From Herding Buffalo to Reindeer

From herding bison to reindeer, Australian Shepherds have always been highly valued for their versatility. Working bloodlines are selected for stamina, courage, and the natural ability to keep their charges on the move and together. Partnered with pastoralists in places like Finland, Sweden and even Alaska, Aussies now test their ability on reindeer. They and are being used to herd domestic caribou —just as they once drove herds of cattle — moving them from the mountains to the sea or from the tundra to the forests to graze on lichen (reindeer moss). Reindeer are fast and dogs are sometimes working in several feet of snow. Determination, strength, and endurance are traits necessary to tend migrating herds during their annual grazing cycles.

Traditional reindeer herders (human kind) such as the Jonnson family who live in Northern Sweden depend on upright, close-working stockdogs to drive their herd long distances of 300 kilometers (over 186 miles) between summer and winter grazing. Here is a link to video of Chippa — a really nice, long-tailed Aussie with good natural instinct owned by Silja Jonnson — working a herd of 2,000 animals after only two weeks of training:

Here is another link to an article about how Australian Shepherds were used to work wild bison in Yellowstone National Park:

For the Love of Dogs

I met Joyce Fay at a clinic I gave in Hobbs, New Mexico, a very long time ago. She brought her dogs, Bro and Tracy. They were introduced to sheep for the first time and they did really well. It was an unforgettable experience. Even though they would have enjoyed a career as herding dogs, they became the main subjects of a beautiful book Joyce wrote titled, The Adventures of Bro and Tracy:

Through the exceptional qualities of her dogs, Joyce was inspired to help others. Today, Joyce — who is a world-class photographer — uses her time and talent to help rescue animals. She takes beautiful pictures of rescue animals at different shelters throughout New Mexico:

Think of ways you can contribute your time and talent to help support rescue groups and your local animal shelters. Be informed, but do not be deceived into donating money to groups such as the HSUS (Humane Society of United States). On the surface, they appear to fund animal shelters helping animals — when in fact they are animal rights fanatics. Instead of helping animals they use your donated money to finance anti-pet legislation taking away your rights to own animals of any kind. To keep on top of what is happening nationally and in your own state:

Americans Supporting Animal Ownership:

In the meantime, don’t forget the genuine groups that are in need of your support:

STAAR (Second-Time-Around Aussie Rescue)

ARPH (Aussie Rescue & Placement Helpline)

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