The Herding Trip--How it Really Happened

A totally fictitious tale by Lori Herbel

4:30 a.m. - Alarm Clock Rings.

4:30 a.m. - Hit Snooze Button.

5:30 a.m. - Herding buddy calls, wakes you up (again) and tells you to get out of bed.

6:10 a.m. - Attempt to eat breakfast. Nervous stomach not sure about digesting food.

6:30 a.m. - Load everything except kitchen sink into pickup.

6:45 a.m. - Leave for herding trial.

7:00 a.m. - Turn around, drive back home. Load dog.

7:15 a.m. - Drive fast to make up time and attempt to make the handler's meeting.

7:38 a.m. - Explain to Officer Mitchell of the Highway Patrol why you are driving so fast.

7:49 a.m. - Try to find directions to trial site in papers on the dash while driving even faster, looking into the bright sun.

8:01 a.m. - Call home to have someone read directions from kitchen counter over phone.

8:25 a.m. - Arrive at herding trial site. Grab dog out of crate.

8:29 a.m. - Notice that dog has just hiked his leg on the stranger who is explaining that the handler's meeting is over.

8:35 a.m. - Make one last nervous trip to Porta Potty.

8:36 a.m. - Hear knock sounding on door of Porta Potty. Anonymous voice informs you that the first two dogs are absent and you're the first to run. They are waiting on you.

8:42 a.m. - Grab dog and enter arena. Look up at judge's stand to see same man your dog hiked his leg on earlier.

8:43 a.m. - Walk to handler's post, stand in two inches of mud and water. Send dog and watch him run straight up the middle and split the stock. Leave handler's post and catch suddenly deaf dog while stock handlers attempt to catch stock.

8:44 a.m. - Gather dog up, lower head and apologize to judge and stock handlers in hoarse voice. Promise to come back later and help patch fence as soon as dog is safely back in his crate.

NOON - After three hours of fence patching and two minutes of lunch, go to truck to exercise dog and discover that he has pulled the backside of your director's chair through the front of his crate and has put a hole in it that you could put your fist through, right in the center.

5:30 p.m. - Gather tarp, water bowl, crate, crook, lead, collar, water jug, ice chest, lawn chair, umbrella, sunscreen, bug spray, hat, catalog, lunch bag, camera and bill for damages and throw all in the back of the truck. Leave before landowner sees hole you had to fill in that your dog dug at some point during the day next to the pickup.

7 p.m. - Pull in driveway at home. Let dog out of crate and go out to the pasture to gather the stock in for the night. Watch dog do beautiful outrun, stop on balance, and bring the stock at a steady pace in a perfectly straight line towards you.

7:06 p.m. - Close gate. Look down at the dog setting quietly beside you, gazing back up at you with those big, brown, adoring eyes.

10:10 p.m. - Finish chores. Read mail. Discover a premium list for another trial coming up in two months. Grab checkbook and make entries.

10:30 p.m. - Shower and go to bed wondering why anyone would want any other kind of lifestyle!