Did Chris herd Bernie?

A few days before Thanksgiving, before the weather turned quite cold and dawn lost its normal dramatic color, I saw Chris herd Bernie. So surprised I didn’t think to take a photo. It happened this way.

Twice each day my dogs liked to explore the desert. Our current spot provided many opportunities.

critterHole334There existed hundreds of low scrawny bushes under which small critters lived.






chrisDigs350Many times, I located Chris by spotting the rising dust his digging created.





bcplay342Both dogs enjoyed chasing each other. Chris baited Bernie.

I often interrupted my walks to watch them play. They got much more exercise than I.



flee342Bernie could never match Chris’s speed and flexibility.



bcDawn358However, sometimes they matched stride as they raced across the desert.

We had been coming to this desert spot for four years. Our established routine seldom varied.

They leaped from the car and sought a nearby relief place. I grabbed my trek poles and started walking. Without a destination, I might head south or swerve west.

On this early morning, I wanted to capture the dramatic dawn and headed east.

dawnBC332As I composed the shot, both dogs passed in front of me. The timing couldn’t have been better.

While I took photos, the dogs wandered off and explored.

Because I trusted my dogs so much, I let them wander out of sight.


I turned south and traveled in a large circle back to the car. It took twenty minutes. When I walked, I often paused and searched for them.

Yesterday, as usual, both had disappeared. I went to blow the whistle when Chris silently slid from behind and touched me.

With Bernie not in sight, I tapped the remote hardware and blew my whistle. When energized, the collar unit worked within our limited remote desert area.

Their collar devices were designed to attract attention. They were effective within a half-mile radius. I don’t know the range of the dog whistle.

Chris stayed by my side while I searched for Bernie. He remained with me as I again tapped the remote and blew the whistle. Chris knew the whistle was meant for Bernie. We both scanned 360 degrees though I focused on the south and east quadrant  

For thirty seconds, nothing happened. Then I spotted Bernie more than a football field away. Because of my huge circled route, Bernie followed my scent.

Curious, I watched him but didn’t blow the whistle. Bernie approached the point where, if he saw me, he should turn and come to me.

Involved in scenting, he didn’t see us and followed my walked route. Without a designated path or road, I wandered through the desert.

Once I understood what Bernie was doing, I blew the whistle. Still more than a football field away, he adjusted his position. Once Chris spotted Bernie, my speedy rascal flew from my side and made a beeline for Bernie.

Bernie was still fifty yards away when Chris met him. Chris appeared to latch on to Bernie’s neck or ear. Now, neck to neck, both ran to me.

Bernie might try to get free, but Chris kept his hold on Bernie as they raced. I tensed up, worried being body-slammed as they thundered at me. Bonded together, they stopped at my side.

Was Bernie coming to me? Or, did Chris herd Bernie?


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