The cane tapped the ground and Canyon's belly hit the dusty road like his life depended on it.
"Yeee!" The praise rang through the air and Canyon opened his mouth in a doggy smile, hot and tired and happy. The cattle weren't runnin', but the dust they had churned up was in his masters eyes and he was rubbing them like crazy. "I aint cryin'" he coughed out to his dog as if he cared. Grabbing the hat off his head, he wiped the sweat from his forhead and replaced it.
The cattle had slowed to a mere amble and despite the dust in his eyes, Canyon's master urged him forward to tighten up the herd. Canyon looped around, gathering up straglers and tossing them back into the group.
Huge paws and a tail-less rump identified him as the only Australian Shepherd within 50 miles. He was the envy of most cattle farmers in that area, not only for his whip like obedience and smarts, but also for his dashing good looks. Perky button ears that were always alert, one sky blue eye and another sea green one. He was a mix of dusty golden merle laced over a shining white body. A dirty brown diamond on his chest and spotted over his body gave him a dirty look even after a swim in the creek. Thick, blackish eyebrows over his eyes gave him an intense, slightly humored expression like no other dog.
Concentrated, he watched the herd from behind. The trek to the pond was another 5 miles, and the sun was bearing down on them all. Canyon's summer coat was fully fledged, but without a breeze he was panting heavily.
Without the que, he drove the cattle while his master hopped on his Paint and carried on. Canyon's feet burned on the road, but he had tough callouses on his paw pads that mostly protected him.
Eva, the spirited paint horse that his master always relied on to drive the cattle over this cliff-side road, was Canyon's closest friend. Her chocolate brown and white splattered coat was quite different from his, but despite their difference he viewed her as his mother. She was a young horse, spirited and slightly undependable, the typical mare.
Together; man and mare and shepherd, they drove the cattle along the road and down into the valley to the pond. The entire valley, painted in mixed greens fading into blue in the distance, was some of the most beautiful land in the west. Dotted in reddish shrubs and poplar trees with an oak or two. Perfect cattle land.
The cows waded in, cooling off in the shade of the swamp-like trees in the chilled water. Calves blew bubbles in the water with their noses and rolled in the mud. Their mothers who were less bold and energetic, stood in it and picked at the weeds and cattails. Canyon dove in, barking joyously. He had grown up with almost all the cattle, and they weren't very weary around him until he got into his herding mode.
He whipped around and playfully charged at Eva, startling her. The mare turned and thundered into the water, their master on her back. He was hollerin' and yellin', angry that Eva was up to her chest in water and that he was soaked. But instead of listening to his rein ques to get out of the pond, she shook him off by going in deeper. She laughed as only a horse can, and Canyon joined in, barking up a storm. He jumped on her back and shook himself off, then dove back in.
Their master was on the bank, soaked from head to toe. His hand went to his head, then realizing his hat was gone. He climbed to his feet, now chuckling.
"Alright Canyon! 'Ats enough!"
His call woke up both working animals
/will finish later!