Goodness and Mercy are our high-spirited Australian Shepherds. While they are our companions, they also serve a two-fold purpose–personal protection, and shepherding the livestock. Though brothers, these dogs have greatly differing personalities. After reading their story, you will know which picture is which dog!
Mercy has gotten quite good at rounding up my few chickens to put them in their yard just before sunset. His patience and stealth make him a natural and his in-bred instincts could easily be brought to blossom by somebody who actually knew what they were doing – decidedly not me.
Then there is my impetuous one, Goodness, whose sole reason for living is food and fun. Most of the time he could care less about the chickens and can’t quite understand why Mercy feels so compelled to guard them all day. Goodness entirely missed the herding gene while Mercy must have gotten a double portion.
But on occasion Goodness wants in on the action. Not because he wants to work but only because it looks like fun. This evening upon giving Mercy the command to “put them in” Goodness, in his impulsiveness, ran and jumped into the middle of the chickens, scattering them in all directions. Me, in my inexperience, continued to attempt their round up. With Goodness sidelined I then proceeded with Mercy in a quickly lost game of chase the chickens. Now frustrated, I decided to wait it out, let the hens regroup and try again.
With proper command to BOTH dogs this time – Goodness’ being “stay” – the task was quickly and efficiently accomplished. The chickens are now calmly settling in for the night, Mercy is watching over them with the pride of a shepherd guarding his flock, and Goodness – well, he’s off having one last bit of fun before the darkness falls completely and we, too, go in for the night.