The roster of dogs at the Meeker Classic Championship Sheepdog Trials boasts a variety of backgrounds and circumstances. Be it that they hail from all parts of the world, descend from a long line of proven dogs or just possess an innate instinct to gather and move stock — each will face the same challenge as they walk onto the field at Meeker.
This year when Angie Coker Sells and her dog Quill walk out on the field it will be a homecoming of sorts. Their story started four years ago during the 2009 Meeker Classic. Be it fate or destiny, a unique set of circumstances and people were set in motion that week of the Meeker Classic. Angie, a Meeker Classic champion in 1999, was the judge for the 2009 Meeker Classic and Elaine Wood was volunteering at Meeker with the humane society rescue rig.
Quill, as a pup, and face covered with porcupine quills, showed up at the 2009 Meeker Classic.
Travelling back to Meeker with Elaine, he spent the rest of the Meeker Classic hanging out at the trial field with Elaine and making friends wherever he went. Elaine and others checked in with local ranchers to see if anyone recognized the dog or claimed ownership. He had a collar but no tags. Several people came by to see Quill but, unfortunately, none recognized him or had any idea who he might belong to. By the end of the trial, no one had stepped forward to take responsibility for Quill, and Elaine had become attached to the sweet, gentle pup. She decided to take him home with her to Greeley.
Over the next several weeks porcupine quills that had been embedded under the skin continued to migrate their way out. One came out from behind his eye and several came out the top of his nose. Two additional trips to the veterinarian necessitated sedation to remove a couple hundred more quills. During all of this Quill never lost his sweet nature and was Elaine's constant shadow, quickly becoming a favorite at the veterinarian's office.
Months later, having recuperated from the porcupine quills, Quill was showing a natural inclination to work sheep. Elaine wanted to see if Quill might have what it takes to become a sheep dog. Angie Coker Sells had helped train most of Elaine's border collies, so in 2010 she sent Quill to Angie in Tecumseh, Okla., for training.
Angie and Quill hit it off right away. Angie could see Quill's natural talent and Quill took to life on the ranch. Because Quill was a fast learner and had plenty of grit, Angie also had to keep an eye on him, manage his energy and direct his instinct. It wasn't long before Angie called Elaine asking if she might be interested or willing to let her keep Quill. He had all the makings of a great ranch dog for what Angie needed. Though she wasn't trialing at the time, she also knew he'd be a good candidate if she ever did.
It was a hard decision for Elaine. Having rescued Quill and rehabilitated him, she knew that living in town and working sheep on an occasional basis would be a hard transition for Quill to make. After lots of thought she decided what was best for Quill, knowing he was much better off in a home where he had a real job to do.
Quill took to working stock naturally.
Quill loves to ride the four-wheeler with Angie — it usually means there's work to be done!
Who would have guessed that the young, stray border collie, covered in porcupine quills, would make the full circle and come back to compete where he showed up in such need of help? Win, lose or draw Angie and Elaine are thrilled he'll be back this year. You can watch Quill run Thursday afternoon, Sept. 5, at the 27th annual Meeker Classic.
For information, visit www.meekersheepdog.com.blog comments powered by Disqus