Category Archives: Australian Shepherd

The Good Shepherd

Yesterday was a busy fiber day. A neighbor brought over a few sample fleeces from her flock for me to scour. When she dropped the bags, I immediately took a small sample indoors to wash up just for a look at how the fleece might behave.

Louis, our Aussie shepherd, who was around our Shetlands at a very young age, followed closely, curiously sniffing the air. As I ran a pot of water at the sink, he began crying at the door. I followed, letting him out for what I thought was a potty break. While waiting for the dog, I busied myself outdoors setting up the scouring equipment. Then I looked over and found Louis situated beside the bags of raw fiber just outside the garage. Not thinking much of it, I called him in and he immediately whined and paced at the back door.

Assuming he hadn’t finished his doggy business, I took him out again and noticed he ran straight for the fleeces, plopping down beside them and looking quite proud. The sweet pup was guarding his “flock.” Talk about instincts! I finally had to put the fleeces away to manage our loyal shepherd’s sanity. A good dog and good shepherd indeedy.

Cobber Louis, a Shepherd’s Tale

-2He’s all puppy. The most annoying animal on the planet first thing in the morning. All energy, wiggles, and razor-sharp, dagger-like new teeth. He leaps into the air and every day makes me question my sanity in bringing him home. And yet, I can see the dog (that loyal, calm companion) emerging.

Though crazy puppy while with the family, if the baby wanders out to the sandbox outside, the dog follows. We often find him seated beside the baby, calmly looking about as if surveying the security of the sandbox. He isn’t stealing toys or nibbling fingers; he’s transcended into working dog in those moments.

My husband does not share my adoration for this puppy. He is annoyed at the chewing and barking and pawing and jumping. He thinks dogs should be cats; quiet and reserved. He is good to Louis, but prefers a lap cat to an obnoxious pup.

I’m not sure he believed me initially about the puppy’s uncanny ability to transform to dog when necessity emerges. I’m quite certain he thought I was only trying to woo him into some kind appreciation for this chair-eating monster I call “sweet puppy.” And then something strange happened.

I arrived home a few days ago, after a long day away at the farm, and found my husband happily sharing a story of how he and the dog had bonded, playing Frisbee in the front yard. Bonded? Had he mistaken the Aussie for a feline?

Later, my eldest child shared with me that Louis had done a remarkable thing. While our back yard is surrounded by a privacy fence, the front yard is not. And though we no longer live on a busy road, the baby wandering into the road is still a worry that rests soundly in the back of my head.

While away, the toddler, as mischievous as the puppy, opened the door and wandered out into the road. [This reoccurring theme in our lives is the sole reason we purchased a house so far from any major lines of traffic.] My daughter said all were alerted by the puppy barking incessantly from the front yard, where he had escaped with the boy. There, she saw Topher seated in the roadway, with the dog standing beside him, facing the house barking fiercely, in an effort to illicit some human-assistance.

That human later decided the puppy wasn’t so bad after-all. And that maybe a good game of catch was justified. Cobber Louis may not be the calm, sweet-mannered thing of dog-hood, but he’s all shepherd; watching over us, his pack and his flock. And for that, he can eat a chair or two.