Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Current Events

So… what have we all been up to in recent weeks?


He seems to have been feeling really good- fighting fit. Charging around at the farm, swimming, swimming and more swimming at the river, keeping the masses in order.

The highlight of his life is still being at the farm, where he rides in the front of the ute (of course), plays his own version of the silly sheepdog games every evening (I think he calls it “Bite the Border Collie”), and sometimes gets to work sheep. Richard is so soft with Jack and lets him have a turn in the training paddock, and last session actually had him stopping and sort of thinking about balancing. Its really not his forte, though- he much prefers a big mob, where he can run back and forth to his heart’s content. I was trying to help load lambs the other day- Muddy dicked his knee, Bill was too sore from other farm work, and the stupid stupid little crossbred lambs just would not cooperate. So I got Jackie out, and he was actually useful- at least his gentle hocking got those lambs shifting much better than my feeble “yah yah”. We know the hocking was gentle, because occasionally as he went around a pen, he’d hock me or Richard.

We’ve been doing the odd bit of agility, between work and farm, and he ran a recent 500 course pretty quick for his old legs. I’ve still been planning on “one day” getting back to finish off his JDM, and just let him enjoy trialling while he still can. And maybe I’ll eventually get around to that UD… just not enough time.

Last few days Jack’s probably overdone it a bit- he went stiff on his bad shoulder after a few days of vigorous walks and Frisbee, and having just recovered from that, we turned up to agility last night and he had another episode of that hunched posture that flared up before the Royal. Seemed very sore in the groin/abdomen, didn’t like being touched there. Is it a pulled muscle, or something more sinister? Today he’s recovered, but I’m still watching him like a hawk.

His usual barky self. Poor lad’s been a bit neglected recently, not much time on sheep, not much agility (because I’m worried about his knee), and I always seem to be cross with him. But he’s fattened up a little bit (finally), and seemed to really enjoy agility last night. He weaved pretty well, and even went full-tilt on the wide open section of the course. And we managed a few tricky turns/pull throughs, without him shutting down too much.

News on the knee- last week at the park, he twisted and held it up, as per usual, but when I went to him, I flexed/extended the knee. He squeaked, there was a palpable clunk, and he could put it down and run around normally. It must be a patella subluxation or similar- the cruciate story just isn’t fitting anymore.

Truly the bottom of the pecking order around here. Even the girlies boss him around.

But he’s still my boy, and keeps surprising me. He’s not had much training time on sheep either, and still doesn’t have much style, but I love to work him, he just never lets me down. I hate to admit he works much better for Richard, who gets him to settle and stop nicely.

He’s loving agility training, and I just love working him. I’ve given up on the spazzy jumping, it just doesn’t seem fixable, although perhaps its slowly improving as we run longer sequences. Maybe he’ll figure out that its faster to jump normally once we start doing proper courses.

Last night he did some longer sequences (I ran him around bits of a Masters-type course- just jumps/tunnels/walk) and he’s so much fun- just wants to blast around as fast as he can. He didn’t drop many bars, did some normal jumping (and some massive spazzy overjumps), and even some pretty efficient serpentines.

I was so excited with his first time on the full-size dogwalk. He’s been doing groovy quick 2o2o contacts on the baby walk, and last night he transferred that beautifully to the full size walk, even as part of a sequence. He was a little cautious the first time, but I wound him up and after that he was just bolting over, skidding down the ramp and trying to hold a 2o2o. On one occasion he went on at too much of an angle and came off at the top, and once he was just going too fast down the ramp and couldn’t stop, just slid down and went tail over tits onto his head instead of a 2o2o, but the great thing about Bill is that he just didn’t care. As long as I tell him how great he is and give him his treat, he’s still raring to go.

Bill’s other incredible talent is his ability to get tangled in computer cables. It doesn’t matter where I put the computer or how carefully I tuck the cables out of the way, Bill will lie down somewhere and in 5 minutes he’ll have the phone cord wrapped twice around his body and the power cord looped around both back legs. And when he leaps up to follow me to the loo, everything will come crashing down. Its uncanny.

The Girlies-
Feral. They’ve hit adolescence bit time, and every day one of them responds to a recall or a request to sit or get in the car with a “Make me!.” Generally they are still pretty well-behaved, but we’ve instituted some new manners rules, and we’re trying to do some obedience work every day.

Both are starting nicely on sheep. Ziggy works a lot more like her mum, without so much eye (a good thing), while Pinky is still a bit puppyish. Zig blew me away the other day when we had to move a couple of hundred sheep from the training paddock to the other side of the hill (maybe a kilometre?). I took Mr Relia-Bill and Ziggy, and for her first time on a mob she was great. When they came through the first gate, the first half of the mob started breaking up the hill into the rocks, and Zig came through the fence and cast out nicely to head them off and bring them back down. She got the hang of wearing back and forth behind the mob with Bill, only occasionally coming around too far.

Being a farm dog at the moment. I think she’s hanging out to get back to town and do some agility- I certainly am. But she is going nicely on sheep, tries her guts out. And Jim is finally getting his act together too.

