Sem is our second dog and first "real" border collie. Real between quotes, because he might be a border but,
he doesn't have a pedigree. However, the dog isn't less than any other border and he is showing much
interest in working at the sheep. Sometimes a little to enthousiastic, because eventhough he has to stay put and let the sheep rest to eat e.g., he likes to bring them towards you every time he gets the opportunity.
In 2004, several weeks after our dog Flip died, we got Sem at the age of six weeks.
Normaly it's better to get a pups after eight weeks but in case of Sem it didn't matter that much anymore,
because his mother stopped nursing the pups already after three weeks and had the whole litter to be fed
with a bottle. Therefore the pups where very soon on their own.
Because our dog Flip was for about 80% border collie, this was the dog we wanted to have due to its character
and to really do something with the dog. In our case, work with the dog at the sheep. A border collie
isn't exactly a dog to keep at home. They really have to do something in which they have to use their mind.
This can be anything e.g. flyball, agillity, obedience, etc., but in our case we wanted to use the dog
in combination with sheep, herding etc.. This is also where the race 'border' is made for.
Sem, here on the right with his sister, was a very cute pup seeing. After a short period of settling down,
he could enjoy himself very well at our place. Not only his toys, but also several pieces of our bodies
and clothing could count for his attention. We where very happy he grew over this.
Sem's parents Betsy and Bobbie are two border collies out of Meddo (region Gelderland) where they stay
at the farm owned by the Kersten family and helping out with the cows. Bobbie is a bigger kind of border and
it's for sure, our Sem inherited this, because he is also a bigger kind of border collie. His mother Betsy came from Germany. She didn't came out very much and therefore mister Kersten who was on a visit in Germany
asked the owner to take her over and he was okay with that. In Meddo she definitively found her place and together with Bobbie she had several litters and out one of them came Sem. How they are doing right now, we don't know at the time.
Below a picture of Betsy & Bobbie.
Like I said before, Sem is showing much interest in working at the sheep although, this wasn't quite the case at the beginning. At the age of 4 months we took him to an acquaintance who owned a couple of sheep.
Sem was interested in many things at that time except for the sheep. Of course he was still very young but,
sometimes border collies already show interest for the sheep when they are very young at age.
It al changed as Sem got 10 months old and we went to the shepherd Hans Abbink from "v.d. Schapenhoeve" with his herd "Schaapskudde Haaksbergerveen" ("Haaksbergerveen" is an conservancy area of peat moor in Gelderland region close to the German border). After loosen Sem at the sheep, it was like turning a knob in his head and he started inmidiately circling around the flock and the "spell" was broken.
From that moment on, I started training with Sem at the sheep and because the shepherd Hans Abbink was to busy with the flock, one of his earlier followers was willing to the take task of teaching me and the dog. That this wasn't easy in the beginning is really an understatement. The 'boss' had to learn at least as much as his dog and maybe even more (after a couple of years now I'm still learning). Later on, I trained on several places in order to keep up the knowledge learned.
When we made through Sem acquaintance with the shepherd Hans Abbink, we immidiately offered our help if he needed it. Hans took this offer with both hands and since then we're helping out with all kinds of work at the sheep or in one of the stables. But..., taking care of the sheep is one thing, it's also handy if one can handle a hamer, saw and has a little knowledge of electra. Also getting out with computers might be usefull:-).
With Sem I'm be able to herd the sheep so once in a while, something the dog likes very much as long he can be at the flock.
Photo: Enjoying nature while herding.
Foto: The flock at "Haaksbergerveen"