Photo of Bruce and Razz at a dog walk-a-thon. Photo taken by me.
With apologies and profound admiration to Mr. Ernest Thayer and his wonderful poem
“Casey at the Bat.” Also, in tribute to the wonderful collie Razz and, among his marvelous accomplishments, his ability to herd sheep.
Razz Upon the Sheep
by Patricia A. Guthrie
The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville nine that day;
The score stood four to two with six more sheep to play.
And then when Kippy slid in mud and Glory did the same,
A sickly silence fell upon the handlers in the game.
A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. the rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought if only Razz could but somehow become loose,
We’d put up even money now on Razzy and on Bruce.
But Annie preceded Razzy, as did also little Zuri
And the former is too overweight, and the latter is a fury
So upon that stricken multitude, melancholy hit too deep
For there seemed but little chance for Razz to go and
herd the sheep.
But Annie drove a single sheep, right to her rightful owner
And Zuri the much spoiled girl split the rams into the corner.
And when the ooze had settled, and they saw what had occurred
There was Alex going’away’ and driving back the herd.
Then from handlers and their dogs, there rose a lusty yell,
It rumbled through the farmyard, and to the street as well.
It knocked upon the barndoor and recoiled upon the deep;
For Razzie, mighty Razzie was advancing to the sheep.
There was ease in the collie’s manner as he stepped into that field
there was pride unto his bearing, as Bruce called him out to heel.
And when, responding to the cheers, he politely lifted his leg,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt, ’twas Razz, who would not beg.
All eager eyes were on him as he crawled into the dirt,
All tongues were immediately silent, as mud smeared upon his skirt.
Then while the writhing sheep regrouped, and one fell on his hip
Defiance gleamed in Razzie’s eye, a sneer curled Razzie’s lip.
In vans crammed frozen people, all screaming, muffled roars,
As the dog crept by command to the pen’s far distant shores.
The rams all sensed the danger and in one mad, frightened pack,
They turned upon poor Razzie for one huge and terse attack.
With a care of circumspection the sheep he went a round.
As one came on old Razzie bumped that sucker to the ground.
Bruce signaled him to ‘come’ around and once more ’round they flew,
But Razzie, he ignored them as the sheep said “baa-aa” to you.
With a heart filled full of instincts, and a handler mighty near,
the dog was animated and to all that came quite clear.
He turned and drove the strays away and straight back to the pack,
The herd itself knew not what hit, as he drove them there and back.
And when the mud and sludge were slimed upon both dog and man,
And sheep in angry group were held, by the trainer we called ‘Nan.’
Scott, owner of the sheep and flock, a grin upon his face,
said, “Bruce and Razz, will hereafter be, the guardians of this place.
Patricia A. Guthrie
Published in “The Cassette/ Spring 2001
A tribute to a wonderful dog, handler and two herding instructors.