Ernest giving baby Sami a kiss! (Jan. 1999)
Ernest checking out our new 'pup' Sami!
Meet "One Eyed Louie", Louie for short
One of the McNab puppies... Deep in thought!
Two McNab puppies, 'herding' the sprinkler.
So the question has been raised, 'what type of dogs are your herd dogs and how many do you have?'. Our herd dogs are McNabs, a short haired breed, similar to border collies, but ever so much smarter and less 'wired' for sound.. (ok, just my biased opinion!). The guard dogs, Great Peyrranies (sp), (which you met, Duke & Curious George) do not herd animals. They protect them, and think they are part of the herd. McNabs on the other hand, like to circle around a group of critters (chickens, for example) and keep them together, and once together, lie down and stare at them (as if saying, don't make a move or someones going to get hurt). If puppies, they do more damage, like chew on your favorite chicken!!! (you have met Goldie).
We rec'd our first McNab dog as a wedding gift... Ernest came into our lives as a fat little puppy... so Dick named him after Ernest Tubbs... We have been married 12 years, and Mr. Ernest, or Ernesto, as he is lovingly called, is now semi-retired. He goes with Dick on the quad, but has to be lifted into the back of a pickup, his hearing is getting bad, and he has lots of white fur around his face and throughout in his coat... he has even had a few lumps removed. Ernest is very much like an old cowboy.... or rancher... He won't ever truly retire, he will hang around and tell everyone else how to do their jobs, he gets cranky, he is stiff in the morning (boy this sounds more and more like my husband!) and most likely he will die doing what he loves, being outdoors, under God's watchful care. Ernest, if you recall, is the dog who refused to go with me yesterday morning to move the sheep.
Ernesto is definitely a family member. He got to kiss Sami when she came home from the hospital, just 3 days old! He patiently endured the pulling and hanging on by our kids when they were both toddlers, he has kept a silent, watchful eye over the kids as they have grown up, and he has been their sidekick through all sorts of adventures...I'm sure he knows a secret or two... They might not realize it, but I sure do! Sigh....I'm going off on a tangent. OK, back to working dogs.
We only have one other 'human' employee other than my husband and I (and our two kids). Ramon works full time, year-round. In addition to Ramon, we have 5 or 6 working dogs, which are also considered employees! Without them we would definitely be hurting. They have gone the distance to bring back stray animals that can be seen on the horizon, they help herd animals down the highway, they work in the corrals, and basically start their day at 6am and end about 6pm. They also get free housing, food, and the occasional 'free beef' or 'free lamb' as compensation.
Here is our list of McNab employees:
- Ernesto (the Ranch Manager)
- One Eyed Louie (he got kicked by a cow, and lost his eyesight in one eye)
- Lefty (we used to call him little Lou, because he looks just like Louie, but it got too confusing)
- Tubbies (Ernest's likeness; hard to tell if he is Dick's dog or Sami's dog)
- Joe (not a worker, Jake's dog, and the one that helped chew on Goldie)
- Miley (not a worker, name after Hannah Montana's character, and Sami's dog)
- Maggie (the mom to 2 litters, Joe's sister, this is Sami's first dog, and Goldie's nemesis)
- Annie (she doesn't work either - Sami's dog)
I'm glad that Ernest is the father of our puppies... Hint's of his personality and looks are throughout his puppies, and that will keep him with us for a very long time, and yes, after he is gone. I am having a hard time with 'the inevitable' in terms of Ernest's life. Have you read 'Marley and Me?'. Awesome book for for those of us that have a family member that just happens to be a dog!