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Thursday, 29 March 2012

2 days and counting!

Its has been a mad couple of weeks as usual in this household! Very busy building equipment, loads of training workshops with the gang, and getting the caravan and everything ready for our first weekend away at Easter! 
Lily is looking really good, and finally getting fit. She always takes longer than the others as she is such a chill out girl. Lives on fresh air, and always having to watch her weight, but she is in good shape now and she is still a joy to run, always giving 100%, so will see what the season brings.
Olli is still as nutty as ever, makes me laugh out loud a lot and also infuriates me constantly with his "never quite paying 100% attention" and then blasts round a sequence with ease, and speed and catches me out!! He will always be the fun factor :-)
Twiggy has changed a lot over the winter, and is such a talented little girl! She is so quick to learn, and tries her hardest to please, although there is a naughty streak there now, which is in some way helping in her new attitude. I can not wait to see how the season starts with her. 
George is 13 months old now and still a dream to own. He is a loving, full of character intelligent boy, and has so much to give. He is also mental, a complete psycho when it comes to Dave & Lily. He has to herd and is obsessed!! He also screams and bounces off the wall of the van whenever he gets left in there while someone else trains, so the mad merle is there. I love his attitude though. As soon as I want to do something with him he switches on, and he now works well, regardless of whats going on around him, so the future is looking interesting. He learnt his weaves within 2 weeks of 10 min sessions, and continues to impress me with his understanding. 
Dave has managed a few workshops over the winter, in groups, and has shown that he has grown up. His focus on Fern is pretty much 99% and his ability has never really been in question. He will be competing a few more times this year, and it will be interesting to see what happens!
Cove is just a star. Out of all the dogs, he is probably the most "turn on and offable" 1 minute he is screaming and bouncing on his lead, fixed on the agility and off his head, the next he is crashed out on your bed, waiting for a biscuit and tea. Often found snoring stretched out on the sofa, or out on the lawn in the sun, an absolute joy to own. His training has progressed over the winter and I have no doubt Fern will be bringing home a lot more trophies this season, and Coves future will be a bright one :-)
Our first show is this Sunday, and all 5 dogs are entered and ready to go :-)
Stan & Becki are still with us, but I know very soon I will have to make the hardest decision  any of us dog lovers have to make with regards to Becki. 

She is starting to have more bad days than good days, and if her quality of life becomes any less then it will be a decision I will have to make. The sweetest most loyal, most easy dog in the world who retired from shooting 3 years ago, and very soon adapted to agility camping life, guarding the gate, telling off any young gobby collies that went past, and always very well respected by all of the rest of our gang. Her tail never stops wagging, and even now as her light starts to dwindle, her tail still wags. Always by my side, and always will be and at 15 yrs old has had a wonderful life and taught me so much so the least I can do is give her some final dignity......... just as soon as she lets me know she has had enough.
Stan will live forever :-)

Thursday, 8 March 2012

In memory of Polly 11/7/01 - 03/03/12 RIP lovely girl, and this is Ollis Blog especially for you. :-(

5 years ago next month, a litter of 8 gorgeous puppies were born on the farm where we live. Springer Spaniels with a good background of working gun dog breeding, and I had pick of the litter. I watched them grow and develop over the weeks, and started to have my favourites. Some beautifully marked pups, black flecked, black & white, liver & white, liver flecked, but it was soon to be that I had no choice at all, because the cheeky chubby black & white boy chose me. (I was looking for a bitch!)

The rest is history as they say. Olli came into our lives and was a joy from day one. Funny, happy loving dog, who soon started to show a natural ability for retrieving, and started his training with me to become a gun dog. At around 7 months old he started working on our local shoot, and soon became a very able retriever of pheasants, pigeons and anything else that needed picking up. I had also started agility with Lily so thought I would see if Olli could learn to do that too, just so we had 2 dogs competing and make the weekends away at shows more worthwhile. He took to it so well, he is currently 1 of just a few Springers in the large category that have made it to Grade 6. He also got to the ABC semi finals last year at his first attempt, and was just an A frame contact away from getting to Olympia. I decided a year ago to retire him from shooting and concentrate on his agility career.
He is always my "fun" dog. I cant help it, I just never take him really seriously because he is such a character! Barks like no other dog, on every breath he is noisy, his tail never stops wagging, and he makes me laugh on every course we ever run. He has achieved so much just having a blast, and without real training as I always concentrated on Lily, never thinking that Olli would ever go this far. So over this winter we have been training a bit more seriously. 

His contacts are vastly improved, and pretty much 100% although he still likes to look round to see if I am coming, and wait for me to catch up so still not totally independent. His weaves are amazing, noisy and fast but he will never be brilliant on a left hand entry. We also now have a wait! ....... well we have an Olli style wait, but its improved on last year. :-) So we have a lot of ABC qualifiers to go for this summer, and he will of course compete with Lily in the Large Agility qualifiers too, and who knows we may get to Olympia, and with the right course on the right day, we may even get a win towards grade 7, but whatever happens, I will be smiling and Olli will be barking.
So this is dedicated to Polly. Ollis Mum, who was 1 of my favourite spaniels and 1 of the best workers, and nicest dogs I have had the pleasure to share my office with. So loyal to her owners, (my close friends and landlords) a brilliant steady worker in the field, a strong willed bitch who didn't take any nonsense from the other dogs around our farm, or on the shoot, but didn't have a nasty bone in her body. She also gave me one of the best spaniels in the world, and my soul mate. She passed away last Saturday, with her oldest friend Megan, Ollis Auntie by her side. Just a few months ago she was working and playing like a pup, but a sudden onset of a heart condition meant she spent her last few weeks sleeping in front of our office fire, munching on bones and giving me the odd cuddle, with the little affectionate nibble of my nose just as she always had, and just like her pups continue to do. 
Keep watching over your boy Polly, he may just make you very proud.