Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Actually, sheep, cattle and duck camp. Perhaps more accurately, stock herding camp. There are 35 campers. I am one. All adults. We all have at least one dog. Some have 5 or 6. One woman brought along six four week old puppies with their mother since they could not be left at home alone. There are about 140 dogs at the sheep farm where camp is underway. They are the herding breeds: Heelers, Australian Shepherds, Corgis, Kelpies, Bearded Collies, Shelties, and, in large majority, Border Collies. The dogs work stock with passion and intensity. Work is their reward. Toys and treats play no part in their training. When it is not their turn, the dogs watch others work. During the lunch break the dogs sleep in crates and small portable pens. The humans wear name tags. I am glad that camping is no longer exclusively for the young. As with children away at summer camp, we are the essence of indulgence. We may not be cannon-balling off a dock, but when our dog goes out wide around the sheep and fetches them back to us, we are getting the same thrill.