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Peter Wood was born in 1942 in Eastbourne, Sussex, England. His father came from a family of fishermen. His mother's side of the family were farming people. Peter was the eldest of four children; he had a sister, then two brothers.

From as far back as Peter can remember, he was taking after his mother's side of the family; he always had an interest in animals of any sort. Whilst growing up, he was given the chore of tending to the hens and rabbits (kept for meat). By age 14, Peter was regularly visited by neighbours who were bringing their birds with broken wings, or small animals with broken legs, for him to repair. He recalled how often birds were suspended in an old pair of his mother's stockings in order to hold a broken wing in place; sometimes matchsticks were used as splints for a broken leg. Reflecting back, he thinks perhaps those experiences led to a gradual buildup of an understanding of animals.

"Perhaps some people are just born with a sense of stockmanship." Peter, upon reflection, recalls how an old man once watched him working cattle. The old man remarked to Peter: "Son, you are gifted; stockmen are born not made." Peter's opinion is that stockmen mostly have stock sense (ability to read their stock); this enables them to do their work more easily.

Peter was associated with dogs nearly all of his life. He worked both sheep and cattle. His earlier dogs were Border Collies, which he also ran in sheepdog trials. Later, in 1994, he changed his breed to the working Bearded Collie. Perhaps this was his destiny. Amongst old family photos, given to Peter after his father passed away, was one of his mother, dated 1937, sitting along side a large Beardie belonging to Peter's Aunt Edie.

Peter's Aunt Edie with Buster.

         

The chapter of his life regarding Beardies began one day when his nephew saw a man and woman walking their dogs on the South Downs of England. The dogs happened to be Beardies. He mentioned his sighting to his Uncle Peter (who had guided this nephew into a life of shepherding).

This mention by his nephew about seeing Beardies prompted Peter to make an effort to also see these dogs when being walked by their owners. In 1993, he saw an advertisement in the Scottish Farmer newspaper, but upon calling, he learned the Beardie pups had all been placed. Peter was not going to give up. More attempts didn't meet with success until Peter made a second contact with one person who had advertised a Beardie litter previously. When Peter called this second time, the man informed Peter that he had not bred his bitch again, but he was willing to sell to Peter one of his two young Beardie bitches. Peter jumped at this opportunity.


Peter Wood, November 2005

Once you have owned a Beardie and got used to their endless energy and willingness to please, not to mention their strong bond with you, you probably would not want to change breeds."

So why a Beardie? Personal preference just the same as "what make of car you prefer. Any car will get you from point A to point B. Beardies will do anything you ask of them if you train them to do it; they are very intelligent."

Peter was one of several individuals that formed the Working Bearded Collie Society, a registry for working Beardies in the United Kingdom. This organisation hopes to preserve some of the working Beardie history.

Peter has judged informal ISDS-style trials, i.e., local trials around the south of England. In 2003 and 2005, he made trips to America to share some of his knowledge, based upon his years of experiences as a shepherd, to others pursuing an interest in herding activities with their dogs. Peter visited the Grand Canyon on his first trip.

 

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