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Maryel, Alex and I went to visit Sirio Di Michele in the morning of Thursday, Aug 2. Sirio is the breeder of Ardito, my Italian PMA import last Christmas. We had some problems getting there as the battery of Maryel's car was dead that morning. Eventually we got there and Sirio, his shepherd (whose name I have forgotten) and all the dogs and sheep were waiting for us on a plateau near the town of Ovindoli. It was so exciting to finally meet Sirio and of course also Kira, Ardito's mum.
At first when we arrived we didn't see any dogs, then a few younger dogs appeared and when Sirio came to talk to us all the rest appeared from nothing, a total of about 9 PMA and a few herders.
The dogs minded their own business and did not come to greet us, didn't bark at us. Yet, I had the feeling we were being monitored by them all.
The sheep were let out from the night penn and the PMA as well as the herders grouped round them without any commands, the dogs simply new what to do. Some of them went up in the front, others to the sides and some just waited for the last sheep to join the herd before they closed up behind the flock. All this was done smoothly and in total silence.
The young male you see down the page, lying down with the sheep, had been injured in his left rear leg and did not use this leg at all. Sirio thought it might have been injured during the wild boar attack they had the previous night.
This young male didn't make any attempt to move with the flock, so I thought he wasn't going that day, a day in the shade would be easier with that leg.
Little did I know.
The flock was on it's way and suddenly, out of nowhere was the baa of a sheep. One ewe made her way through the bushes towards the flock and the young male got up to accompany her.
He knew she was there and was waiting for her.
This made such an impression on me.

Sirio and Maryel at the sheep night penn.
Working dogs.
Working dogs and Alex, 5 years
Young female, behind a young male
Heading towards the open sheep penn.
Sheep are being let out. One hearding dog waiting for sheep outside the penn as another accompanies Sirio in the penn
going on duty
A mum going to work
Mingling with the sheep
Breccioso and a younger male discussing
Kira, Ardito's mum
Sirio and Kira having a look at the sheep
A dog and her owner

Shepherd, flock and dogs leaving

See any PMA's? Don't worry, they are there.

A nice young male at Sirio's still lying down with the sheep.
Head shot of a young male above, under 2 years
Same young male. Notice the cropped ears.
Kira posing nicely.
Sirio's daughter, wife and Maryel
Sirio's house
male maremma playing with his pups displaying the loving nature of these livestock guardian dogs

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