#2: Good Sheep Fun
from the sheep tracks I was following that there were lots of them and they stayed very close together. There seemed to be some dogs along with them and maybe even a horse or two. Horses make me bark. They're tall and even though I usually see them just standing around, they always act like they're doing something so important that they don't even notice me. So I bark. Sheep make me bark too, but that's different.
Like I said, I've never been able to get very close to the sheep but when I have seen them from far away they are always sort of huddled together. I don't know if they're kind of stuck up and don't want to be with other animals, like the horses are, or if they're scared of everyone else. I think maybe they're a bunch of scaredy cats because they do whatever the sheepdogs tell them to do, even if there's just one dog and a hundred sheep.
I was thinking about all this when I heard the sheep. There were hundreds of them. I was so excited I started barking and bounding as I ran. Some sheepdogs heard me barking and came running towards me, calling out, "Hey, you." "Who's that?" "What's going on here?"
I wasn't about to let them stop me. I had rested quite a bit since my rabbit chase so I ran as fast as I could and reached the sheep before the dogs could catch me.
There were so many sheep I couldn't see the end of them. I bounded right into the middle of the herd, barking happily. They were terrified and started running away. Sheep can't really run very well it turns out, their legs don't move very fast and they kept knocking into each other. It was funny to watch. But I couldn't really enjoy it because the sheepdogs were right behind me. They kept barking at me, telling me to go away because I was scaring the sheep.
I guess all the barking attracted the attention of some humans because pretty soon two of them rode up on horseback. One of them called out, "Shep. Get with it, boy."
One of the dogs following me then said to the others, "We've gotta round up the sheep. We'll take care of him later. You two go left, and you two go right. The rest of us'll get the stragglers and we'll meet up again at the stockade by the truck."
I could tell by the tone of his voice that he had work to do and was annoyed that I had scared and scattered the sheep. I decided to stop barking and try to blend in with the sheep, hoping I could get to know them a bit while the sheepdogs did whatever it was they had to do. As soon as I got quiet, the sheep seemed to forget about me. They were all preoccupied with the dog's instructions, "Move in. Move in. No shoving." "Get back in line." "Don't even think about going over there." "No, you can't stop for just a nibble. Can't you see we're on the move?"
I guess sheep don't mind walking all squished together but I stared to feel a little cramped. They kept closing in on me closer and closer. I would have liked to have gotten out of the middle of all of them --besides all of the pushing, their fur is kind of scratchy and made me feel really hot-- but we were packed so tight I couldn't get out. I knew that I could always bark and make them scatter again, but I didn't want the sheepdogs to notice me, so I just kept going, hoping that the stockade wasn't too far away.
I didn't know what a "stockade" was, but I guessed it was where the sheep slept. I figured that once we got there they would all spread out and rest. I could get some water and maybe talk with some of them before the sheepdogs ran me off. I was wrong.
All of a sudden we stopped moving as fast as before. The sheep were pressing against me even tighter and I was glad that I'm taller than them so I could still breathe. I looked around and saw that there were fences on both sides of us. The sheep up ahead were walking up a ramp between the fences through a doorway into a huge truck. I decided that I didn't want to go into the truck so, even though I didn't want to cause more problems, I started to bark. The sheep around me started baa-ing, but we were so squished between the fences that they couldn't go anywhere. Neither could I. I barked some more.
"Hey, let me out. I gotta get out of here," I barked as loud as I could. But the sheep kept moving forward towards the truck.
"Help! Help! Shep, help me!" I cried, but Shep and the other dogs were at the back of the flock making sure all the sheep got herded between the fences and they couldn't hear me. I looked around for the men, but they had gotten off the horses and were talking to a lady by the front of the truck.
I thought of a million things to do. I imagined myself jumping on top of the sheep and then jumping over the fence. But I didn't have enough room to jump. I thought that I could just stop moving. If the whole flock stopped surely someone would see me and get me out. But the push of the sheep was too much. I couldn't stop.
The dark entrance got closer and closer.
Then I was inside.
I kept barking, hoping that someone would hear me and get me out. But pretty soon the door closed, I heard the engine start, and then felt a jerk as the truck started moving.