Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Chapter 109 I'm a Dog, I'm a Working Dog

Chip had picked up a pup at the Austin pound when he was in law school at UT. He selected this one because he was the sorriest looking one in the bunch and named him Sebastian. Well, Sebastian grew into a beautiful dog. He was a crossbreed but looked a lot like a Border collie. When Chip could no longer keep him, he brought Sebastian out to the farm and we inherited him. When Charlotte and I were out and about, Sebastian was always with one of us. 

One day I was loading a bunch of cows to take them over to our Blue Ridge place, about 25 miles away. My gooseneck trailer was designed to haul about twelve cows and I was trying to put fifteen in because I did not want to make two trips. I had all but one last cow finally pushed, and crowded in the trailer but this last one was half in and half out. I was twisting her tail, and shoving with my shoulder with all my might but, her two back legs were still out of the back of the trailer. All of a sudden I heard this growl and Sebastian had bitten that cow in the ankle, and she shoved herself right into the trailer. I slammed the back gate and locked it and then looked down at Sebastian. I said,” Where did you learn to do that?” Sebastian didn't say a word, he just looked up at me and grinned.

I realized then that Sebastian had cow dog parents and it was in his blood. That is something that is amazing, how a dog from a cow dog line will just inherently know something about handling cattle. He had never seen a cow until he was grown. After that, I usually took Sebastian with me when I was working cattle. He rode in the back of the pick-up but if it was hot and he had done a good job, I would let him ride up in the cab. When I did this he was a happy dog. He would jump up in the cab, and stick his nose into the A/C outlet on the dash. If I had not started the pickup, he would look over at me like he was saying, "hurry up and get this thing going!"
Everyone loved Sebastian and he was a character. One time we were throwing “his stick” which was a six-foot 2x4, for him to go fetch. (Not everyone was able to throw his “stick” for him to fetch) One of the boys threw it over the fence into the pasture. Sebastian would always run out and get it in the center at the balance point and then he would come back with this big old 2x4.  When he started through the gate, of course both ends of that 2x4 hit the sides of the gate. Sebastian backs up, drops the 2x4, goes to the end of it, picks it up, and drags it through the gate. Once through the gate, he again gets the balance point and come trotting back for us to throw it again. Smart dog! If you threw him a regular stick he would just sit by you and not even move to go get it. 

Great video of cow dogs working cattle found here.

Photo of working cow dogs found here.

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