Thursday, December 31, 2009

Sheep-Ville, 2009 & 2010

I've decided that I don't need to play Farmville on Facebook as many others do. "Sheep-Ville" keeps me so busy that I simply wouldn't have the time for it! And I'll bet that Farmville does not provide the "strength training" and "aerobics" that Sheep-Ville has in store with projects like putting up fencing, worming sheep, and working puppies!

Today's the day for reflections on the past year and glances forward into the new. 2009 holds many memories, many sweet and some incredibly sad. I will remember 2009 mainly for three things: the year I lost Bid, the year I ran Coal in Nursery, and the year that I learned I could decide to be happy every day. In addition 2009 will be remembered as the year that Rime came to stay, among many other sweet things, including reunions with several dear friends, and my first trip to the USBCHA National Finals. The saddest memory of course, is losing Bid, but the sweet memories of working and living with him remain. Being happy is just something I am working on.

Plans for 2010 include more dog work, prepping Coal and me as a team to move into Open at some point, and getting Rime trained to the best of his ability. Of course we hope to have many more entertaining walks down to the park with Chiefie and the wonderful dog group which has befriended us there. Beyond that, we'll just wait to see what is in store.

Here's a quote from an article that I just read about declaring wishes with powerful intention.

"Each day we all have the opportunity to create our reality. Sometimes we can change the circumstances, other times we change our perceptions. We can use our thoughts, our energy, and our words to create an abundant life...Living appreciatively is more than an attitude of gratitude; it is an opportunity to bring the best of your past to create your future." - Saundra Davis

Happy New Year to all!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Reward is Increased for Yumi

The reward for the safe return of Yumi has been increased. You can read more about it here. I hope the increased reward and also the continuing newspaper coverage will help Yumi's owner to find her.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Frosty Christmas Pictures

Some photos from our frosty "white" Christmas morning are posted here.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

We received these two photos today as Christmas greetings and they are of Bid's littermate brothers, Jess & Zack. These boys are just both handsome as ever at age ten years young! Enjoy.



Monday, December 14, 2009

Rainy Weekend, Not Long Enough!

We finally started to get the long-forecasted rain on Friday. Saturday it poured all day making any outdoor chores a fiasco. So Sunday was catch-up day as the rain let up. We desperately need the rain so I am not complaining...but perhaps it could time itself for overnights and week days in the future?

The RESDA Christmas party on Saturday evening was charming and fun, with a bountiful table as always. Thanks to all who helped make it happen.

On Sunday I got to work with Rime among other things, and apply some of our instructions from last Wednesday's lesson. I don't think I was dreaming that his sessions went much more smoothly than before. Our lamb count is up to 8 with 2 boys and 6 girls.

And now it's back to work and the countdown to Christmas really begins. The best news is that Santa Claus is bringing me a furnace!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Anyone for a Luau?

The TV news this morning reported that our overnight low was a balmy 34 degrees instead of only 22 degrees like the day before. Anyone for a luau? Ha!

On a better note we had a Ferris Bueller's Day Off type of day yesterday and both Rime and Coal had sheepdog lessons in Zamora. It was actually Rime's first real lesson out in the field. It all went really well.

Coal and I are getting coached on shedding. We're also working on his driving. He performed really nicely and I am just beginning to understand how little I know about setting up a shed, but I will get it!

Despite his nervous handler (me), Rime did well and showed us some nice things. He's just one year old and not ready for a lot of intense training but there are many things we can do to keep his sheepdog work under way.

I am also very thankful that all my dogs are healthy right now.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cold Is....

....reaching for your parka instead of your bathrobe!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Rime is One Year Old!

Rime is one year old today. He got to celebrate by working sheep yesterday and today. He eats pretty well every day so no, he is not getting a special dinner.
Last weekend at the vet he weighed 41 pounds; I am guesstimating him to be at least 22 inches tall. He will be one big boy when he fills out. His sheep work is just fine for a year old puppy; he has plenty of want-to, gives nice flanks most of the time, and is biddable and interested in working with me.
What more could a person ask for ? ;-) A few more pictures are here.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


This is Blast, a younger brother to my Bid (not littermates). After a stellar competitive obedience career, Blast is now a spokes-dog for Tractor Supply Company. Isn't he cute?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving Wrap-Up

Thanksgiving is over but giving thanks is not...

The long weekend wraps up today with an extra day taken off work. The weather has been mostly glorious and the dogs have played or worked every day. Much progress has also been made here at the house. I could stay very busy each and every day without going to the office!

Gas logs substituted for the wood stove, which is better for breathing! Still very cozy...

Rime's sheepdog training is coming along well but I think he needs a bit more maturity for working. He will not be a year old until next Sunday so there is plenty of time to let him grow. It has been nice to have extra time to play with him and see what he can do. Coal gets pushier and pushier, which is not unwelcome; it gives me "more dog" to work with for which I am very grateful! Chiefie has enjoyed his play group and seems fit and healthy. Lambs are arriving. All is well so far...for which I am thankful.

Time to take down the Thanksgiving decor and get out the Christmas treasures...oh and work dogs of course.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Rime Earns His Wings!

We had a major breakthrough today with Rime and the sheep. Rime earned his wings and has graduated from working in a small pen to working in the field! It was so nice to finally be out in the field with him, letting him feel the sheep. I love it when the sheep train the dog. We even did a re-pen to put our sheep away and he listened well, covered their attempts to escape and didn't take advantage at all. Now the real fun begins!

UC Hopland Sheepdog Trial, 2009

On Friday we drove about an hour north in the pouring rain to the tiny town of Hopland, CA to a sheepdog trial hosted by the University of California Research and Extension Center. It is a beautiful location and home to agricultural field research for scientists from many locations. The research center maintains its own large flock of breeding sheep, from 600 to 800 head at any given time. As a result the sheepdog trial handlers would be treated to fresh sheep for every run, all weekend. The sheep were large white commercial ewes, very fit and obviously well cared for, however they were not used to dogs and not particularly friendly to people. All of this created the wonderful challenge that we sheepdog-trial addicts crave! Combined with the pouring rain it created a unique situation to enjoy the wonderful farm surroundings. It is truly a treat to be able to run at this farm on their sheep.

Coal was up 5th in the Pro-Novice class so he got to see a couple of outruns, thankfully. My fears about his outrun vanished though as he left my feet quickly and boldly and ran out in a beautiful gather. The fetch was a bit fast but straight through the fetch gates. The ewes were fast, powerful, and needed a very light contact from pretty far off. They covered ground quickly and were very touchy to both dog and handler pressure. We managed to get them around the course though, although our drive was pretty messy. The driving part of the course was very short for this level of competition and there wasn't really enough room to get this type of sheep lined out and flowing before you needed to turn them for the next element. I'm sure some better teams than we managed a precise drive but those were few and far between.

The pen was unusual, three-sided, with no gate. I enjoy having a different or difficult challenge on the courses instead of the same thing every time. Coal and I timed out at the pen. The course time was only seven minutes which seemed really short, given the difficulty of the pen. Coal is a good penner and I'm sure we could have managed it, given just a little more time. His score was a 54, and we did not get the breakdowns. I'm sure he lost most of his drive points. Due to the poor weather and other obligations, I left after the trial was only about half over. At that time only one team had managed a pen with a 70 score. I am really pleased with the progress that Coal and I have made over the past year and I am thrilled with how he is working now. We've come a long way, and with luck I hope we are positioned well for our trials early next year. It was a great way to wind up our trial year and look forward to the next. I'm not sure what our first trial of 2010 will be but no doubt we will run at Zamora, Sonoma Wine Country, and some others.

