Sunday, January 02, 2011

Ode to a sheep dog and a friend...

What do you say 'bout a friend who's been with you
Fourteen years on the range?
Herding sheep and nippin' cows
And working side by side all her days?

Jessie was her name, but we called her Jess
There's an unwritten rule 'bout ranch dogs
That says they only need one syllable for a name
Unless they're in trouble with The Boss.
Then the name changes back to full-length
And a few "blue words" come out too.
It's not meant to be rough, bad-mannered or unkind
But just helps the dog "come to."

Jess helped me raise our five young kids,
She followed them everywhere
So all I had to do was yell her name
And she'd bring them home then and there.

She'd fetch a stick, a snowball, or a rock ~
Whatever you happened to have on you
I never saw a dog catch a Frisbee like her,
She'd dive in the pond to get it for you.

Jess had a litter of pups when she was nine
Three females, Liz, Merv, and Sue.
We kept Sue and gave the others away
It was fun watching her mother her brood.

Jess walked with me almost every day
Up to the mail box and back,
Or out in The Woods where we'd scare up birds
Jackrabbits,  deer or rac's.

But her favorite thing of all was to help at lambing time
She'd stay in the sheep shed all day
Guarding the gate, nipping at ewes,
Or licking a bum lamb's face.

She liked to take sheep out to new pasture
It was hard to make her see things left-handed
She took the right, and you took the left,
How could she be any more candid?

We did things her way on many a day
It seemed she just knew what to do
A lamb would run off and we were sure we'd lost it
But Jess took off  would run, nearly flew!
She would knock the lamb down and roll it around
And she'd pin that lamb down and wait for you.

She loved a good pat and she always sat
On the rug by the kitchen door
Content to be there since we were there
Why would she want any more?

The Littles always loved her and wanted to hug her
And sit right down on her and play.
She never minded, no dog could be kinder
And patient with wee ones all day.

As she got older, Old Jess's eyes, they got dimmer
And her hearing wasn't much good
But her ears would perk up when she felt the rumble of the truck
In the spring going up to the shed.

Spring always gave Jess a new lease on life
There were just some things that made her life full:
Lambs loudly bleating, pushing sheep up the alley,
Or barking behind old bulls.

We're gonna miss our old friend
On the tailgate end
Of the truck when we are lambin'
But we'll think of her then and and know in our hearts
That she's out herding sheep in Dog Heaven.

Good-bye old Girl.


  1. Wonderful ode to a good companion...

  2. So sorry, Jody. What a touching tribute.

  3. I am so sorry for your loss Jody. What a wonderful tribute to a very precious friend and companion.

  4. Ah Jody...I was just thinking 'bout Jessie this morning as I watched through my kitchen window, a neighbor's dog chasing a frisbee. I thought of Jessie's energy and how much a dog with that much needs a place to run!

    I'm so sorry. I bet Sue misses her mom.


  5. Thanks everybody. I'm not much of a poet, but I just wanted to write a little something as a tribute and a thanksgiving to God for giving me such a good friend in Jessie.

    Joyce, Sue does miss her. She seems to be looking for Jess and just can't seem to be comfortable without her. It's hard when the pup is weaned at 5 years old.


  6. Truly a beautiful tribute to such a faithful heart goes out to you and your family in this loss.
    May you be comforted....

  7. A touching ode to faithful furry friend, Jessie. I am truly sorry for your loss, Jody. It sounds like hers was a blessed life, well-lived.

  8. What a sweet companion! She sounds perfect. We miss our Lacey too, who died last Spring. There's a hole in your heart and in your home.

  9. Oh Jody, I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. You loved her so well. You gave her the perfect job, loving all of you.

  10. Oh Jody -- how very sad. I'm so sorry to hear that Jess is gone. What a lovely tribute!

  11. It's so sad to lose such a loved pet. Your poem is beautiful and makes me feel like I too knew and loved this dog. God's blessings come in many forms!

  12. Aw so sorry Jody, it is so hard losing one you love so much. We still miss our Jack. He was a huge black lab and he went with DH everywhere he was allowed to go. He was 13 when he died, he followed the girls horseback and when he didn't come in DS went to find him and he had laid down under a bush not far from the barn and just went to sleep.


  13. Oh this brought tears to my eyes. So sorry for your loss. You described her so well, so lovingly. I felt like I knew her. Goodbye Jess.

  14. A beloved dog's life is always too short.
    (My family had a sheepdog named Jessie, too, even though we didn't have any sheep.)

  15. I'm so sorry, Jody! Your poem has me sitting here crying. Although my dog is only three, and not so nearly as useful or capable as Jessie, I'm already anticipating how much I'll miss him when he's gone. Dogs are the most wonderful friends, and some are family.

    My condolences!


  16. Jody that is such a beautiful ode to Jess, you have brought tears to my eyes.
    Thank you for sharing the treasured memeories of a faithful old friend. Love and hugs to you.
    RIP Jess

  17. Oh Jody, I am so sorry about Jess. She was a real part of your family. Love Clarice

  18. I too am so very sorry that your beloved friend has passed away. I know how hard it is to lose an animal friend after so many years, Jody. It seems everything shifts around us, and is never really the same.

    Take care.

  19. Thank you all for your very kind words. I appreciate you.


  20. ~I'm sorry Jody. Dogs are so special and I know Jessie's legacy will be shared for many,many years.

    Hugs and love to you!

  21. Jody, I'm so sorry...I really feel for you. xx

  22. Aw Jody, that brought tears to my eyes. What a lovely tribute!


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