Sunday, January 30, 2011


Reba hasn't really been eating the last few days. I had thought she might be stealing dog food from one of the outside dogs, but with the luxury of being home on the weekend, I was able to watch her closely. And she's just not eating. At first, I thought the dewormer I gave her on Wednesday upset her tummy. Not an uncommon reaction.
Yesterday, I just happened to enter the room right when she was going to eat. And it looked like she spit out her food. Curious and concerned I lifted up her lips and opened her mouth. There in ominous glory was a badly broken canine tooth. Crap. Sometime this summer she had gotten kicked and broke off part of this tooth. It's now a jagged mess. It looks like she's sheared a good chunk of tooth off and the blackish red root looks angry. No wonder she's not eating.

I'm pretty sure I know what happened. My dad had the dogs out (dad is not known for his supervision abilities) and I came across Reba "helping herself" to the sheep. One of my sheep now has a nasty looking bite. I'm wondering if Reba didn't grab hold, and have her broken tooth get caught, pulling a chunk off. I don't know if that's even possible but the timing is about right. She didn't stop eating until after that point.

Last night I started giving her Meloxicam to help with the pain and this week I'm going to try and get her into the vets. I know they don't like to remove canines because they are an integral part of the jaw. I'm hoping there's some other solution. Doggy fillings?? I know the police dogs belonging to the city nearby have titanium chompers. Either way, I suspect any answer is going to be expensive. Sigh.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Ooops! I did it AGAIN...

I'm pretty sure I have a problem. Is there an Animals Anonymous out there somewhere? Tonight, I merrily *well, not merrily, it's been a rotten, rotten week and all I wanted to do was turtle at home* went to the stable for my jumping lesson. Once there I stumbled upon the horrid news that someone had dropped a mama cat and her three babies. It took the owner and staff an hour and a half to get them caught and safe in the furnace room.

It's pretty much safe to say that I'm not real fond of dumpers. I think it's irresponsible and cruel. The mom is a gorgeous tortoise marked kitty with a bib and white toes. The three babies, all male, all have tortie markings, and two are dark, with one grey. They were darling little creatures.

And I should not have been exposed to their sweetness. Because I folded like a lawn chair. On the weekend I'll be getting the place ready for "George" to come home. He's a doll. He snuggled up and purred, and purred, and purred for me.

Here's a picture of George - taken with my BlackBerry. Expect better pictures soon...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Good Morning, Sunshine!

Caution: This post may contain gross, unappealing, or inappropriate content.

Bleary eyed, I stumbled to Reba's baby gated room to let her out this morning. As per normal she greeted me with a stretch and a groan, signaling she was happy to be up. Giving her a couple of quick strokes down her back, we began making our way to the door. Where I came to an abrupt halt.

There, not far from her food dishes, on the mat where she often snoozes was something nasty looking. At first glance I thought she'd "done her business" on the mat. Incoherent I pointed at the offending matter. She looked up at me happily. Grumbling I skirted it, released the dog into the great outdoors, and grabbed some paper towel to pick it up with.

Once it was in my hand I went outside and threw down into the shelter belt. And once my hand was free of grossness, I went and stared at the spot it had been. Because it certainly didn't feel like any waste material I'd ever picked up. It didn't smell like any waste material I'd encountered.

Puzzled, I cleaned the rug, and spent the drive to work pondering just what exactly was on the mat.

Poop? Or puke?

It was brown like poop. But the texture and look of it was kinda puke slimy looking. It almost looked like a brown hair ball. Almost like something an owl or wild animal would puke up - or an old, dried out coyote turd. Except it wasn't dried out. It was kinda slimy. If I'd had any presence of mind I would've taken a picture and posted it. But I'm not exactly a morning person. I digress...