Friday afternoon, the rain let up, and while I was checking our sheep at two different fields, I took a chance to shoot a few random pictures of the dogs while they played in the fresh green grass. The pictures are in a Picasa album, here. Rime will be a year old in about two weeks although he still looks and acts somewhat immature, I can see real changes in him lately that show he's getting it together. His training is coming along slowly, but we are getting started with some basic structure around the sheep. All of the dogs are fit and happy, for which I am very thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Dunnigan Hills and Kurrajong Results Nov. 2009

Dunnigan Hills and Kurrajong posted results

Thank you to everyone who helps to put on trials, especially nice ones like these. A special thank you to the 4-H leader who brought coffee and food to the Dunnigan trial.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Windy Day in Zamora - Dunnigan Hills Open 11/14/09

So today it was the more typical day in Zamora - wind that cuts right through your coat, stings your eyes, makes it hard to whistle, and cools your coffee before you can drink it. Spectators and handlers alike at the Dunnigan Hills Open were dressed in parkas with their hoods pulled up so that hardly anyone was recognizable. Amazingly the dogs did not seem to care and they were as keen for their sheep as ever. Some really good runs were to be seen in the Open trial which featured a longer outrun, and a longer and wider crossdrive than the Pro-Novice, plus a shed of any two sheep off of the five total, after the pen.

Coal and I were lucky to be able to run non-compete Open at the end of the day, after the competitive runs. Total points possible were 100. Coal did a beautiful outrun, lift and fetch; we battled a little on the crossdrive but eventually I convinced him that it was "my way or the highway" and we continued on through the second set of drive panels and back to the pen. We completed the pen, had just started on our shed, when time was called. Whew! I was very pleased. His score was a 76.

I believe the overall scores will be posted on the NCWSA website ( I did not get all the scores but the top 6 are (unofficially) as follows:

1st - Anne Mock & Taff - 90
2nd - Leslie Pfardresher & Bill - 87
3rd - Sandi Andersen & Best - 86
4th - Sandra Milberg & Drift - 85
5th - Nicky Riehl & Sage - 84
6th - Mike Meredith & Gus - 80

Thanks to all who helped to make this trial happen.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Dunnigan Hills Pro-Novice (and Nursery) 11/13/2009

Coal ran today in the Pro-Novice class at the Dunnigan Hills trial outside of Zamora, CA. The nursery runs were combined with the pro-novice runs so we had about 15 dogs. It was a fun and relaxed day with lovely weather (and only a slight amount of Zamora wind!).

I was really pleased with Coal as he placed second in the first go-round! He won a purple water box for his efforts. His score was only two points off the winning score and his run really didn't have much out of place. We were working together well and we had a nice even packet of sheep. Unfortunately, I didn't write down all the scores but here is what I got:

Anne Mock & Ben - 84 (also won the Nursery)
Billy & Coal - 82
Anne Mock & Zac - 74
Sandra Milberg & Brew - 73
Marilyn Bates & Jill - 67
Karen Kollgaard & Cali - 51

We got a second run after lunch, which I tried to use as a practice. I sent Coal to his non-preferred side on the outrun, so the outrun was not as good as I would like but at least he got out there. We had a fast packet of sheep with one ewe who wanted to speed in the lead, so we had trouble keeping her on course with her buddies. We missed the fetch gates and the second set of drive panels. As a result we lost more drive points than in the first run and ended up with only a 67 which was OK with me. I tried some things that we have been working on and I felt it was a successful practice. I feel like we have to try these things we have been working on in order to improve for next time and the next...The top group of scores on the second run (not all the scores, again, unfortunately) were:

Sandra Milberg & Brew - 78 (also first in Nursery)
Patty Sowell & Del - 78 (tie broken on outwork I believe)
Anne Mock & Ben - 77
Kathy Hoffer & Craig - 70
Marilyn Bates & Troy - 68
Billy & Coal - 67

We're going back on Saturday to run non-compete in the Open. It should be fun!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I've been looking through a few old photos and found some of my favorite pet dog, Joker. Not a sheepdog, not a border collie, but the best friend, ever. He was part Australian Shepherd and I don't know what else except he was my buddy from 1976 to 1990. Joker certainly started me down the path to those "border-collie-ish" dogs.

I've started scanning his photos into a Picasa album, here. Enjoy.

Joker, my old friend, you are never forgotten.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Weekend Wrapup and Looking Ahead

Rime turned eleven months last Friday, November 6th! It is hard to believe he is getting so big so fast.

We spent the weekend doing lots of sheepdog training which involved putting a lot of miles on the car but it was worth it. Coal had a lesson and some practicing in Zamora. Rime and I worked Sunday afternoon on our own sheep, and while he was a bit fresh after not being worked in a week, we made some more progress.

Chiefie got to go to his doggie play group both Saturday and Sunday so he was a happy camper. So the leaves did not get raked nor the floors vacuumed.

We are looking forward to the Dunnigan Hills trial this Friday-Saturday and then the UC Hopland trial the following week.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Chiefie Park Photos, Nov. 1, 2009

Chiefie got a visit to our park down the street this afternoon, by himself and without the other dogs. I have been promising him this all day, and really all week. We have been too busy for one reason or another, to make it to his park doggie play group all week. While we were there I took a few photos of him in the fading sunlight. I particularly liked the way the sun is lighting him up in the photo above. More photos are in a Picasa album, here.

Yesterday we had a wonderful visit with old and dear friends. It has been a very happy weekend.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Great Ending to a Rough Week - Good Boy Rime

After we had kind of a rough week, Rime got to work sheep today and did really well, to end our weekend on a high note. He showed marked improvement over last weekend and more improvement from beginning to end of our sessions today. He's listening and much more thoughtful, starting to feel the sheep instead of just careening around. I'm really thrilled with the progress that he made just today!

Yes, there really are sheep in the pen...the photographer was concentrating on the dog! ;-)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Rest, As They Say, is History

Bob Vest Tribute

Click on the above link and then follow to the "Bob Vest Tribute" that has been prepared on that web site.

I want to write more about this topic when I have more time, but did not want to forget to cross post this link with the tribute to Bob Vest by Judith Kelly (cross posted with permission).

Were it not for Bob's encouragement, it is doubtful that I (and most likely, many others) would have continued in this endeavor we call stock dog training.

As my friend Bob T. noted, "the rest is history".

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Congratulations Flash and Art!

Congratulations to Art and Flash who earned a MACH (agility championship) this past weekend in Klamath Falls. Flash is a son of my late Bid, and Art has done a fabulous job with him. I am very proud of what they have accomplished. In six runs over the weekend, they managed to win first place in five of them! That is quite the lesson in consistency all by itself. When I met Flash in July on my trip to Oregon, he really impressed me with his presence that reminded me so much of Bid. But, Flash is his own dog in his own right and he and Art make a wonderful team! Well done!

Monday, October 12, 2009

RESDA Fall Trial 2009

Yesterday was Redwood Empire Sheepdog Association's final trial of the year, the traditional "Fall Trial" in Mendocino County. We had a good time running on the Johnson ranch commercial ewes who are workable but can be tricky. I'm pleased to report that Coal took first place in the Open! He was a very good boy; he did a pretty nice outrun which is kind of his weak point at the moment, and the rest was relatively good. We had one "friendly" sheep who didn't want to stay with her buddies but Coal kept her moving along most of the time. This was Coal's first Open RESDA win so I had to have a photo with his ribbon.

More photos here. Thanks to all who helped put on the trial.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Happy Birthday, Chief!

Portrait by Doghouse Arts

I can't let the day go by without wishing Chief a happy birthday. He is eight years young today.

Instead of a birthday party, in true "one for the book" fashion, the guys got an unplanned run at the sheep field tonight. A drunk driver drove through the fencing last night and the highway patrol notified us of the issue later today. So Coal had to pen up the sheep so they did not get out on the road tonight and all three of the boys and I went for a walk right before dark. With luck the fence will get patched up tomorrow.

It's been a long day, with many things seeming to go wrong. But I'm still counting my blessings and Chiefie is one of them!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

2009 National Finals

I couldn't blog like some folks were doing but I did keep a few notes daily in my journal about my trip. I'd never been to the Klamath Basin before, so I was really looking forward to it. This post is sort of long, so skip over it if you like! It was truly a "one for the book" trip, however.

