11/15/2021 Finn’s Big Adventure

The ASCA National Specialty can be overwhelming for first-timers. Especially first-timers who apparently haven't been off the farm a whole lot except to visit other farms. And though Finn weathered the traveling just fine, his first couple days at the Brazos County Expo grounds had him just a wee bit anxious. He'd never seen bleachers, large covered arenas, lots of people and dogs he didn't know milling about (Are they staring at me? I think they're staring at me. I don't like it.), or any of the other strangeness he was subjected to. Thankfully he had his good buddy Ziva along to help bolster his confidence. We spent quite a bit of our free time just strolling around, letting Finn get used to the sites and sounds. Some of which took quite a bit of patience, more than a few treats, and a healthy dose of confidence. His first couple of

10/23/2021 Autumn Musings

Fall has always been my favorite time of year even though the Sad typically comes in full force part-way through September and lingers well into October. This year, however, it hasn't seemed as strong. There have been moments, usually triggered by a Facebook memory or a bout of reminiscing with friends, but the sharp edges are dulled. Although I still feel the sting of tears behind my eyes at those times, they aren't as eager to spill over. I have to confess, it's a bit odd. I suppose because I'm so used to having a love-hate relationship with Autumn -- the cooler temps and beauty of the season constantly overshadowed by the Sad like storm clouds on the horizon -- that feeling it diminished seems somehow

10/10/2021 Trial Brain

I had a bit of an epiphany at the inaugural 3 Sheeps to the Wind ASC Corona Classic last week. It came about thanks to comments made by a good friend who pointed out that my cues to my dogs, especially Finn, were practically non-existent. He suggested (rightly so) that I pay attention to that and cue the boys just like I do when training. That got me thinking (usually never a good thing) and replaying my runs in my head which led me to concur that my friend was 100% correct in his observation. And, not that it's an excuse, but I actually came up with a reason, albeit, not a very good one, and hence the epiphany. I suffer from Trial Brain. Upon further reflection it occurred to me that when I enter the trial arena, I feel (on a mostly subconscious level) as though I need to perform. Even though

08/16/2021 Get Out of Your Head

  There's been way too much of this /\ going on lately. The top part, not the bottom. Point in case: I walked out to open the gate between the arena and the pasture the other morning so the sheep could get out to graze. Nearly to the next gate it occurred to me that I'd been so busy in my head I closed the pasture gate behind me out of habit. I do tend to subscribe to the rule "Leave the gates how you found them" and since that gate was closed when I came through

08/09/2021 Coming Up For Air

I've gone through lulls on the blog before, but I find it hard to believe I haven't posted since February, especially given my 'restructured' schedule. Though, admittedly, I've been rather preoccupied with navigating the changes we've experienced over the past seven months. A great deal of time and energy went into developing and launching my new venture Journey Impressions (if you need any Stockdogs Rule items or other embroidery or screen printing that's the place to go). Not enough of that time and energy went into the launch of my latest fantasy novel Bound in Shadow (available wherever e-books are sold with signed paperbacks available here). Whatever remained was taken up with the dogs, dog events, everyday stuff, and the general stress exacerbated by all of the above. Needless to say, most of my days have felt like this

02/17/2021 Practicing Acceptance

Yes, it's pitch time again. Those of you not on social media may have missed that the e-version of Bound in Shadow is now available for pre-order. It feels like it's been forever. Release date is officially March 6 for the e-book. You can pre-order from just about any place e-books are sold, but to make it easier for you, here are some of the most popular spots:   Amazon Apple Books Barnes & Noble Kobo   And remember, if you read it and enjoy it, the best way to help out an author is to let others know and to leave a review. Reviews don't have to be anything intense. Just a couple lines on why you liked the book. Which hopefully you will.  

01/16/2021 Finding Warmth on Winter Days

For everyone who expressed concern for Jig over the last couple weeks, I'm pleased to say she's back to 100% piss and vinegar. She had her recheck on Tuesday and passed with flying colors. She was even gracious enough to leave one suture in-tact. The vet decided Jig did that to make her feel like she had something to do. She doesn't know Jig very well.      

12/31/2020 Out With a Bang

My dogs have an uncanny ability to see challenges in the strangest places, and they are more than happy to pick up the thrown gauntlet. For instance, if my vet says, "I'll be out of town this day this day this day." One of my dogs will invariably counter with, "Time to develop some mysterious ailment." When my vet says, "I'm retiring from doing surgeries." You guessed it. Challenge accepted.         Happy New Year   May the best day of your past be the worst day of your future.

12/09/2020 Following the Heart

A year ago we introduced this guy to our family. You can read about that momentous day here if you missed it the first time around. Gotta admit, it was a bit of a rocky puppyhood for us both. Looking back, I have to take the blame. I wasn't ready for a pup. Not to say I didn't love the little bastard straight away. Finn claimed his piece of my heart the moment he climbed into my lap and told me he was mine. I tend not to argue in those cases.   Still, bringing him home hadn't been easy and I probably shouldn't have done it. I was an emotional trainwreck; still reeling from losing Cian. The Sad my constant companion. I undoubtedly wasn't in the best frame of mind to raise a pup and I believe there were times when Finn told me as much.  

11/24/2020 Possibilities Abound

November has been pretty mild so far which means I've been able to work the dogs with relative frequency. Given the shortness of the days, this usually takes place on the weekends, which also means I can generally talk a training partner into joining me. It's helpful when it's someone unafraid of telling me when my bad habits are showing. Not that I always agree, or want to hear it at that particular moment, which can lead to some spirited arguments discussions. There are, after all, multiple ways to skin the proverbial cat (sorry, feline friends) and perhaps there's a reason (in my mind) for what I'm doing. More often than not, however, I'm not even aware of doing whatever it is because it's just one of those things I fell into while training solo. And that happens far too often. Just ask my dogs.