So, bottom line is, Reba left a deposit last night, and I have no idea what it is. I did deworm yesterday and I know she was wormy - vet figured she'd ate a dead animal. Would she have puked up a worm mass? *shudder*

What I do know for sure, is that it's not an experience I care to repeat.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday


Out of necessity, I've become a juggler. On the weekend I decided the dog beds were about due for a wash. I know Tessa leaks. What I didn't realize was just how bad it had gotten. The beds were disgusting. The only one that was relatively ok was Reba's and that's simply because Tess doesn't tend to lie on it. Pulling off the covers I shoved them into the wash. Next, I proceeded to spray a cleaner, then hand wash the foam "bed" part. Ugh.

Deciding she had to wear diapers again resulted in a restless night's sleep for me. I could hear her tearing bits and pieces of diaper off of her bottom. In the morning, I had the pleasure of picking up diaper bits - and yes, some were pee colored. Yuck.

Today, I zipped out of work quickly and went to the vets. After a phone consultation at noon, they had a baggie of drugs waiting for me when I arrived.

Here's Tessa's list of dope:
Meloxicam (think doggy Advil) - taken on an as needed basis, usually 3-4 times a week.
Clomicalm (think doggy Prozac) - taken twice a day. (Vet thinks anxiety may be part of the problem.)
Stilbesterol (can't think of a human equivalent - but it's to help her incontinence) - taken once a day.
And on order, PP something or other - another drug for incontinence.

Sounds fun, doesn't it? I'll be juggling her drug routine to try and help her to be as healthy as possible. I had really wanted to avoid the drugs - but her confusion, stress and leaking just have to be dealt with. To top it off, all the dogs were dewormed today.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Are Moose Solitary Creatures?

Each morning I drive along the fence that marks a boundary to one of our beautiful national parks. I consider myself blessed to be so close to untouched wilderness. This morning as I neared the highway, I noticed moose laying in the snow. Slowing, I began counting them. There's one moose in the area that I've been watching. I'm a bit worried it's dying. So I pay extra attention. But today, today there were 10 (ten!!!!) moose all laying in the same area.

This blew me away. I had always though moose were solitary creatures, going through life in ones or twos.

Tonight, when I reached the park and my road I once again began watching the moose. Curious to see if they were all still there or if they'd dispersed. Over a stretch of a 1/2 mile I saw 8 moose and 1 deer. While I can count on seeing wildlife by the fence, it's unusual to see such large numbers. I would guess the deep snow (it's up to my thigh in the garden area of my yard) would have something to do with it.
So, my blogosphere readers, you tell me: Are moose solitary creatures? Or is this abnormal? I'd genuinely like to know. Don't make me resort to a Google search...

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Dark Side

Lately I've been considering a slight move to the dark side. I've been having some serious fun with the pups and am considering my options once the basic obedience class is over. I'm considering.... *dah doom dah doom dah doom~ in scary music* putting the babies in an intro to agility class.


I know. Shocking AND revolutionary!!!

For a herder anyway.

But I wouldn't mind having something else to do with them through the long winter months, when work and daylight make herding sheep hard. Don't get me wrong - I've absolutely done it with the help of a yard light, head lamp and some reflective material on my dog. But it's really not quite as fun or effective as training in daylight. Sooooo... this leads me to See Spot Run. I'm enjoying the class. Not only am I learning stuff and adding to my strategy tool box, but I like that it gets the babies out. I like that they are exposed to a variety of things. I want them to be well rounded dogs. And I think that doing some of the agility stuff may help them. They would certainly be exposed to a variety of things.

Realistically, I won't start Diva on stock until May. And I don't plan to start Luke until July or August. (I read an article that said males are often slower growers and mental maturer's and I'd like to give him the best shot possible.) Diva has potential as a nursery dog (a dog who competes in herding trials under a specific age allowance). So that leaves me with 4 months for Diva and 6 for Luke. All to play, develop, experience and become well rounded dogs.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

NCHA at AELEC May/June 2010 riderless horse

Okay, so I totally just stole this off my FaceBook. But it's sooooo neat. I ask of you - do people force horses to cut or do (some) horses like it? Watch the video and you be the judge. Obviously, the horse has a fair amount of training. As a farm girl, I can tell you my mare will herd the cattle if penned with them. I'm taking a wild guess, so would this horse.

