I'm sure doing a lousy job keeping up with the blog, aren't I? It's been a busy couple of months actually, as i'm trying to train young dogs in all the free moments i can find and there were a few holidays in there as well.
I guess i'll just catch up on the dogs first. Zac and Bill are doing fine, though both a little aggravated with me as i'm forcing them to take a little break. I'm so mean. But really, after working so hard towards the Finals and the fall trials, it was time for some down time for both of them. I'm trying to ease them both back into training and conditioning now, as we sneak up on a trip to Texas in February for some trialing. I don't plan to work as hard towards it as we did the trips this past year, or the trips to be made later this year, since it's coming at a time when we don't normally do a lot and i don't want to get too much out of that rhythm. Neither of them need a lot of work to be pretty sharp workwise. I may be singing the blues about not conditioning them better physically when we get there, but it'll just have to do. I don't think it's good to try to keep them tuned and at peak all the time. At six and three years old, they should be fine, where i'd be more concerned about a dog that was a little older. As long as it's not too hot, we'll be okay.
The lineup of dogs in my pack has changed a good bit since the fall. Gael is back in the pack and firmly re-planted in the middle of my bed. It's nice having her back home. She still wants to work whenever i'll let her, and she's still the demon on sheep she's always been. What a toughie she is, and still as stylish and fun to watch as ever. I don't work her much, as i kind of like keeping my blood pressure in the normal range! Zeke joined the pack late in the summer and is a great addition. I enjoy him so much, both on and off sheep, and am looking forward to running him in the Nursery the next couple of years. Moon has also rejoined the pack recently. What a little pill she is! Fast, energetic and keen, keen, keen, a little version of her father Zac. I'm seeing a lot i like in her work, in the short time i've had her back. If i can keep up with her, she should be a lot of fun, and like Zeke she has two years of Nursery as well. The youngsters are keeping me on my toes and in the training field as much as possible right now, since they're at an age where they soak up all i can give them.
Earlier in the fall, i let a friend take Tug home to live with her and her little group of dogs. He wasn't working out like i'd hoped for sheep work, and my friend adored him, so i bit the bullet and let him go, hard as it was for me. Tragically, last week she lost Tug in a bizarre accident. We're all still in shock and very, very sad that he's gone. It's hard to believe such a joyful spirit as his is gone.
So that's where we all are these days. Clicking along and trying to get past some sad stuff, and leaning forward to good things to come. The Rhyme/Zac pups are due this weekend, and there were 5 showing up on the xrays yesterday. That'll be a fun time, seeing what they look like and picking out the newest Shoofly baby. And we have some fun trips planned this year, to TX, ND and CO. So here we go, into 2011.