The other night Lavon worked Scout in his big field. I wondered why he'd do that; if he wanted a long run in full panic mode, I'd have been happy to chase him with the car down the canal for a few miles. That way we would have a starting and an ending point and one of us could keep drinking our evening cocktail. His option wasn't going very well. Scout – circling and barking, Lavon trying to stay with his sheep who were scattering like dandylion seed. There was a lot of uncharacteristic yelling, which was cutting into my telephone conversation with DD,
"Why is he working Scout?" DD asked.
"Oh. I think I accidentally let her out!"
Lavon's young dog Boot was standing by with a WTF look on his face. It occurred to me that Lavon had probably meant to work Boot. Scout hadn't been out of her crate for awhile and so I had opened the door on my way by, thinking nothing of it.
(I think nothing of most things, sadly, that don't involve chewing and/or swallowing.)
"SORRY!" I yelled over the din and motion.
Lavon is a man who would consider naming a guardian dog 'Banjo'. He is a gentle sort. He is a man who never raises his voice, and when he does, his voice sounds like a normal voice, slightly louder. He doesn't seem to get angry. Not that I, or Scout, have seen, anyway, and we have run a few tests.
"LIE DOWN! SCOUT!!"
(Scout doesn't lie down anymore. 'Down' is just another word for nothing left to chase..)
Lavon likes dogs with a lot of 'push'. He talks about starting his (now) good open dog, Tess – he and Helsley had to put the sheep in a pen and have Tess circle them on the outside. It was the only way to teach her to stay off of the stock and listen- she was a gripping machine.
Meanwhile, on his big field, not once in 20 minutes worth of barking and chasing did Scout even appear to notice that Lavon was out there except as an intermittent obstacle.
Out of breath and panting, Scout and Lavon finally called a cease-fire. He put a piece of bailing twine gingerly around her neck. She looked up at him and wagged.
"If I could just… get her to lie down…." he said. She jumped on him, still wagging.
"She sure has push!" I said.
"She definitely has enthusiasm," he said.
"Do you mean…'crazy'?"
"Maybe. But I will say this, if you could capture whatever it is she's got and get it work for you, you'd have something."
We're going to build a little pen and try what worked for Tess.
Lavon's optimism is the stuff candy is made of.
"I think we can get her to the point where she has a job," he said, "I don't know what that job will be….but …."
I picture mobile butcher or border patrol, livestock division.