Tuesday, October 2, 2012


We've had a lot of dog stuff going on here at Cooke Creek. First off, Sampson started doing an escape maneuver wayyyy to much. He would go on a walkabout shortly after his morning biscuits and though we live 12 miles out of town in what is considered "country", we have a ton of neighbors all around us on 3 sides ever since the population/building boom happened here. Shortly after the Taylor Bridge fire was underway in August and all kinds of people were organized doing animal rescue and rehoming and relocating, Sampson traipsed over to a home across the irrigation canal not far from us and lo and behold, within about 10 minutes his face is plastered all over the animal rescue Facebook page. The people were worried he was a displaced LGD from the fire...he had "muddy feet" and was "whimpering". I don't mean to belittle them because they were sweet to post his mug and try to figure out if he was a fire victim, but this put the last straw in my hat when my daughter-in-law said "I think I saw Sampson on Facebook." Sheesh. So....after retrieval of the poor muddy dog that had gotten into the irrigation canal on his walkabout, I started thinking it was time for Sampson to find a new way of existing here. Over the rest of the summer while I was off work I tried making a pet dog out of him along with a livestock guardian dog. I taught him to come for treats and taught him a few obedience things. He stayed with the sheep at night and got his morning biscuits, locked into his kennel (out by the sheep) and then I would let him in the yard with the herding dogs in the afternoon for some playtime and relaxation. He and Beau became fast friends and wrestled every afternoon. He still would get out once in a while and this drove me nuts. When we had some folks come and purchase a large group of ewes (new to sheep with a new ranch 3 hours away at the end of a road), we asked if they would be interested in taking Sampson and we were very honest about his antics. They are farming full-time so could really watch him and correct his bad behaviors. We sadly said goodbye to sweet Sampson. We had grown attached, of course. Happy to report, he is doing very well in his new home. It probably helps he is with his flock as well (or most of it). It's been really quiet here at night without him but we've managed to setup a little bit different night setup for the remaining sheep to eliminate the need for a guard dog. It's very close to the house near the other dogs' yard so if lots of barking happens, we check it out to make sure the girls are okay.

Second dog issue is Beau. After a limp became more pronounced and a training lesson with Patrick Shannahan was cut short because he couldn't "come bye" (clockwise running) due to pain/limping, I made an appointment at the vet and we had x-rays done that were sent to WSU for a radiology read and diagnosis. OCD of the shoulder was the diagnosis and a referral appointment to an orthopedic surgeon was scheduled. We saw Dr. Mark Davis last week who said surgery is going to fix Beau all up and he'll be back to herding in no time. He goes in for surgery this week. The rehab and aftercare is important and Dr. Davis is a certified rehab specialist so we are in good hands. But, this is an expensive deal too. There goes my sheep money.

Next up is Windy. We tried our luck at a trial in Arlington in July. It was a training trial and it was fun. I surely didn't expect we would do super great but it was pretty pathetic really. Her outrun is really lacking and she doesn't seem to know her directions. Hmmm. We had been working on directions so I was frustrated about this aspect. She did travel well and was a good girl in the travel trailer, sleeping on one of the dining cushions and not moving all night. After the trial, I was thrilled to see some openings for private lessons with Pat Shannahan in early September in Arlington. I took both dogs and we had an hour of Pat's time. He helped a lot. We got home to yet another huge wildfire that prevented us from working/herding sheep for weeks due to terrible air quality (this fire is still going and is 90,000 acres). Windy did help us bring in sheep for some buyer pick-ups but but dang, she was pushing my buttons in lots of other ways, as in personality BS. She growled at me a couple of times and started being a real stinker about not listening. I called a friend who liked her working style and breeding and could find a working home for her on a cattle ranch as she likes to work in tight and isn't pretty brave and is a gripping fool, if allowed. I was thinking this might be the best solution but they wanted to come see her work again. Last Sunday they visited and we ran Windy through a few paces. He thinks she was just started incorrectly and she's too old to change a whole lot. But then he remembered a trainer he thinks could get her "listen" back on. She's got lots of talent and natural instinct/ability...we just need to harness it better. So, this is going to be pursued. I will be talking to the trainer this week and we'll see how it goes. The really funny is...I had started having second thoughts about selling her before the friend came over on Sunday. I get so attached to my dogs. I told my hubby that she was being all nice to me and loving like she knew what I had in mind. LOL. I've had to clamp down on her BS behaviors and that has helped as well. She's got a bit of a passive-aggressive thing going on which I've seen in many a female border collie. Go figure. So, that's the latest dog sagas. I'll let you know how the surgery goes and how Windy's training is coming along soon.

Happy trails....

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