Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Blue (10/08/09)
TITLE: Blue (ii)
By Lamar Taylor
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Blue was a cow dog, a border collie-blue heeler cross, to be exact. He had some age on him, but he was still alert and agile and eager to work. Chance Humphreys was a rancher from southern Colorado. He and Blue had worked together for years, herding cattle on the ranch and, during summers, in the high country of the San Juans. The two were inseparable, and it sometimes seemed that Blue just knew what Chance’s command would be even before he gave it.
The routine this time would be different, of course. The chute and panels would have been moved as well as the stock trailer. The poles that represented a gate would also have been relocated, but the basics were the same. Man and dog would use their skills to move a group of skittish and balky heifers through the obstacle course at the fastest time possible. Chance and Blue had entered the stock dog trials for several years, but had never taken home the prize.
Chance watched the other contestants, Blue by his side. Blue, ears up, whined and pranced in place, eager to get in on the action. This was what he was born and bred to do. But, obedient to his master, he stayed by Chance’s side.
Their time came. They took their designated positions in the arena, awaiting the starting signal. It was time! The heifers had been released into the arena. Humphreys used a series of whistles to command Blue. It usually took slow, deliberate and patient action from Blue to move the heifers so they would not spook and scatter, using up valuable time.
First, Blue had to push the heifers between the two gate poles. At Chance’s whistle, Blue moved in behind the four animals, directing them toward the gate. It should have been an easy task, but open space on the outside of the poles beckoned one heifer toward the outside. Chance whistled and, immediately, Blue came around and herded her heifer back into the group. After a few seconds, one heifer went through the “gate,” and the others followed.
Next, Blue had to herd the animals through the portable chute. The opening was narrow, so great skill and faultless communication between Chance and Blue was required. One heifer decided she had a mind of her own and bolted around the chute. The others would have followed had Chance not been alert. His whistle sent Blue after the escapee who, nipping at her heels, chased her back toward the others. Again, one went through the chute, leading the others. The audience showed their appreciation with soft applause, not wanting to break the rhythm of the team.
The panels were set up at the far end of the arena. At Chance’s signal, Blue began to methodically move the heifers in that direction.
A railroad track runs just to the east of the arena, and a freight train was moving slowly along the track. As the engineer applied the brakes, they produced a high-pitched squeal. Would Blue be distracted by the squeal of the brakes? Would he mistake the squeal for his master’s whistle? Or would the brakes be so loud that he could not hear his master’s signal?
There was no need to worry. Blue’s attention was focused on Chance and the heifers.
In short order, Blue moved the heifers around the panels and back down the arena to the trailer. They balked at first, but then jumped into the trailer. There was a huge applause from the audience.
Life is full of circumstances and people that can distract us or keep us from hearing our Master’s voice. But just like Blue, we must focus our attention on Him and His voice. He says we know His voice. When we listen to Him, distractions will not deter us nor prevent us from being “more than conquerors” through Him.
And just so you’ll know, Chance and Blue had the winning time that year.
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