(Update: Adding video)
One lost a leg, but she keeps busy and doesn't seem to know or care
REDMOND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Eastern Oregon working-dog trainer Clint Johnson brought three very special border collies with him for an exhibition at the Central Oregon Agricultural Show last weekend at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds in Redmond.
"I am here today to share my love for these dogs and their working lifestyle," Johnson told me Saturday. "Not just being a pet or a dog, but what they do for a living. The desire and the love that they have for it is unparalleled."
Clint starts first with a 4-month-old puppy. The goal: kindergarten for a working dog. He lets the puppy play with the sheep, keeping the experience for the puppy playful and positive. Next he brings out his favorite, you will notice quickly that she only has three legs.
Clint tells us about Mia, a nearly 4-year-old female border collie.
"I have had her since she was a puppy," he said. "If you notice, she is missing a hind leg. She had a injury when she was just over a year. We took here in for a orthopedic surgery and it failed. Then we had to amputate the leg last summer. And she is healed up enough that she gets to go back to work.
"And she is so happy that's all she wants to do. And she is still capable of so much, she doesn't even know it's gone."
Next we watch Mia work. First she is in the round pen. She respects the bubble of the sheep. Also balancing the stock between her and Clint, taking cues and whistle commands from her human. You will notice her tail -- dogs use their tail to balance themselves, and she is using hers to help herself balance, to make up for her missing leg.
Next, Clint lets some cattle out for a different demonstration. But by mistake, the sheep have escaped. No worries for the trainer or the crowd -- it's actually Mia to the rescue! She reads the situation and is the dog to bring both the sheep and the cattle back to the pen by herself.
He says Mia doesn't know she is disabled. She is capable, and doesn't look for sympathy -- she just wants to get back to work.
Clint will compete with her next summer at her first dog trial.