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Maggie Is Tom Silliman’s Transmitter Dog

He's training her to work cattle

Maggie, a border collie, is ERI President Tom Silliman’s working dog.

He has another border collie, Katie, who lives to play ball, he says. But Maggie is the dog he’s been training to work cattle for more than a year. When Tom and his wife Sally work cattle, “Maggie will go from one of us to the other running along with our horses as we move cattle. Unfortunately, she is very green and occasionally gets us in trouble.”

Sally surprised Tom with Katie first, as he relays the story: “I don’t know how life was before these two beautiful animals came into my life. Sally bought Katie for me for my 60th birthday while I was at the NAB five and a half years ago. She called me, and somehow I knew that she had bought me a dog. When I got home late on Friday night after the show, Sally was asleep, and Katie was sleeping on her head. In the morning, Katie was sleeping on my head. Everyone was afraid that the little puppy would reject me since she had bonded with Sally for over a week, but that was never the case.”

About two years later, along came Maggie at a horsemanship clinic in Louisville, where a man walked up to Sally and said his wife was bringing in a working dog that was for sale. Tom said, “She showed up with Maggie, and Sally fell in love at first site. Later, Maggie decided she was my dog and only my dog, and to this day, if I travel, Maggie won’t eat unless she gets our food.”

Which of the two accompanies him to transmitter sites?

“If I were taking a dog with me, I would probably take both, but if it were a critical job, Maggie is better at waiting for me to finish,” Tom tells me. “Katie always finds a ball or a Frisbee and drives everyone nuts wanting to play. I sometimes leave both dogs in the truck where they are happy to wait for me. When I work on weekends, the dogs often come to work with me and hang out. Maggie stays with me, and Katie goes around the office looking for others to say hello to or to play with.”