While normally you'd never let any dog, especially a guardian dog "play" with your sheep, after years, literally years, of watching Hank display nothing but exemplary behavior towards sheep who completely disrespect him and show no gratitude for his loyal service, night after night and even all throughout the day, I've stopped feeling sorry for them and have taken to booting a few butts myself. Well, actually just two butts - Woolliam and Rebecca Boone.
Woolliam is still pretty dirty about trying to punch on Hank. He waits until Hank's back is turned or Hank's otherwise distracted by getting his ears rubbed or looking at something and then he tries to sucker punch him. Keep in mind that I'm here all day. I know Hank's never done anything to Woolliam to incite this bad behavior. For the last year or so, if I can get to him quickly enough, Woolliam gets it right back. Rebecca Boone too.
Lately though I've seen Hank trying to play with RB. He bounces around her, ducking and weaving. She jumps at him. He scoots to the other side, she turns to face him and jumps at him. He crouches down and bounces back to the other side. She lowers her head and bounces back at him. At first I put a stop to this.
"Hank, buddy, she's not playing with you. She just wants to punch you."
"No, we're playing. She wants to play with me."
"Um, no. I don't think she's playing."
"No, no, really, she loves to play with me."
"Hank. She hates you. She just wants to beat you up. You know that."
But the more this happens, the less I think that. I think they really are just playing now. She never seems upset (not that Rebecca Boone would ever be upset by anything anyway ;-), she usually instigates it herself and not in the mean, underhanded way Woolliam does and when it's over she's just as liable to let Hank snarful her face and ears as just calmly walk away.
Rebecca Boone is a sheep of great character. Sometimes a little too much character...but the kind of character you kind of wish would rub off on you a bit. I was going to subtitle these pictures, but if you watch her face and ears, there's no need ;-). And I love how everyone gathers to watch this morning.
A couple years ago I labeled her fleece with "Rebecca Boone rode home from NY in the middle of winter in the back of our car with a Great Wheel. She is a "sheep with confidence" who walked up to Hank (our new LGD) and popped him one right off the bat to let him know who was boss. Not only is her fleece gorgeous, but I feel like it's probably infused with something that will "give shy people the courage to do what's needed" ;-) Like cables or knit a whole sweater."
Yep, that's probably right.