Working Girl

A day in the life of Rosie at Mermaid Farm.

Allen Healy, co-owner of Mermaid Farm with Rosie and the herd. —Jeremy Driesen

Most dogs don’t have jobs — unless you count stretching out on the couch, begging, tail-wagging, and sleeping. Rosie is different; she’s a Border Collie who works full time,  maintaining her herd of 80 or so mostly Icelandic sheep owned by Allen Healy and Caitlin Jones of Mermaid Farm.

Border Collies are highly intelligent, tenacious, hardworking, and very trainable herding dogs, originally from Scotland. They love to work and are probably not ideal apartment dogs because they really need to work.

Rosie, who’s 6 and a half, came to Mermaid Farm mostly trained when she was 2. The day Edible Vineyard visited, she had no interest in visitors or in the wide-open fields or in the rain falling around her; her only focus was on her master, Allen, and her herd.

It was mesmerizing to watch the sheep — swirling and floating like Cinderellas on a dance floor, as Rosie — looking blissful as she stalked, crouched, and sauntered — coaxed them to twirl onto greener pastures.