Our new Border Collie Ness
For almost 15 years, our Border Collie Paisley worked our sheep. Sadly, she died last Memorial Day at the age of 14. We were so lucky to obtain her from Becky Peterson of Leyden, MA way back when. Paisley had natural talent - a keen eye - and real dedication for keeping everything in line. It took Mark a long time to decide that he wanted and needed a Border Collie. Collies are a huge committment because they always want to be busy - it is kind of like having a bunch of kids, only they don't talk back with words. A good collie can round up 100 sheep in about three minutes. It can take three people four hours! You can see they are worth their weight in dog food!
Last July, we found Ness at Amy Dunnington's farm in Rhode Island. I love this picture of her. Border Collies are very hard to take photos of - they are either on the run at 900 mph or right in your camera lens. This photo kind of says it all - she is enthusiastic!
Ness (or Nessie) joins our other lovely collie Phoebe (who has decided sheep aren't quite for her - pigs and chickens are okay). From what we can tell Ness seems to have the natural talent and interest we were hoping for. We are keeping our fingers crossed. She turned one May 15th and Mark is just starting to work with her on the sheep. She will never replace Paisley but we are hoping she will become her own legend.
In the Sunday NY Times Style Section (July 9, 2006), there was an wonderful article entitled Happiness is Three Sheep and a Dog about people in Hollywood - film people specifically - owning sheep dogs. There is a sheep dog trainer named Janna Duncan who has started training these "Hollywood" sheep dogs and their masters how to herd sheep in Malibu of all places. It certainly is a funny read (at least from this side of the fence). But I am sure that the owners and dogs are seriously learning a thing or two.
I think Ness is glad she lives with us.