ELKO – Annie Blackstock recently wrote a book about a very special cow dog and her best friend. Although Patches is no longer alive, her owner has memorialized the dog’s dedication and deep companionship in “Cowgirl: The Life and Times of a Special Border Collie.”
“I’ve always loved to write,” said Blackstock. “I used to hike a lot in the Rubies and that’s where most of my inspiration came from for poetry.”
Blackstock (or Ann Blackburn, her pen name) received Patches or “Patchy” as a gift one Christmas.
Blackstock and her husband raise cattle and Patchy took to being a “cow dog“ right off the bat.
“She would help with driving cattle, but also she would stand in the corral with Bruce and she would look up at him and look at the cows and look at what he was doing and learned over time exactly what he was doing,” Blackstock said.
Patchy was a family dog and she loved babies, according to Blackstock.
“There is a difference of how they (cow dogs) treat the cows and how they treat the calves,” Blackstock said. “She could switch between working and loving her family.”
Patchy was a very active dog who always wanted to be involved. Even if there were no cows to work, Patchy would always be ready to “do the chores.”
Blackstock’s book is filled with photos of Patchy doing “her thing.” The writer has also included a few poems about her dog and the special moments during their lives together:
I smile as I watch her work,
Focus intent upon her face.
So quiet, so agile and quick
As she crouches, then darts
Only to spin and run until
She feels her work is done
And the herd is in its place.
Only then will she come to me
With her open, smiling face,
I can tell her over and over
What she still needs to hear,
But again, I will gladly tell her
Good cowgirl my dolly
Patchy very good cowgirl.
Blackstock said Patchy loved to play “peek-a-boo” and she has several images of the dog hiding behind logs and other things.
In keeping her dog’s memory alive, Blackburn hopes that she has “done a service to Patchy.”
“One of my goals with my book is that I want to honor my subject, but I would also like people to realize what they have in a dog,” Blackburn said. “It doesn’t have to be a border collie or a purebred. It can be one you adopt from the shelter. If anybody realized how intelligent and sensitive animals are, how they could mistreat them? They can be your best friend.”
Name that Hide:
"Meet Patches, who was a cattle ranch working border collie with a beautiful spirit and a huge heart. She left her mark on all who met her and she will do the same for you. You will fall in love with her as you read Cowgirl: The Life and Times of a Special Border Collie. She managed to make the world around her a happier place and if all dogs were allowed to do this, the planet would be better for it. When Patches introduced herself to people, the first thing they saw was a beautiful black and white border collie with long, silky hair, but she possessed much more than beauty. It was her sweet, magically loving spirit that really took control of people, drawing them into her rainbow like a magnet. Look into her life as she works as a ranch dog, enjoying her job, her family and the world around her."
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