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.

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