Feeling rubbish. Bollocks to that stuff about second trimester glow. I hurt, am dog-tired all the time, can’t get comfortable anywhere, and move like a hemiplegic whale. I think I have SPD- agility training on Tuesday night leaves me completely unable to move on Wednesday, my groin feels like its been pulled apart.

Little Jack keeps kicking me down low, and is twisting and jumping all over. I don’t mind if he does his acrobatics now, as long as he ends up head down (oh, and sleeps like the perfect baby come March).

Wish we had a house though- I think I have my heart set on this double story job from ShedCo, but I don’t think R’s convinced and really we can’t afford it. I just love those verandahs…

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Koolie seeks home

Here's Patch (name open to improvement), she's 8mo and needs an experienced new owner who can make the most of her boundless energy and enthusiasm. She was found by the side of the road as a baby pup, taken on by an older couple who hoped for a quiet pet, and just ran them off their feet. She was taken to the local vets for euthanasia if no home could be found. She seems to have had no discipline or boundaries, and not a lot of exercise. In the last few days she's become much better at coming when called, but still wears a long line.

On the plus side- she's gorgeous (red merle with yellow eyes), petite, and friendly, gets along well with other dogs of all shapes and sizes, and impressed the vets during her temporary stay with her friendly nature with people and other animals.

Patch would make a great agility or obedience dog (or even flyball- she's small and likes toys), or an active pet for someone WITH EXPERIENCE and time to commit to training (which she desperately needs). She'll be available for the cost of desexing.

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Thursday, November 02, 2006


So- on the Pet Show (ABC) tonight we heard that a dog is "obviously too thin" if you can see a tuck up, and easily feel ribs. What on earth would they make of our scrawny animals?

Muddy- 16-17kg at 51.5cm, loses weight just thinking about sheep, and eats 4 times as much as Jack:

Diva- 9mo, tall and lean, looks like a roo dog (but ooh she's nice on sheep):

Sally, the queen of scrawn. She's probably under 49cm, but weighs only 11-12kg, and has palpable ribs, hips, spine- luckily the fluff covers her nicely.
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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Queen and Princess

Daheim Queani, and her daughter Mac's Diva (not to be confused with her agility litter sister, Mac's DiscoDiva):

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Friday, October 27, 2006

Mac's Myrtle

5th March 2006 - 28th June 2006

Came in from a rainy Thursday on the avenue,
Thought I heard you talking softly.
I turned on the lights, the TV and the radio,
Still I can't escape the ghost of you.

What has happened to it all?
Crazy, some would say.
Where is the life that I recognize?
Gone away...

But I won't cry for yesterday, there's an ordinary world,
Somehow I have to find.
And as I try to make my way to the ordinary world,
I will learn to survive.

Passion or coincidence once prompted you to say:
"Pride will tear us both apart."
Well now pride's gone out the window, cross the rooftops,
run away,
Left me in the vacuum of my heart.

What is happening to me?
Crazy, some would say.
Where is my friend when I need you most?
Gone away...

But I won't cry for yesterday, there's an ordinary world,
Somehow I have to find.
And as I try to make my way to the ordinary world,
I will learn to survive.

Papers in the roadside tell of suffering and greed.
Here today, forgot tomorrow...
Here beside the news of holy war and holy need,
Ours is just a little sorrowed talk.

And I won't cry for yesterday, there's an ordinary world,
Somehow I have to find.
And as I try to make my way to the ordinary world,
I will learn to survive.

Every world is my world. I will learn to survive.
Any world is my world. I will learn to survive
Any world is my world.
Every world is our world.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Dear motorist

Dear motorist (I can’t bring myself to call you “human”),
I’m sure this won’t even cause you pause for thought, let alone regret, but it makes me feel better to write it.

Tonight we had a few minutes of magic: my parents and I stood in the cool summer evening on their Fairway verge, by the side of my car, and mused over career crises and family health worries and financial issues and all those mundane concerns that keep me awake at night. I was feeling the weight of the worry and my thoughts were heavy and resigned, and I could hardly believe it when I saw it- just a few feet from us, in the low branch of the small street tree, a pixie face silhouetted against the backlight of Broadway Fair shopping centre.

She was a possum, big ears quivering in the noise of the busy suburban street, and she perched at waist height in the small peppermint, ducking her head coyly between the branches as though eavesdropping on our conversation. After my surprised exclamation, we fell silent and just watched her for a few moment as she curled herself around the tree and peered back at us. She had climbed, while we talked, to the peppermint via an overhanging tree stretching darkly above us and reaching back to the roof of my parents’ house.

“Oh!” my mother said, “we thought we had a possum!”, and we reminisced about the visiting possums of my childhood, of night time roof scrabbling, chopped fruit offerings and glowing eyes in the torchbeams of eager kids on summer evenings. Our possum obliged by edging down the tree trunk towards us, leaning out precariously with her claws scraping on the peppermint bark, and I marvelled at how pink her nose twitched in the darkness, the shine of the streetlights in her eyes, the bristle of her tail. As my father was dispatched to the kitchen for a piece of apple, my heart was charmed, lifted from the concerns of a few minutes earlier and I imagined a time in the near future when I might stand here on this suburban street with my own child and share the curious company, the unexpected joy, the pure magic of this wild creature come to meet us.

