Monday, August 30, 2010

Every Picture

Every picture tells a story!  Our fab Oneforthebook team photographer has taken some nice new pictures of the gang over the weekend. The pictures kind of tell the story.

Saturday we had a RESDA trial at Oak Springs Ranch in Santa Rosa. The weather was absolutely perfect. Coal and I ran in the Open class and his run started out OK, then disintegrated. This is becoming the story of our summer trialling season. I am ready to make some changes to get us out of the bottom of the upside-down bell curve that Coal and I are in! Anyway luckily there are no pictures of that run (mercifully). It's too bad we couldn't have fared better since it was Coal's birthday weekend. He has now turned 4 years old, which is plenty hard to believe. Coal has been such a blessing for me though and I know we will work out our trialling issues and get back on our game.

Anyway after the Open class was completed, and the sumptuous potluck consumed, we held the Pro-Novice class. I entered Rime non-compete in his first RESDA outing, just to get him some experience in a new place and on different sheep. He did OK.  The saying goes that when you take a green horse or green dog out away from home the first few times you are lucky to get 50% of the performance that you get "at home", so that is what I expected from Rime. I was pleasantly surprised and can say that he gave me probably 65% or better! I just tried to enforce his stop and keep him behind the sheep moving in the general direction of the obstacles, not staying entirely true to the course if it wasn't working for us. I did retire before attempting the pen and pushing our luck.

Rime getting ready for his first RESDA run

Rime on course at Oak Springs Ranch
The next day we got together with friends to work dogs and review the prior days' activities. I concentrated on working with Rime at a friend's place and Coal got to play setout dog for another friend from out of town who was looking for new experiences for her 2 yr old+ dog. It was a fun and relaxing day. All the dogs got a good run at the sheep field while we set out hay and filled waters for our sheep.

Chiefie after his run in the pasture with the gang
Chiefie has had some arthritis problems flare up in the past few weeks. But with some rest and anti-inflammatories, he is getting back to normal. The swelling in the tendons around his wrists has gone down and he is running more freely again. I just have to monitor his activity more carefully so that he doesn't go overboard (which he would if I didn't stop him).

The oneforthebook gang (at least part of it) setting up a chase game in the pasture
The dogs love to run while we feed hay and fill water tanks for the sheep. They have their running and chasing order and in the above photo they have stopped the action momentarily before they start again!
Photos by T. Tucker.

Assembly Still in Session

Monday Aug 30 6:22 pm Update : The Assembly is in session today and will work until late tonight. They are trying to get through the pending bills before the 2009-2010 session ends tomorrow. SB 250 is on the schedule but has not been dealt with yet.

The above is from the Save Our Dogs website. It's not too late to make your voice heard.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Advocate for the Working Dog

Advocate for the working dog: read the latest on Save Our Dogs website about voting today on SB250. It's not over yet. We still need help with phone calls and faxes.

"... the Assembly might vote on SB 250 once again on Friday, or perhaps Monday or Tuesday if the Assembly reconvenes next week. Tuesday is the last day the legislature can vote on bills according to the state Constitution.
Your calls and faxes are making a huge difference."

It would be wonderful to throw a huge party when this stupid thing fails! Please help if you can.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

No on SB 250 - Need More Calls and Faxes

This is from the Save Our Dogs website, posted today (08/24/10):

California SB 250 – mandatory sterilization for dogs and cats – is eligible for a vote in the Assembly at any time. If it passes the Assembly it may be moved very quickly to a final vote in the Senate. Additional polite No on SB 250 calls and faxes are needed from Californians to these legislators:

