The hill in our backyard in Greenwood wasn’t the hill my grandparents had. But, there also weren’t trees. As a six year old (maybe five) I flew down the hill and ended up riding my sled right into a tree. Lots of stitches in my head and a story I’ve told before. Sledding, like snow skiing and water skiing, can be dangerous. Except on the tiny little hill we had at our house. First, the hill went down may 10 feet. The only danger back then to sledding was the angry Austrailian Shepard that didn’t like people messing up her yard. She barked and tried to herd the sledders. It was never that Gwen was unhappy. I am not sure Gwen understood her place in the family.
The twins were born into the house Gwen ruled. Fran joined us after we moved to Indiana. Gwen was a bit skittish as a dog. Smart, however, like a whip. But, skittish about everything. I miss her herding the kids. She was very good at it. The last couple of years of Gwen’s life were not as easy, as I am sure the first few months of her life were not easy. She was happier overall in Indiana that she had been in Ohio, but there was a lot more yard to roam in Indiana. We had an invisible fence that covered the entire backyard. Other than snapping turtles on the yard, there were no other predators than Gwen and Fran (the Labrador that joined the family while we lived in Greenwood).
Gwen and I used to go on long walks. As she got older, she couldn’t go as far, but she loved going on walks. She was my walking pal for nearly eight years from Ohio to Indiana. Fran was my daughter’s dog and never really walked with me. I regret not making Fran walk more when she was a puppy. But that is for another column. This is all about sledding. But sledding without getting enough speed that you end up with a managed head. What could happen with a herding dog herding your sled anyway? She would bark, and dart in and out, but when you are wearing a coat, nipping doesn’t work. Gwen was only big enough to physically make the Twins move when they were 2, or 3 years old. Once they got to be 5 or 6, she could no longer move them and moved to barking and nipping.