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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Job Security

While it looks for all the world like Weaslie's zooming in to pick up a straggling sheep.

She's not.

She's skirting around the outside.

Nobody tells Large Lila what to do ;-).

"Except Kate!"

*     *     *    *     *

I've had some questions about how Weaslie and Kate get along.  Weaslie (aka Miss Tilly) and Iris always seemed to be more rivals than friends.  In fact, there were times we'd have to "Knock it off!" as they'd get a little snarky with each other, jealous that one was getting more attention than the other...  

When Iris died, we wondered if Tilly would even care.  She did.  She and I sat with Iris for a good while after Doc left and when I got up, Tilly stayed next to her for the rest of the afternoon until Tim got home.  She was devastated.

Iris had always been "The Police".  She watched our farm and Stella's, too.  Nothing missed her attention.  Dogs coming up the road, a cat down by the creek, a strange car driving up Stella's driveway...  She didn't like the sheep coming up to the gates either.  They needed to Stay Back.

Doing chores that next day was so weird.  And sad.  The sheep knew immediately that the sheriff was gone.  They rushed up to the gate as I was dishing up feed.  I then heard some very nervous barking. "You, you sheep..." she stammered.  "You, you get back.  You get back off the gate."  

Tilly, who'd never barked at a sheep in her life, knew that was against the rules.  She was scared, but she was going to try to handle it.  Somebody had to.  Even though I personally didn't care if the sheep stood at the gate (that was Iris Law ;-), I praised Tilly profusely.  I understood The Law and knew what it had taken for a small, timid Corgi to step up.

The next couple of months we got along like that.  Without Iris to hang out with, Tilly shadowed me even closer than she already did.  Corgis are very loyal anyway, but Tilly had been loyal to both of us and I was all she had left.  While she did enjoy all the extra attention, we never walked up to the barn without her looking back for Iris, thinking maybe this time she'd race around from the front yard where she liked to sleep.

Kate had been a hard working "professional" dog.  She'd had big jobs to do and she took them seriously and we were concerned how she'd feel about a corgi shadow.  That she might not suffer a fool gladly...and Tilly could definitely be fool ;-).  Not to worry.  Professional Kate concentrated on her job here (bossing sheep around) and left Tilly to her job (farm security).  

Tilly was greatly relieved to be off sheep duty.  She was still nervous about the farm security part, but she'd had years of watching Iris for basic training.  For the first nine years of her life, all she had to do was look cute...and Stop Barking At Iris ;-).  Now she had been promoted to Assistant Security Officer, even if we did make her keep her bullets in her pocket ;-).

The other night we were all headed in from the barn.  Unless it's super cold, everyone comes out to the barn for evening chores :-).  I could tell by the cat's behavior that something was amiss.  I started looking around and just a split second after I saw the black cat hiding in the dark behind the Wool House, so did Tilly.  "RRRRR!!! YOU GET OUT OF OUR YARD!!!" as she chased hard after him until he cleared the fence into the side paddock.  

I was stunned.  I called Tim.  He was stunned.  Seriously.  We'd never seen something like that out of Tilly.  Ever.  Tilly doesn't chase cats.  Tilly has never chased anything.  I again praised her as I thought, wow, that was showing some real initiative.  Maybe listening to the Mrs. Murphy stories and hearing about "the mighty little corgi" (one of the main characters) had made an impression!

Two nights later, as I was finishing up chores in the barn, a big pack of coyotes started yipping and howling off in the (not so) distance.  Hank was on it of course, racing out through the arena, sounding off with his deep growling bark.  At his heels?  Tilly!  She'd busted through the end gate, raced through the loitering sheep, under the short fence and out through the arena doing her best to sound quite ferocious as well.

While we sure don't want her out mixing it up with coyotes - they'd tear her to pieces - I again let her know she'd been very brave and thanked her for doing a Good Job (and carefully latched the gate ;-). We've just been astounded by all this and I wanted to share the story.  How does all this tie together with how well Kate and Tilly get along?

I think because the two female dogs each have their own separate "professions" there is less rivalry between them on a basic level.  I think also that having to go it on her own for a few months was really hard on Tilly.  We now know that she truly loved Iris and really missed her.  She is back to being a happy excited (and barking...sigh ;-) corgi, racing to the barn with her partner...and friend.

How many people got to the bottom of this long story?  Leave me a comment (one the main blog) and let me know and I'll draw for something fun as a reward :-D.

1 comment:

Terry and Linda said...

I got to the long end, and enjoyed it very much! Corgi's were originally cattle dogs so having a really cow/sheep dog on the property might be showing up in her dna! :)
Linda ❤⊱彡