Our Border Collies

 

Seven Border Collie puppies practice for our December 2015 holiday show. Story line -- the wagon is Santa's and the puppies have tumbled out of the rear as gifts to us from Sheena Kerr, their breeder.

Seven Border Collie puppies practice for our December 2015 holiday show. Story line — the wagon is Santa’s and the puppies have tumbled out of the rear as gifts to us from Sheena Kerr, their breeder.

Although we have had a bloodline of German Shepherd Dogs for 50 years, we now have ten Border Collies.

Over the years,  our dogs have been in plays, movies, Hallmark card shoots and our Miste, the Border Collie who is pulling Santa’s wagon,  has just finished a nation wide commercial for Mizzou on line classes. Take a look.

The origins:

My great uncle who was born and raised and lived in Scotland had a “rent-a-dog and shepherd” business where he rented Border Collies and a shepherd herdsman out to farmers to round up and bring in their flocks for lambing, sheering, shots, market, just what ever they needed.  He brought over here one of his Border Collies who had a litter of puppies on the way, on a Sunday morning in the main train depot in Kansas City, Missouri.  They were pictured on the front page of the Kansas City Star.  People from all over the country wanted one of those puppies.  I was just a kid about 10 years old, but I got one who stayed at my grandparents house at Sni-A-Bar Farms.

Because she had no real work to do, she would jump the fence and be gone for days. There were some major highways close by and my grandparents were afraid she would get hit.

They gave her to the Army during WWII and she was used to train army dogs because she was so smart. I sort of understood and I was proud of her, but I missed her so much.

Fast forward:

Ann Gafke, Myra and John Archibald

Ann, Myra and John Archibald summer picnic in 2009 at Glamis Castle

Roger and I have been researching our family histories in Scotland. We met a couple there, Myra and John Archibald, and became good friends with them.

 Our first meeting:

Helen and Miste August 2009

Helen and Miste, August 2009

We have come to know their family. Myra’s sister, Helen, became ill with cancer and underwent chemotherapy three times when her husband asked her if there was anything she had not done that she wanted to do in her life. She said “Yes. I have always wanted a dog.” So they got Miste.

Ann, Helen and Miste

Ann meets Helen and Miste in August 2009

We first met Miste when she was four months old, and of course, thought she was darling. That was in August 2009.

Miste lies by fireplace

Miste at home with Helen in Scotland

Then in the fall, Helen went into hospice and asked Myra to contact us and see if we would take Miste, because she wanted her to be a therapy dog and she knew I had a dog school and we did therapy work. We said we would.

 

Helen died at Christmas 2009 and Roger left to get her the Monday after Christmas.

Miste begins journey to USA

Miste begins her journey to America, December 2009

There was lots of show on the ground in Scotland. He brought her from Dunkeld to Edinburgh. Then he took her on the train from Edinburgh to London and then they flew from London to Dallas-Fort Worth and from Dallas-Ft. Worth to Kansas City where I met them at the airport.

Miste Reading to Rover Bookmark

Miste’s Reading to Rover Bookmark given to children who read stories to her

Miste is a wonderful therapy dog. Because of that, I wanted to find out about her lines, her parents, her origin, etc. We did.

Their birthplace:

I met her father and we thought he was such a wonderful dog! Her mother was lovely also, kind, gentle, and smart. See the homeplace and family of our Border Collies in Dalguise, Scotland

Moss herding sheep

Moss demonstrates his herding talent for us in August 2012

Her father  worked the sheep every day. He loved to sit on your foot and beg to have your hands on him any place and don’t stop petting him. He was incredibly smart. On our first trip to visit him in 2011, he and the family rooster put on a herding “demonstration.”  In 2012, he demonstrated his skill with the sheep. Here is a short video.  Moss died at age 12 in November 2015.

Ann and Sheena and Border Collie parents

Sheena introduces the parents of Mither and Moss, Junior, August 2012

Sheena Kerr, Miste, Mither and Moss’ breeder, is a widow. She took over the family farm when her father died. The farm has sheep and cattle.  She realized she could not get the sheep herded or moved by herself.

Moss was their pet and sort of farm guardian, but had never herded sheep. Sheena is a farmer, not a dog trainer. So, she just stood in the pasture, gestured toward the sheep and said to Moss “Bring me the sheep.” He cocked his head. She repeated a couple of times and off he went and brought her the sheep!

At lambing, when the ewe drops the lamb, she often runs to the center of the flock because the birth scared her. Moss brought back the correct ewe while Sheena took the sack off the lamb. Ewes forget they had a lamb if they are separated beyond mere minutes and will refuse to take it making it a orphan to raise. Moss became very, very important as Sheena’s canine foreman.

Ann with Border Collie puppies

Ann with Mither and Moss two-day-old litter, August 2011

I knew, I wanted to continue this wonderful dog’s bloodline for myself. So, since Miste had been spayed, we imported Mither and Moss…..Junior…..named after his father. I saw them as two-day-old puppies in August 2011.

Mither (left) and Moss arrive in Missouri October 2011

Mither (left) and Moss smell Missouri soil for first time October 2011

They arrived in Missouri in October 2011.

 

Moss is starting his career as a therapy dog and  passed his test to work as a team with Miste.  Here he is front and center in the graduating class photo with his sister.

Moss and Miste are from and center. Linda Hayes, TDI tester from St Louis, poses with the dog and dog teams she certified during an April 2014 test.

Moss and Miste are from and center. Linda Hayes, TDI tester from St Louis, poses with the dog and dog teams she certified during an April 2014 test.

 

Our Border Collies are so smart and while they have limitless, it seems, energy, they are not hyper. They are calm. They think. If you sit down, they don’t bug you and they will calmly sit or down at your side for as long as you want them to stay there. They love to do tricks. The more tricks they learn the better. They will volunter tricks they have learned for you any time you ask.

The  puppies as they appeared just before heading to Missouri in July 2015.

The puppies as they appeared just before heading to Missouri in July 2015.

The youngest of our Border Collies arrived in the summer of 2015.   They are seven puppies in what turns out to be Moss, Senior’s, last litter. After a dreadful health year into early 2015, I was not able to travel to Scotland to pick a puppy from this litter. It made me very sad, so Clark, my son, suggested we take the money we would have spent flying over and have the puppies Sheena was not going to keep imported here. Because they had had a dreadful year of weather and she had had so much work on the farm, she sent the whole litter. We have all seven on their ways to community service as therapy dogs.

Scotia and Miste at Ann Gafke's Teacher's Pet

Meet Scotia (left) and Miste, two of our active therapy dogs and obedience trainers

So now we have German Shepherd Dogs and Border Collies and we love them both.

Ann

 

 

 

 

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