So sad to report that Mel died yesterday
One day I'll write a page in memory of Mel. She's clearly the greatest sheepdog we've ever had the privilege to know.
Mel's daughter Carew had superior sheep control, and was definitely easier to stop (I couldn't actually get Mel to stand still with her four feet on the ground until she was four years old) but Mel never, ever failed to get a job done.
If I chose one of the other dogs to do a difficult task, a glance in Mel's direction as we left the yard would reveal a knowing "you'll be back" look - and sure enough, when I returned, fuming because the job had gone horribly wrong and there were sheep all over the place, Mel would be standing by her gate with that "told you so" expression we saw so often.
Once in the field, Mel would demonstrate a perfect understanding of the task in hand, and the previously impossible sheep would be totally respectful and do exactly as she wanted. This doesn't happen by chance.
Indeed, one day soon, I will write a tribute page for this extraordinary dog. I'm not in a suitable place to do it now. The memories are flooding back but I'm too emotional to commit them to the page so for now, I'm making lots of notes.