Saturday, 24 November 2012

A Poem for Pocket Rocket ...

It’s a week since Pocket Rocket left for her next big adventure. I always thought life was busy before she arrived on the scene, with five Border Collies all wanting and willing to be doing. I hadn’t realised how quiet our household could be though, until she left.

Our friend Gayle met Pocket Rocket for the first time as a 4-month old puppy at an extremely muddy World Sheepdog Trials last September. She enjoyed that lots. She received many, many admiring glances and comments from some of the world’s top handlers, there were plenty who took the time to come over and say hello as I carried her around, trying to work to a mud limitation plan - it didn't work!

Gayle met up with her again in the summer when she visited the Jubilee Pups, and also had the chance to see her work. How she'd come on since the summer, she was on her sides, starting to drive and starting to use the fabulous outrun she used with the dogs. She was going to be truly great.

Thank you Gayle for this lovely poem ...

 A Poem for Pocket Rocket

A golden girl, as smooth as pearl,
One of eight, an octogreat,

Once small enough to fit in your pocket she'd still be off like a Rocket,

Would turn a paw to gardening galore,
Or off in the caravan for a girl who loved to explore,

Rather fond of a dip in the pond, even if she got rather dirty and made the humans a little shirty,

Partial to a cup of tea - leave one unattended she'd be in as quick as a flea,

A glide through the gate, never one to wait,

Sheep to be sorted, a job to be done,
Although that didn't mean she couldn't have a little fun,

A special young lady she became and those who's lives she touched will never be the same.

Pocket Rocket, sorely missed but will always be a part of our life ...

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Pocket Rocket goes ...

... on her next big adventure.

Never in my wildest of dreams could I have envisaged last Sunday, when I took this photograph of my very Sensational Six

that today, a week on, the Sensational Six would once again be the Fabulous Five.

These pictures were all taken last Sunday. My wonderful powerhouse of a girl, Pocket Rocket very sadly died yesterday.

Pocket Rocket loved Uncle New Boy

This was a frequent scene - they were great pals

Always stylish

Frequently seen 'chatting' with Mum, Arctic Fox

A very perceptive and intuitive dog ... "I know what you're thinking"

Here she comes ...

... and again! How she loved to run.

Her eventual greatness can only now be imagined, she was truly great. She left an impression on everyone she met, quite often a bruise too! I am so priviledged to have lived with this girl for the far too brief a time she had, and I would not have missed a single second of it. A very special girl. 

The public face of 'asheepdogdiary' needs to express this, she has so many friends and fans around the world, whilst the private side desperately tries to make some sense of it and pick up the pieces.

I hope she is running free with other family members now and has found some nice sheep to work.

Pocket Rocket
6 May 2011 - 17 November 2012

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Beautiful Baking Day

A fabulous day in the Lakes and looking across towards the Yorkshire Dales

Our Herdwick Boys starting to appear out of the mist

Time to release the doggies

Biscuits on the terrace?

New Boy has come to model beside the biscuits ... "No, I can't look, please don't make me!"

"Is this collie cruelty?"

"I'll just get a little closer ... just a quick sniff"

"Is she watching me?"

"A lick, just a small one"

"That's it, the biscuits are mine"

New Boy exits with a rather large mouthful of biscuits ...

Five biscuits were gathered before attempting to leave the scene

Baking day ... a success!

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Handsome Lad's Magnificent Fetch

It's been a little while since I blogged. It's been even longer since I blogged about sheep work training. 

Training isn't a daily occurrence, no matter how much I'd like it to be. All manner of things get in the way and it's not exactly something you can do anywhere other than in the field with the sheep! But overall, I'm really happy with the progress the dogs are making.

Some of the training I do is a bit of guess work, lessons aren't possible on a regular basis, but I am lucky that when I do need to move on a bit then I have my friend Alan Bradley to go to. He has a very quiet style of training and it's suited Handsome Lad and I very nicely. We went through a difficult patch during the summer. Alan moved us on in our training ... a lot! Gone were the days of Handsome Lad making the decisions as to which direction he was taking (he always made the decisions so well!), now I was the one giving the directions, and they had to be taken. Yikes. That was hard going for a bit. There were times when I didn't seem to do anything other than say 'Oi'. 

It's been a fabulous day in the Lakes today, with a frost overnight and the ground seems to have dried out a little. Time to go to work! 

I'm so pleased with Handsome Lad's outrun, as shown in this short video:

The sheep were at the top of the field, over the brow. He couldn't see them at all but he had confidence they were there. Why wouldn't they be when I asked him to do an 'away' (taking the right hand command). So important in our training that if I ask him to go and fetch sheep that there are always sheep there for him to fetch.

We'd had a couple of false starts on the 'comebye' command (left hand side), so rather than push that with the sheep being out of sight I put him onto his preferred side (for today at any rate!). Also due to the couple of false starts I didn't put a stop on him when he lifted the sheep. It was his free time to do whatever he wanted as a reward for such a brilliant job on his outrun.

I am very proud of him. He's such a very clever lad!