Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Dog in a mist


When MTL and I lived, perforce, in Cheshire, we often escaped to our little cottage in Yorkshire. We would call in at my mother's house for a cuppa, a chat and a cuddle and then drive on through Todmorden and past Todmorden Town Hall,
where we first met when I was fifteen (MTL and his brother Liam had cycled up from Oxford, to meet Maddie and me.)
We would continue the journey over the bleak, misty moor near Haworth, with the wind howling and sometimes I swear i could hear faint calls of 'Kathy' and sometimes 'Heathcliff!' before we finally reached Kildwick. It was very eerie.

One bitterly cold night, with the mist freesing in the air I was memsmerised by the sight of this dog tied up by the side of the road. I got out to investigate. It seemed in good condition and not in any distress but I couldn't understand why it was so far from the farmhouse and how could it guard the sheep when it was tethered? Nothing if not nosey I took a photograph and sent it to one of the county maganzines; they kindly published it with my query. Maybe you already know the explanation; one of their readers certainly did.

The eye contact between the dog and the sheep is so powerful that the dog can stop the sheep in its tracks. Oh to have a power like that!
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35 comments:

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Well, how fascinating...I never have known that these dogs had such incredible power...But it does make sense, otherwise, how would they keep the sheep in line! (lol)

Z said...

My dog once met a sheep with such powerful eye contact that it was the dog that was stopped in its tracks. At the second look, he went and sat in the corner of the field.

Keith said...

I was once up on t'moors at Haworth with some friends and we got separated in the heavy mist. I heard a faint voice shouting "Heathcliff!" over and over, so I replied with "Kathy, Kathy!" When I finally met up with my friends again he said "Ya stupid cloth-eared pillock! I wasn't shouting 'Heathcliffe', I was shouting 'Keith Smith!', we thought you had fell into a bog." Pause. Then, "Why didn't you?"

PI said...

Keith: thanks for a lovely chuckle. You daft 'aporth!

PI said...

Naomi: I love it when one can find the answer to a puzzle. So ofter one can't

Z: but was it a sheep dog? I hope he didn't develop a complex:)

Dandelion said...

But how's he going to chase away a wolf or a fox or a beast of bodmin if he's tied to a gatepost?

PI said...

Hi Dandelion! That's a difficult question and I don't know the answer - except that Bodmin is the other end of the country and I never saw any wolves. Does anybody know the answer? Please form an orderly queue.

AndrewM said...

Now I'm assuming that this is an 'aside'. But if you're going to mix up present day 'asides', long distant 'asides' (featuring multiple story characters) and the ongoing story, without correct annotation, it's going to make my brain explode. Or maybe you need another blog. Or maybe I should concentrate harder.

Interesting, though.

PI said...

andrewm: oh bugger! 'What happened was: I was trying to do the photo and copy all in one - the photo is in dashboard so I wrnt to copy and paste the post from Word and for no apparent reason it wouldn't work and things kept disappearing. In the end I had to print it and then type it from there to dashboard and all my checking missed the 'aside' had disappeared. Bugger!
Sorry dearie!

kenju said...

If that dog has that power, it's amazing! I have known a few Border Collies who looked me straight in the eye, so maybe they had it too.

Bob-kat said...

That is a great photo of the dog. I didn't know they could stop the sheep just like that but I can't help wondering what would happen if you got one brave sheep that tested the dog, found it was tethered and broke free - where one goes more would follow! I guess sheep are just too stupid LOL!

Eryl Shields said...

Oh to have a power at all!

Grumpy said...

".. it wouldn't work and things kept disappearing ..." Alas, I know the feeling well; you're not alone.

Wendz said...

I think my father must have been a sheepdog in his previous life. One look from him stopped me dead in my tracks too.

I wish I'd inherited that talent - my boys look at my eyes and laugh at me.

PI said...

Judy: I remember being quite nervous as I approached it. MTL stayed in the car - they don't seem to have the same curiosity, do they?

bob-kat:'they behave like sheep' I suppose means we expect them to follow the crowd. I wonder if they are all the same?

Eryl: is it one of those days?

Grumpy: all we need is six more and I can be Snow White:)

Wendz: my Mum was like that and it was all the more riveting as she was normally very quiet and gentle.

FOUR DINNERS said...

Always loved Todmorden.

Mind you in my experience the eye contact between certain farmers in their wellies and a sheep is something to behold - 'specially in Yorkshire....

Jack said...

It's a wonderful picture. I wish we could see it larger. (Clicking on it didn't do much.)

PI said...

4d: of course you weren''t far from Todmorden.

Jack: I can never understand why sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't. Unless it's because it was taken with an ordinary camera - not a digital.

Jack said...

I assume you're using a scanned picture. Can your scanner or software resize images?

Claude said...

This is quite an amazing photo!

PI said...

Jack: I emailed you about this.

Claude: thank you and welcome!

OldHorsetailSnake said...

I did NOT know that. Live and learn, I always say.

PI said...

Hoss: that's made my day. Happy 4th to you and all my American buddies!

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

Poor wee dog! I wonder how long it had been there like that.

PI said...

Sam: I dread to think. There was a very hefty kennel there. Let's hope there were other dogs on the farm so they could do shifts. It's a tough life up there for animals - not just 'Way to me; stuff. They really have to earn their keep but hopefully they get a bit of affection too.

apprentice said...

It's a great shot, the composition is wonderful, really sets the scene, and B&W is perfect for this documentary type of shot.

PI said...

Anna: have to admit the scene was there for the taking- just a quick whip out and in of the car - you know that damp, bitter cold I'm sure. Hope yours is better:)

Kanani said...

Oh... yes, they do have that power.
I made the unfortunate mistake of helping out a friend on a farm. I took two that are part border collie and they still have that instinct. They're not afraid of anything. And of course, I live in the worst possible place for them ...a suburb! Just not enough for them to do!

PI said...

Kanani: that must be difficult for you. They really are working dogs.
We had a corgi at one time and it used to snap at stranger's heels because the breed originally herded cattle. She loved post-men. Not!

Ms Pretend said...

I've just found your blog and read that you are with your true love...after 30 years! I am so linking to you. Wow! I want that.

TLP said...

It's a great picture, and lovely tale, but I can't help but be sad that the doggie was tied.

PI said...

Hi ms pretend and welcome! It's never too late- hope is eternal and everything comes to he who waits. Sometimes:)

TLP: I know what you mean and, despite looking on him as a working breed, he does look so lonely.

sophie said...

Reminds me of seeing the sled dogs in Alaska who still are used as working dogs today.

They Indians said that the dogs with blue eyes were the best--because they could "see the wind."

Michele sent me.

f:lux said...

Yes, I like the photo too. Is that snow by the road?

PI said...

Hi Sophie! those blue-eyed dogs have a sort of mystical look.

f:lux: it is snow. I miss it now we live in the SW.