This was first posted April 25, 2009.
Today was the first day in a few, that I’ve been able to settle in, do some chores, play an extended amount of time with the puppies, and have a nice visit with my daughter and her boyfriend.
We’ve been moving cows, you see…
Elsa and Dally were Dogs of The Day when we moved our yearling steers with 10 pairs thrown in for good measure. They were exemplary canines… and I was proud… then we hit Bruner Draw.
It is a mucky boggy draw (north-south) where the road cuts across it (east-west). This crossroad usually loses some livestock… they think it’s a great place to squirt out sideways and eat some green grass that grows in the mucky boggy bottom. Sure enough, 20 steers squirted south. As we trailed the end of the main bunch down into the draw, I could finally see what was happening, Vernon and Johnny, starting after them, ready to head them up the 75 degree incline.
Elsa and Dally to the rescue!
Circling to the front, we positioned ourselves and I sicced my dogs on ’em! Wahoo! Ten immediately scaled the steep hill. Ten ran back down the mucky boggy bottom. We chose to follow the bottom ones until Vernon, waiting on the road, turned them up the dirt road and they were back on course. Returning to the ten that had started uphill, I sicced Dally on them and she moved them 75% of the way up the hill, dropped them, they continued traveling on and Dally returned to me. It was perfect!
If Dally had continued chasing them clear up the hill they would have topped the hill and gone over, but they had to make a sharp left into the gate. I was more than proud, I WAS ECSTATIC!
Vernon said something along the lines of the dogs doing a good job. I smiled.
NEXT DAY Lucas and Dally are Dogs of The Day.
This time it is only pairs that we move. It is a slow day. We have fence to repair before we can sort. Then we sort. Then we move the one mile to the barn, where we corral a few calves with frozen ears… they’ve healed and are ready to ear tag. We then move out to the badlands.
I keep checking the time… my Korean classes start at 5:00 pm, I need a shower since my hair is plastered under my Northern Livestock cap. I’m ready to abandon ship and return home in good time, when Vernon ASKS if me and my dogs can at least help them across Bruner Draw.
He ASKS me if me and my dogs can help.
Did you get that?
We do so in good order… dogs listen, place themselves well, and the cows are across! I smiled the whole way home to my shower.
NEXT DAY Elsa and Dally are Dogs of The Day.
Things are going well until a half mile into the trip when one calf runs back… We’ve just come through the gate that separates our fields from the badlands. I start watching Vernon and dang! a calf gets back on me! My dogs are at my horse’s heels and we’re off!
Within 30 seconds both calves are through the fence and we head for the gate. I am amazed to hear Vernon encouraging Dally to “Get ‘im!” I’ve always been for encouraging the dogs to circle the calves back themselves, but Vernon has always called my dogs off (unless I’m right there interfering!).
I join in, “shhhhing” Dally along. Dally turned that calf and ran it back through the fence (not *really* a good thing, but better than losing the calf) and put it back with the herd.
Now we have the other calf a hundred yards out and heading for home. Vernon tells Dally to bring it back and she’s off like a streak. The calf turns a wide circle, temporarily crossing the plowed section of the field… impossible for a horse to do!
This is a large field and Dally takes the calf almost clear across it, falters, and I yell a “sshhh!” her way. She refocuses and keeps pursuing the calf. The calf now is atop our dry farm wheat field, exhausted and confused. It turns to fight the dogs, becomes disoriented and heads back downhill.
About that time, me and Tart are on scene, and the calf heads for us. Vernon yells for me to let it follow, and in its confusion, it thinks I’m a cow (no comments here, please!) and is ready to follow us to safety from those darn dogs!!! We head uphill, through another gate and suddenly it spies the herd and returns to it gratefully!
The entire time, Elsa has been a couple lengths behind Dally. I have never seen Elsa run flat out… she’s never used that extra gear… but Dally! wow! that girl can run!
We continue on through Bruner Draw with a minimum of hassle, dogs being ready and very willing to eat anything heading in the wrong direction. We mother the pairs up and kick them on out. We return home.
If you think I wasn’t smiling, you’re wrong.
Vernon has even told *other people* how well my dogs did.
No OOPE pictures, unfortunately… these few days will have to live on in my memory!Find me here!