Sunday, August 2, 2009

That'll Do, Tess

All good thing must come to an end. Tess ran her last trial in June 2009. She went out in style. There was a beautiful quilt that she won. It was presented to the High Combined Scores of six trials (3 weekends) – Key Pen, Whidbey Island and Ewefull Acres. Last year, her daughter won it and Tess was reserve with a one point spread. This year, she was well ahead of the other dogs.

The Quilt (made by Kathy Rivers) on our couch.

See the wonderful details

Ah ha, Border Collie among the sheep.

Look how detailed this is. Isn't this the best!! Getty fussed over the quilt and Tess.

Tess and I have come up the ranks together. We both were raw 10 year ago when we stepped onto the trial in June at George and Sue’s. Our first Novice run was, well, let’s say it was sporty. She barreled up the field with a nice outrun and the sheep ran for their lives. The judge, Scott Glen saw the potential in her and thus our long saga began. I bought her as a pity buy for $100 from being shot. I had no desire to keep her as I wanted a registered ABCA puppy and not some backyard bred unregistered puppy. Two days after we had her, she wormed her way into our hearts and became our beloved member of the family. I took my rose colored glasses off and began to see that I did, indeed, have my star. She had carried me all of these year on her broad shoulders and never complained.

Tess under the guidance of Scott began to emerge as a successful trial dog and he ran her in the 2001 USBCHA National Finals in Nursery. She placed 6th overall and based on her performance was granted her ABCA papers on ROM (Registered on Merit). She was the third dog to ever get her ROM.

Over the years, she ran at the Bluegrass and placed 34th overall with Scott She ran in the 2004 USBCHA Nationals Finals in Open with me and placed. She has been a successful Open winner. Her sons and daughter and grandpups have won in Sheep and Cattle Open classes. She lives on through her pups.

Tess and I have a ritual over the years of doing a country western dance before our run. We laugh and dance about and it may look silly but it is a ritual we enjoy. On the field, she looks at me with her wise eyes and shivers in anticipation. She always see her sheep and checks on them on her way up to the top. She is not a flashy dog but is very consistent.

She is my bed buddy at night and the best pillow thief known to mankind. I start off using the pillow and when I wake up, I have no pillow and Tess is on top of the pillow. Smiling, I think.

I remember, often, in the shedding ring as we prepare to shed. and our eyes would meet and a thin smile would appear and then she comes in for the shed. She knows the routine and is the best penning dog that I will ever own. At the pen, I open the gate and tell her to put them in. She marches them in and at the end of the run, she is filled with pride with a job well done.

We have been running for ten years now and it was time to retire her. We started at this trial ten years ago and it was only fitting that she end at this trial. She ran very well in the series and placed in the top and was enjoyable to run her. She scored a couple of runs in the 90 and her last run was 81.

As we passed through the gate for the last time, a solitary tear rolled down my cheek. She didn’t know it would be her last run. As usual, she ran like a dream, nice and steady and had great control of the sheep. As the sheep trotted off the field after our run, our eyes locked and I hugged her. Her tail wagged and she licked my dried salty tear.

“That’ll do, Tess” and we both walked off the field, proud to be together.


Anonymous said...

Touching post, thanks for sharing.

BCxFour said...

I LOVE that quilt! Tess is such a good girl for winning it...