The dogs are getting into the swing of the warmer weather we are having, and are sleeping a lot during the afternoon. I think they heard rumours that the workload was decreasing with the beginning of spring. How ill-informed they were as we had a surprise control from the vet department the other day to inform us that our eartags are not up to scratch.
Now as anyone who has a flock of sheep knows eartags for sheep are a disposable item. Let the farmer put them in, then go and find the nearest fence, bramble bush, pole, hay bale or blade of grass to get rid of the thing as fast as possible. Anyhow rules are rules and we must endeavour to keep one or two tags depending on the destination of said sheep in their ears at all times. Of course ours are outside most of the time so any sheep handling is a family event requiring muscle, patience and a deaf ear when Gavin is working the dogs. In my humble opinion whistling for sheepgdogs was invented by people who did not wish to have the childrens ears permanently damaged by profanity. Fortunately our delightful dogs don't hear the words just the intonation and thus can deduce that "no the sheep were not meant to be going to eat the neighbours prize roses"
We have a group of 3 kittens that have just been born in our barn, so once again we will have another massive vet bill to sterilise the little fluff balls so they do not become a nuisance. I do believe this is the only drawback to moving house in the countryside in France, having to be a cat controller at every new destination.
He was a bit of a loon as a youngster too eager to help, which didn't always end well. Usually half the flock were at your feet and the rest were high tailing it for the horizon. Later on he turned into a very steady worker. On one of Gavins away days James, our neighbour was lending a hand to put some sheep away which meant he had to stay with the dog and the sheep, whilst I drove to the other side of the property to turn off the electric fence. On my return James said, "Thank goodness for Ben! The sheep started moving around so I looked at him and said, quick do something! And he just did."
Happy times. Ben missed by all the family and the other dogs, though probably not by the sheep.