Saturday, January 28, 2012

Late January Already

Coal watching Angus working the sheep (see album link below)
It is hard to believe that we are into the last weekend of January already. We did get some of the rain that we have been praying for, however most of this past week has been back to sunny and nice during the day -- and to my surprise last night -- cold and frosty again at night! What's up with that? We need more rain to catch up with normal totals and to grow more grass...but I admit that it has been nice to dry out for a few days.

My camera has been gathering mothballs for months. But, last weekend I got it out and took some photos of Angus working with some ewes and older lambs that belong to a friend. Tom is planning to give Angus a go in Nursery this spring/summer. Angus is looking good! Here is a link to a Picasa album with all of the pics that I took and posted. Oh yeah and there are a couple of gratuitous pictures of Coal in the album ...I really need to get new photos of the other boys also!

Angus moving the ewes and lambs
Lame dog update: Chiefie is showing good progress in healing up from his latest psoas injury. I am still not letting him go back to unlimited park time but then with the rain and early darkness the park dog group has been on very limited meeting schedule anyway. Just as well, for Chiefie although I am sure he would not agree.

Ryme is also showing some good progress: I am holding my breath! In the last week or two I have been letting him work sheep just a tiny bit, doing some little chore or another.  Just doing some driving, or a small gather of sheep that already want to come in, or marching around the very slow ewes and lambs who see no reason to move. In the past couple of days I have also let Ryme run off leash a bit more. Fingers crossed! So far, he looks good with absolutely no lameness. He has put on weight though in this layoff, despite me cutting back on his food. It will take a while to get him back in condition once he is proclaimed ready to really work. I am hopeful though. I still plan to have him xrayed when finances allow. But it would be really nice to have my dog back.

In other news, Mr Chewy has requested that I review his website. This might be fun. I hope I can do some sort of giveaway out of it as a result. Since my dogs mostly eat raw I am not as familiar with all the brands and prices that are out there. We do use some canned food and of course treats and biscuits are never turned away! Mr Chewy also carries our emergency food, Honest Kitchen dehydrated, so I can check their prices and service on that. We have a local shop right around the corner where I can buy "HK" but I know that isn't true for a lot of folks. If you have several dogs and don't want to lug sacks of dog food I think this ordering with free shipping might make a whole lot of sense. Stay tuned and have a great rest of the weekend!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What A Face!

I love this face...this is Bid's brother Zack, who lives in Florida. Zack just had a bath! If only Bob could get Zack to play with toys -- it's such a shame... ;-)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Waiting for Rain

We are anxiously awaiting the forecasted rain that is on the calendar for next week. Fingers crossed that it materializes! Above is a photo of Coal that I really like, where he is wet and muddy, taken last winter. I "doctored" it a little bit in my photo software -- just playing around -- but I am putting this up as a token invite for Mother Nature to bless us with some much-needed wet stuff. Yes? The pastures and everything else sorely needs it. On our trip to the Central Valley last weekend it was mind-blowing to see the Altamont Pass hills comprised of nothing but dry, brown dirt. Not a stitch of grass hardly, anywhere. Frightening...rain please!

Updates on the lame dogs: Chiefie is slowly improving but his psoas (groin pull) injury will probably take months to fully heal. It seems to be a vulnerable spot for him now that it has happened three times. I will have to watch him very carefully although his enthusiasm is high for doing anything, right now. He may be ten years old, and lame, but he's still a border collie!

Ryme saw our wonderful chiropractor this past week for his monthly appointment. She felt that he has made a lot of progress, but we are "not there yet". That's all right - I wasn't really expecting her to cut us loose this week - but now we are into a new phase of walking at varying speeds and doing a couple of PT exercises. The one exercise and how Ryme adjusts to it will be my clear indicator of when he is ready to return to more exercise, and eventually, sheep work! Fingers crossed!  And I just hope that no one in my neighborhood has a camera to record my attempt to keep Ryme at a trot on leash for periods of time!

Coal is like a monkey-on-crack because we have not been able to work sheep hardly at all. The daylight hours are just too short but that is turning the corner. His chiropractor appointment revealed that not working is actually worse for Coal than working. He was a broken, crunchy pretzel-dog all over. I need to get him back on sheep. Now. Today!

And, for better or for worse, I guess I am now officially elected as President of the NCWSA. As the past president, Rusty says, "no worries, you only have eight years to go"! Yikes! I only hope I can do half as good a job as Rusty has done. His enthusiasm was always limitless. I could not be more thrilled with the all-star cast lined up to serve on the NCWSA Board with me. The depth and breadth of experience and initiative is truly inspiring.

