Cass, who is becoming more and more of a partner to me in the stock work, is also proving to be a little injury-prone.
I figured out that her paw was hurting because she got a thistle thorn stuck between her toes, so hopefully that will be feeling better soon. I’m more concerned that the vet thinks she may have a bit of a torn ligament in her right knee. I’m looking for a good orthopedist and crossing my fingers. Even if the knee thing turns out to be a false alarm, I’ve become acutely conscious of my dependence on her. Chloe can sometimes help gather the sheep and move them around, but so far she’s not happy doing higher-pressure work like loading the trailer. And if one of the ewes gives her a mean look, Chloe’s budding confidence goes back down the tubes.
So though I live with three border collies, I’ve realized that if Cass is unavailable, things on the farm start to unravel. In my pre-farm days, I had clear ideas about how many dogs suggested a slide into mental illness, but the lines have shifted over the last year, and I’ve been exploring the possibility of getting another pup to train as a herding companion. Cass’s recent run of bad luck has increased my sense of urgency, and today I went to visit Maria Amodei to look at some tiny border collies.
These little guys are 6 weeks old, so Maria wants them out of the house in the next two weeks. I’m still on the fence about whether I’m ready for another member of my household right now — the next month looks to be very busy — and I’m trying hard not to let the cuteness sweep me away, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be rendering myself certifiable some time in the next few months.