Monday, Sept. 21
Finally packed and ready to go; the car is stuffed and we started out for Tulelake. It's about a six hour drive. Found the trial site after having a nice drive up. It's so very dry and plus the altitude (4000 feet); my lips are burning and my hands and fingers cracked open almost immediately. This is not good. Met with the folks who brought the puppy out from the midwest; they are great and so is she! Found the volunteer coordinator, Lora, and got myself set up for the next day's volunteer shift. Seven AM! What was I thinking? The rest of the evening was spend trying to locate food, walk dogs, and get settled at the motel. It's a tiny establishment reminiscent of the little mom-and-pop places that the folks took us to back in the 1960s on our summer vacation road trips.

Tuesday, Sept. 22
Worked in the Info Booth from 7 Am to 11 Am. Selling the Finals merchandise was somewhat of a feeding frenzy. We sold out of the vests within an hour or so, the hats and t-shirts about the same. Luckily Geri said she would take orders on the vests and would bring more hats and t-shirts the next day or so. Whew! I mostly checked in handlers and gave them their packets. It was nice to meet folks like Louanne T., Maureen R., and others. We were so busy in the booth that morning that we couldn't even turn around to watch the runs going on behind us. When my shift was over, I got to walk the puppy and watch some of the runs including Bill & Pete with a lovely run in the hot late afternoon. Everyone loves the puppy. My boys are antsy with not much action. I took them for a run in the alfalfa field after the trial runs were over. I can see this will be our daily ritual. There is a lot of walking between the trial area and where the cars are parked. It gets really hot during the day and cold at night.

Wednesday, Sept. 23
Coal and I worked exhaust at the open field, 11 AM to 1 PM, with a gentleman from Texas and his dog Josey. They were very competent, good company and our shift went like clockwork. Whew! Coal did just fine and listened well. Our crew coordinator made it clear that our number one goal is to get the sheep off the field quickly and not worry about handler sensitivities; easy for her to say! We traded off doing the dog/sheep work with operating the gate. Exhaust was a good spot to watch outrun, lift and part of the fetch but you can't see much more due to the terrain. We had to stay on our toes to know when to gear up to gather sheep after each run. It is hotter today than ever. The ewes are amazingly big up close and personal; but they are very even as many have noted. Coal and Chief had eye exams by Dr. Aclund and both passed. More whew! I was encouraged to fill out the USBCHA forms for Coal's eye test to be filed with the organization since he is my trials dog; thanks Amy. Luckily I discovered the Merino skin creme booth which solved my cracked fingers and their pain almost instantly. Nursery has begun, which interests me since that's where we ran all year; the runs are difficult and there is some great dog work but not great scores. The sheep are brought down from the open and re-run in the nursery, which is a very straightforward field, at least to my eye. My brother arrived and picked up the puppy; she is a doll but broke her collar, giving us a fright. We went to dinner at Pappy Gander's in Merrill which is another tiny establishment in a tiny town (but at least there is a gas station).

Thursday, Sept. 24th
It is a very smoky sky today; the sun was deep red at sunup out the motel back window. It's not as hot due to the haze, but still warm. Nursery continues and the scores have improved greatly over Wednesday; I don't know if the sheep have settled, or what. Bill and Mike had a great Open run but no pen; one ewe would not cooperate. Haley H. had a phenomenal run with Ross; just amazing. Again one ewe was fighting him and Ross moved her backwards all the way from the shedding ring to the pen, with her buddies facing forward. It was a sight to see. Coal and I worked exhaust in the nursery field with another nice gentleman who was from Washington and his dog Mojo. It was nice to meet people and chat with folks from all over. Coal again did fine although the nursery exhaust was longer and more complex a task. We had three people and three dogs and often needed all of us to accomplish the goal. I watched a lot of the nursery runs today; there were many very good ones. In the evening after dinner we attended the USBCHA meeting which was very sparsely attended. The new directors (including Geri for District One) were announced and a little bit of business conducted. My dogs are not happy with so much inactivity although they did get another run on the hillside and Coal took part in the doggie cold tub which is next to the "cowboy hot tub". We decided that instead of Burning Man, this is "Burning Dog" with the smoke, heat and the pervasive dust and red sun.

Friday, Sept. 25th
Nursery finals today, so mostly I watched that field. Most of the finalists came from Thursday's runs and very few from Wednesday's. That must be frustrating to those who ran on Wednesday. The sheep are fighting being penned though, in Nursery. From 3 to 5 PM Coal and I worked exhaust at the open field. We had several wrecks and our shift was anything but clockwork. Coal is doing OK but getting a bit headstrong and sticky; I feel I might be in trouble for tomorrow. Unfortunately he was the more experienced dog of this afternoon's work pair so he had to do more than his share of the work. At one point a handler's sheep got away from her and went running off to the north into the stubble. One of the judges told me to go out and help (this was even before the clock ticked down). I knew it was a lost cause with the sheep running away and me having such an inexperienced dog. But we walked out to the shedding ring anyway. Coal did not see the sheep where he had been picking them up all week so he was puzzled. Everyone was yelling at us this and that. Finally some crew members hopped on a 4-wheeler with a dog and took off after the errant ewes who by this time were out of sight. It was a relief to me to be called off that duty which was way beyond our job description! We've been chatting at the motel with a very nice lady handler from Washington. It is just amazing all the folks that we have met and what a small world it is. Rime is getting pretty good about calling off all the many distractions at the trial site. After the runs are over, literally dozens of dogs are taken out to run together on the hillside, 99% without mishap. It is quite a sight. We went out for a lovely dinner at Captain Jack's which is south of Tulelake.

Saturday Sept 26th
Today is the Top 40 Semifinalists Day, and Tough Enough to Wear Pink day. It is a sea of pink literally everywhere you look. Coal and I worked exhaust again but he was really misbehaving, indulging in too much eye, and not taking my stops. Luckily my partner from British Columbia had a very competent dog so I asked if she could take over the dog/sheep work while I worked the gate. We also had to remove the red collars from the sheep as they came in, since a marked shed was part of today's course elements. Up close and personal the ewes are very big, wild, and will whirl around on you. They could take a knee out very easily without hardly trying. I heard they were about 175 pounds each. We had to sort of "whisper" them into accepting our removal of the heavy nylon collars which had both big buckles and keepers; you couldn't just whisk them off like velcro. The sheep demanded respect, which we gave them. They were hot, the pen was very dusty and I think I got dirtier than I have ever been! At the end of the day we attended the Tough Enough to Wear Pink benefit dinner which was quite good although I was very tired by then. The awards and Calcutta were all great fun with lots of good-natured kidding.

Sunday Sept 27th
Top 17 Finals day. Bill and Mike ran first with a lovely run. The 30-minute runs included the International Shed which was approached in as many different ways as there are handlers. All of them gave it their best shot. We stayed until the end including the driving championship which was very interesting. For the driving championship, four handlers competed; they were to do a mini-outrun for 50 sheep set in front of the fetch gates, turn them around the post, and then drive them out in a straight line about 800 yards up the field to a white bucket. You could barely see the bucket and this was a very difficult task. Two of the four handlers retired, getting their sheep beyond the fetch gates but having trouble with the number of sheep at that distance. Alasdair and Haley were successful with Haley & Ross taking the championship score. It was incredible to watch on top of what had already been an incredible day and week. I had no volunteering scheduled which was nice after having worked every day all week; I was getting pretty tired. I've had fun and it was an honor to watch these handlers and dogs who are the best of the best. My dogs are stir crazy and I'm sure they will be thrilled to get home and back to some freedom. It will take weeks to get the dirt out of our vehicles and various belongings, but it was sure worth it.

Monday, September 28, 2009

My 2009 National Finals photos

I didn't take many photos on my trip to the USBCHA National Finals, but there are a few in a Picasa album, here.

More to come about the exciting and exhausting trip!

Sunday, September 20, 2009


No I don't have a cat but I was glad to see one or two last night and this morning.

Backtracking...last night I was alerted by phone about 9:00 PM that our sheep were disturbed, acting like they were being chased. There have been two kills in the past couple of weeks so there is concern that a local coyote pack is getting even more dangerous, and/or that a domestic dog is getting into the field somehow. So even though it was late I drove over to the field to see what I could see. What greeted me in the headlights was an unconcerned tabby cat sitting calmly near the buildings. I let Coal out to go find the sheep in the darkness and we brought them in and counted them. All present and accounted for. No predator to be seen.

