My impression of dogs changed drastically when I met my husband. I grew up thinking that dogs were family pets, nothing more and nothing less. We had a Samoyed and a Beagle and they were deeply loved ‘members’ of our family. When I met my husband, I quickly saw how dogs had the potential to be so much MORE than family pets. Enter Calla Lilly.
Calla is from Canada and she comes from a long line of Border Collies used to herd livestock. When I married my husband, Calla came with the deal. She adores him, is jealous over him, protects him and respects him. She thinks I’m cool too but mostly an annoying human that takes up too much of my husbands time. (We’ve reached an understanding)
My husband started ‘fine tuning’ Calla’s natural instincts to herd livestock when she was between 6-8 months old. They would work the cattle on his parents beef farm as well as the nearby farm of Thistle Creek. Calla learned valuable commands such as “Come Bye,” “Away to me,” “Walk on,” “That’ll do” and “Take time” when they were working with a herd of cattle. She learned how to properly drive cattle by applying appropriate pressure on key cows. She also learned how to work in tandem with other Border Collies, one of which named “Mac” would also become the eventual sire of her two litters.
Calla is a gentle mannered dog and can chase a ball, cuddle on the couch and ‘wrestle’ with the best of them but one skill that sets her apart from other family dogs is her ability to also work cattle. (Last spring when I was feeling a little homesick, I wrote about Calla on my blog, specifically recalling a favorite and memorable spring day when the dogs were moving the sheep flock.)
I was immediately impressed with the natural talent of Calla and the other Border Collies at Thistle Creek. I had never seen dogs assist farmers in an actually meaningful and skillful way. A good Border Collie can in all reality take the place of a hired farm hand. Pay a guy to help herd and move cattle or train a really good Border Collie to do the trick; easy decision. Dogs don’t ask for days off and they don’t need any form of payment other than gratitude, love and dog chow.
Our friends, the “Lake’s” own Thistle Creek Farms and they have been a huge influence on my husband in may ways. George and Christy opened up their home and heart to him ever since he started working for them in his early teens. When I entered the picture they warmly welcomed me into their extended family as well and their love and generosity has been greatly appreciated and valued by the two of us…by the three of us I should say. Calla has enjoyed some of her best days working with the dogs at the Lakes.
This week, the Lake’s were featured on A&E’s Digital Studio’s K-9 to 5 YouTube series. Their lead dog, “Mac” was the star of the clip and rightly so. Mac, as you will see in this clip is quite an impressive Border Collie.
Such sweet dogs.
Incredibly loyal to their lead handler, super focused on the task at hand and tireless in their work ethic.