Millions Watch Bitter-Sweet Moment Border Collie Herds Sheep for Final Time

Millions have watched the bitter-sweet moment a Border Collie herds sheep for the final time, despite being "riddled in pain."

More than 2.5 million people have seen the montage of videos that show five-year-old Marshall limping on the field before sprinting after the sheep. Over 334,000 people have liked the viral clip posted by Lisa Alekna who uses the handle @laughingstockoflivestock.

Lisa has added text to the videos, the first of which is quoted: "working dogs is cruel." Newsweek spoke to a veterinarian who said he has "never met a Border Collie that wasn't born to move."

Screenshot of TikTok vid
Here are two screenshots of Marshall, the dog, herding sheep for the final time. He sparked a debate about working dogs. TikTok/laughingstockoflivestock

In another video, Lisa mentions that Marshall had dysplasia, meaning his hip joint didn't function properly. Usually, the hip joint functions as a ball and socket. In dogs with hip dysplasia, the ball and socket do not fit or develop properly, and they rub and grind instead of sliding smoothly.

Lisa told TikTokers he had a hip replacement that "went wrong and his sciatic nerve" became "tangled and ruined."

Newsweek spoke to Preston Turano, DVM, a veterinarian, to find out if the above statement about working dogs is true.

The AKC Pet Insurance spokesperson said: "I personally have never met a Border Collie that wasn't born to move, whether that movement is herding children around the house (yes! it happens), herding sheep in a field, agility work, or long runs with their owner. They love having a job to focus on and when left in an environment without a focus it causes them to have mental health issues, which often translate to destruction in the home (like destroying your couch)."

Border Collies are considered family dogs with high energy levels, the AKC says.

Even though Marshall had an incurable dislocated leg, he was able to muster the energy to do his "favorite thing in the world," as described by Lisa.

"Just like people when dogs get to do the thing they love, they have a huge endorphin release and are able to overcome the pain for a short time. This dog obviously loved his job and was able to corral the sheep despite his pain," Preston said.

Border Collie
A file photo of a Border Collie. Newsweek spoke to a vet about a viral video that has sparked a debate about working dogs. Ocskaymark/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Lisa added text to the video that states Marshall underwent "months of rehab" and operations. She tells others in a different video that she spent a whopping $19,330 on vet bills, but his leg was gone past saving.

But at least he managed to muster the energy for one final run before being put to sleep.

Thousands of TikTokers have commented on the post. One comment received more than 200 likes, saying: "Nothing kills a working dog faster than a broken heart. You gave him his heart back by giving back his work."

"It's cruel to not let a working dog go to work!!! It's what they live for!" said another.

Another comment received more than 900 likes, it said: "People do not understand the passion these animals get when they get the job they were BRED for. This was so amazing."

Correction 11/16/22, 03:06 a.m. ET: American Kennel Club pet insurance has been changed to AKC Pet Insurance.

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