NCWSA is planning a Pro-Novice, Novice-Novice, and Nursery trial near Oakdale, CA on February 18th. Hope to see you all there. The entry will be posted on the club website soon.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Aug. 6, 1970 - The Geyserville Press - report of sheepdog trial results

1970 Woolgrowers Sheepdog Trial Results

Check out this wonderful historical article and photo of sheepdog trial results in Boonville, CA on Aug. 6, 1970.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Run Free, Clancy

Clancy, a blue tricolor, son of Mike Neary's Cap and Jack Pickrell's Kell passed away. Clancy is in a place near the Rainbow Bridge.  His extreme arthritis, hip dysplasia, and old dog weariness have disappeared. Clancy is working sheep, and is fetching, retrieving, and collecting a sizable pile of tennis balls! He is greatly missed, and will always be in the hearts of our dear friends Bob and Mary in Illinois.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

January 2012-Catching Up

We are well into the new year. The first weekend of 2012 is upon us and I am amazed once again by how quickly the time flies by. The above picture is from January 2011; there is mud and water in the background and the other photos in the set from that day show lots of green lush grass. That is not the case this year. We desperately need RAIN...the pastures are eaten down to the nubs and we are feeding hay to sheep that normally live on pasture. We found a "deal" on $16.50/bale mixed alfalfa/grass hay last weekend and will buy a few more bales tomorrow. It's a bit scary. I keep checking the 10-day forecast for some raindrop icons. Keeping fingers crossed!

There has not been much of interest for me to blog about. The holidays were good. I hosted the RESDA Christmas party which was a lot of work, but turned out to be a very fun event for everyone ( I hope!) and even for me. There were about 25 people in my house and it was sort of fun to step back and hear all those happy voices carrying on about ten different conversations over wine and snacks, a delicious ham and potluck dinner, and then coffee and desserts. Whew! After that, Christmas Day itself was very simple but fun...working dogs and making soup. New Years Eve was spent playing Jack-O-Poly! What is that, you ask? It is a "Monopoly" game with Jack Russell Terrier characters and themes; my two friends that I spent the evening with both have JRTs. Go figure. And by the way I still suck at board games.

Back to work after the holidays we were given the news that our company has been acquired by a much larger corporation. So there is much change on the menu for the work situation. At least I was given an employment offer. I am staying positive. Such is life in corporate America.

As for the dogs, Ryme is still being rested as a result of his injury and lameness. He is getting a short to medium leash walk every day. I am starting to slowly lengthen those walks and he isn't showing any bad response to that. It has been difficult not letting him run or work. I take him on leashed visits to his park friends and he enjoys the socializing but you can see that he is frustrated more and more and doesn't understand his confinement. But I do think it is working. Eventually when funds allow, I will have him sedated and xrayed to determine just exactly what we are working with, structurally. But for now it appears to be a soft-tissue problem that is getting better with time. Next week is their monthly chiropractor visit. I am hoping she finds Ryme improved from her perspective.

Ten-year-old Chiefie managed to injure his psoas again for at least the third time in his life, this time just playing. So he is on rest restrictions as well. He is almost harder to deal with than young Ryme. Chief's zest for life has gotten him in trouble physically before. I think this will take several months for him to recover. Time will tell.

Coal is working really well and I wish we had trials to go to, right now. He is really on his game, what little I have been able to work him. Coal and I had a good lesson with our trainer in early December; we made a list of what I need to work on with Coal, over the winter. The daylight hours are so short that working dogs through the week is about gone but will return in just a few short weeks. So, it means we make the most out of our weekend sessions. Coal is really good at handling the ewes with lambs that belong to our friend that we share pasture with. I would have been giving Ryme this job in order for Ryme to gain experience, but unfortunately I can't this year, with him laid up. So it has fallen back to Coal, much to his glee. Coal loves working ewes and lambs. A weekend or two ago I watched him back a ewe and lamb into a pen with the most amazing skill that it just floored me. No bites, no overt movements, no nothing, just will and concentration. We spray-painted all the ewes and lambs with numbers this year, to keep track of who is with who...the paint eventually wears off, especially as the lambs grow so fast, and so we do it again. I decided one day to update the paint markings and was trying to catch lambs by myself; how dumb was that?  I finally let Coal into the pen and started catching lambs effortlessly in about two seconds and quickly got them all re-painted. That's what it's all about, Charlie Brown. We don't have any trials until all the big ones in March and April. I hope we will be ready because funds will not allow us to travel much again this year; so we'll have to make the most of the ones near us.

A very happy, safe, and productive new year to all!