Day 7 of the 30 days, 30 words challenge:
sheep dog, a dog trained to herd and protect sheep; specifically a) a collie b) a large, gentle dog with a short talk and long, rough hair covering the face and eyes: also called old English sheep dog.
O’Brien looked at the pup. He had been the runt of his litter. When he was just born, O’Brien had to put the other dogs away, in a pen, to let him feed. Otherwise, he was always just waiting behind the others, still blinded from new birth and unable to find a way over his brothers and sisters and to the teats. O’Brien named him Bídeach, but most of the time he called him Bid or Biddy. Siobhan thought it was a waste to time to train him for the herd, “Such a bitty body, bitty brain,” but O’Brien sensed she was wrong. And the first time he let him out with the sheep when he was barely a month old, he didn’t run them ragged the way most young pups did. Without training, he began to move closer to the herd, to crouch low, and after a moment, to move close again. From that time, O’Brien took Bid out to the fields with him almost every day, even when the other dogs were working. And when the other dogs herded, Bid stayed right by his side until the color started to drain out of the sky and they headed back to the house. O’Brien had been raised to love animals but hold them at a distance, and he had been able to do that most of his life. He knew that animals came and went and that was the natural order of things. It was best not to become attached. But something about the way Bid had changed things. So when Bid started to take breaks when he was running, to pant and lie down, O’Brien felt a knot form inside his chest. Runts are apt to live shorter lives, to have more health issues. Nature makes them work harder to survive. “You’ve done a good job here,” O’Brien said, reaching down to stroke the pup’s black and white fur. “You can leave whenever you’re ready.” Such a small thing to have taken up such a large space, he thought to himself. Such a very small thing.