Can a dog be a workaholic?

Pets and people.
July 27 2006 6:49 AM

The Loneliness of Rose

What happens when a dog works too much.

Listen to the author reading this story here, or sign up for Slate's free daily podcast on iTunes.

(Continued from Page 2)

Rose had to maneuver through the donkeys—two of which were dying to clobber her.  She had to deal with the ram, too, who came off the trailer charging at her. She raced around and grabbed his privates, and when he groaned and grunted, ran around and nipped him on the nose. She spun him around and around for five minutes—keeping an eye on the donkeys and the sheep—until he ran into the middle of the flock of ewes and hid. Then she ran over and nipped Lulu on the butt, staying away from Jeannette and the baby. She gathered the sheep and the ram and moved them into the next pasture. In a few minutes, everyone was calmly munching on hay or grass.

******

Advertisement

Rose comes from Colorado, from a herding line. Her favorite spot—when she is not working, which is her favorite thing—is to sit in the garden, rain, cold, snow or sun, and watch her sheep. She sometimes seems lonely to me. I think there is perhaps a price to pay for letting a working dog work: A working dog can't be a pet, at least not in the conventional sense of the term. She does the things I need, but few of the things that often please us most about dogs—snuggling, playing, tagging along, making friends with dogs and people.

Often, I will look out and see her blanketed in snow and ice. When I drive the ATV, the other dogs like to hop on the back rack and ride with me. Rose always runs ahead. When we walk in the woods, she is always in front, alert for chipmunks, birds, squirrels, or deer. When kids walk up the road from school, they line up to pet the dogs. Rose never comes up to say hello, and they never look for her.

I have asked about 200 people which of my dogs they would like to have. Only two have mentioned Rose.

TODAY IN SLATE

War Stories

The Right Target

Why Obama’s airstrikes against ISIS may be more effective than people expect.

Why Is This Mother in Prison for Helping Her Daughter Get an Abortion?

The XX Factor
Sept. 23 2014 11:13 AM Why Is This Mother in Prison for Helping Her Daughter Get an Abortion?

Divestment Is Fine but Mostly Symbolic. There’s a Better Way for Universities to Fight Climate Change.

I Stand With Emma Watson on Women’s Rights

Even though I know I’m going to get flak for it.

It Is Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

It’s Legal for Obama to Bomb Syria Because He Says It Is

How Ted Cruz and Scott Brown Misunderstand What It Means to Be an American Citizen

  News & Politics
War Stories
Sept. 23 2014 4:04 PM The Right Target Why Obama’s airstrikes against ISIS may be more effective than people expect.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 23 2014 2:08 PM Home Depot’s Former Lead Security Engineer Had a Legacy of Sabotage
  Life
Outward
Sept. 23 2014 1:57 PM Would a Second Sarkozy Presidency End Marriage Equality in France?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 23 2014 2:32 PM Politico Asks: Why Is Gabby Giffords So “Ruthless” on Gun Control?
  Slate Plus
Political Gabfest
Sept. 23 2014 3:04 PM Chicago Gabfest How to get your tickets before anyone else.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 23 2014 4:45 PM Why Is Autumn the Only Season With Two Names?
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 23 2014 5:36 PM This Climate Change Poem Moved World Leaders to Tears Today
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 23 2014 4:33 PM Who Deserves Those 4 Inches of Airplane Seat Space? An investigation into the economics of reclining.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.