Kay, Mel, Eli, Carew and Ezra, to name just a few, are excellent sheepdogs; strong, enthusiastic and tenacious when necessary, but I don’t think any one of them would turn a hair if they realised they’d never see another sheep. What they really like is companionship and entertainment; sheepwork’s just a bonus and I doubt they spend much time thinking about it.
Almost every day brings requests to take on young dogs and puppies who, for whatever reason, aren’t working out as domestic pets. Quite often, the request is prompted by the dog biting someone; it seems to be a commonly held belief that working as a sheepdog will be the cure for all behavioural ills in a Border collie. Also, that if the dog isn’t happy in a domestic situation, then it must be because it’s missing sheep work.
We take on as many of these dogs as we can, depending on available time and dog accommodation, and last week we just happened to have both when we were offered our newest recruit. Lupus was actually fine with his family, but they felt that although, in theory, the arrangement should have worked, in reality Lupus was being left alone more than they were comfortable with. Coming from a working background in Brecon, and only five months old, we thought Lupus should fit in well. Then we saw Lupus’s lovely eyes, and couldn’t wait to start photographing him.
Two blue eyes can look rather startling; I think they’re probably something one either loves or hates. Luckily, we love blue eyes in collies and our regular eye test and ophthalmic referral clinic assures us that blue eyes are healthy in every way. There certainly doesn’t seem to be a problem with Lupus’s eyesight – he can spot a pork scratching or a toast crust at a considerable distance! He’s now known as Locust.
Lupus/Locust/Lucas is proving elusive when there’s a camera about, but it’s clear to see that he’s fast becoming “one of the boys”.