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The Shepherd’s Helpmate A Brief History of the Bearded Collie

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274 – November, 2021

By Lee Connor

When I was about eight years old, my aunt and uncle took me away on vacation to Wales.

We drove there in a bright orange VW Campervan and I well remember waking up, wiping the window and being in awe of the mountains that towered up just outside.

It was on this trip that I also encountered working sheepdogs for the very first time.

We stayed on a sheep farm and, when watching the farmer control his dogs with just a simple sharp whistle or command, making the dog drop or run–as if being controlled by an invisible puppeteer’s strings–I had the very same awestruck feeling I’d experienced when viewing those Welsh mountains for the first time.

How was it even possible that a dog could understand his master’s every demand, communicated by the most subtle gesture or sound?

To me, as a city boy, it was completely magical.

Watching a shepherd and his dog, working together so closely, even today still brings a lump to the throat–it hasn’t lost any of its magic.

Civilizations have been built on sheep and shepherding.

And of course, a shepherd simply isn’t a shepherd without his sheepdog.

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274 – November, 2021

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  • November 2021