Friday, February 3, 2012

An Agreeable Sidekick

As my dog works harder, I do less. I’ll admit to letting Kate do the work behind the herd while moving cows lately as I sit in the pickup with the heater on. While driving along, an occasional word of support for her out the window, I find myself thinking about middle age spread – urck. Not only do I reject the label “middle age” but the thought of spreading is particularly abhorrent.  

Kate is in her element while herding cattle, happy as a lark, tucking this side, then that side, running back to me for approval and then back to the herd. She’s doing what border collies have been bred to do for generations and needs zero encouragement from me. In fact getting her to slow down is my main chore. “Kate, here, here . . . come back, Katie, come here . . . Kate, that'll do!” 

If you’re up to the constant attention required, using a herding dog is pure fun. I admire Kate’s enthusiasm for the job. She’s my hero. What couldn’t I do If I had her work ethic? The dishes would get done lickety-split. Laundry, no problem. Meal preparation, a breeze. What a role model.

Besides her working skills, Kate’s attitude shines. She is endlessly forgiving and adoring. If I scold her, she takes it in stride, ignoring my outburst. If a particular strategy doesn’t achieve the results I expect, why then she’ll try it from a different angle. “How about this?” she asks.  We’d all do better if we didn’t take criticism personal, learned from our missteps, and forged ahead with optimism.

I promise to learn from her lead and be better tomorrow. And as for middle age spread, I hereby resolve to get out and help Kate whether she needs it or not . . . when spring comes, that is.

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