This is a story about a dog named Augie.
After my bicycle trip to Alaska in 1995, I came back to Key West and put all my energy into my Island Dog Collars. I built it up to a nice business but by 1997 I was aching for another adventure, so I went to Wyoming to become a cowgirl. I had Catahoula Cowdogs that were great finding cows lost in the mountains since this was wild open range herding way up in the mountains 3 hours from the closest town.
The best time was when I was still all broke up from my horse wreck but my boss had me drive up to the gate to make sure the cattle weren't trying to come down since the snow was falling and they were only permitted by the Forest Service to be in that higher 3rd Allotment.
So I loaded up some dog in the freezing sleet and drove 5 miles up to the gate thru the forest.
I looked across and about a half mile or more away, across the freezing river, thru a low maze of willow bottom, over a sage brush flat & then high up in the timber the cattle were sneaking around the fence.
I forget who I had with me but they never got a bead on them when I said "Git dem cows!" They would look and look and never see them or if they did, they would swim the river and run around lost in the willows and finally stand at the rivers edge a howlin' for me to come get them since they didn't want to jump back in the cold cold river to get back to me but couldn't find the cows.
so I would have to wait till later and I would have a bigger job stopping them and sending them back once they got thru the fence and close to the road and were closer to me because the canyon narrowed them into a funnel and then I would sic the dogs on them there and after a hour or more battle on 2 sets of 3 dogs, the cows would give up and head back around the fence. It was a battle ground there because the cows were in a big willer flat with lots of lush grass and they didn't want to leave. they could fight them dogs good in separate groups using the willers as cover.
So one morning just at first light I loaded Augie up in the truck and no other dog and drove 5 miles up to the gate thru the forest.
I tried to point it out to her from the cab of the truck and said "Git them cows!" she looked and she looked with her eyes all bugged out and them nice lookin' ears all perked up but she couldn't see them specks that were cattle that I was pointing at.
This was that big jacked up Dodge I had with the big fat mud tires and all lifted up. I don't know if you ever saw that one.
I could barely climb into the bed of it my ribs were so tore up but I threw her up there and pulled my way up and pointed again, she looked & looked with here feet on the side of the bed........still no luck spotting them sneaky cows. So I picked that pint sized stick a dynamite and set her up on top the roof of that truck and told her again "Git them cows!"
She scanned again and this time she spotted them!
Bam! she was gone like a bolt a lightnin'. She bailed from the roof and hit the ground running. She plunged into that icy river and paddled acrost. She came out runnin' and never stopped to shake it off. Then she disappeared in the willows and this is were most dogs get turned around and lose direction and spend a half hour before giving up and I was kinda expecting this to happen to her like it had to all the other dogs so I just sat in that warm cab with my binoculars and scanned the horizon and the river edge to see if she was coming home or was gonna pop out on top.
After a bit......there she is! Up on the sage flat......headed in the exact direction she had seen the cows but no way she could see them now, she was down to low and they were way up high, but she remembered which way to go and just kept a going with fierce determination!. She kept runnin' & runnin'. I couldn't see her anymore she was so far away and the cattle were just specs in the timber.
Then I saw it!
The lead cow turned around! Then the one right behind her jumps and turns around. I get the binoculars fixed on that area and there's that girl.......... running up to each cow and nippin' um on the nose till she had that whole herd of about 50 sneaky heefers and calves bawlin' and a runnin' back to where they knew that were supposed to be. That was the first day they didn't get thru the fence! And it only took one dog and 2 minutes
Of course those cows would try to sneak around every morning, so Augie and I would drive up at first light and let her have at them. Once I knew she knew the routine, I brought a few more dogs in so they would follow her and not get lost.
She had them cows licked and showed the other dogs how to do it. No other cows got south of that fence till the Forest Service said we could start bringing them down later that month. It was only early September and the snow was falling daily but the cattle didn't get driven out till about the end of the month.
My boss loved it cuz he could sleep in instead of doing what he and his aussies would take from 5am to 10am to do every day!
I miss those days, the hurricanes in 2004 and 2005 hurt me financially and it took awhile for me to heal up from my horse wreck. I knew Augie was the type of dog that needed to be worked daily, so she stayed with Casey in Texas, he loved that dog & took here everywhere. He ended up doing a TV show and Augie was on it!