Like the Wind

Some days I am a leaf blowing in the wind. Here, there, everywhere. Wishy-washy and undecided. Today, with the wind gusting swirling particles of snow, smacking, stinging my face, I set upon a different course. A path unplanned on.

Backtrack to Friday evening.

Fridays I take a jumping lesson. I came home, did chores, changed into my English riding gear, and went to the door. Both Reba and Tessa were excited. They thought that they too would be able to go outside and play. And then it all went wrong. Quickly. Without any staring contests, all it took was a glance and Reba was on Tessa. It was an epic battle with neither dog willing to concede to the other. Throwing stuff at them, hollering, I finally reaching in (remember my dogs don't wear collars unless working), I grabbed the only thing available. My brother who has a hunting dog once told me that grabbing and twisting the ear is an easy and painful correction for a dog. (Really, think about how that would feel for you.) So I reaching in and got hold of Reba's ear, with my other hand I grabbed hold of Tessa's ear. Twisting and pulling in opposite directions I managed to get them separated. By this point in time, Reba had Tessa on her back and was strangulating her. Tessa's tongue was sticking out but she was still growling.

Shoving my body between the two of them I forced them into lie down. Using my leg I shoved Tessa further away, and finally brought the baby gate in to keep them apart. This was a horrifically scary thing to witness. Both of these dogs understand I'm top dog, both of these dogs understand I won't tolerate this type of aggression. Yet it happened. Incredibly quickly with very little provocation. Thursday, they were happy as can be walking and playing together. Is it because Tessa's been "off" the last few days? Weaker than normal? I had thought I had stamped out any negative aggressive type behavior from Reba. And until this last heat cycle she hadn't given me any reason to doubt it. Why the resurgence? They've been getting lots of play and exercise.

Jump forward to today.

I had someone from the agility world come out to work her dog on my sheep. After her work, we let the puppies out and played with them. Luke, of course, was the superstar. He certainly likes to play. And once she left, all four dogs and I went for a walk (cut short by the wicked wind). Once the adult dogs were in the house, the pups and I went into their shed, where we shared a cuddle. Diva, hind legs scrambling, climbed into my lap and began making groaning sounds as she settled in for a nap. Luke, leaning against my leg in quiet contentment.

And my heart cracked right in two.

My dearest friend always says there's plan A, and then there's what really happens. Well, plan A had been to keep a - as in one - female pup. Plan B became let the female pup go and keep the male. And Plan C?

Well, plan C, seems to be leaning towards offering Reba to Nick (the home who lost a pup) or finding him a different pup, if he wants a baby. And then, come spring, find Reba a new home. The hard thing here, is I love her. I really do. There are countless times throughout the day when I look over at her and just smile. She fills my heart. But the constant fight against the fight - is flat out exhausting. And Tessa, she's my girl, and I can't have her golden years be filled with anxiety and stress. My biggest worry right now is as she become less mentally proficient, that Reba will become more aggressive towards her. After all, isn't that what happens in the wild?

And Luke, bless his little heart, if I found just the perfect home, I think I'd let him go, to give Diva the home she needs. Otherwise, I'll structure things to make Diva more successful. The pups have Reba's positive qualities, without the negative. Making them a pretty strong lure for me to resist.

This weekend has been exhausting. Keeping all the balls in the air, and the two big girls separate, while giving everyone enough attention and exercise. This is not how I wish to live my life. And clearly, is not a good way for the dogs to live either.

Like the wind, I flit and flip, this way and that, until I eventually settle upon the ground. Decision in hand.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Soiled Myself

What's the deal with today?? Is it because it's full moon?? After, lets say, an interesting day at work, I rushed home while it was still daylight to enjoy the stunningly warm weather and take the dogs for a walk.

