My passion in life is training border collies in herding sheep.  My dogs and I compete in herding competitions throughout the Eastern US.  These dogs have become my partners.  We spend countless hours working and learning with each other, I striving to do better, they to do their innate life’s work.

This hobby has been so rewarding.  I have met people from all walks of life, traveled to many beautiful rural areas, changed my lifestyle completely, and have even visited the homeland of the border collie, Scotland.  I now have friends throughout Great Britain, some who are the greatest border collie trainers in the world.

This past weekend, the first border collie I ever trained, Rock, was put to sleep.  It was a terrible decision to make.  Rock at 15, had become partially blind, hard of hearing, and suffered from arthritis in his rear legs where he couldn’t raise himself up.  For three months I helped him stand up, so he could walk out to relieve himself.  Finally, even though he was on a great deal of pain killers, the pain had become so bad that he would growl and show his teeth when I tried to help him up.  I knew it was time.

Two days before taking him to the vet, I put Rock in a fenced area with five sheep.  I watched as he went to work, half running on rickety legs, his heart taking over his mind, as he brought me the sheep.  It was his last work.  Watching him I realized why I am so passionate about these dogs.  I miss Rock.

I fully understand how Mark could write a whole book on his pal, Sprite.

Barry from GA