This morning I went back to feed in the daylight. All the sheep were still there. Two cats greeted me this time at the field. I have to think that had a coyote or dog been in with the sheep last night that the cats would not have been so calm, since they could be prey too. The only thing that makes sense at this point is that the cats' eyes glinted in the darkness and made the sheep think there was a fox or coyote in the field and that's why they started running last night. It's easy to understand why the sheep would be jumpy.

We're hoping that's all it is for now. If the cats are there and calm, it must mean that no dog or coyote has been by lately. Let's hope.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Tomorrow is pack-the-car day as we will be off to the national sheepdog finals in Klamath Falls, OR. Just how much stuff can fit into a little Dodge Nitro? That is the question.

Tally ho!

Friday, September 11, 2009

SB 250 Inactive - For Now

Great news! SB 250 has been placed in the inactive file, for now. It could return in early 2010 and pick right up where it left off. But we have stopped it, at least temporarily. A huge thank-you to all who helped.

Back to our regularly scheduled programming here at Oneforthebook: silly dog stories, sheep tales and more photos.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Fun Photos - September 8, 2009

Here are some fun photos (in a Picasa album) taken this evening. They are birthday photos of a sort, since Coal just turned three years, Rime recently turned nine months, and Chiefie will be eight years old in less than a month.

One sample:

Friday, September 4, 2009

Armchair Sheepdog Trialling

You can keep an eye on the Soldier Hollow Classic sheepdog trials here, during this Labor Day long weekend.

September 4, 2009 - Cal Legislative Updates

No more Assembly or Senate floor votes until Tuesday; offices open today (Friday) for calls.

AB1122 is pending an Assembly concurrence vote on the floor. If it passes, it goes to the Governor's desk.
AB241 - same
AB243 - same

SB250 is still pending a first vote on the Assembly floor. If it passes, it goes back to the Senate for a concurrence vote. If it passes again, it goes to the Governor's desk.

AB242, SB135 and SB318 are now all pending the Governor's signature.

Be sure to contact your Assembly Member and Senator NOW to ask them to vote no on SB250!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

SB 250 As Amended August 31, 2009

Copied from the website:

The latest amendments are up. The most significant thing about these amendments is that they require the bill to go back to the Senate. Prior to these amendments, the bill only needed to pass in the Assembly before going to the Governor’s desk.

There are some minor changes, but nothing that makes the bill any better. Save Our Dogs opposes this latest version.

What is important however, is that this version contains language that purports to exempt a few classes of working dogs. As we have written before, exemptions for working dogs do not protect those dogs. This is no exception.

(l) Nothing in this section shall apply to any of the following,
provided the subject dog is licensed pursuant to Section 30801,
Section 121690 of the Health and Safety Code, or as required by
the local licensing agency:

(2) Any owner or breeder of a dog used in the business of
cultivating agricultural products.

This “exemption” was added specifically to cover insect detection dogs used to detect insect pests in vineyards. Let us consider the hypothetical case of an insect detection dog, Rita.

This is a new-ish use for dogs, so although Rita is the most experienced dog in the State, she is just two years old. She is intact and her owner/handler plans on breeding her someday, but this has nothing to do with Rita’s ability to do her job. This exemption covers Rita. But what about Rita’s parents?

Neither of Rita’s parents were insect detection dogs. Nor were they police dogs, service dogs, hunting dogs or any of the other “exempt” categories. Nor are the owners of Rita’s parents involved in any of the special businesses that would qualify them for exemptions. So Rita’s parents would suffer the full weight of the law. And if either of them had been spayed/neutered then Rita would never have been born. The exemption does not protect Rita.

Let us suppose, though that Rita’s father, Rex, was owned by a police dog trainer. Under another section, Rex would be exempt when he was bred to Rita’s mother. But Rex was purchased at 18 months of age from a private individual. Rex’s first owner bought him as a pet, but then discovered that Rex was too much dog and found a place where Rex could do what he was born to do. But for the first 18 months of his life Rex was not owned by a police dog trainer and so was not exempt. If Rex’s first owner had neutered him at 6 months old as the law requires, then there would be no Rita and insects would overrun the California vineyards.

The problem with the specific exemption language in this version of SB250, and with all attempts to exempt working dogs, is that there is no bright line between the parents of working dogs and pets. Further this law requires that this non-existent bright line be drawn when the dog is 6 months old. It is simply impossible to protect the breeding stock for future working dogs without exempting all dogs. It is only when the dogs are five and eight years old and their offspring are working that you can say, “this dog is breeding stock for working dogs”, These laws require that the dog be identified at six months and that is impossible.

The only thing that this language does is perhaps mislead some people into believing that police dogs, service dogs, herding dogs and others are protected. We need to do everything in our power to explain that these so-called exemptions do nothing. Please contact your representative and explain this to them. All California working dogs need your help.
1 September, 2009 (12:51) SB 250

Monday, August 31, 2009

Coal's Birthday Weekend

Coal turned three years old on Saturday. It is hard to believe we have reached that milestone already. We celebrated with a sheepdog lesson at Zamora. We've been working on Coal's sheepdog training now for two solid years and both Coal and I have come a long way.

Rime also had a milestone of sorts. He had his first mini-sheepdog lesson too, on Saturday, with our trainer. And then he got to work again on Sunday with me. We are taking our first steps as a team.

PS: Californians, be sure to post your faxes, phone calls and emails to your elected representatives against SB 250!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

SB 250 Update

Copied from the website:

The votes were posted for yesterday’s Assembly Appropriations Committee hearing of SB 250. Contrary to what the Chair indicated, the final tally was not a simple party line vote.

Assemblymember Charles Calderon (D-Montebello) voted NO.
Assemblymembers Isadore Hall (D-Compton) and Mike Davis (D-Los Angeles) are listed as abstained, not voting, or absent.

Had nothing else changed, SB 250 would have died yesterday because it would have lacked the necessary number of YES votes. But a last minute addition of Assemblymember Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) to the Appropriations Committee gave SB 250 the final YES vote it needed to pass.

The Chair indicated that amendments would be made to SB 250 to exempt rescue dogs (presumably means SAR dogs), herding dogs, guide dogs, and hunting dogs.

SB 250 now goes to the full Assembly for a vote. Since it is being amended, if SB 250 passes the Assembly it will have to go back to the Senate for a concurrence vote. Both of these steps must be complete by September 11. Since we have two more opportunities to defeat SB 250, each of us needs to contact our own senator and assemblymember and ask them to vote NO. Our
Easy Letter will do this for you.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

SB 250 Update

SB 250 passed today in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. It was a “B” roll call, meaning a party line vote.

SB 250 now moves to the full Assembly for a vote. Watch here for further updates.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

SB 250 Action Alert

SB 250 Action Alert


Californians need to act NOW to stop SB 250, and save our dogs and cats.

SB 250 is scheduled for a VOTE in the Assembly Appropriations Committee tomorrow, August 27. Californians, please take the following steps:

1. if you have not already done so, fax a letter to the committee members using our Easy Letter

2. call the offices of the Assembly Appropriations Committee members and ask them to oppose SB 250. It takes less than a minute to call each one and politely tell the staff member who answers the phone, or else leave a message: "Hello, I'm Joe Smith. I'm from Bigtown California, and I'm asking Assemblymember Wilson to vote NO on SB 250. Thank you."

