Our favorite dog was Quick, otherwise known as Caramel, a five-year-old Red Merle variety with luscious red-and-white fur. He hailed from Imagine Farm in Manchester. Listening attentively to his owner, Becky Bailie, he took a few elegant steps to herd the sheep exactly through their paces. After all the contestants herded sheep, they switched to herding ducks in a smaller pen. We stayed to watch Quick guide five mallards around a course. With a few Aussie shepherd steps in the right direction, the ducks miraculously flapped around the route in the correct order.
We plan to go back to watch the cattle herding at the Twenty-seventh Annual Trials, which run Saturday through Monday, May 26-28, at a new location, Imagine Farm. It will be hard to beat the duck trials for generating awe in the power of a human relationship with a dog that makes a flock of birds move in a coordinated way.
[Review published May 2007]