I wanted to try and do my 3 mile (5K) route. I put Tessa's boots on, put collars and leashes on everyone else (less Bella) and began soaking it all in. Tessa's been touch and go when it comes to soundness so I've been allowing her to run on the road along side the rest of us. (Rather than in the ditch.) After about a 1/4 mile I could see a car approaching. So I called "ditch" which is Tess's command to hit the ditch. Reeling in leashes like a champion fisherman, I directed the rest of the pack into the ditch. Tessa had moved closer to us. But she was still on the road. Again, I commanded "ditch" only to watch in absolute horror as she backed onto the road!!!!! Holy crap!! That car was getting progressively closer, lunging up the incline I used one arm to shove the rest of the dogs into the ditch, reaching out with the other to snag any part of Tess I could reach. Shoving her in the ribs I basically threw her into the ditch, where I trapped her between my legs.

Educating anyone within hearing with my creative word usage I stared at her. What the moss heating son of a gun just happened? When we met the next car I was much more cautious and had her nice and close to me, but I still had to drag her into the ditch. This is the dog who for years has run off leash with me while I rode, ran, skied, walked, biked, (insert any other outdoor activity). I swear I soiled my pants it scared me so bad. Obviously I'm going to keep her on leash now.

Last Saturday we had gone to the vet and got an improved bill of health. But we did talk about what I like to call "Doggy Dementia", which Tess is showing signs of. Clearly. She seemed so confused tonight. It was like she couldn't figure out what was road and what was ditch.

We managed our walk without death or dismemberment, and made it home to do chores. I've been taking the pups with me into the corral while I feed. My rationale being that it won't be a strange place and they'll be comfortable working with me in that environment. After I finished forking all the hay, and giving the babies cuddles by my round bale, I began walking past the animals, towards the gate. May I just point out that this is normally not an issue.

Tonight, as I called the babies to follow me, Diva walked up to a sheep eating from a pile of hay. She gave him the eye-ball. He gave her the eye-ball back. I called her. And she leaped at the sheep, sinking her teeth in his nose. Again, I about messed my pants! Jolted into action, all kinds of awful scenarios - like my pup being ground into the ground - I called again. By the time I reached the duo, she had sent the sheep running the opposite direction and was looking plenty pleased with herself. Not wanting to scare her, I called and ran the other way. When she returned to my feet I gave her another cuddle.

But holy stink bombs! She's not supposed to do that! Not yet anyway. I swear if I looked in the mirror I'd find a few more grey hairs...

And yes, she'll be on a leash, tied to my waist from now on. Gawk. I couldn't take another night like tonight...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Moonlight Madness

There is something magical about moonlight in the winter. As a child, I remember trudging up the hill with my brothers, sled in tow, only to see just how far you can get. Repeat. If we were lucky enough to have the Northern Lights make an appearance we'd recline on the hill and enjoy the show. This was best done on a mild winter night, moonlight our only illumination, and capped off with hot chocolate with mini marshmallows when we finally exhausted ourselves and came back to the house. My mother always made our hot chocolate from scratch. No canned mixes for us. This is hands down one of the best memories of my childhood. Something I hold sacred and wish for my niece and nephew and any children I may be blessed with in the future to experience.

As a child we often had wickedly snowy winters. Something I took for granted. Much as regular Northern Light shows. (Now, I have to go further north to watch them - haven't seen them here in years.) This is the first winter where we've had crazy snow accumulation in a long time. And while the snow creates an added burden to daily life, it brings me back to the innocence of childhood.

As an adult who holds a full time job, I'm often not home before daylight is lost. Last night, after doing my chores by yard light, as I settled down to play flying squirrel with the dogs I looked around. Really looked around. Not just going through the motions. And I realized just how blessed I was. The moon was bright, reflecting off the snow, creating an eerie almost permanent dusk. I noticed how I could see for quite some distance. I noticed how stunning the snow covered trees and fences looked. And it occurred to me that it was light enough that I could easily see down the road.

Zipping into the house I added two flashing reflective pieces to my Carhart jacket, put the reflective collars and leashes on the dogs and made my way down the driveway. It was wonderful! The dogs and I went striding down the road. The only sounds the crunching and squeaking of the snow under my boots. I loved how the dogs tails all curled over their backs and doggy grins covered their faces.

