My career as a shepherd

posted 24 May 2015, 09:00 by Dominic Thwaites

Like any career, mine began with some training. I was watching a shepherd and his dog round up some sheep in a field. It was full of Mummy sheep with their lambs. It was a marvel to see the dog operate, making wide sweeps across the field to head off sheepy escape routes. But the Mums were quite edgy and they kept on escaping. At one point it looked as though they had’em all in one corner of the field but then they made a dash for it and scattered back into the field. Back to square one. I learned a lot.


It was at this point that I felt the shepherd needed assistance. Just like me yesterday when I was marooned out at sea with no wind or engine. So I donned my body hugging wolf leotard, zipped it tight and leapt over the stone wall and announced: “fear not, young shepherd, for help is it hand. I shall herd your young flock”. Luckily, the shepherd seemed genuinely pleased for the help, otherwise it would have been a bit of a let down.


Now, I should mention at this juncture, that newly trained shepherds of a less fearless nature than myself might have thought twice about offering assistance with such gusto. Two reasons. First, these Mummy sheep were quite keen to protect their young from hounding dogs and humans. At one point during my training, I witnessed a Mum repeatedly charging the poor sheepdog and, let me tell you, that sheep dog ran like hell. So these sheep had some metal in them. Second, for some bizarre reason this smallish field was not just populated by sheep, shepherds and a dog. It also contained a very substantial white bull. It was large in every possible respect and was trotting around amongst the sheep like it owned the place and could quite feasibly have been a veteran of the ring. So I need you to understand that my assistance was not given without some considerable risk to my well being.


Of course, with me now as a fully qualified and expert addition to the team we rounded the sheep in no time and the farmer was able to pick out the one lamb that he’d been needing to grab. Rather sad really, but the lamb in question had a recently dear departed Mum and it was picked up by the hind leg and unceremoniously dropped onto the lifeless body of dear old Mum currently lying in state in a cart behind the farmer’s range-rover. In order to get hold of the poor orphan the farmer had to round up the whole flock to trap it in so he could make a grab for it. He needed to find a surrogate Mum for it.


So my work was done and after a few pleasantries bid farewell to the shepherd, he thanking me for my much needed assistance. I always think it’s important to step away from a career at a high point and this was just such an occasion. I felt it was time to move on and leave room for new and younger talent to take my place. I feel complete.


The bull, by the way, had wandered off and had found some tasty tufts of grass to munch on.

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