Saturday 1 January 2011

Reflections on a year gone by ...

I wasn’t too sure what to write in this blog, the first of a new year. I thought maybe I should write about something topical in the dog world in general, or something topical to my own dogs, or maybe I should write something truly profound! Nah, profound isn’t me. In the end I’ve decided I’ll just reflect on some of the things that have happened over the last year in our little world, with the use of pictures. In many ways it feels as if 2010 slipped by quietly and quickly, without many achievements. There are many things that didn’t happen, things I had hoped and planned for. However, there have been a lot of positives and we have actually been pretty busy and achieved quite nicely.

The start of the New Year was spent in the Scottish Highlands and this is where our search to locate one of Handsome Lad’s pups started. The hunt for the New Boy had begun. It was a month of much disappointment and heartache.
February arrived with snow and good news. Another journey to the Scottish Highlands heralded the arrival of the fifth member of our pack. I had located New Boy, purchased him and I met him on a very cold, snowy day in Aberdeen where he arrived on a boat from the Shetland Isles.
March saw the gelling of our new pack ... the formation of the Fabulous Five.

In April there was an early summer heatwave. Glorious weather and happy times had by all the dogs.
In May Cafe Latte Girl and I ventured to the bluebell woods to recreate the photograph I’d taken a few years earlier that was the cover for the Well Balanced Pup DVD.

June and the much awaited and much planned arrival of the sensational 6-pack of puppies. A tremendous litter in every way. The Well Balanced Pup cover girl was now Mum to her very own well balanced puppies.

July was just magical. Puppies are great fun at any time but the period between 3-4 weeks is very special. They have discovered their legs, their personalities and their joy to discover the world. All manner of socialisation activites were undertaken, agility and play obstacles constructed and many other challenges devised. Everything thought out to ensure that these puppies were as confident, fearless and capable of dealing with the many demands placed upon our dogs in the society we place them.

August saw the first of the sensational 6-pack of puppies fly the nest. We had a very special visitor come to see us. One of Handsome Lad’s puppies, now 2 years old. An exceptionally bright and motivated young dog who is training to be a mountain search and rescue dog.
September and 11 dogs became 6, on a temporary basis. One pup remained with us, puppy number 3 who had been picked out to be a mountain search and rescue dog. She was to join her new owner a little later on, so remained in our care for the time being. We had a lot of fun with her, a great character, though not always a willing party to our group photo sessions.

October saw my first entry into a sheepdog trial, a very wet trial, something I have dreamed about since owning my first Border Collie. Not a full trial by any means, a New Handler Trial with a range of categories designed to encourage people into this rather intimidating world. Handsome Lad had a really good run, showing his power and style and secured us a 3rd place and Best Local Handler Award.
November the first of the winter's snow. My ideal weather conditions - snow, blue skies, sunshine and the greatest bunch of dogs ever with which to go out and enjoy. Many pictures taken and our very first video was filmed just before the snow arrived - The Collie Walk. A fun video showing what the dogs do naturally and with little encouragement from me. To my total surprise, this captured the attention of many people and forums around the globe! The Collie Walk video can be viewed at the top of our blog page.
December, the drawing to the end of the year and more snow and more photographs.

I’m not making any resolutions for 2011. I have a number of plans and some opportunities are opening up to me that I don’t want to waste. There are many things I'd like to achieve in our training, but above all I am going to continue to enjoy this fabulous group of dogs I share my life with.