It made me understand just how much I miss our dog walks or runs in the winter. I came back and felt so happy, so at peace, so zen that I've pledged to do this each and every day/night it's safe to.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Final Decision

After an unbelievable amount of angst and stress, I've made a decision. While Jennifer is correct that keeping them all truly makes my heart sing, it's just not the right decision for me, and the animals. I've decided that I'll let Diva go to Nick. While it tears me up because I really do appreciate and adore her, I think she'll shine more with her own human in a quieter environment. Something I can't provide.

What made the idea settle was yesterday when I was playing with the babies, Luke kept taking over the play. She was always second fiddle to him. And that's not ok. She deserves better. I think Nick will love her. She'll get to work stock every day of her life which is better than play to a Border Collie. I believe in the deepest depths of my heart that she will very likely be more happy there than here.

I'm incredibly sad because I think she has the stuff to make a trial dog, but will never get her chance to be the star. But am comforting myself with the fact that she'll be his star. He'll treasure what she contributes to his farm and life. And, as with any of my pups, should anything happen, I will buy her back no questions asked.

While this may not be the right decision for me, I'm quite certain it's the right thing for her. And that's the most important part. She'll remain here until the stray is taken care of. And that'll be hard for me. But I'll take her cuddles and sweetness while I can, before turning her over to her new family, for them to love.

Luke - the future herder.

Reba - queen stalker and herder of today.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


I'm getting closer to a decision. I've spent a good part of the weekend with the dogs, spending time with them, loving them, trying to work out what I should do. On Monday, I'll be taking the two babies to puppy class with my father as a substitute handler. There are some things I need to run by him - my family is a HUGE help with the animals, and I feel he deserves a say. After all, while I was at work, he was bottle feeding pups. When I go out of town, he does my chores. He too has an emotional attachment to the animals.

Like Jennifer suggested, I closed my eyes and pictured in my head this summer. What I saw was....

Reba flying down the field. Not Luke. Not Diva. But Reba running with joy on her face to the sheep.

So I began weighing pros and cons.

Reba's positive qualities are that she has excellent stamina (we've gone for 5 mile runs in the summer and she's ready to work when we get home), she's keen to work, wants to please me, has a very nice natural outrun, (this one could be a con) and is a one person dog. She's also happy in her crate, travels well, housebroke, and has a quiet easy going disposition - she's the dog who nicely lays at your feet. Her negative attributes are she's cranky with other dogs - more so when she come into heat, is quite strong eyed and is sensitive (which could be positive). Reba's the dog that quietly trails me around the house.

Luke's positive qualities are that he has his mom's easy going personality, he's quite calm, he's keen to learn and play, he's gregarious - after a minute to study them, he's keen to play with other dogs, and is pretty relaxed about new things. His potential negatives could be lack of endurance, and he's male. (I'd have to work very hard at training him when and where he can pee - because it *heh* pisses me off when they pee on my tires.) He also has a great body with nice bone and should be a larger medium sized dog.

Diva's positive qualities are that she's athletic and fast, soft and trainable, female, and isn't bothered by other dogs. She's brave. Her negatives could be that she's sensitive and wary of strange people. She is more inclined to cling to her human's leg and isn't as interested in playing with the other dogs. More serious of the two pups. Diva also has more energy, or is more hyper than her brother, but I think will have good endurance. Diva has her mom's build and type of coat.

Both pups are brave in strange situations - but in different ways. They will have had different and better socialization situations than their mother (who I didn't get until she was a bit older than the pups are now - and then had to finish off her shots - putting her at 7 months before she could really get out there), and have already had more work and know more than their mother at this age. Both pups are more confident than Reba at this age.

With Reba I feel like we have something to prove. That I need to provide her with the opportunity to show off what a nice dog she is. The pups have no pressure - they are the quintessential blank slate.

