We piled in the car and drove to Karori, a suburb in the hills, about 20 minutes from us. We went for a great walk along the skyline trail which follows a ridge over and around Wellington. Great views of town, through the trees , out toward the sea, the south island in the distance, the harbor, neighborhoods nestled in hills . All very fine. Got to the top of a hill for a drink, a lookout, a group photo , a belly rub , when the phone rang. David (my supervisor) on the line inviting us to Makara, about 20 minutes toward the west coast where they keep their horses. Todd had mountain bike riding plans so it was just me and Mango off to the farm. (Have I mentioned Todd got a bike? This is before and this is after . Good Fun.) Anyway, off Mango and I went to the farm.
After getting permission from the farm owner for Mango to come onto the property, on-leash of course, she promptly met her first sheep ever . At nine-years old, my herding dog finally comes face to face with a sheep. Mango had a good sniff and got very excited – tail in the air and few ruffs – but I held the leash firm. It was time to scamper up the hillside to fetch the horses. David’s kids, Keir and Meeryn, were arguing over who could hold Mango’s leash. “Just take turns”, I said. A few minutes later, it happened. Mango saw a few sheep, the leash easily tore out of Meeryn’s hand and off she went. Herding 5, 10 then 20 sheep over the hillside. The leash bouncing and trailing behind. With a stunned and bemused look on my face, David turned to me and said, “Well, you said you always wondered what Mango would do if she found some sheep. Now you know.” True that.
This photo is all I have to show for the event. Taken just prior to the break away. You can just barely see Mango bouncing away and the sheep starting to hurry off. After this shot, my camera went away and I was off, running through the muddy terrain trying to real in my Mango. Ten minutes later, Mango was at my side, firmly on a leash, and firmly pulling toward any sheep she could see. It was a great moment for me, to see my Mango in her element. She did well, I would say, not that I am a rancher or anything. In a short time she rounded up as many sheep as she could and pushed them along. Pretty fun to see. She was so proud too when she came back to me. As if to say to me, “Mom, I told you I could do it!” She remained focused the rest of the afternoon. From a distance. From behind a fence. Or two.