Meet My Dogs: my friends, companions, partners and teachers.
What I want to tell you about my dogs is contained in tiny, special moments that are exchanged: a quick glance…a brief touch…a special moment shared…things that are invisible, yet oh so real. I want to share the things they have taught me about me, about life, about dogs.
What you might want to know about my dogs is more worldly, more touchable. Things like their lineage, their level of training, their accomplishments and successes in the world of sheepdog competition.
I’ll try to merge these together into an introduction to the dogs who have shared my life in recent years…those still with me, and those waiting on the other side.
I’ll start with the dogs I am currently trialing in the Open:
(I haven’t had a chance to update the trial details yet…so look for entries for 2012/2013 season that just started coming soon!)
Also known as “the Noodle”. Maya is like a surprise birthday gift, and to use the old advert: the gift that keeps on giving!
Maya came to us without papers, by way of three previous owners and an ad in the local farm paper. Her original family met the breeder at a trial who claimed that the parents were from notable working/trialing lines, and arrangements were made for the family to visit and pick out a puppy. The puppy, Maya, turned out to be relentless with herding kids, dogs and cats so they decided they couldn’t keep her. The next family had no kids or other animals, which left her bored and destructive. Maya then was placed on a horse farm, where there was not a fence that could keep her from working the horses and the neighbors cattle. So, at the tender age of 6 months she came to live with us, having been rejected as untrainable by three families.As you can imagine, the qualities that made her unsuitable as a family pet, make her an awesome working dog. She is natural, biddable, very keen, with great presence and perfect balance. After spending our first six months together bonding, establishing a partnership and learning basic life skills her herding training began when she was a year old, and her natural talents immediately became apparent.
She works with serious precision and holds a line straighter than an engineer. She’s faster than a speeding bullet and as light as a feather in her movement. Maya loves to single and finds great joy in keeping the most persistent ewe from rejoining her flock. Her heart and persistence cannot be overstated. She loves to work and will keep at the task at hand, no matter how tough the going gets. She has great scope, having no trouble outrunning 1,000+ yards over hills and valleys. In practice, we work at flexibility and releasing.
She has successfully handled ewes and lambs, hair sheep, woolies, farm sheep, range sheep. 2009/2010 is her first full season of Open competition, begun at 3 yrs old.
• Notable accomplishments in her first full year of Open:
1. Maya earned 46.6 USBCHA eligibility points, and a Top 40 ranking.
2. Top 20 Double Lift Finalist at the 2010 Bluegrass Classic
3. High Combined Open award 2009 Chaffin SDT in WI for the four Open trials
4. High Combined Open award 2010 Three Sisters May SDT for the two Open trials
5. Placed in the top 20% of 11 total trials in the 2009-2010 season, including 16th out of 134 entries at the 2010 Bluegrass Classic
6. Placed 25th at the 2010 Finals in Virginia, out of 150 of the top dogs in North America, and made it thru to the Semi-finals. Ending up with a final North American ranking of 29.
7. WWSDA 2010 Reserve Open Dog of the Year.
And: she was awarded ROM, Registered on Merit, by the ABCA in September 2010. Working ability proven, and all health certificates received.
Maya is also sweet, affectionate and a great friend…she has shown me that anything is possible and that just because someone has a tough start in life, it won’t keep them from blossoming into their full potential. And how important it is to be supported and nurtured by believing eyes. Now 4 years old, I eagerly anticipate the joy Maya and I will share in years to come.
Affectionately called “Bubba J.” and “the Little Man”, Luc is lot like his dad, Russell (the first Bubba). Luc is handsome, charming, strong, talented. He has an amazing feel for sheep — light, heavy or rangey — with heart that has no end. He’s stylish with just the right eye and plenty of presence. He runs like a Cheetah, covering alot of ground with ease and grace. I love this dog. He is so much fun to work. And he’s kinda goofy, funny and very affectionate when he’s not working. My kinda guy!
Luc has taught me about being patient, and about allowing a dog plenty of space to blossom in perfect time. I have learned about playing to one’s strengths while chipping away at the rough spots until they shape smoothly…confidently trusting the process and not being in a hurry. Yeah. Big stuff. He’s a very natural dog, biddable, yet quite willing to take initiative. (ha! that’s a double-edged sword that makes life interesting).
Luc had a brief and successful nursery season at 2, winning trials and qualifying for and running in the Nursery Finals…and is now showing amazing promise in his first Open season. We’ve had several great runs this fall, a placement or two and I’m so looking forward to a long and fruitful time together in the coming years.
Did I mention that I love this dog? When he was just 3 days old, he would worm his way over to my hand and try to climb up to me, just to snuggle and get close. Anytime I contemplated which puppy I would keep in those first weeks, he would be right there, confident that I would make the right choice. I can promise that when you meet Luc, he will steal your heart too.
We call Sue “the curly girlie” or more often: “Suzy Q”. She has the most amazing curly coat that you want to get your hands in. Mike N was willing to pay $1 per pet just for the opportunity to touch her! Sue is a beautiful, classic and stylish border collie who embodies the best of both her parents. She’s scopey, talented, has lots of power, great flanks, holds a line like a chorus girl. She takes my breath away, really.
Now 3 years old, Sue is trialing in Open and has put down some very good runs so far, placing in a few. Like her brother Luc, she did well in Nursery at 2, winning trials and competing in the Nursery finals…and she has really blossomed this past year. Sue is a bit pushy, but is settling well, handling sheep of all types with equal skill. Training her has been a joy…and trialing her in Open is oh so much fun!
One of the things I have learned from Sue is to have the intention to seek a path of easy learning…that there is always a way that will make it enjoyable for both the learner and the teacher. And to keep a Beginner’s Mind that asks questions, rather than accepting old and maybe no longer relevant truths, or thinking that there is only one answer to the same question. Being open to new ideas, flexible in thinking, and seeking better ways to learn and teach…that’s my girl!
Sue has shown me the power in finding a common purpose…that when two like-minded Beings collaborate, real magic happens! I am eager to share the magic that happens in the coming years! (sing along: …”I love the way you walk, I love the way you talk…Suzy Q…”)
Rising Stars: Clark and Raven
These are my two youngsters from Sue’s litter last year. I’ve started training them, and wow, what a blast!
They are different, yet alike. Both have great balance, are very keen yet so biddable. They show amazing promise as working sheep dogs, and future trial dogs. Such fun!
Russell was my right-hand man for quite a few years…and my Open trial dog, with many wins and placements to his credit. He was my teacher and my friend.
You can read our story here.
..more dog stuff to come…
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