This picture is of Sam. Unlike her imperial majesty Xenia, Sam works for a living. He is pretty proud that he still handles the herding duties in the household with aplomb and dignity at fifteen years of age. He is a mix of German Short Haired Pointer and Australian Cattle Dog. The cattle dog influence takes the lead.
At any family gathering, Sam will gently but undoubtedly move to gather the herd together. There will be no and, if, buts or maybes about it. Then he can retire to sit where he can watch everything.
The cat is a problem; Xenia believes all this imperial bushwa and flaunts the rules all the time. Among Sam’s essential duties is providing her security escort service in the garden in the mornings. Xenia considers him to be her Secret Service. He feels like rolling his eyes.
A few years ago in the fall, Sam decided to show me exactly how good a herder he was. Approaching a large group of squirrels from a distance, Sam first moved wide around a large oak tree. Then, circling them, he gradually worked them in closer to the tree. At last, Sam moved in and smoothly encouraged them to climb the tree as one group. Having done this, Sam sat down at the base of the tree and gave me a look that seemed to say, ” …and that’s how you do it! You want to try?”
Sam doesn’t like to be photographed, and if asked about his herding, I am sure that he would maintain that he was merely doing his job as a working dog.