Sheepdogs are a breed apart, they don’t just herd sheep, although that’s what they like to do most of all, it gives them immense satisfaction to gather a scattered flock together and push them gently in the right direction, sheepdogs care for sheep in much the same way that the shepherd cares for them. To the shepherd the sheep represent his income and the continued survival of his way of life, to the sheepdog the sheep represent his or her life’s work.
To the sheep, the dog will often be someone they have grown up with and in many ways someone they trust. The Dog and I have stood and watched in awe as a small flock of sheep actually followed a sheepdog from one field, down the lane and into another field while the shepherd stood by his parked truck and whistled his instructions. As soon as the sheep where safely ensconced in the field with the gate closed, dog and shepherd jumped into the truck and drove off.
Quad bikes, of course, are the new thing and they do for a farmer what a good horse did for the cowboy in the wild west, they make it possible to compete with the animals on their own terms – something we fragile bipeds can’t hope to do.
But a quad bike will never care about sheep the way a sheepdog does.