Blaine and I have been on a mission. We've been looking for a dog for him. Last Saturday I tried a "town" dog for him. It was a 10 month old, unregistered male. "Charlie" had never seen stock so I asked his owners if they'd mind letting me see him on the sheep. They agreed, and brought him out. As thanks, I gave them some gas money (it wasn't very far from their place to mine). Charlie was pretty good. I got him to circle both directions and he was pretty keen. So keen, it was hard to pull him off the stock. Unfortunately he hadn't had much in the way of basic obedience (no recall, sit, stay, etc.) which I don't like to see in a dog by that point in time. The other thing I didn't really like, but could understand, was he barked at the sheep. He barked and barked. Not sure if that's something he'd stop with time. Telling them we'd talk it over and get back to them, Blaine and I made arrangements to go look at another dog he found.
Yesterday we went and looked at the second batch of dogs. It was one of the hardest things for me to walk away from. There were about five dogs and one pup with an older couple. The man, well, he was one of those types that thinks he knows everything but really knows nothing. The "meet" began with him rapping one of the young (6 months) dogs on the snout repeatedly while hollering to get down. Finally he smacked it with his cane. The dog rolled over and gave his belly. Next he untangled a plethora of chains from his quad. He went and collected up another young dog (around 1 year) and chained it to his quad. He then took off towards the pasture. Cringing, I climbed back into Blaine's truck and went followed. He then made me (for whatever reason he decided I was the person he was talking to) go and tie up one of the loose dogs. The dogs wouldn't come to him so I had to catch them, (All very submissive.) and tie it up to the fence. They had no collars so I had to use a hunk of chain (also cringe worthy). When I asked if that one worked he said no, that she was just his "brood" dog. That comment just left me horrified.
Watching the young dog work it was clear this was not a started dog. He knew nothing and barked all the way down the field, and the entire time he was by the cattle. The man kept changing his story. By the end of the time with him I was half convinced he had Alzheimer's. (He misplaced his large yellow quad and knew no names for the dogs.)
The icing on the cake? He took us to see the puppy (9 weeks). Of course, I was the one he sent into the run to collect it. This poor baby was cowering in the far end of the dog house. I ended up crawling into the house (and tore my jacket on an exposed nail) the poor darling was terrified. He shook and shook. Cuddling him up I brought him to the truck. Everybody had a look and I returned the pup. By this point in time I was edging on really irritated. When I put the baby down he flipped over and gave me his belly. I bent down and gave him some love. It was the hardest thing I've ever done - walking away from that baby.
I had to do a lot of self talk. Tell myself that taking this poor darling away would not solve the problem. That the man would just keep breeding more. I just felt awful. I wanted to take each of those dogs and rehome them with someone else. This is the same reason I don't go to the local horse auction. It scars my soul and I can't deal with it. I ended up feeling depressed the remainder of the day and had to do some baking therapy. Those dogs will haunt my dreams.