Ten minutes left, a fine run to this point, but Richard and Cap’s sheep clung tighter than a chastity belt. Richard worked quietly, Cap patiently maybe eight of those 10 minutes when, suddenly, as if by magic, that single popped out of the others and ambled up the hill, staring at 20,000 people as if asking, “You’ve come here just to meet little old me?”
Richard and Cap penned to tremendous applause.
No, they didn’t win. Welshman Aled Owen and Roy took the solid-gold shepherd’s whistle, the World Trial trophy and the check for £3,000, but Richard and Cap didn’t exactly lose either.
An ancient, hunchbacked shepherd had been at all the trials, and a Dutch handler had told me, “That fellow was sitting in the top row of the grandstand at the International, his chin on his hands on his crook, fast asleep. His crook slipped, and if someone hadn’t grabbed him, he would have rolled right down the stairs.”
On the trial field, the next sheepdog was running swift and soft as light.
The old shepherd’s eyes shone as clear and innocent as a boy’s. “They are brilliant, aren’t they?” he said. “Absolutely brilliant. The dogs.”