Thursday, April 11, 2013

Slow Motion Herding

Lettie had slowed down.  Our usual route shrank down from 1 1/2 miles at the peak three times a day, to one block or less.  In fact this was one of the last walks we had together.

That block will take a half hour or more.

As we're walking around, we're a slowly moving target for all the neighbors to chat up, complain about speeders, and get all the news of the neighborhood.

While we were walking we will see the usual strange wildlife that is around here in South Florida.  Lizards and Geckos are common, and no they are not the same thing.  An occasional iguana, snake or some other reptile will show underneath the foliage.

There are also the more mundane animals like Squirrels and Pigeons. 

In her younger days, she was quick.  Lettie would just miss catching the squirrels that would be in the back yard of our Philadelphia home.   Squirrels would be missed because there was a double right angle turn in the form of an S.  When you're trying to run in that close corners, you're just not going to be at your peak speed.

Those days are gone but not forgotten.

Near the end of our walk last weekend, there was a flock of Muscovy Ducks that had just landed near the end of the block.  About three houses up from the corner by the way we were walking was about 6 full grown black and white ducks.  They tend to wander around properties around here, cropping the grass and looking for whatever they can find for their next meal. 

Completely harmless and fairly approachable.  In some parts of the world, they are a prized dinner item instead of being mildly entertaining to my dog.

As we approached the flock, both dog and bird took notice and began to make plans.

When you are 12 years old, your speed isn't exactly great.  But your memory is still sharp.  The Eye is formed, and the gaze is piercing.  Stepping forward toward your avian charges, you move along with a purpose.  Things are not where they belong.  There was a flock of ducks that don't belong there so you are going to herd them along.

Walking at 1 mile per hour, a very slow pace, she put one paw in front of the other.  Moving toward the ducks, she deftly convinced the ducks to move from property to property toward the corner.

When we reached the corner, I got a quick glance looking for approval.   Getting the nod, literally, she stepped into the intersection, driving the flock across the street to the opposite side.  Giving the traffic a show, she guided the flock to their safety.

We actually got a "thank you for the show" from the Minivan as it moved on its way.

Just another day on the job for an old herding dog.

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