Nan, The Half Broke Border Collie

  by Rusty Fleming
Cole’s place was a few miles north of San Angelo,,,,,Bronc and I had just bought 85 head of good 3 to 4 yr old recip Spanish does,,,,I had leased Cole’s place and turned the goats out,,,pretty good fences, lots of feed plus we were caking those nannies every other day, they were going to be our embryo transplant recipients,,,,,they were doing a great job of pruning the pastures and I thought they were contented to be where I had assigned them to be,,,,,,,

They’d been there a few weeks and I thought they were right at home, when one Sunday morning, I went to feed and tweren’t a goat on the place,,,,I honked – called – squalled and no goats,,,,I drove the fence line and sure nuff ,,,found their escape hatch,,,
I went back to Grape Creek where Bronc and I had a small lease place and where we were living at the time, hooked up my trailer, loaded my green broke border collie Nan,,,,and started hunting the fugitives,,,,if this deal worked, and we could locate and gather the escapees, Nan was about to be a graduate goat dog,,,,the errant flock had escaped on the south fence line of Cole’s place, so goat logic says they was headed south,,,,,I figured south, all the way back to Eldorado where I had bought them,,, goats can do some really amazing things,,,,
About a mile south of their escape route, I was driving through a new subdivision and had seen a handful of folks at the scattered newly built subdivision homes, but nobody had seen hide nor hair of a goat,,,much less 85 of them,,,,,,I was getting nervous about this deal when I cut sign,,,fairly fresh goat poop crossing a freshly asphalted subdivision street, and several piles of fresh sign and all strung out in a line still pointing south, a good goat man can tell which direction a goat’s headed, especially if you’re trailing them,,,,, I was idling along the shoulder of the highway about a mile north of town when I seen them,,,,,there they were, drifting slowly thru the mesquites and pear, a couple of hundred yards inside this pasture, browsing goat like at a really relaxed leisurely pace,,,,comfy as could be and glad to be goats doing what goats do best; graze, browse and change pastures without authorization and without warning,,,,,
I u-turned across the highway, doubled back to the north and I seen an open gate that wasn’t opened a few minutes before,,,,,,,,so I drove through the gate, and drove as far as I could in this strange pasture and run out of road in a pasture kind of cul-de-sac,,,,, there was an older and very surprised guy and his 12 year old appearing grandson standing beside a ratty old pickup and a ratty old set of pens and a rotten looking drink tub that hadn’t seen use since Tommy Lee Jones and Gus went through there trailing 16,000 head of steers on their way to Ogallala,,,and this older guy was wondering  out loud, who the hell was I,,,and what was I doing in his pasture,,,,,,
I said I’m the guy that owns all those goats grazing his pasture and he said WHAT GOATS ?!?#$?@?,,,  they ain’t no goats on this place,,,,
I said  if I could park my trailer that I’d be right back and I’d get those goats off his place,,,,
I opened the trailer gate, unloaded Nan and  didn’t give the elder one a chance to ask or say anything else and headed out with Nan, we were both afoot,,,,
In about 15 minutes we seen ’em, I sent her around and when she had them headed, bunched up and started back towards me, I squalled my “goat feed time squall” and started to the trailer leading 85 head of goats and Nan bringing up the drags,,,,,sure wishing I could make a sound like a rattling cake sack,,,,,,,
The old man and that kid seen me coming and I hollered at him to PUL-LEEZE !!!! don’t move and I walked to the end of the trailer and Nan loaded the goats,,,,those goats loaded like a trick act at the state fair,,,,,I closed the gate, loaded my dog, hopped in the pickup, waved and thanked them for their hospitality and left in a cloud of dust and heavily scented pasture goat vapor,,,,,,,,,, those 2 guys stood there with their bottom jaws on the ground,,,,,the operation went slicker’n goose poop on the driveway,,,sure proud of my half broke dog, she acted like we done it every day,,,after escaping, that 85 head of goats had traveled over 4 miles, crossed a developing subdivision, crossed a pretty busy Farm to Market road and across three trap sized pastures and nobody I talked to had seen them,,,
Got the goats back where they belonged and started patching net wire,,,,,,Nan got the job done but she never did master helping fix fence,,,,well, at least she was good at what she did,,, 


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