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Feature Article on sheepdogs. Topic: EVENTS
By Jim Sayre in February, 2000

WORKING LIKE A DOG

Most old-time farmsteads in Shelby County had a dog, some of them working hard at their collie.gif (31452 bytes)chores such as herding cattle or sheep. But, some were no longer needed: "Anyone wanting a good stock dog, call at the home of Mrs. Leander Wright in Oran. No charge, for we have no further use for him" (Sidney Daily News, Nov. 20, 1924).

One retired farmer recalls a cattle buyer in Sidney who would go out to the country to make deals on livestock. The deal concluded, he let his dogs out and went home. The dogs, on their own, would bring the cattle to the packing plant down on south Brooklyn.

Well-trained Border Collies can put on spectacular performances in rounding up sheep and putting them where they belong. Shelby County’s Bruce Fogt has won international acclaim as a Border Collie handler and has been recognized by Border Collie expert and author, Donald McCaig, of Virginia, famous for his Nop’s Trials book, a fictional account of a lost dog. Fogt, according to McCaig, is among the best handlers in sheepdog trials:

Bruce has won the Kentucky Blue Grass, the Blue Ridge Open, and the California Sate Fair. Bruce trained his Hope bitch himself, and she’s a wonder to watch. She’s a medium-size, black-and-merle bitch, strong, responsive, smooth as glass (Eminent Dogs, Dangerous Men, Donald McCaig, HarperCollins, 1991, pp. 4-5).

Don and Jim Brandt, of the Anna-Kettlersville area, once kept Lad and Shelley, Border Collies who responded to shouted commands. Don Brandt said that herding large groups of sheep without dogs is a difficult task at best, but with one dog the job is quite simple.  Brandt’s dogs needed only one command to bring a large flock under control. " ‘Go by’ is the command for the dog to move around the sheep from the left side while ‘go round’ is from the right" (Sidney Daily News, Mar. 1, 1975).

 

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