09 May 2007
A home for Bob
I've had a few emails from a sheep producer a bit south of here who has a flock of 800 (eight hundred!) Barbados Blackbelly sheep. These are a hair breed: you don't shear them, they shed their hair every year all by themselves. Very cool looking animals, really good for meat, from what I have read. Anyway, these nice folks are in need of an additional guardian dog to help supervise all those sheep on a full quarter section of land (that's 160 acres, which is an awful lot of land). They have Maremma guardian dogs already who look after their flock - they lost one a year ago to a sudden and unexpected illness, and with all the coyotes, extra paws are welcome.
We've been emailing back and forth for awhile, exchanging details, talking about the possibilities ... and it is sounding like a really good home and job for Bob. The farm won't be finished with the chaos of lambing for another several weeks, but the current thinking is that when things calm down at their end, Bob will move south and take up a position with their flock. Something might shift between now and then, but I think this is how it'll go.
I was outside tonight doing some chores, and I sat down and hugged Bob hard for a few mintues. I love that big silly dog so much. I love it when he wags his tail so hard it thumps against my legs. I love it when he takes my sleeve in his mouth and tugs on it to show that he's happy to see me. I love it when he sees the truck come in the driveway and trots over to greet me as I climb out, waiting for me to scratch his head and say hello. I love watching him lie there on the hill in the sun, looking out over the sheep through his half-closed eyes. I will cry when he moves away.
Okay, okay, I cry even now when I think about it.
But I know it will be good to think of him lying on a hill in the middle of a 160 acres of land that is his to roam, watching over a big flock of sheep and working with two other dogs to chase off the coyotes and foxes and stray dogs.
Won't be the same without him, though.