Friday, August 31, 2007

Puppies, puppies, puppies, puppies

There’s a great segment on NPR’s “This American Life” series about a man who starts a TV channel devoted to puppies: Just videos of puppies playing and sleeping and eating. Puppies 24/7. Well, the puppy kindergarten we just completed with our very own little bundle of fur was like that.

Luka, our aforementioned bundle of fur, is a bit, um, cheeky. She’s an Icelandic Sheepdog, a breed we began encountering after the Icelandic sheep came into our lives. And she came back from a western vacation with us this summer. We are hoping that as she grows, Luka will put her overwhelming self-confidence to good use helping Maggie herd the sheep.
Maggie is a border collie; she instinctively tries to gather and stop the sheep-- or anything else really-- while Luka will (hopefully) follow behind and move the sheep forward. This is what she is supposed to do anyway. We’ll see. So far, the only close up experience she’s had was when we moved our last reluctant ewe, Louise, to a new pasture. The rest of the flock had been relatively easy, but poor terrified Louise had to be chased down and man-handled, I straddled her very wide belly and pushed her forward while Dan pulled her halter. It was slow, miserable going (Though it was only about 40 feet) and somehow, Luka broke free of the porch and children and came running down to help. She yipped with the high-pitched ferocity of a firehouse siren, nipping at wild-eyed Louise from all sides. Dan and I had our hands full, so there was little we could do other than yelling “Quiet! No!”

Not a pretty moment on Maggie’s Farm.

Next week, I begin taking Luka to work with me on Fridays. Last summer, the students really enjoyed her and I really believe there is something to be said for canine therapy. Let’s just hope cheeky, adorable Luka can manage a group of high school boys better than she did poor Louise!

Here, Maggie and Luka enjoy a little sibling rivalry:

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