Two years ago I bought our first farm collie from some friends. Our family absolutely loved this dog. So for Christmas we found a mate for him, a regular collie. I have never had such wonderful all around versatile dogs. There is so much I can say about them, but will try to limit myself to a few.

Gabby , our male, has such a sweet kindred spirit about him. He and I can look into each others eyes and he always seems to know what kind of mood Iím in. Heís so loving. He loves the hugs and kisses. And doesnít mind the four boys hanging on him. Around the animals he has a special touch and care for when one is hurt or not feeling well. The baby goats and chicks that have been part of the farm always get his full attention and care. When the kids are born he gets excited and wants to be right there to make sure they are all right. We bring them into the house for the first night and Gabby likes checking in on them. It was interesting this past spring when we bought some baby chickens. Every day Gabby had to go into the garage where we kept them to sniff them out and it seemed to me, to count them. When we first put them out into the chicken tractor , he placed himself beside them and wouldnít get up for hours! I figured he thought that they needed some baby sitting that day. Yesterday, our buck got out of the fence and went after our 3 month old calf. The calf received a little injury and while Lassie ( female collie) was helping my husband get the buck back and fix the fence, Gabby stayed and watched over the calf until it recovered and we were able to get it into a different fenced area.

Iíve seen Gabby scolding our cat for jumping up to my bird feeder to get birds. It was actually funny. The cat would wait and wait to jump up to catch a bird and Gabby would bark and get all over the cat when it jumped up. I guess he knew that the bird feeder was special to us. The other wonderful thing about Gabby is that he is so trustworthy with the boys. I know that he loves them and keeps a good eye on them. This past spring our little calf wandered out onto our neighbors pasture. The four boys went over to get the calf and bring it back. From what I understand of the story, a mother cow thought that the children were bothering her calf. The cow cam echarging. The son (11) who was with the calf realized a mad momma was on to him and started to run. He accidentally fell. The other kids where screaming ďrun, runĒ. Gabby was barking like crazy and thankfully the oldest son (12) let him go. From what Joseph said. ď The cow was on to me and I had turned around on the ground and had kicked the cow in the head and then Gabby came and pulled the cow away from me! ď The boys and I were so thankful to God that Gabby was with them. Where the kids go, he goes and for a good reason.

Lassie has been with us for one year and already is such a big help. She loves to keep everything in itís place. When its time to put the chickens up for the day, she loves rounding them up while Gabby guards and helps. When the goats get out she loves putting them up. She has no fear. Lately our bucks have been getting out and trying to get to the does. Gabby always sounds the alarm and then its team work to put those rascals in. Lassie is so aggressive! And always gives her best to put them back. Awhile back we needed to get a calf into the trailer to take it to auction. We donít have a cattle shoot so it takes work to get them in. My husband used some cattle panel to make a temporary shoot into the trailer. He was out there with the four wheeler trying to get that stubborn cow in. I finally went out to help and took the dogs. We had them on leashes because we are still training them, but they did a great job of speeding up the process of getting the cow in. With my husband on the four wheeler, Gabby with a son , Lassie with me, and the other two boys, we surrounded the cow and brought it in. Gabby inched it forward , while Lassie went back and forth keeping it from escaping .

I have been training them in obedience class which has been a real pleasure. Iíve never had dogs that have learned so quickly. I am still amazed. They are so smart and just catch on so fast. It makes training fun and of course very helpful in the house and around the farm. Gabby completed his beginning class with no trouble. I had signed him up for the intermediate class, but it was cancelled. So, we took him straight to advanced with no problems. There are a few things he doesnít like to do, but from what the trainer says, most intact dogs donít like to go ďbackĒ. Lassie completed her intro and intermediate classes and earned an AKC Canine Good Citizen Award. She loves the training time too and we plan to go on to the advanced class.

What I love about these dogs is that they are not overly hyper. They are content to be in their yard, or tied, or in the house. They can be content laying around and being watchful. Yet, Iíve learned to trust their bark informing me that something is going on. They can go from being a lazy loving dog to a full speed high energy working dog in seconds. They are becoming my right hand and I donít know what I would do with out them.

Rebeca Bradley

American Working Farmcollie Association

English Shepherd Club Breeders