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Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017

Flash: A happy farm dog

Posted Tuesday, December 1, 2009, at 7:16 PM

Flash is ready to roll!
She's never been to groomer, never ridden in a car or waited outside the Walmart. Never begged for table food, slept in a real bed or laid on a couch. She wouldn't take a bath or be brushed voluntarily if her life depended on it.

She naps outside, under a bush -- in a flower garden if she doesn't get caught - or on the cool concrete of a breezeway, where in the summer air conditioned air often wafts outside when a door opens during the day. In the winter of the breezeway, when a simple rug doesn't suit, she's been known to pull down a pair of coveralls hanging nearby. Thrilled at her ability to adapt, she doesn't seem to understand when the coverall owners protest. At night she sleeps in a crate, in the garage, where she has since she was a puppy.

She's often invited inside the house to lay on a rug, but feels uncomfortable, happier in the great outdoors -- as long as one of her four family members comes with her.

She's a working dog -- a tri-colored border collie, with a happy disposition.

Asking for little in return, she is always eager to help.

She knows what you are asking often before you actually say it. A nod or a point and she's off in a "Flash."

She doesn't know why or when we might call on her services, but she watches our face as we head out the door each morning.

If we ever walk towards the cow lot, she runs ahead, crouching down to see just how far we go. If we make it through the gate, she is already ahead harassing a bull, cow, calf -- and if she's feeling especially brave -- she heads for the donkey, Hilary.

When our utility vehicle starts up, she's even more hopeful, jumping on and going to her "special" place, under our feet. She hangs off the side, peering ahead, hopeful we'll head towards the pasture.

Once in the pasture her instinct is to bring the cows in, circling around them, back and forth, crouching down and giving them the "eye" so they move away from her. She follows the farmer's commands, ones she learned by trial and error. She may make a mistake, but not the same one twice.

She might bite one on the heel if asked to "Get it," making a 1,500 pound cow run away from her 45 pound body. If the cow goes the wrong way, she will gladly and gleefully chase the cow and turn her around, sometimes more than once (just for fun) before taking the dizzy cow back to the herd.

She never talks, but communicates effectively her every need. If her food dish is ever under half full, she stations herself between the food dish and the door, making sure her humans have to look down to see the empty dish, lest they trip over the non-moving animal. She positions herself carefully, making sure if they were to trip their face would conveniently end up in the middle of the empty dish. She also gently herds her master towards the garage door, looking towards the plastic bin where her food is kept. She is happiest when her food bowl is overflowing, even if it takes her a day or two to finish. And oddly she always eats from the right side first, before starting on the left.

The farm cats learned by trial and error not to run away when she approaches. If they do, she happily runs them down and turns them another direction- doesn't really matter which direction. A wise tomcat has learned to wait her out and crouch down, not moving a muscle. She soon bores of the game, as he lays still and moves on to another.

She keeps a stash of plastic bottles and balls that she routinely digs out whenever she feels a need to play or finds a willing participant. Throw the bottle, ball or stick and you have a friend and playmate forever. In fact the next time you visit the farm, she'll remember you played and greet you with a bottle or ball.

She is a cattle dog - - doing what her breed has been doing for generations, plus a lot more!

Flash is a lucky dog, just ask her.

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I forgot to put that we are very lucky to have her - but we are!


-- Posted by Marcia Gorrell on Wed, Dec 2, 2009, at 4:21 PM

Nice to meet Flash. Brings back memories of our beloved Bouvier de Flandres. A Belgian herding dog. She nipped my heels a few times when I either didn't move fast enough to suit her or go in the right direction. Smart girl. She barked at the snakes when she encountered but never stuck her face close enough to be bitten, which is exactly what happened to the Doberman,( 2x) and once to the Boxer. The Jack Russell barks at everything else, but he wisely doesn't bark at the snakes. Interesting that Flash can leave her Kibble out for a day or two. Here, the raccoons, foxes, possums would show up to clean up the remains of the day.

-- Posted by upsedaisy on Wed, Dec 2, 2009, at 9:57 PM

Thanks for the comment Upsedaisy. We keep her food in our breezeway and she's usually the only animal we let in. We, too, have a terrible time with coons,oppossums etc. getting into the cat food, which we keep in a shed. They will also eat cattle feed or anything else that gets left out accidently.

As for Flash, if the cats are by the breezeway door, she stands and "guards" her feed until she is sure they can't get in! She stands with her nose over it, so they get the idea it is her food!!

-- Posted by Marcia Gorrell on Thu, Dec 3, 2009, at 11:03 AM

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