Christine mentioned the training aspect of the pups, and I've thought a lot about that. Borders are a bit different in the way its not uncommon for people to hold pups until they're on stock before deciding which animal suits them best. Right now, my pups live together - I like that they have each other for companionship and heat. But they would by necessity be separated next month. I couldn't risk an accidental breeding (Yuck!). However, it's easy enough to keep them in their own runs. And give them play time as well as separate training time. Compared to horse training time this isn't a lot of commitment. Would I be able to do justice to two pups? I don't know.

With Reba, I have money set aside to send her out for some extra training come spring. (Literally, it's in an envelope in my underwear drawer.) I'd do it now, but she was bald after the pups, and became an inside dog. No trainer I know would have her inside.

With the pups I've already started taking puppy classes and, if the weather would ever cooperate, plan on trips to the dog park and town. (You should have seen the look on Luke's face when he saw the Labradoodle!) I'd also plan to lightly start them in the summer and send out in September when I'm busy with work.

My mom thinks I should sell Luke, and keep Diva. Based solely on sex. My older brother loves Luke for his personality, but has nothing against Diva. And I guess I'll find out what my dad thinks tomorrow. The lady from the email is considering Luke - but because she wants a breeding dog down the road and he's a carrier, she's not committed.

But what do I think? What "makes my heart sing"? At this point, any of my options make me tear up. I'm not ready to let any of them go. In their own way, they all have something special I really appreciate.

But I will make a final decision tomorrow. After puppy class. Sigh.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Horse vs Dog

vs Dog

There's been a pretty large battle waging itself inside of me for the last couple of weeks. The battle ramped up into high gear with the sudden and unexpected renewed interest in the pups. I'm feeling a sense of urgency that I really can't describe. I feel the need to make a decision with the animal situation immediately.

With the dogs, Keith has a 3/4 sister to Reba that would be ready to leave mom around the middle of February that I could forward on to Nick to replace Grace. Bottom line is he needs a new dog. However, I also know that I don't need to house three Border Collies (Tessa doesn't count). The advice I received was if someone was interested in buying - SELL. So I'm torn, should I let Diva go and keep Luke? I keep running through all the potential scenarios in my head. It's the "What If..." that's killing me. What if Diva is the outstanding herder? A huge part of the problem is I'm attached to both pups and there isn't a clear favorite. They both have pros and cons to their various little personalities and make-ups.

Another, huge dog issue for me is Reba. I love her to death. I think she's talented and trainable. But deep down in my heart, some days I wonder if I'm the right human for her. She's definitely more happy when she's getting a lot of regular work. Another issue for me is that Reba and Tessa do not get along. It's work to stay on top of the behavior - and I hate having my old dog scared to enter or leave a room.

The secondary issue regarding Reba is that I'm not passionately committed to competing at trials. I enjoy going to trials. But really, I can take or leave most of them. I enjoy working my dog. I really enjoy training the babies (when they first get on the stock, and start to get the basics down). If I'm not going to commit to hitting the trial field hard next summer, is it fair of me to keep her? I do know I'll never be a hard core trialer. I can't commit the time because most of the "big" trials are when I'm working and it's not an easy feat to get time off during the school year. (One of my coworkers is on the National Handball Team and he was denied permission to attend Nationals. - to give you perspective.)

vs Horse

Part of my Reba dilemma stems from Roxy. This is Roxy's big year (3 year old Futurities). Because it has been a very, very, long time since I've had anything to do with cutting I'm feeling quite uncertain how much of a financial and time commitment she's going to need. And Cutting trumps Sheep Trials. If I have to choose, I will choose the horse. If I have to pick how I'll spend my money, I'll put it into the horse. Not going down the road to compete with the dog. If I'm spending a lot of time working with the horse or doing cutting related activities the herding side of things will suffer. This I do know. (Who knows - I may get going with the cutting and discover I hate it, the politics and the people. But that hasn't happened yet.)

vs Dog

The pups, however, do not need to trial this year. Instead, it's the perfect time to get them started and mess around with them. They would be able to travel with me and get a lot of socialization and experiences. The pups I can shape to fit my lifestyle. And when I'm ready to hit the trial field, they too, would be ready. But Reba, she needs to work. She loves to work. She wants to work. And I feel I'm selling her short. Wasting her, so to speak, by forcing her to be a pet. (Which she definitely is more so than working dog at this point in time.)

