Herding Sheep & Holding Puppies

Life Lesson: When presented with the chance to hold puppies, one should always say yes.

While driving along the A9 from St. Andrews to the highlands, we discovered a sheep farm that gives demonstrations of dogs herding sheep. We watched working Border Collies go out to the pasture where the sheep were minding their own business, separate two dozen or so from the flock, and steer the sheep towards the shepherd. I have to say, it looked like these sheep lead a pretty stressful existence. Clearly, these sheep need a helping hand or a Xanax just to manage wee haircut. 

We watched the sheep get shorn. Some of us were even bold enough to shear the sheep. I was not into that idea, but apparently it was cool to try. After the sheep was rocking its new pixie cut, we went on to feed baby lambs out of bottles. You'd think this would be unreservedly cute , but it turned out to be very intimidating as the only instruction was "hold the bottle tight or and grab it away as soon as they're done, otherwise they'll suck in air and die." I did not have confidence that I wouldn't kill a lamb, so I passed the bottle down to a stranger next to me.  

Suddenly, something magical happened. It was as if someone yelled "RELEASE THE PUPPIES", the floor was lava, and these pups needed saving. It was utter pandemonium. People were running around, trying to scoop up a puppy to cuddle . No puppy was left behind and by behind, I mean...no puppy was left on the ground to freely play with his or her friends. These wee sheep dogs in training got more love and attention than Obama at a liberal arts college. Eventually, we had to let go of our furry friends, but we seriously considered trying to smuggle them through customs back to the US.

We learned that they breed their working dogs and keep the puppies who love the work of herding sheep. The others are sold to other sheep farms. They had already known their basic commands, most importantly, to herd left, herd right, and come back to their master. This is when I realized Branson is underachieving in life (as shown below).