Assembly Appropriations Committee Members


Assemblymember Kevin de Leon - Chair
Phone: (916) 319-2045

Assemblymember Tom Ammiano
Phone: (916) 319-2013

Assemblymember Joe Coto
Phone: (916) 319-2023

Assemblymember Mike Davis
Phone: (916) 319-2048

Assemblymember Felipe Fuentes
Phone: (916) 319-2039

Assemblymember Isadore Hall III
Phone: (916) 319-2052

Assemblymember John A. PĂ©rez
Phone: (916) 319-2046

Assemblymember Nancy Skinner
Phone: (916) 319-2014

Assemblymember Jose Solorio
Phone: (916) 319-2069

Assemblymember Tom Torlakson
Phone: (916) 319-2011

Assemblymember Charles M. Calderon
Phone: (916) 319-2058

Republicans - Do no call, they are committed NO votes

Assemblymember Connie Conway - Vice Chair

Assemblymember Audra Strickland

Assemblymember Jeff Miller

Assemblymember Diane L. Harkey

Assemblymember Jim Nielsen

Laura Sanborn
Save Our Dogs

Monday, August 24, 2009

On The Road

Here is very entertaining blog that I am enjoying reading.

Oak Springs RESDA trial 2009

Coal and I ran in the Oak Springs RESDA trial yesterday which was a hybrid course comprised partially of a regular border collie driving course, and partially with RESDA components of a Y-chute and unassisted pen.

We ended up in the middle of the pack with 43 points out of a possible 60, which is not too shabby for a young dog. We still have plenty of places to clean up our act.

Coal will soon be three years old. It is hard to believe that milestone is almost here.

Gentle Readers

I was surprised to hear over the weekend from a few different people that they actually read my blog with some regularity. I am very humbled and complimented to find that out. I knew someone had to be looking at it because the number of visitors on the flag counter keeps increasing! Anyway I hope I will continue to entertain you all enough to come back once in a while.

I did have one visitor who was not pleased with my political views. Here is a hint on social relationships in very general terms: if you call someone a moron they are not likely to respond favorably to you. Hence, comments on my blog are moderated. If you have other views, Blogspot will be happy to set up a blog space for you, all free of charge and you can post to your heart's desire on your own topics.

My political views on SB250 and other mandatory spay-neuter legislation like it come from a desire to preserve a rural and agricultural lifestyle whereever and whenever possible. I want to preserve the working dog in all fields of use: whether it be for search and rescue, herding, K-9 work or the like. My views also stem from a desire to preserve our liberties to act responsibly in this country. I am not a fan of cats but many people are just as devoted to their cats as I am to my dogs. Therefore if a person has a cat of a type that they want to breed and they go to cat shows and such, and enjoy it, and they responsibly produce a litter of cats that they place responsibly in homes, I will defend that person's right to do so. This is not to say I support puppy or kitten mills. But it is a person's right in America to act responsibly and account for their own actions. Enough said and that is only the tip of the iceberg. For much more information, just visit the website. They can say it much better than I can and they are my heroes.

So, we will return to our regularly scheduled programming of silly stories and photos of dogs. Life is good, but short. Enjoy.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Let Santa Rosa Decide

Concerned Dog Owners of California

August 19, 2009

Let Santa Rosa Decide


Beginning on Thursday, August 20th, dog owners will go to Santa Rosa to compete in four days of conformation and obedience events.

In competing in those events, dogs will be without their collars; they will not be wearing their tags and owners will not have copies of licenses or Certificates of Sterilization with them. Some of them may not actually be licensed. Some of them may be out-of-state dogs that20have been in the state more than 30 days.

Under SB250, all 10,529 dogs (the number that competed in event in Santa Rosa last year over all the the days of all the shows in Santa Rosa) will be in violation multiple times (multiple days) and if Animal Control chooses to cite them, they must be sterilized. For those competing whose dogs are already sterilized, they will need to come back and prove their dog is licensed. So the only amendment that was made (a licensed dog only has to be sterilized the second time there is a violation) in no way serves the needs of or protects the dogs that will be in Santa Rosa this week-end.

Last year 8963 performance and conformation people attended these dog shows. They spent $1,129,338 on food, hotels and gasoline. But Senators Wiggens and Leno did not ask Florez for an exemption for people bringing this money to Santa Rosa.

Assembly Members Chesbro and Evans have not committed to defeat a bill that would put an end to the safety of animals at dog shows in Santa Rosa. In fact, dog events generate $3,649,000 in Assembly Member Evans district alone. And that is just what the participants spend. It does not include anything spent by people traveling with them. It does not include what it costs to put on the dog show; the tenting, the rentals, the cateri ng, the housing and transportation for judges, the judges meals, the flowers, the trophies, the advertising.

So let's ask the businesses in Santa Rosa if they want SB250 to be passed. At the shows, CDOC President Bil McFadden will have flyers available. Check at the Superintendent's Table. Take a handful. Give one to every local person you meet and every business you patronize. Be vocal.

SB250 is Mandatory Spay and Neuter - plain and simple. In Santa Rosa, the model for Senator Florez likes so much, the cost per capita for their Animal Control Department is almost 2-1/2 times the state average. Ask the people in Santa Rosa if they want their taxes to increase that much.

In Santa Cruz the kill rate is still higher, after 15 years of MSN, than any of the surrounding counties that don't have MSN. Ask the people of Santa Rosa if they want to see more dogs killed.

Ask them to contact their representative and tell them how they feel about SB250.

This is a great opportunity to let the people who will pay for this bill to know what is happening. Be sure you participate.


Florez amendment offers no protections.

So we need to continue the letter writing campaign to the Assembly Members. We've had a great deal of positive feedback on how easy this system is to use.

To make this easy we have put together a special page that has all the information you and they need including the link to the Save Our Dogs page where they can do the letter in less than one minute. You can get to this page by

clicking here

By going to the CDOC website. Go to the Get Involved page where you'll find "Send A Letter".

Please send this link to your Clubs, your friends, and add it to your own website. These letters Assembly Members from their constituent is the most powerful tool we have. If you have a llinked laptop, ask people to do this wherever you go.

$25 AGAINST 250

This is working and is being used to pay for the letters going to the Legislature and printing books. And now for printing flyers for Santa Rosa. So please continue to participate.

We don't have a logo but click here to donate $25.00 for printed materials to Oppose SB250. And then look for your name on our Supporters Page. Let's make sure everyone in California knows just how bad this bill can be.

If there was any doubt about how many more dogs will die if SB250 passes, the City of Los Angeles has resolved those for us.

The proponents would say that this 24% increase - owned dogs that were killed by the City - was due to the economy. But when you look at counties with worse economies, more poverty and higher foreclosure rates, you see that there is one thing that is different about the City of Los Angeles. Mandatory Spay and Neuter. And who brought that to us? Judie Mancuso.


Get this page out to all of your friends and associates so they will get letters off the Assembly Members.

So make your contribution to Defeat SB250 here. With the help of Save Our Dogs and there letter writing system, we'll get the word to everyone!


Thursday, August 20, 2009

1992 Continued

Another great dog from 1992 was Raven, Augie's litter sister. I used to call her "Augie's famous sister" because she competed so successfully in so many venues. Her owner is a wonderful photographer. Here are just a couple of Raven's many portraits:

Chief is Augie and Raven's nephew so a little bit of all of them lives on at our house.
Photo credits: Joy E.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


1992 was a very good year for very good dogs. Augie's birthday is tomorrow, August 20th. He was born in 1992 so he would have been seventeen.
Here are some collages that I created of Augie's photos a while back, sort of as therapy as a result of losing him. He loved to track and was very good at it. I'll never forget his TDX test.

On sheep we had a lot of rough moments due to inadequate training and me being a rank beginner. Still Augie showed a lot of heart and loved to watch and work with the sheep even into his elder years.

Augie was fast in agility but was again hampered by his handler. We did all right though, and had lots of fun with it.

This little guy was also born in 1992 but don't let his size fool you. He won the hearts of many in agility and otherwise. He did make it to age seventeen but unfortunately he passed away last week. They broke the mold when they made you, Moose. Run clean and run fast -- you always did!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Geese and Goats - Photos

Photos from the past weekend: Coal on geese and goats

Photo credits: J. Teichman

Monday, August 10, 2009

Fun, Fun, Fun

We had a fun weekend in Pescadero, once again participating in an AHBA trial with the Willowside Goose Wranglers. It reminded me of why we do all this stuff with the dogs and livestock--because it's fun!