On the other hand, Reba is a known quantity. I know who she is as a dog. What her strengths and weaknesses are. I know she has endurance and talent. This I can't say about the pups. All I can say about the pups is they handle new things well, and are trainable.

So here I sit. Having an internal war. All sparked by someone wanting a pup. And shoved into high drive because I really, truly love my critters and want the best for them...

What to do... what to do...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Heart Sick

I was sitting and relaxing, when the phone rang. It was Grace's new home! Nick (her owner) was asking whether I still had the other female puppy. I do. But I don't want to sell her. Wondering why he was enquiring about another dog, I asked how little Grace was doing.

The news was not good. Tuesday night when they were on their way back to the house after milking cows, Grace raced ahead. This was not like her and he wondered why. A stray German Shepard came into the yard and attacked Grace. When Nick got to her, it was too late. Grace was gone forever. He thinks the stray broke her neck.

This was an awful thing to hear! My heart sank. I couldn't believe it. He was sick to his stomach. He told me what a wonderful dog she was turning into. It was clear this dog had a special place in his world. I told him I'd get on the phone and see if I couldn't find him another, knowing that I didn't want to give Diva up. Calling Ken, who has some pups I asked if he had a female left. He did but he needs to talk it over with Keira his daughter. I called Keith who just had a litter. He also needs to talk it over. So when I called Nick back, I told him, if we can't find another female, I would let him have Diva. I just feel so incredibly bad for him over the situation. He plans to keep his new dog at my place until he can catch and remove the stray. Permanently.

Today, I am heartsick.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

On The Fence

I had an email last night. It was a person enquiring about the pups. They wanted to know if I had any left to sell. I'm really on the fence about that. On one hand if someone wants one I really should bite the bullet and choose one. On the other hand I really like them both and wouldn't mind seeing them develop further. The other consideration is come summer, if I still have the two pups, and Reba... I would consider selling Reba to the right home. I just worry I don't have enough work for her.

There are so many factors to consider. So many variables that could change or influence things. What's the right thing to do? The business smart thing is to take the money and run. But my heart says hold on to the pups and make a decision down the road. I'm pretty confident they're going to turn into good working dogs. But - you never really know. There are no guarantees.

Ugh. I wonder how she got my email. I shouldn't have any active ads.

Stay tuned for a decision...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Whiskey's Belly

I've been having some agonizing moments when I'm out doing chores. With Whiskey pregnant I've wanted her to have enough food and nutrients to grow the fetus, but not so much that she becomes obese. I fully realize that many people just feed their horses and don't think about it. But I do. I worry that if she's packing too much weight it will make for a difficult delivery come May.

So I feel along her ribs. They seem okay. She's a bit plump - definitely not working lean, but not fat. I can feel the ribs... Ugh... Normally, I like my horses to carry just a bit extra in the winter. That way if we have a cold snap they have some reserves to use if needed. My horses live outside. They have shelter, quality food, automatic water, and if the weather is particularly nasty I'll blanket to cut the wind. Ugh... the whole pregnancy thing is throwing me off my game... I suppose I'll ask Sam (vet) next week when I see her what she suggests.

Darn belly freaks me out!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Luke's Eyes

My mom thinks Luke's eyes are spooky. I think they're beautiful. His eyes are lighter than any of my other dogs and in my opinion - kinda neat. What do you think?


Over the last 24 hours, we've received at least a foot of snow. Add in strong winds and continuous flurries and you have some winter fun. The roads are bad enough my vet was in the process of pulling up my number to cancel my appointment when I called in this morning. She didn't think I'd make it down the road with the trailer. What this means is I now have a stuck at home day. Which I don't mind in the least. I took the dogs (less Bella) for a walk down the road. And then I we went and played in the barnyard. The corrals are normally plowed out so the horses and sheep don't have to hang out in deep snow. Here's Reba walking on to the sheep in formerly packed snow.

