09/23/2019

Spend any time on this blog and you'll discover the overlying theme is all about the journey. Specifically as it pertains to living with, training, and trialing my dogs. Like all journeys, this one has had its shares of ups and downs. Sometimes the rough patches seemed like they would never end and made me question the sanity of it all. I believe a lot of journeys are like that. We fight with them because our focus is on the end and we lose sight of the fact that it's everything happening along the way we need to pay attention to. Even the little things. Especially the little things -- the successes, the failures, the stories, the laughter, the tears -- they're what's important. They're what shape us and our journey. Hard to believe, I know, but I can sometimes be a bit impatient. I have, in the past, fought

08/21/2019

It's been a long time since I left a trial feeling anything other than disheartened, slightly beaten down, and wondering why I keep throwing uncooked spaghetti at the wall. That's not whining or a plea for sympathy, just the facts. My attitude was based solely on my mindset which, admittedly, was far from good. I was so focused on all the wrong things, I could no longer see all the good things that were happening. If you're a regular reader, you might remember my mentioning a good arse kicking I received from several of my friends and mentors a couple months back. Obviously I carry my brain in my arse, because that tough love served to reset my attitude and that caused a chain reaction. This past weekend was Outback ASC's fall trial. Along with two days of arena trials, they held a cattle farm trial. No secret Jig and I love

08/08/2019

I suck at living in the moment. Cian's been trying his damndest to teach me. I have failed. What can I say? I'm human. I obsess about shit. Shit that happened, is happening, may happen, could never possibly happen but WHAT IF IT DID???? My latest obsession comes courtesy of Cian's FitBark. I sync the phone app to it whenever I'm in range, and check it frequently, comparing what he has done to the data being displayed. I find it fascinating and hope the UW's study will find it equally so. A somewhat normal day for Cian might look like this: Active quite a bit and sleeping good at night. I'm not certain how the FitBark differentiates between Play and Active. There are times I think it should register other than it does but I haven't researched that part yet. Compare that to this readout from the 20th when Cian had a seizure during the

07/18/2019

I was doing some website updates, transferring domain names, switching servers, panicking when I thought I lost everything… again, etc. etc. and suddenly realized it's been over a month since my last post here. Yikes, right? But, you know… And then there's been this stretch of heat and humidity which are two of my most unfavorite things. Okay, enough with the gifs, that's not what any of us are here for. Let's see, short recap; my last post was about how I was talked out of benching Jig and only running her in farm trials because I wasn't having the success I thought I wanted. Since then, a second person whose opinion I value, concurred with the first. Actually, several folks concurred. So, I'm sticking with it and with Jig because I have a lot to learn yet. Jig has some stuff to learn as well. Stuff I should have taught her

05/06/2019

It occurred to me that Dillon hasn't gotten a lot of press this year. It's been all Jig and Cian, Jig and Cian. In fact, it appears my last Dillon update was in October. Poor boy. Trust me though, he hasn't been ignored. Between my schedule and the weather, we really haven't had a lot of opportunities to train this spring. Yeah, I'm calling this 'Spring' even though I'm not entirely certain it's not still Winter, or possibly Fall. Could be Midwest Monsoon Season for all I know. Unfortunately, the weather isn't something I can do anything about. Back to Dill. The first several times I took him out this year one thing became very obvious: one of us had regressed terribly. I'll give you a hint, it wasn't Dillon. Toward the end of last year, after some observations by a friend, I realized I can't use a lot of verbal

04/18/2019

A sad fact of life is, it often takes getting slapped in the face with something to move us to act. We haven't bred a litter in 13 years, but have always been dedicated to the breeding of healthy Australian Shepherds. Individuals and clubs can help support ASHGI's mission by participating in their 10-Step Program. Ten Steps to a Healthier Australian Shepherd Breed I recognize that genetic disease is a longstanding fact in the Australian Shepherd breed. Only through open and honest communication and sharing of accurate information can we, the breeders and guardians of this breed, improve the overall genetic health and significantly reduce the incidence of genetic diseases in the breed we love. I support the open disclosure of all health issues that affect the Australian Shepherd, utilizing publicly accessible canine health registries in the country of my residence whenever possible.I openly and publicly disclose all information in my possession about

04/09/2019

First Trial of the Season ~ Part 1 of 2 First, a heartfelt Thank You to those folks on-hand for mine and Jig's debut in the Post Advanced field at Purina Farms over the past weekend. I want you to know the outburst of applause and cheers at the conclusion of our short run was heard. It was also totally unexpected and very much appreciated. It certainly helped ease the sting of disappointment at our less than stellar performance. For those of you who have never been to Purina Farms this is the Post Advanced field. Given that Jig and I have never worked in a field this large, I suppose my expectations were a bit unrealistic. I told myself I only entered to see how Jig would handle herself. After all, the entire weekend was meant to gauge where we're at and if a run for the 2020 Finals is even feasible.

03/24/2019 Thriving

My last post on Cian was a great example of the crashing lows epilepsy can bring in the blink of an eye. It wasn't, however, a great example of most days. The truth of the matter is, since this all began last November, there have been far and away more good days than bad. One of the worse things about epilepsy, however, is how it strips away your sense of security, making it easy to get caught up in the darkness of it. As usual, I need to learn a lesson from my dog and stop dwelling on what could happen. I have a plan for breakthroughs. I have a great support team. The control freak in me needs to let go. Like Cian, I need to embrace all of our good days. Days like these

01/18/2019 Celebrating 7 Years

It's Jig's birthday today. In honor of that, some random thoughts and a slideshow at the end, celebrating the many sides of this one-of-a-kind girl. The first time I met Jig in person she was about 4 months old and not the pup I was supposed to be considering. Gail thought I might be more inclined toward one of her sisters. There was just something about the girl with minimal white and muddy copper on her legs that called to me though. I've learned not to argue when dogs pick me, so when she climbed out of the x-pen while Dave was washing his bike and made her way into the garage despite the noisy pressure washer, I figured she'd made up her mind that she was home. Jig's a different sort. She gets worried about things like running out the slides on the camper, the whirring of a refrigerator fan,

12/18/2018 Weathering the Storm

Sometimes, shit happens. No rhyme or reason. Nothing you could have done to prevent it. Shit just happens. Like a storm, it can pass quickly with minimal damage, or rage on leaving you feeling beaten and dragged. All you can do is ride it out, collect the pieces afterwards, and move forward. Our storm hit on an otherwise normal Friday afternoon at the beginning of November when Cian began to seizure. Not just one, but four on that first Friday. They would continue until the following Monday night before we were able to break the cycle. Over the next two weeks there were numerous consultations and trips to our vet, the ER vet, and a neurologist. There were many tests, a barrage of drugs, and long, sleepless nights. For a stretch of a couple weeks we feared Cian wouldn't come back to us. We tip-toed around the fear that the kindest