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