I was trying to take a picture to show just how much snow we have right now but couldn't find anything that showed it. So here's a nice snowy tree.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

My Love

Today was a great day. I was able to spend part of it with my love. This time of year I often don't get to see my love. I leave too early in the morning, and I often get home too late in the afternoon.

But today was fabulous! Not only did I spend some quality time with my love at work, I waved goodbye to my love standing on the hill with my dogs. Okay, I know I shouldn't love the sun so, but I really, truly do! I'm a definite sun baby. I will soak up it's golden rays during the summer turning myself an unhealthy brown. And in the winter I chase it's elusive rays. Jumping at any opportunity to be outside in it.

Normally, this time of year I'm limited to weekend time. But today I was home by 4:30 and was able to sneak in a quickie. The dogs and I huffed and puffed our way up the very snowy hill - my path long since snowed in. It was so much fun. I've been having trouble motivating myself to bond with my treadmill, and I think it has a lot to do with not having my training partners with me.

And the bonus - it was WARM out!

Well, warm for winter here...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Monday, January 3, 2011

Good Babies!

Tonight was puppy class number one. The timing for me to get from work, to home, and into the city - is well, tight. But sooooo worth it! I'm so proud of Luke and Diva tonight! They are awesome! I had enough time to get my chores done, eat a grilled cheese, run the pups around the yard to try to encourage them to pee, and leave.

Once in the city, I carefully navigated and tried to find the place. Unfortunately, the address on the website was incorrect. Sigh. So when the class is about to begin I'm sitting in some industrial area madly scrolling through my BlackBerry trying to find the correct address. Sigh. Once found, I wrote it down and then begin to try and navigate to a different industrial section. This was not fun. It took me a stinking 40 minutes to actually find the place! Once there, we unloaded the pups, ran them to a snow bank where Luke peed, and peed, and peed, and peed. I was sooooo happy the little gaffer held it and didn't mess in the truck! Remember he's not housebroke.

Once in the class, both pups were wonderful. Luke was a bit more assertive and gave a couple of big barks, but within minutes both settled in, relaxed and got into learning mode. For farm dogs, who have had a limited amount of exposure to different things they were troopers. Diva, is super smart, eager to please, and soft. She was so easy tonight! Luke has a bit more attitude but it is still pretty darn easy to get him to do what you want.

Afterwards, we played in the snowbank, had another pee and drove home. They are becoming seasoned travelers. I'm a bit stunned at how sweet these guys are. You always hope for it - but reality means it doesn't always happen.

I can't wait to keep working with them to see how they continue to develop!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Town Time

With my mother's assistance, Luke, Diva and I headed into town. The goal: exposure to other dogs, people and things. Things that they will never see on the farm. First stop was PetSmart where I had to pick up doggy diapers for Reba (she's in heat right now - yucky!), and where we also swung by the toy aisle to get a few more toys for the babies.
Next, we went to one of the public park areas in Sherwood Park. It was wildly busy there! Luke was a wild man today. Normally he's a pretty good leash walker, but today he was full of himself. Bucking bronco, straining at the end. But he was happy and other than barking at a dog that was wildly barking at him he was a little champion. He's certainly showing signs of having a come what may attitude.

Diva was priceless. At PetSmart she wouldn't walk on the asphalt. Cement was okay, but where the cars drive... pancake time! In the park she was pretty good, very alert and interested in her surroundings and walking like a lady on the leash. Well, until we came to the wooden bridge over a frozen stream. We made it about a 1/4 way across when she went into pancake mode. She desperately wanted to go back the way we came, but I persevered and we eventually got her to cross the bridge - scooting along on her belly the entire way! You should have seen how proud she was when we reached the safety of "solid" land. It was a belly laugh moment.

Both pups traveled well, and didn't destroy or have any accidents in my truck so I was pretty pleased with that. Overall, I'm quite tickled with how they're handling things. I plan to take them to town again on Sunday, and Monday brings our first puppy class.

Sorry, no pictures. It was snowing like crazy all afternoon.