I’ve been an empty nester for 2 years now. I homeschooled all three of my children and have launched them all into the world. My son, the youngest, is a junior in college. This time of year, I get a pit in the bottom of my stomach, knowing that the house will soon be empty again. Once the children are all gone, I feel the weight of this big empty farmhouse on my shoulders. When the last one leaves at the end of summer, I spend a few days rambling around, trying to settle in to life without people around.
Perhaps that had some influence on me when I saw an ad online for a 3 1/2 year old border collie needing a new home. Her name was “Tuf” and she knew sheep. She had run in the pro-novice dog trials and had an outrun farther than I could ever hope that Kai would have. I corresponded with her owner. She needed to let her go because her son started playing sports and her love of showing Corgis filled her weekends. I viewed videos of her working sheep and talked at length with my husband.
In some ways, it seemed totally irresponsible to add yet one more animal to our farm. In other ways, it made perfect sense. Tuf could help me. Kai, despite my training, was not able to do the chores I needed help with. My trainer had told me that I was asking more of Kai than he was able to do. One time this summer, I almost lost my knees to a ewe running scared from Kai, and my husband got totally wiped out by a ewe on the run due to Kai, who lacks some basic sheep instincts. I had been thinking for some time that I should try to find a well trained, older dog.
So one Sunday night, I took a look at the Handler’s Post. It is an online classified ad site for border collie owners. I would look at it about every 4-5 months. Usually, the good sounding dogs had already sold. This one night, I saw the ad for Tuf. I emailed right away asking for videos of her working. In one week’s time, I had agreed to purchase her, and in 2 weeks time, she was at our farm. She traveled from Washington state to Washington, Vermont to join us at Grand View Farm. We picked her up at the airport this past Sunday. It was love at first site.
So I have spent the day hanging out with dogs, Kai and Tuf. They seem to get along well. Kai seems all goofy around Tuf, wanting to play. Tuf is all about business and sits tights to my feet, leaning against me, while Kai is running around her barking and pleading to play.
In time, she will settle in and she will work our sheep. She will help me move the flock from one field to the next and she will give in to Kai’s pleas to play.