Assemblymember phone fax

Evans (916)-319-2007 (916)-319-2107

M. Perez (916)-319-2080 (916)-319-2180

Hall (916)-319-2052 (916)-319-2152

Saldana (916)-319-2076 (916)-319-2176

Lowenthal (916)-319-2054 (916)-319-2154

Adams (916)-319-2059 (916)-319-2159

Carter (916)-319-2062 (916)-319-2162

Senator phone fax

Pavley (916)-651-4023 (916)-324-4823

Correa (916)-651-4034 (916)-323-2323

Simitian (916)-651-4011 (916)-323-4529

Yee (916)-651-4008 (916)-327-2186

Negrete-McLeod (916)-651-4032 (916)-445-0128

Wright (916)-651-4025 (916)-445-3712

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Yesterday I had the privilege of judging a small schooling show (AHBA trial). It was my first experience in judging a whole trial (I had judged several non-comp runs in AHBA in the past). The trial hosts were informed in advance of my inexperience, yet hired me anyway, so there was full disclosure! ;-)  Anyway the venue was beautifully maintained as always, the dogs were nice and the stock well suited to the trial (for the most part). (The geese might be another story on that!) And, I survived! A major factor in my survival was the fabulous Clerk Debbie (below in blue) who was incredibly competent (I am in the pink). Judging is easy when you have such a great clerk.

They're making me think again!
There were several nice runs. Most of the dogs were border collies, even though AHBA is open to all breeds. I am not sure why more of the other breeds were not entered but that is a question for someone who knows more about it than I do. Runs were offered on sheep, goats and geese. The goats were a real trip and the geese, well, were geese-like. The sheep were very fit and worked well if the dog was right. It was not easy. Anyone who says that AHBA is too easy has not tried that venue. Anyway many thanks to the trial hosts for keeping this venue going in our area. And thanks for having confidence in me to judge! I feel like I learned a lot that will carry over into any venue where I choose to trial.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Californians Take Immediate Action - SB 250 is Back

Please check the Save Our Dogs website.

Senator Florez has pushed through amendments to SB 250 - the mandatory spay-neuter bill. The amendments while not yet in print, are very minor, and do nothing to address the reasons to oppose this bill. Senator Florez may push for an Assembly vote as early as this Thursday or Friday.

If you do not want mandatory sterilization for dogs and cats in California, it is critical that you call or fax the office of your Assembly member today. It takes less than one minute to call.

Ask your Assemblymember to continue to oppose Senate Bill 250 – mandatory spay-neuter for dogs and cats – when it comes up for a vote. The recent amendments do nothing to change any of the reasons for opposing this bill.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Coal on the Fetch

A friend took these lovely photos at the RESDA trial this past Saturday in Boonville. The trial functioned as a qualifier for the Mendocino County Fair trial which is to be held in September. The top eight dogs get into the finals that take place during the Fair. Coal and I did not get into the finals but I was really happy to get such nice photos. The sheep are commercial ewes from a working ranch, and are for the most part completely undogged, which made an arena setting trial quite difficult. The sheep fought the dogs quite fiercely to get back to the letout or over to the exhaust pen. Many teams had difficulty but there were some good runs and great dog work/dog handling. Photos by T. Tucker.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


At one of the fields that we share for grazing sheep, tarweed becomes a problem every summer (right about now). It smells bad, it gets sticky stuff in the dog's fur that is hard to wash out, and the sticky stuff itself attracts every bit of dust that then clings to dogs and people alike.

Here is an article on Managing Tarweed, from UC Davis. This article promotes mowing in late summer as an effective method to reduce tarweed. We are wondering if anyone has tried this, with any success. If you have mowed tarweed and found it to be reduced, leave me a comment, please!

Tarweed ( photo)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Bone Broth

This post is a follow-up to the entry made a while back titled, "What my Dogs Eat". A few years back a dear friend (who is both a dog person and a pharmacist) sent me an article about bone broth and its nutritional and medicinal qualities. At the time we both had very elderly dogs who were exceptionally dear to us. The dogs had good appetites but did not get around so well. It was my friend's suggestion that I start making up some bone broth to offer to the elderly one (who at the time was Augie). The link to the PDF article that my friend sent me then is now inaccessible and needs a password so I can't offer the direct link to what I read back then. But if you Google "bone broth" you will find plenty of articles like this one about the benefits of bone broth for human and dog alike. Since that time I have gotten into the habit of making bone broth out of any cooked bone that we happen to have coming through the kitchen. If I roast a chicken, we make bone broth. Then after pouring off the broth and discarding the bones, I add any veggies that need to get used up, cook the whole thing, then process in the blender, and voila! Doggie-V-8! The dogs love it. I am still getting a weekly box of veggies from Valley End Farm (which I am really enjoying). At the end of the weekend I clear out whatever is left to prepare for the new box on Tuesday and anything that is a bit wilted or faded goes into the Doggie-V-8, which is best when prepared with bone broth.