As we stood enjoying the moment, I became aware of the headlights approaching from behind, the rising roar of a car in a hurry (as they always are) down Fairway. “Stand still, oh, don’t run now,” the whispered entreat, and in the clich├ęd slowing of time, we watched our little possum scurry down the base of the peppermint tree, across the kerb, onto the bitumen. I don’t remember if there were words to my prayer, but I know I prayed for the speed of the possum, the separation of the wheels, the preservation of this rare fleeting moment of joy. And it all ended with a crunch that I felt in my gut like a blow, nausea welling up with disbelief.

The car braked briefly after impact but did not stop- I suppose their shopping or dinner or evening TV was more important than the fate of a small pixie-faced possum who ended her curious life cradled in my hands, her chest crushed, her soft fur adrift, her warm pink paws curled and cooling in defeat.

She was just a possum, and I’m so glad, as I’m sure you are, that she didn’t dent or scratch or mark your car. But I have to admit that it’s not just the resonating sound of that impact, but the thought of bringing my child into your sort of “society”, that makes me sick to my stomach.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Ivanhoe Sally

Ivanhoe Sally, doing a bit of a demo at the Royal... she was a bit amped by the crowd and atmosphere, but had great time

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More Royal Agility Pics

More Jasper (Ob Ch Brynbank Dangeros Liasion ADX JDX )... and no, its not just the effect of all that hair, he is moving quick:

Karen Phillips' Murphy (Lucratif Original Chill CDX ADM JDM ET), the old master at work:
Amanda Houston and Ben (Daheim Lucky Star ADX JDX CDX)- and yep, that's the same Daheim as Queani:

Sue Hogben's Nifty (Guirmere Nifty Lad ADX JDM ADO JDO GD SPD), who doesn't seem at all slowed down by all those big letters dragging along behind his name:

Young Riot (Hotnote As Good As It Gets AD JDX PT), who like Nifty + Terra, seemed to amp up for the crowds

What is with all these tricolour border collies? Anyone would think at least half the agility dogs in WA were tricolour border collies... and that's probably not that far off!
Terra (Bellview Foxy Lady ADX JD ADO JDO), another very quick young dog with lots of letters, who only seems to get faster:
Kriszty, left behind in Terra's dust, tries to regain her confidence by showing the crowd some snazzy moves from her last dance production (Saturday Night Fever, I believe):
More Terra, because she's so good looking, and because there just aren't enough photos of tricolour dogs on this blog already...
Giving someone a piece of her mind:
Kriszty and Terra have developed a new contact technique- not 2o2o, not 1RTO, no- this is FAITA (Fluffy Arse In The Air): Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Final Day- Perth Royal Agility

Well, its all over for another year. And we actually came out of the Royal with some success, other than Fred's win...

I'm embarrassed to say that Muddy actually won the Novice Agility. He was perhaps slightly better than earlier in the week with his ring-stress issue. He started off from the line with something like his training speed in both agility and jumping, and although he slowed down and went away with the fairies again in both rounds, there was minimal walking and a bit more kind of running, in a half-arsed kind of way.

He didn't qualify in either ring- in jumping he ran (or moseyed) past the tunnel to have a sniff at the sheep or the crowd or both, and in agility he went clear until the the penultimate obstacle, the dogwalk, where he practically stopped for a picnic on the down ramp, but got an unexpected burst of energy just at the bottom, which surprised him so much he leapt off the contact. Oddly everyone else got at least one fault (in fact I think only 2 dogs avoided DQ) and somehow we were the fastest (probably least slow is more accurate in Mud's case).

Anyway I did take some pics today, but my stupid camera decided to autofocus on something behind my target in almost every shot, so they are all slightly blurry.

Emmy the GSP (Morunda MGM Grand ADX JD CD) with Lisa P:

Jess UD ADM JDM, the very naughty dog...usually our state's top agility dog, as Jill's commentary reminded people, invariably just before Jess flipped Kriszty her furry middle finger and showed that even good girls can be bad sometimes (we love you Jess :)).

Brooklyn the Aussie (Ch Tuscamada Designer Made CDX AD JDX) with Deb Hyde:
Maggie Hankinson and flying black lab Blackboy Black Magic UD ADM JDM ET
Anne True and George AD JDX GD ET on the dogwalk:

"Do you think the judge spotted that?":

The Hosutons' Sonny (aka OCh Brynbank Magic Sunday UD ADM JDM):

Sandi Gee and toller Scooter (Ptolomy Choc Chip CDX ADX JD ):
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Fred wins the Royal!

Boylee Fred (and some bloke called Richard) won the Yard event at the 2006 Perth Royal Show, equal first with Grant Cooke and Tilly.
Not too shabby for a dog that sleeps on the bed (guess I'll have to stop complaining about all the hairs on my pillow, eh?).

Fred in action:

Yes, border collies can back.

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