October 2002

Hey, all! Just wanted to brag on you all about that splendid dog of mine, Polly Beats-em-all-to-Flinders!

Maeve and I went to meet the rest of her 4H llama club at the llama farm as the first stop on a planned hike along the Erie Canal on sunday afternoon. The club is sometimes appallingly suburban, and has no “feel” for how to behave at gates and suchlike. Most of the other travelling llamas were out of the pasture and being groomed when we arrived, so Maeve hustled to fetch out her beast, while I lingered to do parent talk and allow Polly to play with the future Guide Dog who is her current best friend, Emma. As 4 kids followed Maeve to the pasture to “help catch” her llama, it is sufficient to say that the gate was not shut properly (if at all), and three enterprising beasts of an independent turn of mind decided that it was the perfect opportunity to visit their restaurant of choice, the neighbor’s enormous garden. I heard a voice shout “llamas on the loose!” and looked up from untangling the dogs’ two leashes to see the mad dash in progress. Polly alerted at the same time, and it was as if Emma no longer existed--only the llamas who were where they should not be! I unclippd Polly’s leash and said, “let’s go put ‘em back, Polly”, but I was talking to her tail.

Now, remember, folks, llamas are deer-sized and deer-fast. Polly shot ahead of the three miscreants (one of which was the herd dam, who is euphemistically described as “aggressive”) and stopped them dead, circled twice to bunch their line, and began to turn them around. One broke away in a not-cooperative direction, and Polly was instantly on her with growls and barks. Naturally, the others followed, but Polly halted them at the corner of the house, bunched them again, and held them still untill Maeve came in sight. I was still trailing behind, and missed this part: Maeve told me afterward. Maeve told her to “put ‘em in”, and Polly drove them directly to the gate. Naturally, the kids at the gate did not recognize what was going on and did not open the gate to allow the smooth return of the now quite cross Kit and her followers. There was confusion and milling around, too many people and not enough thought, and Kit and company escaped to the side. Polly was again on it in a flash, and had them neatly caught in the corner in a second. Maeve opened the gate, and I told Polly again to put ‘em in, but one parent andtwo of the kids still didn’t get it, and insisted on catching the llamas and leading them to the gate. So Maeve called Polly to guard the open gate while the leading was going on (at a MUCH slower pace!) Polly doesn’t like this part of the job--she prefers action and heroism, but she stayed where she was told (with her back to the pasture, and her eyes always on the three troublemakers) until released. Once convinced that the other llamas outisde the fence were allowed to be there, and in fact were all tied and could not escape, Polly went back to playing maul-the friend with Emma as though this was the sole purpose of her life. I’m not sure she even noticed the lavish praise both Maeve and I offered her.

I am just bursting with pride over her!

Sue Hogan

Good Shepherd Farm
Judah, Polly's sire
Ellie,Polly's dam
Tess, Polly's Sister
Celt, Polly's Brother
Jack, Polly's Brother
Indy, Polly's Brother
Tara, Polly's Sister

American Working Farmcollie Association


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