Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Rain! etc.

Wow, it's pouring here today! We were getting extremely dry and my pasture was turning to dust so this is very welcome. It's been a good rain with nice soaking showers to begin and then this morning's deluge. I sure hope some of it makes it into my pond as it's looking awfully pitiful.

I thought i'd just do a quick update as it's been a bit since my last post --

Preparations are continuing for the upcoming Novice trial. We have about 30 runs so far and i'll take up to 40. If we don't get any more, we'll do fun runs or possibly re-run the classes, depending on how the day goes. Either way, it should be fun and we'll have raised a nice bit of money for Joan's Ovarian Cancer Walk team. A gang of us are getting together Monday (Labor Day) to worm the sheep and run them through in groups of 3 or 4 so they'll be a little nicer for the novice teams at the trial - hopefully! That's the plan anyway. There are still a few things to be done around the farm before the 20th but it should be all done in time.

The dogs are hanging in there. Zac is doing well with his rehab at Vethab. I sat down with Dr Sherman on Monday and he gave me more information on the theory behind his treatment plan and the shockwave treatment, and i'm feeling confident i'll get my Zac back on the trial field on 4 legs again. I've started conditioning the other dogs for the fall trial season. I don't know who i'll end up trialing yet, but i'm working out Spottie and Jet for sure, with Fat Gael and puppy Bill along for the run. I haven't been working anyone on sheep much but plan to get back to that soon, probably in the next week. I'm still trying to give Bill some more growing up time though i'm sure he could take training now. I get him out about once a week and he's running out pretty well, doing a little driving, seems to know his flanks, comes through the large group on a shed, mostly does about anything i throw at him, so i don't see a reason to push him along any faster. He's still only 13 months old. We'll have a lot of fun together this winter, i'm sure. Bart is about to go stir crazy. He was officially diagnosed with OCD a couple of weeks ago, after me being suspicious about it for awhile now. We're trying Adequan injections and strict crate rest to see if possibly the OCD lesion will heal up without surgery. Poor guy is about to explode he's so bored and full of pent up energy. His breeder very generously offered to take him back to do the surgery and/or rehab, and after all i've had going with the dogs in the last couple of months, i decided to take her up on it. He'll be heading back to South Dakota next week. I'll miss him but it seems to be for the best. It will be very odd (but very nice!) to be down to only 5 dogs with fall and winter coming on. I'm sure my "homework" with Zac's rehab will be increasing soon and it will be nice to have the time to devote to that and also to bringing Billy along for the spring trials.

Otherwise, things are just clipping along. Lessons are picking up a bit, which is a good thing. I enjoy doing them and meeting the new people and dogs that come out. The sheep are fat and happy, though wishing there was more grass to eat. Things are relatively quiet for the moment. It would be nice if it would stay that way for a little break before the busy fall season gets here.

ETA: I just got email that there's a FLOOD WATCH in Granville County. How awesome is that?! Rain, rain, rain, don't go away! Not for a day or two anyway. :-)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Video and thanks again

Thanks to Julie, Laura, Colin and Lauren for another good work day at the farm saturday. It's looking awfully nice out there. It was fun working the dogs and visiting. Thanks guys, you're the best!

Mark and Renee stopped over for some dog work sunday and Becca came by to show them her Ted, who they bred. He was sure looking nice and showing off for his breeders! Becca also got a little video of Billy that i thought i'd share. I'm sure enjoying him. Bill video

Thursday, August 14, 2008


I took Zac to VetHab in Raleigh today to see Dr John Sherman about his mystery limp. I was very, very impressed with the exam. And ta da! We finally have a real, honest to goodness diagnosis, not a "well, it's nothing obvious so it must be x" as we'd gotten previously. I've spent the last year stretching and resting and dealing with a supposed iliopsoas muscle strain and it turns out it's actually a gluteal strain. The iliopsoas is a very deep muscle inside the rear leg, while the gluteal is the outer muscle. In a person, a gluteal sprain would result in a literal "pain in the ass". So Zac, more than just BEING a pain in the ass, actually HAS one. It fits very well with the skip/limp i've been watching for so long, where there's obvious pain on extension of his right leg going down hills and on counter clockwise arcs. And certainly makes more sense than "it's gotten to be a habit" or "he's protecting his leg because he remembers it hurting" as i've also been told. I just don't think dogs think that way, or at least not this particular dog. Dr Sherman was able to get a very obvious pain reaction (vocalization) out of Zac in 3 different types of challenge to that muscle.

Prognosis on this is very good but unfortunately, as this has been going on for about a year, it's a chronic problem and the treatment is a lot more involved than if i'd just gone there when it was an acute injury. Dr Sherman will do 2-3 shockwave treatments, 3 weeks apart, to break up adhesions in the muscle. This is almost like re-injuring it so it can be healed up properly. Zac will have rehab/therapy sessions 3 times a week in between at VetHab, doing underwater treadmill, massage, etc. And hopefully i'll have my Zac back at 100% physically for the fall trials. He might be a little wild with only a little sheep work to get ready mentally, but he should be physically ready.

For reference, here is the video i made of Zac's skip. The first 40 seconds or so are just normal trotting around, the second half shows lots of examples of the skip. I made this to show the vets since Zac doesn't do the skip on leash in artificial settings.

I was very impressed with Dr Sherman and his practice will be a great resource in the future for us, especially diagnostically. I certainly won't hesitate to go there, and to get there more quickly after an injury, in the future. Here is VetHab's webpage:

It's so good to have a real diagnosis!

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Thanks to all who came out and pitched in to get things ready for the trial next month - Julie, Tony, Colin, Lauren, Joan, and Becca and Patrick and the boys. The setout/holding pen looks great and ought to work sweet! It was really nice to see trees and branches cut, packed up and tossed on the brush pile, and there was a good start on the pen and panel painting. Joan brought out pizza for everyone (mucho yummy). It was fun to see everyone and wow, what workers!

We'll plan another day soon to finish the painting and work some dogs (got to test that new handling system!)- maybe this coming weekend if the weather looks good.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Trial Workday

We're doing a workday this saturday (the 9th) to get ready for the trial, if anyone wants to join in. We have a setout pen to build, panels and pen to paint, and assorted other small jobs. Email if you can come and help (there will be pizza!). It's supposed to be gorgeous weather.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Zac Update

Zac is still feeling fine, happy and bouncy and bored and wanting to get back to working and playing. He keeps breaking into "puppy fits" when i take him out, even though he's still on crate rest. The tick titer came in late last week and the lepto titer came back today. Both are negative so we can rule those out. I'm really glad it's not lepto. Now the dogs can get back to enjoying the pond at the farm without me fretting about it.

Whistle For a Cure SDT

We're having a novice trial at Shoofly Farm on September 20th. This trial is a fundraiser for Ovarian Cancer Research, with ALL proceeds going to Joan Stout-Knight's team walking in the Gail Parkins Memorial Ovarian Cancer Awareness Walk. Joan has been sheepdog trialing in this area for many years and has been living with ovarian cancer for over 2 years now, and several of us decided this would be a fun way to raise some money for the effort. Here are copies of the entry form and trial information, in a couple of different formats:

Whistle For a Cure SDT 09/20/2008 Entry Form (.pdf)

Whistle For a Cure SDT 09/20/2008 Entry Form (.doc)