This blog is in memory of our beloved Border Collie Tippy who died on July 28th 2010. Every Sunday over the course of the next few months I will post memories and pictures of her life with us, both as a working farm dog, family pet, best friend and work mate.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

The One And Only Driving Lesson.

In 2002 the boss decided to build us a big new shed which we didn't really use for cattle until the winter of 2003. It was a very nice shed and Tippy used to have lots of fun running from one end to the other keeping her eye on proceedings. Being a proper sheep dog she would have nothing to do with cattle so her running from one end to the other was done around the outside of the building and lying in the mud and peering through the gap under the door. As you will see from the picture the shed was in three parts, two rows of pens with a feeding passage down the centre, wild horses wouldn't have made her walk down that centre passage, I think to her it was the parting of the waves.

The new shed.

Each row of pens was divided in to ten and each pen held ten cows with their calves. The front of the pen was where the cows stuck their head out to eat the feed and it worked okay as far as they were concerned but with the calves it was another matter because they were small enough to get through the bars and out in to the feed passage so very often the first job in the morning was to put the calves back where they belonged which wasn't always very easy as they aren't known for their co-operation in such matters. So after putting Tippy on the JCB loader tractor and starting it up ready for putting out more feed I set about returning the calves back to where they belonged.

JCB Loader tractor like we had at the farm.

As always Tippy was taking a great interest in proceedings and much as a shepherd whistles or shouts commands to his dog she was doing likewise to me from the safety of the loader. I eventually managed to get the calf back where it belonged and gathering my breath I turned to see the loader slowly reversing down the shed and Tippy looking through the windscreen. It looked very much like a disaster movie where the airsick accountant is left to land a 747. In all the excitement Tippy must have caught the reverse lever and was now reversing down the shed with a look of bewilderment in her little face. I set off after her and the loader knowing full well I was not going to reach it in time to avoid disaster. Thankfully the drive was automatic and not clutch driven, so because the engine was still on tick over when the loader came in to contact with the shed door it did no more than put a slight dent in it before being stopped in its tracks and this gave me time to enter the cab and get the situation under control. It didn't put Tippy off riding the loader but she never drove it again, not that I gave her chance because I always made sure I locked the reverse lever in neutral whenever I left it in future.


  1. What a great story! Wonder what was going through her head, when she started moving.

    Reminds me of when the BC's at my agility farm took the golf cart for quick spin,luckily my teacher was able to slam on the brakes before they crashed into a fence.

  2. Yikes, that is a pretty big piece of equipment for a dog to handle!! :)


  3. Great Story! Tippy is an amazing dog. She's probably a better driver than most of our California drivers :-)

  4. Hi Rob! Thanks for visiting. This was an especially interesting story, as I work for a Caterpillar equipment dealer. :) I'm glad the loader stopped and nobody was hurt. That must have been a horrible feeling to see it moving with Tippy onboard! She really was a wonder dog! Take care.