About us.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Sometimes I think too much

Never seem to have time to do anything these days. Life is flashing past, we spend 90% of it working and already we are on the longest day of the year yet not even seen much of a summer. Fern has celebrated her 21st Birthday, qualified for Olympia Novice semis, and the following week at one of the biggest Champ shows of the year, won into Grade 6 with Cove. Seems incredible. Rog & I celebrated our 21st Wedding Anniversary last weekend too................(.yep you do the maths) and I do really love the relationship we have. Its not all romance and flowers, but a working, best friend, soul mate kind of thing and we are very lucky. All the dogs are amazing, with their faults and idiosyncrasies making them so unique and very much part of our family, and I have to admit they are my life and without them my life would be incomplete. 
Watching people recently, whether in the ring at a competition or just strangers walking their dogs, cars passing by with a dog hanging out the window, lips & ears flapping got me thinking, (and maybe thats not always a good thing!) but I have become slightly obsessed, ...... or am I?
I have learnt so much over the years of owning dogs, and especially this last 2 to 3 years. Like us all I guess. Every dog that comes along is probably going to be slightly better trained, better behaved, more socialised, better fed, ......... Our first couple of dogs, 20 years ago, had a great life, did a bit of the old school obedience training, tried a bit of agility and were fed on cheap tinned dog food, or the first types of complete dried food that were around then that we could afford. We struggled to feed ourselves in those days, so the dogs had what they had. We were young and went out partying most weekends, and left the dogs at home, sometimes all night, and I never worried. We were quite hard on them sometimes too. I admit to a rolled up newspaper (those things we all had before the internet and smart phones) being swiped across a backside for bad behaviour, jumping up, stealing food off the table but thats all we knew. I look back sometimes and feel  so guilty, yet both those original 2 collies lived to the age of 16 yrs and I still miss them to this day.
Now our dogs get fed meat, fish, veg, herbs, eggs and all the additives they need, all natural, and eat better than we do. They are all insured, go to see chiropractors, even hydrotherapy sessions, and have the best shampoos, snuggliest beds, best caged fully lined insulated and ventilated van to travel in and I would not dream of going out all night partying, unless we can get one of my very best friends, Lolly Scott :-) to come and sit with them!! I cringe when I see a car go past with a dog hanging out the window, I look away when I see people walking dogs on check chains, or off lead on a busy street, and I laugh at the adverts for certain tinned dog meats, with "tasty gravy" or "real meaty chunks"  and I wonder if I have turned into a dog snob? We are still not very well off, but these days, if necessary, its us that eat cheap food so the dogs can still eat well!!! LOL!
Well thats it for serious stuff, and now for my usual rubbish.
Cove is amazing, thanks to Fern who is also amazing, and credit has to also go to Lauren, as 4 out of 5 pups from 1 litter she bred, all went grade 6 in the last 2 weeks, and 3 of them also qualified for Olympia. The 5th is also going to be amazing, already looking stunning, he just needed more time to mature :-) (Oooh that was a lot of amazings!!)
Twiggy is really starting to make her presence known, gaining top 10 places every weekend, and loving her life, and I cant guarantee she will ever get further than Grade 4 but I can guarantee she will always be the first on the bed for tea & biscuits every morning :-)
Olli is not looking too shabby in Grade 6, and still makes me laugh every day, and is the most loyal dog I have ever had the pleasure of, and I would still love to get him to the ABC qualifier but if not I know my socks will always be safe while he is around to collect them.
Lily is knocking on the door of grade 7, but it really doesnt matter if she makes it any further or not, she is still the best cat stalker in the world. If she didnt put the cats in their place every day, who knows what anarchy would prevail?!!!
Dave is almost a normal dog now, playing and loving, and so bloody talented, if Fern ever gets him to compete regularly he will win every time. Meanwhile its good to have a "wee brown dog" to suddenly snarl and see off the imaginary intruders that arrive in his sleep. :-)
Georgie is the funniest, most talkative, cheeky white faced, ugly, gangly, skinny ..............ok, the most gorgeous handsome lovely dog, and my first baby and I have no idea how my nerves will cope with his debut on the agility world, but whether he succeeds or fails at that, he will always succeed in making us laugh, and thats priceless.
And of course we still have Stanley. Wall licking, plaster eating, cat chasing, chicken killing, house messing terrier. ...............well that was a long time ago. He is now a real dude. Been there done it got the T shirt, and been through so much yet still here and still funny. Half blind, and selective hearing but can sniff out food from half a mile away!
Research & Development. Thankfully if we are willing to learn and try new ideas, and understand these phenomenal animals who we are so privileged to share our lives with, then we will all be nicer people, and hopefully have very happy healthy dogs. 
If only they could talk.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

The weather, disasters and celebrations.

