Several times during the day, I make my way to wherever my flock is. I do this to check on them, of course, but mostly I do this to lead Bowie to them. I’ve read and heard that this is one way to help a livestock guardian puppy learn to be with the sheep she/he is responsible for – especially if there is no older dog to serve as a mentor. Bowie will stay sheep side for longer and longer periods, but she will inevitably wander back down to the gate leading to the barn, and find a way to tunnel under so that she can find me.
Pasture time can last anywhere from fifteen minutes to more than an hour, depending as it does on the weather and what else I am up to that day. It was bitterly cold today, and my fibromyalgia was not coping well with the stiff wind that blew down the valley from the direction of the Green Mountains, but I stayed out longer than intended because:
*Auggie trundled over for a chat and a nuzzle. He has the most terrible breath, as well as the tendency to burp loudly the closer gets to my face. But Auggie love is not to be missed, and so I stayed.
*A pair of hawks swooped and screeched in the clear blue sky. Their steep dives and sudden lifts were marvelous to watch, and so I stayed.
*Upon closer inspection, the lichen covered log upon which I sat looked like a work of art – a study in texture and many shades of sage, so I stayed.
*From time to time, Bowie would circle back to where I was, sit by my side, and lean her body into mine. Together, we looked over the wide sweep of our pasture, the grazing sheep, the coppery valley now shorn of corn below. So I stayed.