TO THE EDITOR.
'Sir, —We are perfectly certain (my mate and I) that Mr Herring's letter has not been replied to ere this by practical shepherds, simply because shepherds have been waiting to see it done by abler hands. We regret thatTa reply has not been sent to you by abler pens than ours. On the general principle that one can have too much of anything—even liberty uncontrolled by law and reason would cease to be liberty—we agree with Mr Herring that there is no necessity for any shepherd to have a following of dogs as numerous as a pack of hounds. Granted that Mr Herring may have been put to inconvenience, and may even have suffered loss through too many dogs coming upon his farm ; granted also that there are shepherds incapable of training dogs or keeping trained ones under control; granted, moreover, that some are selfish enough to care nothing at all about the mischief their dogs may do to neighbors, ao long as they themselves escape the consequences—these reasons are not sufficient to warrant a sweeping condemnation. of what Mr Herring calls "horrid dogs" in general. What would muaterers do without their dogs ? Could mustering be done at all without dogs ? It ia all very well I for Mr Herring, sheep farming on flat country, to cry out against shepherds and their dogß, but did he ever have any practical experience of shepherding on the upper ranges ? Did he ever find himself in such country, with a large mob locked in a rocky crevice? Would two dogs suffice him there ? In such country, too, did b.6 ever find himself with only a pannikin or so of oatmeal left for rations, and so dependent on his dogs to run down wekas for his own and their food 1 He instances Mr McMillan's ability to muster the Mesopotamia country with only two dogs per shepherd. No doubt Mr McMillan believes what he told Mr Herring. Perhaps Mr Herring will pardon your present correspondents —themselves musterers —for taking the story with the proverbial grain of salt. Practical men know that mustering cannot be done with either comfort or expedition on high country without at least three dogs—and we contend for no more. But dogs do not last for ever, and the places of the old dogs must be supplied by young ones, and these must be trained. Then, again, we often have to leave good dogs that have become footsore in working over stony country, and these we sometimes get back ; but sometimes we don't. Still, the work must go on If the driver is to make a living.
Cs Mr Herring prepared to tell us that he could so manage a large" flock of sheep without a dog that, like the Scriptural sheep, they would know his voice and follow him ? We hardly think he could. The days of the sheep kings who rose and saluted the rising sun, and offered morning sacrifices upon rural altars are in the very far past, and sheep are - not now led, but driven, and there must be enough dogs for the flock. There are men in this Colony, as well as at Home, who have grown grey at the work of tending sheep, and they would no more think of being without the "shepherds' friend" than they would be without their daily bread. With all due deference to Mr Herring and his acknowledged sheep wisdom, we take ttfo liberty of believiug jbluifc our sheep wisdom—so far as working sheep on the road is concerned—is as great as hjs own, gained as it is by practical experience, and while we regret the existence of the selfish, the brutal, and the careless among shepherds, as we do the existence of such people among all classps of men—sheep farmers included —we still claim ; that no good shepherd can do his work' properly among large mobs of sheep in difficult country without at least three dogs.—We are, etc., Two Shepherds.
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SHEEP DOGS., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2440, 13 June 1890
SHEEP DOGS. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2440, 13 June 1890
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