Tess here is THE DOG that got me hooked on moving sheep via a sheepdog. She put her all into her herding job here and taught me way more than I ever taught her. We just provided her entertainment (sheep) and food! Scott Glen from Alta-Pete Stockdogs in Alberta, Canada raised and started Tess and I was fortunate enough to find out she was for sale in 2002. She supposedly wasn’t tough enough for moving cattle and was a “return” pup he had sold. When I got Tess she was 22 months old. Through a couple of clinics with Scott and lessons, he taught me how to work Tess and she and I took it from there. I understood sheep quite well, so that was on our side. Larry and I were used to moving them by ourselves (not always effectively) after all! Tess and I competed in a couple of trials in the Novice category and did pretty well. Life just didn’t allow a lot of time and money for trialing at that time so we kept busy moving sheep here on the farm and continued to attend clinics with Pat Shannahan and Karen Child (and Scott) with some help from Diane Pagel to advance our skills. Tess was a wonderful family member. I have to tell you a little piece of my heart went with her when Tess passed away in September 2011. Losing her was tough. But, we still had sheep and still needed to move sheep. What to do? Having a herding dog had spoiled us! Well, run out and get two new Border Collies, of course!
Beau came to us as a 9-week old pup and Windy, an almost 4-year-old started female, came to us from Windyhill Stockdogs in Oregon. Now, I have to say going from Tess to these two has been going from a Cadillac to a Yugo, but they are coming along and we’re working on building relationships with each other and the sheep. Windy and I are communicating better and hence, getting better results. Our issues started with her being a “man’s” dog and she would go check with my husband before going out to the sheep with me! Slowly, we are working through this. My husband doesn’t work the dogs much so she’s figuring out there is fun to be had if she follows me out to sheep.
UPDATE: Sampson has moved on to a new farm in the Goldendale area. He has 80 acres to guard and a large number of our ewes that sold to this farm. He is going to be happy there because he will be with full-time ranchers who can keep him in line. Will miss his wonderful, sweet, loving and so kind personality but I feel a new-found freedom to leave without worrying if he has escaped and is wandering the neighborhood. OLD: Sampson…he’s been a real challenge to settle in here. He loves us…don’t get me wrong on that! He has no respect for fencing is his issue and a lot of exuberance for his stock…too much! He’s doing better but I still miss Sterling as we lost him in March 2012. He was very old for a LGD and lived a good long life. One thing I do like about Sampson is he doesn’t bark for the pure fun of it which Sterling would do on full-moon nights especially. Sampson only barks when there is a potential danger about. He’s also much easier to groom than a purebred Pyrenees like Sterling. He is an Akbash-Pyr mix. Sampson came to us from 5R Stockdogs in Billings, Montana.