Sunday, June 26, 2011

Respect, and a Birthday

Yesterday RESDA sponsored a novice clinic with Bill Berhow in Santa Rosa. What a great day we had! It took me back to my very first sheepdog clinic (also with Bill) back in 1994. And what a wealth of talent, experience and intuition was shared between Bill and Karen Kollgaard at her ranch. The background that Bill provided on himself and his influences and mentors was fascinating...from dog men who are no longer with us but the thoughts that they passed on still remain.

After a Q&A session each handler worked his or her dog in the field with the entire group of folks watching and participating. Bill provided commentary and suggestions on each dog's short session. I like this type of clinic where all of the handlers and auditors are included in the feedback on the dogs. Rime and I went first, partially to "break the ice" and also so I could then help to set sheep for the rest. Rime performed really well; I was so happy with his work! Finally everyone got to see that Rime really does "work better at home"! LOL! We chose to do a small driving-trial type course although Karen also had a RESDA style course set up as well. Rime drew a lot of four wily Cheviots that were somewhat hard to contain as a packet (home flock woes) but we managed. Sometimes Rime still "blows his top" (literally and figuratively) but at age 2 1/2 he is really coming along. [We have been doctoring a lame lamb and Rime can do any chore I need him to do to help with this - he brings the flock into the barn and holds them while I grab the lamb (who is becoming very wary of me at this point!) and then holds the other sheep, functioning as a "gate" while I medicate the lamb. Coal can do this too, of course, but I am really proud that they both can handle a real chore like this. I could not do it without them. ]

After Rime's clinic run, Coal and I went out to setout to move and set sheep for most of the other teams. Coal worked his fanny off but was very happy. I kept thinking about how in his talk, Bill focused on the respect that we need to have for these dogs and how much they give to us. Watching Coal helping me all afternoon even when we were both hot and tired, really cemented that idea. Respect for the dogs is the main "gem" that I will take away from this mini-clinic.

Yesterday was also a birthday. Bid would have been 12. My friend Carl sent me a text with this photo which I received on my drive home from a very long day of sheep "rounds", the clinic, and then more sheep "rounds". This picture made my day:

This is Bid's brother Jess, going strong at age 12. Looking into those eyes made me feel like Bid was looking back at me. It is a sweet revelation now.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

RESDA Novice Program - June 25, 2011

The RESDA Novice Program is pleased to present a special program for the next practice day on Saturday, June 25, 2011.

Bill Berhow will join us and provide individual coaching for the runs, which will be hosted as usual at Karen Kollgaard's Shoestring Ranch in Santa Rosa.

Full information and sign ups are available online at Capacity for the day will necessarily be limited, so please sign up as soon as you can if you would like to participate in this practice day.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Willowside Ranch NCWSA fun trial, Pescadero July 16-17

Entries are still open for the Pam Cornell Memorial sheepdog trial, in Pescadero July 16-17. In fact the club is seeking a few more entries in order to make this trial a "go". Please support your local sheepdog club - Northern California Working Sheepdog Association and join us in the cool coastal weather for a fun trial in mid-July.

Entries available here

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Urban Ovines

Each year a flock of sheep is brought in to the area surrounding the office complex where I work, to graze down the hillsides and the open land between the buildings. A herder is kept very busy moving electronet, and checking and moving sheep, day after day. The process goes on for several weeks while the sheep move through the office park. This has become the annual tradition at the office. On our breaks we can be seen at the large windows watching the sheep's movement. There is a popular walking trail past where the sheep graze. Many folks can be seen stopping to watch the sheep on their lunchtime walks, and taking pictures with their camera phones such as the one above. I haven't been able to count them but I am guessing there are at least a hundred head of young adults and older lambs in this particular group. With lamb prices the way they are, it is quite an investment out there munching on those hillsides. I'm sure it's as close as a lot of the joggers and walkers have ever been to a live sheep.  It's nice to see the rural dovetailed with the urban.