Of course if you are a real chef (which I am most certainly not!) you can use your broth to prepare gourmet cuisine. It is a traditional product common to most cultures and revered for medicinal qualities to help heal joints and provide other healing benefits. And when I make bone broth I feel a lot less guilty about "wasting" a chicken for myself when I could be feeding the entire thing to the dogs (with no waste whatsoever).

Even if you are still feeding kibble (!) you could make bone broth to pour over the dogs' meals. I'm just sayin'! Enjoy!

Monday, August 2, 2010

All the News

I need to post all the news that's fit to print because I am behind on blogging. Well, sort of all the news. Last week we had the Sonoma County Fair RESDA sheepdog trial. It was held Thursday evening and with the cold weather we have been having, only the die-hards were there as spectators. It was still a fun trial though and I always enjoy the fairs no matter how well we do (or not!). Once again Barbara showed us how it was done with two beautiful runs to take first and second. Third was Bill and his new dog Max which was fun for everyone to see. From there you will have to check the RESDA website for results!  You will see that Coal and I did not do very well; he ran next to last (21 out of 22 dogs) and by then he was on his own plan as to handling the course. We ended up retiring at the second panel when it seemed that discretion was going to be the better part of valor in getting out of the arena with part of our dignity still intact. Hope springs eternal as we look forward to our next trial at the Mendocino fairgrounds, in the day light! Same Johnson sheep, but we hope that on their familiar turf that we will have a better time with them.

This past Sunday found us at another RESDA novice workday in Santa Rosa. I took a few pictures of other people working through the interesting "ranch-style" course that had been set up. I really enjoyed this course. If you look at my Picasa album you can see all the photos and follow along with the course in the photos in order. Below are a few of the photos.

Setting sheep to start the course
Drive panel 1 in the big field
Settling sheep to attempt loading the truck

The course started in a small field with a gather and then a hold in the center area marked by stanchions and caution tape. Then you had the option of proceeding around the obstacles in any order, going through them or around them but only two attempts are allowed at each obstacle. When you have finished in this ring, you then go out to the bigger field with your sheep and left-hand drive (or fetch, or assisted-drive) the two panels in the larger area. Following the drive was a tiny pen with a narrow gate; this was difficult to manuever as the sheep wanted to run past the pen and go "home" by this time. Last there was an area set up with loading panels and a chute to load sheep into a truck for "transport". Time allotted for all of the above was 12 minutes and most teams did not make it all the way through, although some did. One person got 1 sheep on the truck. Another person completed the tiny pen. Many made very good attempts at the tiny pen and the truck! Careful stockmanship was valuable! Thanks to all who helped to put on this workday. Unfortunately I did not get pictures of everyone, and I didn't get any pictures of the more novice dogs and handlers who were working in another area. Next time! There were a lot of nice dogs.

I ran the course with both of my dogs. It was Rime's first try at a prescribed course. We made it through all of the exercises and obstacles in the first arena. When we headed out to the big field Rime got a bit excited at the sheep running off and he decided it was time to split them up. Oh well! So I decided against proceeding with the big-field obstacles and instead focused on getting a nice smooth trip with the sheep down to the exhaust area. Really overall Rime handled the "pressure" of a fun trial very well for his first time. He is coming along!

Having had fun out on the course with Rime I wanted to try it with Coal. So with some encouragement we set out to try to make it all the way 'round in the alotted time (12 minutes). It was a fun course to run and we got the sheep penned in the second (tiny) pen and proceeded to settle our sheep in the loading area for the truck when time was called. Coal was getting warm so I quit even though we would have been allowed to try to finish loading the truck because his work was quiet.

So overall, that is about all of the sheep and dog news. Sheep have been shifted over the past few weeks, some have gone to new permanent homes to help others get started with their sheepdogs, and some have been moved to other semi-permanent pastures. What is left we will be feeding hay and supplements to, so that number is manageable for the rest of summer/fall.  I'm also trying to ramp up my training for Rime to try to bring him on, as well as to polish up Coal's work. The "sheep year" travels on! It's time to start looking forward to the fall trials and plan on which ones to participate in.