Sheepdogs. When I saw Linda’s prompt for this Saturday’s stream of consciousness challenge, that’s the word that popped into my mind. I’m a dog lover and the type of dogs I’ve had most in my life have been sheepdogs of one type or another. My mind really started working overtime, remembering my wonderful sheepdogs.
After the death of a beloved dog, I researched the type of dog I might want and came up with the Pembroke Welsh Corgi or the Cardigan Welsh Corgi. After a little more research and a search for breeders in my area, I settled on the Pembroke Welsh Corgi and suddenly, I had my first sheepdog. I named her Kelly and she is still one of my two heart dogs. I’ll never forget Kelly. She was bred in Wyoming by a breeder who became my friend. This was way back in the 1980s.
Kelly was the most wonderful companion for 14 years. Yes, Pembroke Welsh Corgis originally herded sheep in Wales and still do in some places in America. They are long, very low dogs. They even nip at the heels of their humans and try to herd us. They herd sheep in precisely that manner and are too low for the sheep to kick. They kick right over their heads. Kelly was soon joined in my household by two other corgis. One was another Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Zachary. They are the most wonderful little animals with unbelievably winning personalities and great herding skills. Kelly is on the far left in the picture below and Zachary is on the right.
I also raised two Cardigan Welsh Corgis at two separate times. Katy and Eliza. Katy grew up with Kelly and Zachary. Katy was a black and white Cardigan and Eliza was a black and white with brindle points Cardigan with one brown and one blue eye. Eliza was a dog that came later in my life. Cardigans are slightly larger than Pembroke and they are the corgis with the tail. In Wales, they were usually used to herd cattle as opposed to sheep as they have the larger bone structure and are slightly taller and stronger dogs. They are still short enough for the cattle to kick over their head. In the U.S., they are also used to herd sheep. Cardigans, in my opinion, are the ultimate fireside dogs. Yes, they can work and herd, but they adore their “people” and want to guard their home. Katy is in the picture above with Kelly. Below is a picture of Eliza, who was with me until she was 13 years old. Eliza, like Kelly, was my heart dog. She was with me through some hard times and I will always be sad she is gone. I miss her every day.
I haven’t had another Pem since Kelly and Zachary. But, I was introduced to another herding breed by my friend, Anne, who breeds Pulis. The Puli may not be as well-known in the U.S. as most herding breeds, at least not to just the average person. They come from Eastern Europe. I was fortunate enough to be able to have a Puli that was of Anne’s breeding. His name was Bear and I will never forget him. Pulis herd by actually jumping on the backs of the sheep and they are very effective herders. They are one of the corded breeds. You can see Bear and his dreadlocks in the picture below. I found the Puli to be strong, determined, and very, very quick. I can imagine that they are very good herding dogs. Bear had to be content with herding us. He spent his days keeping track of me and my Cardigan Welsh Corgi mentioned above, Eliza, and was the sweetest boy ever. I secretly think that Bear would have been happiest had he been given a real herding job. Bear occupies a very special place in my heart. He loved hugs more than any dog I’ve ever had.
I don’t have a herding dog now. I have a little spaniel who thinks she owns me. As much as I love little Betsy, I miss my herding dogs. Maybe I’ll have another one yet. Another corgi, another puli, or maybe I’ll go further afield and opt for a herding breed that can also serve as a guard dog.
This was a long stream of consciousness post. But, the letters “sh” inspired me about my precious sheepdogs. I have experienced a lot of the sentiment “they don’t live as long as we do” and it has been painful to lose each and every one. But, they have brought great joy to my life. I hope you have enjoyed reading this. #amwriting #amblogging #writing #dogs
*This post is part of Linda Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Challenge