Click on the Calgary Stampede Stock Dog Link to see a picture of my absolutely favourite moment at the Calgary Stampede today.
Mati, Amir and I sat down in the Saddledome, for me, more to rest than anything else, and there, in front of us, was the most charming competition in the form of the World Stock Dog Championships.
A handler with a shepherd’s crook stands in a circle and coaches his companion / dog as it tries to get three ewes to do a pre-set course in four minutes or less: going through a gate, moving through the middle of some barrels and lastly into a gated pen, which the handler opens for the last part of the course.
In a heartbeat I would go back and watch this competition every day at the grounds. The dogs are so smart as they interact with the sheep, sometimes just by crouching beside them, sometimes swinging out in huge circles around the sheep, so as not to scare them.
The audience joyfully breaks out into spontaneous applause when the dog handles a clever manoeuvre.
The announcer was a joy to listen to – his descriptions of the dogs made me so charmed by each of the animals by the time they left the ring. The genuine admiration for the dog and handler in the announcer’s voice was compelling. “A hobby,” he said, as he described the hours (really days) of training given the dogs.
A treasure to watch at the Calgary Stampede.