Throughout it all Meg slept on my bed, travelled with me wherever I went and was one of my children’s closest friends. But she was not an easy dog to train, she taught me the value of patience and she also encouraged me to swear! She was tireless and many a judge sat in fear of being trampled by stampeding sheep when a young Meg thought the word ‘stop’ meant ‘go faster’. Training her was like a roller coaster ride but worth every minute of it and the lessons she taught me will stay with me for ever.
Meg came to me at only four weeks old, at her peak she was one of the top trialling dogs in the UK and I was offered an extremely large sum of money for her to be exported to the USA. But you can’t put a price on loyalty and my Meg and I were not to be parted!
She died at home with me in 1992 and her legacy lives on in the wonderful family she has left me.
Her great grandson Pip appeared on many television programmes including Peak Practice and the rest of the team have had their share of the limelight, including Hope in Dogs with Jobs.
Skye was Meg’s granddaughter and like Meg she spent her working life helping me, working with me and sharing the ups and downs of life, helping me to train and rehabilitate many problem dogs and always amusing people with her look of complete disdain whenever I gave her a command. Skye was the one who, with her determination to make wayward dogs behave, helped Herbie the Beardie get his act together for BBC2’s Natural World programme the Bloodhound and the Beardie.
We lived in Nottinghamshire for twenty years but I moved back to run the family farm in the mid 1990’s.
During the Foot and Mouth year we were hit very hard and spent almost a whole year with no income whatsoever but many were hit harder. That year brought sadness but it also brought nature to life, with the moors empty of human footfall the wildlife knew no fear and with no work there was time on hand to sit, observe and enjoy. Out of the sadness I could enjoy the fact that the natural cinema all around us costs nothing and it doesn’t stop for advertisements!
My daughter Vicki, lives next door and runs the farm. When not looking after the cows, sheep, goats and hens she runs the Sheepdog Experience event and does behavioural consultations.
We have progressed from having makeshift kennels to a nice block of kennels with individual runs; from working in all weathers to having an indoor training facility; from homebred family dogs to our extended family of rescues and none of it would have been possible without my team of dedicated, loyal, hard working collies and the support of my family, not to forget my insane friends.
Life never stands still at Golcar Farm and in 2007, with a kennel full of rescue collies I became a founder Trustee of the Freedom of Spirit Trust for Border Collies (FOSTBC) a registered charity working for the benefit of Border Collies covering rescue, sanctuary and rehabilitation.