Sunday, November 23, 2008

All is forgiven

Tonight, Tess is by my side on the couch with her cold nose in my lap. Her eyes are closed and she is sleeping soundly. We are couch buddies again.

We have been buddies all day. So it was only fitting that we would end the day as buddies. In her opinion, Tess thinks she is the best sheepdog on the farm. She has earned that berth over eight and a half years as the main dog on the farm as well as my trial dog. She has carried me on her broad shoulders over the years. She was a diamond in the rough when Scott Glen took her under his wing over nine years ago.

Today, she was the back up dog and drove the sheep numerous times up my huge pasture for the lesson dogs to fetch. It was obvious that the time that Scott had put into her made her a well rounded dog. Between lessons, she sat at my feet and sometimes snoozed in my lap.

It was a sharp day, full of sunbeams and a cool bite to the air. The sheep were very lively and the dogs were more than ready. I decided to take Tess since most of the lessons would be in the far field and I needed a dog that could do back up without interfering with the lesson but yet, make sure the sheep would not break away.

It’s been over a week since the surgery and I was eager to go out and work dogs. Nan got to stay home with Getty and I only took Tess, The incision is still sore and puffy but the hurt in the leg has gone away. My goal was to work half the lesson then watch/guide the second half so I would not get wore out. This game plan worked out quite well. Tess worked hard all day, sorting, setting, holding, driving and fixing runaways.

The lesson dogs did well today. We worked in tight spaces, taking sheep off the gates and feeling the sheep at the top. Each person did well with their dog and you could see both the confidence in the dog and handler by the end of the lesson. Tess worked extra hard in turning back a ewe who decide she didn’t want to play the herding role. She was exhausted by the mid afternoon but managed to put the sheep away with enthusiasm.

Janet and I went out for lunch and then I noticed I was tired. I was not exhausted but tired due to being out of shape. After we ate, I felt much better and not ready for a nap but ready to go out again. This is great progress and it will take me a few weeks to be at full speed again.

The afternoon consisted of Monique working the young dogs while I taped Finn and Break. We have gotten Finn and Break to a point where they are ready to be sold. Finn is a nine month old tri color male that is a great grandson of Pleat. He has nice square flanks and a gorgeous outrun. He is learning to take sheep off the fence and down on command. He is going to be a nice dog. Monique has done a fine job of starting Finn.

Break just turned two and is a smaller tri male. He is started and very willing. He is just starting to learn how to drive about 10-20 feet. He is also a nice dog that wants to please. He will be a nice ranch or trial dog. There is no quit in either Finn or Break.

Tess held the sheep so her day was not done. After the lesson were done, Tess pleaded to work the sheep so we ran a few quick outruns and drive. She was very enthusiastic (again).

I also worked Nan on her inside flanks. She tends to slice and I am trying to square her up. Finally, she was consistent so we ended the lesson and she was quite pleased with herself. She was pushing into me for pets and her eyes gleamed with delight that I was happy. That is our nemesis on the trial field. We will work through it.

My leg was making me aware that the incision was not quite healed so we quit for the day. Tess was quite sure we were not done and brought her jolly ball to me so we played with that for a bit. I would kick it and she would bring it back, with her tail held high. I also want to point out that I did not kick it with my lame leg.

Now I was really tired and we headed up to the house. I heated up my leftovers from lunch and wolfed it down. I took a hot shower and Tess also got a bath. Her bathwater ran brown as she was filthy. She also stank but some Aveda Shampoo did the trick. When Tess gets a bath and gets out of the shower, she gets dog treats. That was what happened tonight BUT she darted off before I could towel dry her. I just followed the water trail to the biscuit bucket and there she was. She got toweled off and several treats. Then as I was cleaning up the bathroom, I was hit from behind and almost taken down by something hitting the back of my legs. Tess had her retriever toy stick and brought it into the bathroom for me to toss. She whacked it behind my knees (OUCH) and looked up at me, waiting for me to toss it.

So I tossed it for her and she ran around the house like a puppy with Nan following her. I felt much better and my incision didn’t hurt so much. I am happy that I can see my healing progress at a nice rate. Tess was happy too since this meant more play time. As I sat on the couch, she hopped next to me. She put her muzzle in my lap and her soulful eyes looked at my face and then at the cracker that I had in my hand.

I offered her this peace offering and she sniffed it, just to be sure it was not a baby carrot.

So I gave it to her.

All is forgiven.

1 comment:

Deb :) said...

Tess knows to be on the lookout for carrots, they will try to sneak in when you're not paying attention. Glad to hear that you are feeliong so much better. I hope that things continue to get back to normal. (If normal is something that dog and livestock owners ever have!) Take care, Deb :)