Gracie and I were invited by one of the local Samoyed clubs to come out and test Gracie’s herding abilities. It’s one of the activities they offer every year—these activities raise money for Samoyed Rescue organizations, so I was totally in. This afternoon we drove down to a place in Long Beach that specializes in testing and training.
We pulled up to the place and let Gracie out, and at first she wasn’t at all interested in much more than a drink of water and a good pee. I wasn’t sure what to expect—would I have to direct her? would they need me to sign a waiver stating that Gracie wouldn’t kill the sheep? would they give me a bunch of rules and regulations?—but the herding instructor opened the gate where three sheep were hanging out, looking like they were on a cigarette break, totally bored, like, yeah, okay, here we go again, and he had me lead Gracie in. The only instruction I got was to remove her leash.
Samoyeds are a herding breed and she herds me and Bill around the house, rounding us up, making sure we’re in the same place where she can keep an eye on us. If we’re in different rooms, she goes bonkers—she can’t relax. She’ll pace between the rooms until she’s sure that one of us isn’t going to wander off. But I didn’t know how she’s do with the sheep, in fact, I was a little worried for some reason she might try to take a little taste of one, but she stood there for a minute, assessing the situation, and then took off.
Her instincts kicked into overdrive and, tongue hanging out of her face in pure joy, she chased the sheep around the ring keeping them together and chasing the strays down when they tried to divide and conquer. At one point she turned to look at me, like, “What the hell? How did I get so lucky?!”
She was totally in her element. As tired as she was at the end she was ready to go the second she saw another dog enter the ring. The evaluator gave her high marks in everything, so in lieu of adopting some cattle or sheep, I’m going to have to take her out there once in a while to let her get her herd on.