Coal was signed up for five total runs over two days on three types of stock: goats, geese, and sheep. He did well on all of the runs. I'll have to post a tally later as I don't know all of the final results. We ran on goats and then geese on Saturday, then on Sunday the order was goats, geese, and (finally!!) sheep...Coal was so happy to get back on sheep after all of that! He was a very good sport about working the other stock, though, so I'm proud of him. He'd never even seen goats before but worked them OK.

All of the courses were the ranch style, with practical chores and real situations for dog and handler teams to solve. The geese and sheep courses were the large flock variety, with 15 geese and 40 head of sheep, respectively. Those are always fun.

Thanks once again to Willowside ranch and the wranglers (you know who you are...) for a relaxing and enjoyable weekend.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Rime is Eight Months

Rime is just about eight months old so I took a few pictures of him today. I'm experimenting with a Picasa album, here.

Here is one sample:

In honor of his milestone, I've let Rime work the sheep twice this past week, for just a few minutes each time. He's doing okay! We've worked a large group of almost 40 head in order to keep things slow for him. Soon, he'll get his very own sheep dog lesson from our trainer. But until then, we'll just take it slow and steady and make sure he does not get too much of anything. I still have my "dos and don'ts" list from our trainer when Coal started to work not quite two years ago! How time flies when we are truly having fun.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Endings and Beginnings

With a great deal of pride and a huge dose of relief, I can now say that Coal's nursery year is over. While we didn't qualify to run at the nationals, we came very close, and we did have an amazing time and we both learned a lot. Many of the trials we ran in were dog trials (not handler trials) -- due to the nature of the course, the field, the sheep, and usually all three -- and while we may not have won the trial, Coal always won over the sheep. It has been an incredible experience but I'm relieved that it's over. We have run in some of the toughest nursery trials on the west coast - Zamora, Porterville, Sonoma Wine Country, Is-It-Worth-It and several others. We've run on range ewes, commercial ewes, hair sheep, wool sheep, and combinations of all of the above. In all cases Coal handled the sheep and we never lost our sheep and were never DQed in sometimes very difficult circumstances.

I think had we qualified for nationals, it would have been a great deal of pressure for Coal and me, and perhaps too much pressure for both of us. So now we can continue to train and Coal can mature a bit (he is still not even three years old). Our goal is still Open USBCHA trialling and when we can demonstrate some greater flexibility and confidence on a pro-novice course, we'll get there.

The new beginning of course is that Rime is about ready to start some light sheep dog training at eight months of age. He got to work with about 40 head tonight and showed that he is willing to put me into the picture, and would run both ways and come off the sheep when requested (sort of!). We even accomplished a few steps of a fetch.

Thanks to all - you know who you are!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Goose Binkie

Photo credit: Teri T.

Photos from June's Sonoma-Marin Fair

On a very hot day in Petaluma....

The sheep

"I want another turn!"

Coal and friends in his Sparkly-Go-To-the-Fair-Collar

More Friends...

Photo credits: Laurel P.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

SB250 - easy, simple way to fax an OPPOSE letter


Like ALL bills in the California state legislature that advance to the
Assembly Appropriations Committee and are determined to cost the state
budget at least $150,000, SB 250 was put into the committee's suspense file
this week. This is basically automatic, as per the rules of the state
legislature. A bill can come out of suspense with as little as 2 days
notice and be voted on by the Appropriations Committee.

"The brakes" were not put on SB 250 as some are claiming. Many are being
lulled into inaction. They falsely believe that SB 250 is mortally wounded.
It most certainly is not. SB 250 is unfortunately alive and well.

We saw the exact same reaction when SB 250 was temporarily put into the
Senate Appropriations Committee suspense file in May, where the same rule
applies. Many on our side were declaring SB 250 "dead" at that time. We
let our guard down at the worst possible time.

When a bill is in one of the appropriations committee's suspense files, it
is critical to TURN UP THE PRESSURE. That's because killing a bill by never
letting it come out of suspense is the easiest way for the majority party to
kill an unpopular bill that was sponsored by one of their own. They don't
have to go on the record with an up or down vote if they simply let a bill
expire in suspense.

We let our guard down in May, and exerted very little pressure on the Senate
Appropriations Committee while it was in suspense. SB 250 came out of
their suspense file, and it advanced easily from there on to the full Senate
-- where it passed.

We need to TURN UP THE PRESSURE NOW, and keep it up until the Assembly gets
the message that SB 250 is unpopular with tens of thousands of Californians.
This is no longer just about making good arguments -- they've heard them
all. It's not about petitions, which are a waste of time.

This is about delivering an avalanche of calls and letters to the Assembly
members that is sufficient to counter both Mancuso's calls to her people for
more support calls and letters AND the huge piles of money that Mancuso is
tossing into the campaign coffers of California state legislators.

The offer from Save Our Dogs still stands. Californians can get a letter in
their name faxed at no charge to each of the 16 Assembly members on the
Appropriations Committee simply by entering their name and contact info.
into our Easy Letter form, which is here:

This is as easy to fill out as an online petition, but a lot more effective
since your No on SB 250 letter will be delivered to each committee member.
We've been told that AB 1634 died last year mainly because Californians
drowned the legislature in letters and calls. We can do it again.

Let's make it happen.

Laura Sanborn

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Oregon Trip, or Is-It-Worth-It?

We drove almost 600 miles up to central Oregon last Thursday so that Coal and I could participate in the "Is-It-Worth-It" sheepdog trial near Lebanon, OR on Friday. Coal had two Nursery runs. We ended up placing second and third in the two runs, which was not bad considering that both the field and the sheep were very challenging.

Besides running in the trial, we visited with several friends, both old and new, and got to see some parts of Oregon that I'd never visited before. The Willamette Valley and surrounding area certainly is beautiful!

Was it worth it? Yes!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Marin Fair

The Marin Fair was Sunday. Unlike the prior weekend when it was so darn hot, this time it was cool which was great for the dogs and the sheep. I looked forward to this trial as the people who come to watch are always such a kick. Usually there are people shoulder to shoulder all around the arena and they just adore the dogs. This year was no exception.

Coal drew a tough lot of three sheep. Two of them were calling to their mates/friends/lambs/moms the whole time and he had to fight this extreme pressure all the way around the course as they constantly tried to run to the exhaust and/or letout. This showed up in our score which ended up placing us at 11th, just out of the ribbons. Coal did a great job and our only issues were the sheep that were fighting him. Neither of us made any huge errors so I'll just chalk it up to the (un)luck of the draw.

When we exited the arena, Coal was mobbed by fans who were wanting to pet him. This is the part that made the whole trial worthwhile. He got tons of adoring comments and attention. That kind of PR we can really use in this day and age and it truly put a smile on my face.

Next stop: USBCHA Nursery at the Is-It-Worth-It trial in Lebanon, Oregon.

Friday, July 3, 2009

CA Assembly Appropriations Committee -- Action Alert!

-- permission to crosspost is granted --

The California Assembly Appropriations Committee is scheduled for a hearing and vote on SB 250 on July 15. To be included in the committee's bill analysis, letters need to be received by July 8.

We know we can kill this mandatory spay/neuter bill, but we need a lot more people to get involved to make that happen. SB 250 has squeaked by with the bare minimum number of votes 3 times in the past 2 months. Your letters to the Appropriations Committee can make a difference. Please ask your network of friends and club members to also send letters.

We have some sample letter templates to make it easier for those who struggle writing letters. We are also offering to fax your letters for you, at no charge.

FYI on the process: your letters sent to the Senate do not count in the Assembly. Your letters sent to the Assembly B&P Committee do not count in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. We didn't make the rules; that's the system.

Laura Sanborn

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

SB 250 - Disappointed but not giving up

I'm very disappointed to report that SB 250 has cleared the Assembly Business and Professions Committee.

Please see the Save Our Dogs website for updates and more information.

