Tuesday, September 06, 2005

My Sheepdog Model

After reading the Whittler's latest essay Tribes, it dawned on me that I have been living for 14 1/2 years with the ultimate Sheepdog. My beautiful girl Holly is a Kuvasz, a breed that typifies the guardian role. From the Kuvasz Club of America:
The Kuvasz is an ancient breed, among the oldest of all breeds. The Kuvasz (plural Kuvaszok) is recognized by the American Kennel Club and is a member of the Working Group.

While scholars differ on the detail, the origins of the Kuvasz are traced back as far as the cradle of civilization in Mesopotamia and the steppes of the Ural mountains in western Asia.

It was in Hungary, however, that the breed achieved it's present appearance. The Kuvasz is a guarding dog, originally used for protecting livestock such as horses, sheep and cattle.

Holly is the sweetest dog. She treats all people as friends and is infinitely patient with wee ones. But let another dog come into her field of view and she turns into mass of raging white fur. Her ancestors were breed to treat all strange dog-like creatures as wolves and to protect their charges at all costs. Holly, much to my consternation at times, exemplifies that much sought after characteristic. She wants to be accepted and treated like the sheep she protects, but doesn't hesitate to take matters into her own paws and fangs and become the Sheepdog that is her true nature.

We are somewhat alike - both old bitches. I have none of her nobility or grace. I am going to adopt her visage as my "Profile photo" to honor her long friendship with me. One day I may grow up to have her strength.