Today Lorri and I tossed the three dogs and headed to Fido’s Farm near Olympia. They hosted a fund-raiser for MARS, the Miniature Australian Shepherd Rescue Society. It was our first opportunity to get Rusty, Lucy, and Amos out of the house together and interact with other dogs. We decided we would have them assessed for sheep herding under the careful guidance of Chris, the owner of the farm.
Each took their turn for ten minutes in the pen under my supervision, with two rather docile sheep, under Chris’s careful guidance. It was a lot of fun, with Lorri outside the pen with the two non-participating dogs trying to take pictures of what was happening in the pen. Mostly it was hilarious.
Rusty was first. Having been through agility training, he was probably the most prepared. Though he was initially distracted, Rusty eventually took a clear interest in moving the sheep around. He was able to move them and turn them without being too aggressive, biting, or barking at them. Rusty passed his assessment.
Lucy was next. She’s gotten really chubby since Amos came to live with us in July. We’re trying to manage her food a bit better, but it didn’t change the fact that she was easily the the most generously proportioned Aussie on the farm. At age 11, Lucy doesn’t get around as well as she used to, but she was happy to get in the pen and spend some quality time with Daddy. I’m not sure Lu ever quite knew why she was there. She was generally oblivious to the sheep, and was quite happy running back and forth between Amos who was on the fence line and me. Needless to say, Lucy did not pass her assessment.
Amos was last up. I worried a little about my little boy with his natural shyness and reticence, but he had a blast. It’s not that he particularly was interested in sheep, but he really did have a good time in the pen. Mostly he walked with me and watched me for approval with my favorite Amos face, smiling broadly with his shining blue eyes. Off leash, he’d often run over to Lorri and come running back. Twice he took out after the sheep barking madly. Unfortunately, he didn’t pass assessment, but he showed a spark, and we might try again.
We didn’t stay long after the dogs were done. They did well, whether they passed or not. I really just wanted to them to have as much fun as I had. And I think they did. It was a very fun outing, and Lorri and I enjoyed it immensely. It will be the first of many.