Ian, now Kep (New York)

We are having fun getting to know a herding dog personally. Kep is so devoted to having things orderly – a place for everything and everything in its place is his motto. Except, applied to people and animals. He follows around animals who are not where they should be, like when the rather naughty goat gets out. He barks to alert me something is wrong, like when the cow took a walk or a stranger on a four wheeler was suddenly coming up our field. He knows where each animal should be and how they should be behaving (kids included) and it’s his job to make sure all is well. Another example, but with the kids when they started sledding a few weeks ago for the first time since he’s been here. He was very concerned. He yipped at me and yipped at them and generally made noise. Then he gave up barking (as mom obviously wasn’t too worried about it and didn’t bother trying to correct such odd behavior in her children), and just decided to keep an eye on things instead. He’d follow them all the way down the sledding hill. Then follow them all the way back to the top. Over and over again. He was as exhausted as they were when they were done. The kids’ friend who was visiting wondered why he was so intent on watching them and why he had barked. “Doesn’t he like us sledding?” she asked me. “Well, I said, “how would we feel if OUR sheep suddenly started sledding?” That got a laugh, but it is basically true – they were zipping along and he’d never seen them do it.