing most - being a sheep dog.

The other two (Moss and Kale) have been getting any amount of exercise recently but Glen's needs have been overlooked, purposefully overlooked at that. His age and the leg injury he suffered a few years back have meant the gathers which clock up many miles are not for him. Don't get me wrong, he would do them and enjoy himself but the rest of the week would find him crippled with pains and so it is that he has found himself semi retired, a decision he is not exactly enamoured about. Not just too chuffed that them young whipper snappers are pushing his nose out.

So it is then, that having to herd tups on occasional days finds Glen doing what he most loves - all things sheepy.
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Looking up at me on the bike, he is speaking, speaking with his eyes and body language "come on then, lets get on with the job, what you waiting for?" He's definitely got a big smile on his face, a look of sheer pleasure.
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These photos were taken on the 3rd Dec, a cold day which preceded the first snows of winter.
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Showers were scudding around as the day wore on, "is this a rainbow or snowbow?" I asked myself, there were definitely lumps in the showers but none of this deterred old Glen who was in his element.
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He trotted around, directed sheep if necessary and had a jolly time.
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I had to grin to myself during the time he was with me (dogs were changed later when I headed further out), once when I set him off to the right he did an amazing job of gathering some rocks, he ran wide around them, then stopped. A quizzical look on his face before that sheepish look which goes with the thought "hope no one saw that"! I have thought for some time now that his eye sight may be failing, this comical gather strengthened those thoughts. However, his hearing is fine and a whistle and command soon had him on track, he followed every command until he bumped into the said sheep, then did what he is so good at, steadily following on.

Steadily is something Glen is getting very proficient at, again something which gave me cause to smile. Set him away in the direction of sheep, his legs seem to go round and round but his body doesn't travel the ground very fast, he is putting his heart and soul into the task in hand but there is no doubt the body is weakening, somewhat like watching a film in slow motion. Another reason he doesn't make the big gathers anymore. There are times when speed is needed to prevent sheep breaking away and poor old Glen no longer possesses that turn of speed, he needs a head start to have any chance of getting there.

Regardless, the dog has served me well and I thoroughly enjoy his company around some of these fields of ewes and tups, he gets his painkiller with his dinner at night and stiffens up as the night wears on, by morning time he is ready and wanting to come and work, loosening up as he sets off and SO enjoying himself in the process. I just can't help but smile at his enthusiasm and obvious pleasure with the added bonus that he is exceptionally good company.


Dafad said...

It's sad thing when a good dog is past his best. He's got a good eye.
Know that feeling. May Glen have peaceful retirement.
Hope you're secure where that there wind blows. Stay warm.

Tarset Shepherd said...

We would be warm Dafad if good old Glen wasn't hugging the hearth! He retired into the house 18 months back and thinks the hearth is preferable to his bed under the table - he deserves it tho' and is extremely biddable, retiring to bed when told to. Get ready to baton the hatches down, just incase this weather heads your way.