The last week has been a busy one. Last friday, I loaded up the van (aka the rolling kennel) with the dogs and we went to visit my brothers, sister-in-law, nieces and nephew in Louisville. Gael and Jet especially enjoyed hanging out with Abby. They got her pretty well trained on one of their favorite things, as you can see below:
By the end of the trip, Gael and Abby were pretty good friends!It was a good visit, nice to see everyone and to spend some time hanging out.
On monday, the dogs and i rode to Lexington to visit with Vergil Holland and to get some sheep work in. I wanted to get Bill out to a new place on some different sheep, and to get Vergil's thoughts on his training. Vergil has a nice field for training and the sheep were yearling woolies, much fun on both counts. Bill did very well. He was pretty pushy on his fetches but i'm not wanting to take anything out of him there, so leaving that alone as long as it's just fast and not out of control. His flanks were good and his driving very nice. Vergil suggested cleaning up his left inside flank just a little and also doing more shedding with him, to help him feel the proper distance on his flanks more. He was very complimentary of Bill, and i was really proud of how he worked. I'm getting excited to start running him this spring. I still don't work him very much, once, sometimes twice a week, but he's getting trained and growing into his work. I'll start working him quite a lot more towards the end of this month, trying to get him right for the May trials. I also worked Zac and Jet, and both worked very well, especially with how little work they've been getting. Vergil gave me some suggestions on shedding that i'm thinking over. The sheep were a little different than what i run into at most trials around here and i wasn't quite changing my shedding style to suit them. It really is invaluable to have an extra set of eyes watch the shed sometimes.
While i was there, i mentioned to Vergil that i'd been looking for a particular kind of young bitch or puppy, one bred for power, bravery and a lot of "come forward". He had just bought a whole litter of puppies that he thought would be just that. The sire is a dog named Jock that he'd bought a couple of years ago and has a very high opinion of. He described him as being one of the best farm dogs he's ever had, tough and sensible, able to take on ewes with lambs, take a hit and just stay in the work. I talked with someone who knew Jock's dam Fly and she was a tough one as well, very brave on cows and sheep both, with no back down to her. The pups' dam Callie is a working cowdog that Vergil describes as "tough but not stupid tough". She's off his old Hemp dog, a dog i admired greatly for his heart. Hemp shattered his wrist at a dog trial on the shed and never missed a beat holding the single, on 3 legs. I don't think i'll ever forget it. Callie's dam was Nell, who would walk up on anything. Jock, Hemp and Nell were each Vergil's main farm dog in their turns, and able to handle whatever job needed doing on whatever stock. So, the potential is there to get what i'm looking for. Time will tell! Here are some more pictures of the new little beastie, now named Meg and settling in well with the Shoofly pack. She's a little spitfire already.