The intensity with which Australian Cattle Dogs do everything is one of the things I love about the breed. They have an amazing ability to focus on the task at hand, sometimes to the detriment even of their own safety. It’s what makes them so good at herding cattle. They go at it with a fearless verve that I find, well, fascinating. (You can picture me here with my eyebrow raised in Mr. Spock-like fashion.) It’s also why our vet has become a friend. We have had to visit quite often.
I am sure Jackaroo is not all that special as cattle dogs go, but to me he is extremely special. He just lives life with wild abandon, well with as much abandon as he can manage anyway. I have to manage his wild abandon. For instance, the first week he lived with us, he figured out he could sit on the stairway in the living room and wait for an unsuspecting older dog to walk by, then he’d launch himself on top of them with joy and abandon. I ended this with the addition of a baby gate at the bottom of the stairs.
He has always played or worked with that same intensity, always. He also has invented some fascinating games (there goes that eyebrow again).
You see, we used to have a bunch of saplings in our back yard. If you look here next to Scott’s workshop there is a little knoll and the yard slopes down behind it.
The saplings were there. Were being the operative word. Jackaroo systematically removed them. He figured out if he ran full tilt and launched himself in the air (practiced on the stairs as a pup) at the knoll he could “fly” a few feet and latch onto a small tree about 4 feet off the ground. He would hang there for a few seconds bending the tree and then drop to the ground. He repeated the whole exercise over and over until he broke the tree then joyously raced around the yard with the tree in his mouth dragging it leaves and all like a trophy. This activity resulted in a forest of spire-like trunks we had to cut down.
I only wish I had a video camera back then.
Now a days Jackaroo is waiting for new trees to grow so in the meantime he waits for branches to fall into the yard so he can annihilate them. I caught a little activity recently.
That dog knows how to live!