Yesterday Lavon and Kelsey and Susan and I, plus Derek, hauled Lavon's sheep out to the desert to work our dogs.

Let me just say a few things up front:
1) Scout doesn't think Derek should wear shorts.  Ever.  NOT from the men's department. 
2) Lavon is the calmest, most even-tempered man IN OUR SOLAR SYSTEM.  I don't believe in many things that I cannot prove through SCIENCE, (or WIKI) but this is one exception.  I don't care what kind of super affable half-reptile/half-saint/half intergallactic basque 1.5 man exists on Planet 99 in Deep Space, Lavon is kinder and gentler.  Or he is a HUGE SUCKER of ASTRONOMICAL PROPORTIONS.  Scout believes the latter. BUT back to that in a miniute.

Lavon brought a horse trailer full of his sheep out to our remote undisclosed desert location.  These sheep tend to stick together and move nicely off the dogs. Most of the time, most dogs.

I worked Jai, who did a great job for me, and I also worked Lavon's Jack.  Jack is a SWEET tempered dog who broke his leg last year and was having some confidence issues. Lavon thought he'd do well with me – less pressure, more praise and gushing over cuteness, and all that.  He (JACK, not LAVON) is changing fast and has a lot of talent.  (OK, BOTH, really)  Jack is fun to work, and it's nice to have a pro-novice dog option this year. Pat, meanwhile, has decided to retire and just hang out, peeing on things and keeping an increasingly cloudy eye on the bitches. 

Jack, by the way, also has the nicest grip of any dog I have seen, I think.  He is very calm and reasonable about it, goes right for the face or heel, and then it's over and he's ready to move on if the ewe is.  The Grip was not deployed this weekend. It wasn't necessary.  

Scout didn't get this memo. 

When Derek drove up, Scout immediately noted his short pants, before memorial day, and launched.  Scout's fashion-smited him the moment his white legs flashed out of his pickup, barking and snapping at skinny white Fisher legs. Derek was not amused.  He did dance, however, which Scout loves. It really encourages her.

I put Scout away. 

We worked more dogs.  Susan worked her new dog, Jet, which was nice; Kelsey had a great work with Ewan….Derek worked his dogs, Lavon worked Tess and Gus.  And it was good.  We drank a few beers, and soda.  It was a beautiful day in the desert. 

Lavon decided that he would work Scout at the very end.  I got her out of her crate while Kelsey was working her last dog. 

Scout keeps a keen eye on Lavon because Scout has 'worked' for Lavon in the past.  She knows that they are a team.  As soon as Lavon shifted his feet in a position that could be interpretted as toward the sheep, Scout mobilized her crazy.

"SCOUT!!" I shrieked, I believe following it with an expletive.  Scout believes her name includes really foul language.  It has no effect.

"That's okay," Lavon said calmly, "I guess I'll work Scout now!"

Thus began 1 hour of barking and chasing.  At first it was just in our little perimeter, a clearing near the vehicles where we were actually INTENDING to work the younger, less experienced dogs. Lavon remained calm and told her to 'LAY DOWN'…about 50 – 60 times to no avail.  (Scout, it should be noted, felt the same way about her barking and Derek's shorts.)   

Soon Scout decided to expand her 'drive' ….she disappeared after two ewe lambs over a hill and down into a draw. Lavon calmly followed. I believe he may have half-heartedly attempted to whistle a stop.  CLAP CLAP!!

When neither Scout nor Lavon reappeared after a period of time, maybe even a beers worth, the rest of us started paying more attention.

A far away barking could be heard slightly before the ewe, followed by Scout, appeared on the far horizon, midway up a steep slope.  Lavon was no where in sight, but, then, Lavon cannot run as fast as Scout. No one can.  Many are called, ewes are chosen. 

About this time we put down our beers in earnest, grabbed some lure sheep, and struck out to find Lavon and the lost 2 ewes.

Long story short, as the man himself would say, eventually Lavon appeared, just coming back over the top of the far away hill, carrying a little ewe on his back.  Derek and the band of lure sheep met up with them and we all walked back together.

"I'm sorry," I said about 58 times. "I'm really really sorry."

And I was. REALLY.  I still am. Derek really shouldn't wear shorts.

"You don't have to be…I should have stayed closer to my sheep."

Yes. He actually said that.  As if it were possible.  I wish he would have told Scout to LOOK BACK at least once. If only for our benefit.

Next time.  He assured me that there would be a next time,

"Oh yeah! I don't want to end on a bad note!"

That's why Lavon is an open handler who consistently wins.  HE NEVER GIVES UP. 

(Photo by Kelsey Nichols)

But…neither does Scout.