Cant believe its been nearly 6 weeks since I blogged! I have no idea where the time goes, but here I will try to summarise the wonderful Month of May in our lives, and a little bit into June :-)
Depressing start as the great British weather decided to make up for the drought by chucking more rain at us than we really needed. Right up until the last possible minute, we were determined to go to WSBDS as we had not done the show before, and Olli had an ABC qualifier. Not just rain, but strong winds finally decided me to stay home. It just wasnt going to be safe or sensible to travel 125 miles with the caravan, Fern and all my precious dogs, so we stayed home. Fern & I were pretty fed up, but as the weekend progressed we realised we had made the right decision. The second day of the show was cancelled as the ground was flooded, and it wasnt safe for the dogs to continue, so a brave but wise decision made by the show. We were happy at home after all and had a chilled weekend with the dogs. 
The following weekend we had booked to go to Vyne for the day, Bank Holiday Monday, and it would be Twiggy & Coves first show at their new grades, so even though the forecast wasnt good, we travelled to Newbury, leaving at 5am and at least the journey was ok. The day was wet. Miserable and cold but we caught up with a few friends, and the dogs were happy to be competing. Fern ran Cove first in the Grade 5 jumping, and although a very testing course, he made it look easy and only one dog did it faster, so at their first Grade 5 show, 2nd place in jumping! Twiggy was also her usual consistent self and managed a nice clear in Grade 4 jumping, but an even better run in the agility and was 6th!! Fern then ran Lily in the Grade 6 agility and did a stunning run coming 7th overall. Lily still came looking for me at the end, but it was so nice to watch her run for a change, and Fern handled her well. Olli didnt quite get it all together in any course, so although some good bits, he was starting to get frustrated with me and it made me think about what to do for the rest of the season. Poor genuine funny Olli has hit a bit of a brick wall, competing in Grade 6 without basic foundation training, and its starting to show. I made the decision to do some re training with him and take him out of the G6/7 classes for the rest of this season. Its not fair on him when I havent trained him properly.
The following weekend was meant to be a one day local show for us, and yes you guessed it, rain meant the show was cancelled. I have decided at this point not to look at just how much I have lost in entry money. The weather is depressing enough without adding financial losses to the mood! I also feel for the show organisers, who put so much in to staging a competition and if it cant go on it must be soul destroying. So another weekend at home, working on building eqpt and just fun training with the dogs.
We did however go to Silverstone on the Friday for Roger to drive an Aston Martin around the track, an experience day I had bought him for Christmas. It was good fun, and believe it or not it stayed bright & dry!!

The weekend after that (20th/21st May) was Devon County Show, and we were part of the display group for Devon Dogs. Georges first chance to do agility in a ring with crowds watching, and all the noise that goes with a huge Agricultural show. He did really well, and managed to focus on me and the task. The weather was.....damp but had a few clear spells.
It was also Ferns 21st Birthday and we had a big party on the Saturday. Friends from all areas and all circles came, and all in fancy dress. Brilliant night, BBQ, drinks, music and we were still dancing at 4am in the kitchen. Rain managed to stay off until about 11pm so not too bad.

The last weekend in May we had nothing booked anyway, so another weekend at home with the dogs, drinks with friends and more work on eqpt and starting to build with excitement for the first weekend in June and away to Hinckley for a 3 day show....................
Well, the journey to Hinckley was very good, and we set up camp with all our friends, and had a group dinner of Chilli & Spag Bol, thanks to Claire, and including Sharon & Chris from ooop North. Twiggy was as always totally beside herself with excitement meeting her foster family again, and we had a great evening. Saturday morning we awoke to a fairly cloudy dull day, but at least it was dry. Lily & I were in tune and she had 2 lovely clears on some great testing courses. Twiggy was great fun and also had some great runs, and Cove was looking very good. All had ribbons by the end of the day and we settled for another evening with our group, enjoying a gorgeous curry and all the trimmings thanks to Jill :-) 
Surprise surprise it started to rain as the evening drew to a close, so we snuggled up fairly early to bed, and looking forward to the Olympia qualifiers on the Sunday. At 6am all three of us nearly jumped out of our skins as a loud crash woke us. The rain had continued all night and a huge pool had gathered in the roof of our awning. It had finally crashed under the strain, smashing a chair that was under it and crashing a pole into the side of the caravan. Disaster! 2 dents in our wonderful pride and joy Walter, and a wrecked unusable awning. It took us an hour to re arrange our fencing, van etc as we packed the awning away, and I was close to tears as we walked up with Fern & Cove to run in the qualifier. Gutted then wasnt the word, as we stopped to discuss our damage with some friends, Fern carried on to the ring and as no dogs were on the line she went straight in. We missed her run and I was ready to give up and cry myself into a ball, but she was clear, and Cove did everything right and by lunchtime it was confirmed. 3rd place out of 240ish dogs and Fern was off to the semis with Cove in September!!! So glad I had packed that bottle of bubbly :-) 

All the rubbish of the morning paled into insignificance as the dogs continued to amaze us. Sunday it rained all day and was horrible, but Lily managed 20th in the large Olympia Qualifier where there were only 8 clears, and if I had not been out of position she would have been the 9th and maybe qualified herself. All of our friends had great results too, and the weekend actually finished with some sunshine!! You know, that big orange ball in the sky that makes you feel all warm and dry??
658 miles added.
So thats it, all up to date now and just 3 more days until we leave for Thames Champ show and yet more qualifiers...............and the forecast is rain. Oh and I apologise, but thats about as short a summary of the last 6 weeks as I can do, and I have cut it down twice!!