Other resources are:

PetPac website website

The California Department of Finance report

The bill goes next to the Appropriations Committee where we must stop it!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sonoma Marin Fair, or Way Too Hot

Way too hot today to go to a sheepdog trial, but of course that is what we die-hards did, despite the unusually blistering weather. It was a RESDA trial at the Sonoma-Marin Fair, a charming smaller venue in Petaluma that is filled with rich agricultural history. The arena is small, and the Barbados sheep were fit, smart and light.

Coal had a pretty decent run going, and we just about had the sheep in the pen. Only one hock dangled out before I could close the gate. But the owner of that hock decided to turn around and bolt out, leading her two friends with her so we had to try to re-pen. No such luck, and I was running "out of dog" in the heat, so after about three or four more attempts, we gave up on the pen. Under RESDA rules we retained our points up that obstacle, which is nice. So, Coal ended up in the middle of the pack and we can hope to improve our score next weekend at the Marin County Fair.

Here is a nice Coal photo that is one of several taken last weekend by our friend Lois. Thank you Lois, for such wonderful pictures! (more to come)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

June 25th

June 25th, 1999 was Bid's birthday. He and his littermates brought together a wonderful group of folks who had stayed in touch all these years. The week of May 11th, 2009 was a terrible week for us. We suddenly lost both Bid and his sister Maggie in the same week. I would like to thank everyone connected for their support during what has been a most difficult time.

More importantly, I'd like to wish Jess, Meg, and Zack a great tenth birthday today!

SB250 Assigned to Committee - CALL TO ACTION

Please see and for more information. We need everyone to act on this today and in the upcoming couple of days before the June 30th Business and Professions Committee meeting.

Cross posted with permission:

SB 250 has been assigned to the Assembly Business and Professions Committee. The hearing is set for TUESDAY, JUNE 30, 2009, at 9:30 am in Room 447. Please try to attend. In the least, get a letter out to the Business and Professions Committee and your individual Assemblymember. To find your Assembly member go to the letter can be simple.

When writing the letters, please put: RE: OPPOSE SB 250 as Proposed to be Amended
Letters need to be in as soon as possible in order to be listed in the analysis. We are assuming a 48 hour turn around so setting Thursday as a deadline is not unreasonable. Even if you do not feel you can get letters faxed by the end of this week, fax them during the weekend.
WE NEED INDIVIDUALS, CLUBS, AND ORGANIZATIONS TO GET LETTERS OF OPPOSITION INTO THE COMMITTEE ANALYSIS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Unfortunately, vocal opposition to SB 250 was much lower as it worked its way through the senate. And while many of those in opposition vented about the cons of this bill, few actively opposed it with letters and phone calls. Sacramento did not feel the same uproar as with AB 1634 so they NEED TO HEAR OUR VOICES NOW!

Contact information and talking points are included in this e-blast. Sample letters will be up on the SB 250 website ( soon. The AKC website in their legislative alerts also has sample letters.

Although the bill has nothing to do with any business related circumstances and there are absolutely no professions connections, Senator Florez was able to pull for this bill to be heard in this committee rather than the Local Government committee. Since Florez changed the cost factor of this extremely expensive bill from state reimbursement to local governments having to cover all of the costs (i.e.; through higher fees and additional fees for revocation and license denials), he knew that he would a hard time passing it in the Assembly Local Government committee.

Ironically, Florez has proudly proclaimed "THIS IS NOT AB 1634" but when it served him to get SB 250 into the committee that first heard and passed AB 1634, he used it to his advantage. Another indication that he will do anything to get this bill passed without concern for content or consequences.

Concerns about SB 250-- what you need to know:

1. Under current law, it is not illegal to own or care for an intact animal. SB 250 will make the simple ownership of an intact dog or carrying for an intact cat illegal. It will be a crime-- the only way to avoid prosecution of this new crime is to license your intact dog. If you care for intact feral cat(s) for more than 30 days, you are considered its owner and are liable.

2. If you do not license your intact dog or are found in violation of ANY law or ordinance related to animals, the penalty is loss of your intact licenses and FORCED STERILIZATION OF YOUR INTACT PETS. If you give someone a dog (your sister, father, anyone--even a donation to a service dog agency) without the appropriate paperwork, licensure, and notification you are violating SB 250. If you don't pay or make a mistake paying sales tax on a dog, this is in violation of a law relative to the sale of dogs. If you are out training and your licensed dog is not wearing its tags or a collar, you are in violation. And the penalty for any of these infractions and many more, is mandatory spay/neuter.

3. From what we can gather, the promised amendments might include a possibly broader exemption for working dogs (and maybe something more for hunting dogs) and possibly a "freebie" on the first at-large infraction. Hence, mandatory sterilization would not happen until the second time a dog is caught roaming. However, the language about violations regarding the care and concern of animals is still ONE STRIKE AND YOU ARE OUT FOREVER penalty.
CDOC and others are opposed to the use of mandatory spay/neuter as policy or penalty. In every jurisdiction that has enacted mandatory spay/neuter policy or used it as penalty, there has been significant increases in operational costs and expenses, increases in impounds and surrenders, and unfortunately, increases in the euthanasia rate. Although Santa Cruz, the model used for SB 250 did experience an eventual decline, it was noticeably below the euthanasia rates of neighboring cities and counties that did not have MSN (

Talking Points:
1. The use of mandatory spay/neuter as policy or penalty does not work. There is no example where MSN has been a positive solution resulting in a more rapid rate of decline in the impounds and euthanasia rates than neighboring communities without MSN. In fact, in EVERY municipality including Santa Cruz, there was a noticeable increase in impounds and euthanasia after MSN was enacted.

2. SB 250 is expensive. It was placed in the Senate Appropriations suspense file because the cost of this bill was prohibitive. The only way it was removed was the promise to pass the expense onto the local governments. Whether the State pays for the expense or local governments need to cover the expense, California cannot afford SB 250. With a $24 billion deficit, California cannot fund critical programs such as public safety, education, transportation, and health care. Cities are shutting down fire departments and schools. Adding another extremely expensive task onto local governments is irresponsible and wrong.

3. Using a major surgical procedure as penalty interferes with the licensed practice of veterinary medicine. The American Veterinary Medical Association has made a statement against the use of mandatory spay/neuter. Medical procedures should not be undertaken as punishment.

Letters should be addressed to author:

Senator Dean Florez
State Capitol, Room 313
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 327-5989 (fax)

Business and Professions Committee
Mary Hayashi, Chairman
P.O. Box 942849
Room 3013
Sacramento , CA 94249-0018
(916)319-2118 (fax)

Bill Emmerson, Vice-Chairman
P.O. Box 942849
Room 4158
Sacramento , CA 94249-0063
(916) 319-2163 (fax)

Connie Conway
P.O. Box 942849
Room 2174
Sacramento , CA 94249-0034
(916)919-2134 (fax)

Mike Eng
P.O. Box 942849
Room 4140
Sacramento , CA 94249-0049
(916)319-2149 (fax)

Edward Hernandez
P.O. Box 942849
Room 4112
Sacramento , CA 94249-0057
(916)319-2157 (fax)

Pedro Nava
P.O. Box 942849
Room 2148
Sacramento , CA 94249-0035
(916)319-2135 (fax)

Roger Niello
P.O. Box 942849
Room 6027
Sacramento , CA 94249-0005
(916)319-2105 (fax)

John Perez
P.O. Box 942849
Room 4162
Sacramento , CA 94249-0080
(916) 319-2181 (fax)

Cameron Smyth
P.O. Box 942849
Room 4098
Sacramento , CA 94249-0038
(916)319-2138 (fax)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Happy Birthday to Bob!

Happy Birthday to my friend Bob. Best wishes for many more!

Summer Solstice in Pescadero

We spent a fun and relaxed weekend at Willowside Ranch in Pescadero for an AHBA trial. Food, fun, weather and friends were all superb! Rime was quite enthralled with the peacocks at the ranch. Coal had two fairly good runs on sheep on the ranch course. Dinner at Duarte's was excellent as usual and worth the wait on a Father's Day weekend. All three dogs got a swim in the pond Saturday night. An evening campfire allowed marshmallow roasting, "Some-Mores" and campfire songs from those who can actually sing, and play harmonica and guitar!

