Dogs bring residents joy
The residents of Marion Assisted Living are the latest group of people to be treated to a visit from 11-year-old Meggi and 5-year-old Glynnis.
The Border Collies are owned by Rex and Carolyn Savage of Florence. Rex said residents were happy to see the dogs because many of them had dogs themselves, and they enjoyed petting and relating to them.
“Meg played up to them, going from chair to chair,” he said. “Glynn played ball with them. And they liked to hear our stories of how they work with cattle.”
The Savages have taken all three of their dogs to schools and nursing homes, as well. Fifteen-year-old Deacon has been retired from service because he is hard of hearing and has poor eyesight.
“We always get a positive reaction,” Rex said. “It’s a pleasure to see folks look so happy.”
Carolyn has trained the dogs to follow her commands.
“They have intense eyes and have a God-given instinct on how to herd cattle, but they need the discipline to sit, stay, wait,” she said.
She often runs with them as she gives commands, and they are like poetry in motion. They instinctively treat calves or sick animals differently than cows, being cautious around them.
Moving together from side to side, the dogs herd cattle toward their destination. After funneling them into a catch pen, the dogs wait inside the gate until it is closed.
“Telling them, ‘Good job,’” and giving them a pat on the head is their reward,” Carolyn said. “They prefer that over treats.”