In Italy sheep are still living the old way in many parts of the Abruzzo region. There is a shepherd, his guardian dogs, a couple of working dogs and of course a lot of sheep. They go where the grass is high, moving constantly.
I am currently living very much in the countryside of rural Abruzzo and last week a young guy came to tell me that he would like to bring his sheep for grazing. I told him that the owner always let sheep come in order to ‘clean up’ the wild. And the day I saw them coming: a long line of sheep, a barking dog jumping around and a lot of Abruzzese dogs.
It was incredible to see all these white animals to move on the green lawn. There was only one working dog, a little light-beige one with a mustache. But she was so good that just one bark would be enough to move the herd.
Most of the big white and some with black spots (they are no ‘clean’ breed) Abruzzese dogs were lying around, strategically to have all in the view, one was wandering around, to inspect the area. The shepherd, a young man, was just sitting in the sun and smoking his cigarettes or talking on the smartphone.
I very much enjoyed to watch them. How the little working dog just barked once and the sheep knew where to move. The dog understood well what the shepherd told him. The guardian dogs didn’t do anything more than assure a secure stay for the group.
They came another two times and every time I spent a little time to watch them. They will come back more often until mid May, the shepherd told me. Then they will walk up to the mountains and stay there until September/October. Before they go up into the mountains the sheep will be fleeced. Did you know that sheep wool is perfect for mulching your plants? But that is another story …