The plan was simple. Give them some time to get settled into their pen then start using them for herding. Bessie, our 11 year old Rottie, and I had taken herding lessons about eight years ago and both she and I enjoyed it. We were both quite a bit older now and not nearly as spry, but I thought it would be the perfect way for us to get some exercise and share a little special one-on-one activity.
Over the next couple of weeks, the sheep explored their new territory while I spent the time reading about herding, brushing Bessie up on her commands, and getting to know our new arrivals. It wasn’t long before they had names:
Finally the time came to start herding! I don't know who was more excited, me or Bessie. It was a little chaotic at first, but then Bessie settled down and started working like she should. She’d gather them up, I’ll call her off, they’d move away and I’d send her to gather them again. She was having the time of her life and so was I.
After gathering them for about the third or fourth time, I decided it was time to take it up a notch and have Bessie move the sheep from one end of the paddock to the other. She gathered them up as before, but when she went to move them, only Big Face and Dolly started over to the far fence. Instead of moving off with the others, the ewe with the strange eyes and the narrow face turned toward Bessie, stamped her foot and refused to move. Bessie backed off, and I sent her in again. The ewe bounced forward a few steps, and Bessie again backed off.
Come on, Bessie. You’re a Rottweiler for goodness sake! Move that ewe!
The ewe dropped her head and charged.
The next thing I knew, Bessie was down with the breath knocked out of her, and the ewe was backing up to have another go. Armed with nothing but panic and my flimsy plastic rattle-paddle, I ran between Bessie and the ewe. The next few seconds seemed like an eternity as the ewe and I stood our ground and glared at each other. Finally, with a shake of her head and a disdainful little snort, the ewe turned and trotted back to her friends.
The ewe with the strange eyes and narrow face now had a name. Evil she was and Evil she would remain.