It was certainly nice to be cool and comfortable at the coast on a weekend when it was very hot inland.

Sunday was also Alix's birthday. She was born in 1990 on June 21st.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

On Electric Fencing

It was suggested that this was truly a "one for the book" (short) story. Perhaps so; "T" and "H", this one's for you.

If you are going to set up electric fencing in a new pasture for sheep, especially sheep who are not particularly used to electric fencing, there is one component that you need to remember. Pay very close attention, now. The crucial part of this is "electric". Do not turn off electricity to the new fence the moment the sheep are turned loose in their new space.

Of course if you are looking to let your dog have an opportunity to gather sheep and bring them back just before they gallivant down the driveway and off into the woods, then maybe leaving the juice off is a good idea!

Just kidding, guys, glad all turned out well. And most of all, Kudos to "D" who put it all back together!

Little Sheepdog

Rime is now 6 1/2 months old, and our sheepdog trainer told me that I should start letting Rime whet his appetite now and then. Rime has been out with the sheep twice before (once by accident and once on purpose) but those sessions were over two months ago. So tonight I let Rime try it again with the sheep (about 65 head). They were a quiet bunch and staying together nicely so I thought it was a good opportunity.

I put Rime on a line just so I could catch him but didn’t really need it…could have done without it. Anyway he shows plenty of interest for this age; he circles and is a little one sided but nothing severe. I only let him try about 6-7 circles and stopped him. Anyway it was fun, and little Rime seems to enjoy it. But he is definitely not focused and ready enough to “train”.

Now Coal is the backup dog. How things come full circle.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Weekend Near Home

It's nice to have a weekend with no trials, and to stay (relatively) close to home. Starting next weekend, Coal has a trial one or both days for the following four weekends. However this weekend we were lucky to have another good lesson and practice session at Zamora with our trainer. Coal did some amazing, long, tough, tricky outruns, some shedding, some driving, and basically a lot of work. He is becoming more reliable.

Rime grew up a lot in the past week. He's more dialed in to what pleases me, and also seems to be thinking more and "just reacting" less, both of which are wonderful to see. I guess that six-month birthday meant a lot.

Chiefie seems to be feeling well. Today was kind of a day off to catch up and check some things off the to-do list. Too bad tomorrow is Monday!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Coal and Rime, June 2009

Rime turned six months old on Saturday. Here is a little video of Rime playing in the yard:

Here is another little video of Coal:

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Three Bags Full (Actually Eight)

There's something satisfying about doing physical tasks and taking care of animals after a long day at the office. Even more satisfying is reconnecting with what's important and being outdoors, and just being with the dogs, in the midst of realizing once again just how fragile life is.

After last night's shearing there was a big pile of wool to be dealt with. The foxtails and other grasses are still too bad to let the dogs run in the field. The dogs are really getting stir crazy as I try to dream up things for them to do for activity instead. Walking on leash at the park is pretty lame but we've been doing more of that, as well as a bit of running off leash at the park with our JRT park buddies.

Tonight while I bagged up wool, the dogs got to hang out inside the sheep pen, while the sheep stayed out in the pasture (eat faster, eat faster!!)... at least the dogs could play a little. Chief and Rime made great sport out of tugging on pieces of wool and tossing it around. Rime kept sticking his head out the holes in the fence making me wish I'd brought my camera along to capture his funny pose. Coal was incensed about being locked up in the sheep's pen while the sheep were loose. I did take Coal out for one quick check on the freshly shorn sheep but we spent only a couple of minutes out in the tall grass. After last year's foxtail incidents requiring multiple vet visits I don't want a repeat this year. Coal and I cannot wait to get back into a training routine on the sheep but I'll bet the sheep are enjoying their foxtail-induced vacation.

Lots of things have happened lately that have reminded me of the fragility of life. Big stuff, small stuff; sad stuff and happy's all forcing me to focus on what's important (and frankly to walk away from what's not).

Rest in Peace, Ernie and Monkey

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Our sheep got sheared tonight so that is one more chore checked off the list. Coal got to help a little bit with moving sheep here and there, for which he was most grateful. The foxtails have really put a crimp in his training/working time.

I was most grateful to have his help. Coal is a very good boy and I am most anxious to get back to more training with him.

SB250 Passed in the Senate

SB 250 passed in the Senate today. It now goes to a policy committee in the State Assembly.

We will fight on.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Senate is Voting!

Cross posted with permission. Please cross post and take action as suggested below and also call your own Senators if you haven't already. There is a lot more background information on the fallout from this proposed bill on the website.

Thank you,

-----Original Message-----
-- please cross post widely --
Today's second vote on SB 250 was 16 yes, 15 no. It needs 21 yes to pass.
The following democratic senators voted to abstain on SB 250 in the second round of voting:
Correa (916) 651-4034
Moreno Ducheny (916) 651-4040
Pavley (916) 651-4023
Wolk: (916) 651-4005
Wright (916) 651-4025
Yee: (916) 651-4008
Negrete-McLeod (916) 651-4032
Simitian (916) 651-4011
The above senators will be getting a LOT of pressure from Sen. Florez — SB 250 author and Senate Majority Leader — to change to a Yes.
If you haven't already called, Californians should call the offices above and politely say: "Hello, my name is [your name]. I live in [your city's name] California. I'm calling to thank the Senator for abstaining on SB 250, mandatory spay/neuter for dogs and cats. I'm asking the senator to continue abstaining when it comes up for a reconsideration vote later this week."
This will make them understand that we are still watching, and that we are also appreciative of their position.
Understand the process in the California state legislature: Abstaining is JUST AS GOOD for our side as a No vote, but is politically easier for a senator to do on a bill that he/she opposes but is sponsored by a member of his/her own party.
Laura Sanborn


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Calgary, Canada - Animal Services Program that Works!

People often ask me what ideas I have to offer instead of the mandatory spay-neuter laws to help with animal control and services. Here is the story of an animal control services program that works!

Those in Southern California can actually go and listen!

Friday, May 29, 2009

SB250 Crunch Time!

Updated news on SB 250: it could be voted on as early as Monday but sometime next week. Please respond to the Senate over the weekend. Complete information can be found on the website, as well as on the NAIA trust website, and the PetPAC website (among others).

Contribute financially to PetPAC if you can; Bill Hemby has faithfully been at every one of these legislative showdowns and has made a difference for all of us.

Certainly call or fax your Senator and as many of the other Senators as you can. Many folks feel that the Senators should be giving our state budget their undivided attention and not even consider bills like SB250 at this time.


California SB250, mandatory spay/neuter for dogs and cats, passed in the Senate Appropriations Committee on May 28. It now moves to the full state Senate, which will be voting on it sometime during the week of June 1. The 2nd reading rule was waived, meaning that SB 250 could be voted on as early as Monday.

It is imperative that Californians contact their state senator immediately and ask them to oppose Senate Bill 250. Faxes can be sent and phone messages can be left over the weekend. We need a much larger response, from many more Californians, to stop this bill. Clubs, associations, businesses, and other organizations also need to act quickly. Please act! Here’s what you can do:

· The quickest way for individual Californians to send an opposition email or compose a letter to their own state senator is with the updated NAIA action alert. It just takes a few minutes.
· call the capital office of your state senator and ask him or her to oppose SB 250. Your senator’s capital office phone number can be found here. It takes less than a minute to make the call. Leave a voice message if no one answers. Politely say:
“I’m Joe Smith, I’m from Bigtown California, and I’m asking Senator Wilson to vote NO on SB 250, mandatory spay/neuter for dogs and cats.
· call the capital office of Senator Steinberg (the leader of the senate) at 916-651-4006 and ask him to oppose SB 250 as indicated above.
· fax a letter to your state senator and to Senator Steinberg. Use the NAIA letter writing tool or else our template for policy or fiscal arguments against the bill. The senators’ fax numbers are here.
· talk to your friends, co-workers, and club members and ask all of them to oppose SB 250. Send them to this site for instructions.
· convince your clubs, rescue groups, businesses, and associations to oppose SB 250