Tonight I worked Pat at Dianne's weekly group lesson organized through Gem State Herding. Pat and I have 2 weeks to get our shit together, instead of just eating it. Literally and figuratively, respectively.
Pat and I have worked set-out at a few events (a clinic and Big Willow), but we haven't worked on a field course in a very long time. We haven't really been working on many things, other than our boundless love for one another. I love Pat and he loves me – for all the wrong reasons. I love his sweet intense goofyness; the way he throws around a plush toy and watches me bathe like its the most insane thing he's ever seen. His big floppy feet. He loves me for chicken dinners and plush toys that he can throw around until I get sick of it. IN A HOUSE! Our love tends to forget a purpose that brought us together.
SO: We're on our path to fixing that. We're running on the path to fixing that. We both need to slow the F*CK down.
During our first lesson, I sent Pat on his outrun, blew a "LIE DOWN" whistle, shrilly and continually, as I tend to do. Off-key. Pat ignored it because the sheep were running, toward me, and this seemed okay with Pat. It was part of the Pat Program.
"RUN DOWN THE FIELD AT HIM!" Dianne commanded from somewhere behind me.
Fashion Detail: I was wearing calf length rubber boots. Because I thought it would rain and because I thought the field would be muddy and for just ONCE in my goddamned life I was going to be PREPARED for it. No t-shirt and running shoes for me. Not this time.
In fact it turned out to be 70 degrees and dry like my throat.
Dry like my whistle.
"RUN!" Dianne repeated. "DON'T STOP UNTIL HE LIES DOWN! DO NOT SAY ANOTHER WORD!…"
Because I do like to explain myself. Even to dogs.
So I ran …..almost all the way to Pat before he saw me and figured out that bringing the sheep at a dead run maybe wasn't the Thing to Do…that my shrill Lie Down whistle meant something. He lied down. He looked away. Good.
I caught my breath. I may have uttered a few obscenities. Sweat pooled in the bottom of my big ass rubber boots. I trudged back to the other end of the field, called Pat back, and did it again.
3 times. By the end of our second work Pat was lying down every time I blew a whistle EXCEPT at the top. We still need to get it there. We have 2 weeks.
"You have created this," Dianne told me with a slight smile, as Pat leaned adoringly against my sweaty booted leg, "And now you have to fix it."
It was raining as I drove away. Gentle fat drops. You can't trust the weather.