Thursday, November 8, 2007

Sheepdog At Work in New Zealand!

My siblings and I were very excited to get to our next destination at Mt.Cook, New Zealand. We had driven a long way from Auckland, Rotorua, Wellington and then crossed a ferry to Picton (the car cost alot to cross between islands on the ferry. If you have time, pick up another car on the other island). Below is a map which will give you a better picture of places. Picton is the ferry terminal on the south island of NZ.
Map Source

After Christchurch, we proceeded to Mt. Cook. My brother was driving and suddenly he stopped and woke us up from our nap when he exclaimed, "Oh, sheep jam!"

The sheep occupied the whole road and then came a black sheepdog to herd hundreds of sheep to the side of the road. There was no human shepherd. As we waited for the dog to clear the sheep off the road, we started to take pictures. We were amazed by what we saw. Seeing is believing.

Later we drove passed a building that sold fruits. We pulled our rented car by the side of a barn and was greeted by a friendly dog which wagged its tail. As we walked to the stall where all the fruits, money and weighing scales were, the dog barked and disappeared almost instantly and got its owner out. We asked questions and learned that the sheepdog is a rare breed that herds the sheep by its "voice." We forgot to ask whether her dog at the fruit stall was also a sheepdog.

In New Zealand dogs are widely trainned to herd the sheep and cattle in huge farms. It's not surprising because there are about 75 million sheep and only 4 million people. Dogs can learn to do human tasks. They run faster than humans. There is no need to pay for its salary or health insurance. Just take good care of it and feed it well and you get a good job done without having to deal with labor or union issues. How smart and efficient!

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