Seeing the light

You know those moments when you see progress? When you see that there is light at the end of the tunnel? That the dog that so many people have put down over the years may turn into a really good dog, one day, maybe one day soon?

We went out into the pouring rain last night to bring up the sheep and cattle from the back field.  The sheep came up easily, but the cattle decided that they’d rather stay outside and graze and gave Gel some trouble, but he managed them well.  Then I sent him to get the ducks who were grazing near one of the thickets.  He brought up one small group (at first I thought that’s all that were up from the pond), then I saw the larger group and sent Gel back for them.

It is a very good dog who can put up sheep, cattle and ducks and do it well.

When it came time to put the ducks into their night pen, I used Fern, which should have been an easy process, but the chickens were in with the ducks and neither the ducks nor the chickens were ready to go up just yet.  The chickens kept separating from the ducks and poor Fern kept trying to group them together.  I thought I was going to have to bring Gel in to help her, but I caught the hens and put them over the fence into the area where the sheep and cattle were, and when I opened the door to let Gel in, just in case, the rooster ran out.  Perfect, now it’s just the ducks, which Fern can manage and she did.

Then I closed Fern in the duck pen and asked Gel to go and get the sheep, which he did.  The sheep didn’t want to go into the fenced-in area because Fern was at the duck pen gate which is adjoining where I wanted to put the sheep.  Gel kept working and despite a lot of physical obstacles (i.e. a storage shed which was right in the way), he was where he needed to be to outwit the sheep.  He’s a very nice sheep dog.  He puts pressure where he needs to and squares off (releases pressure) when he needs to do that.  He’s doing great with the cattle as well, but he’s likely never going to be a strong cattle dog.  He’ll be able to work some cattle, but not all.  That’s okay, I just as soon not put him in with cattle who are going to be difficult.

After we got the sheep up, I sent him to get the rooster who was still out, which was just as tricky, but he managed to get him up too.

After the ASCA trial I’m going to take a break from herding trialing.  My instructor in Sanford is tied up for the month of May so I can’t take lessons in May anyway.  I will continue to go to Asheville for lessons because those are paid for because I am socializing and caring for Josey.  Gas is too expensive right now to be driving any distance for trials or lessons.

I am going to Kentucky for the private lesson and clinic with Alasdair Macrae the end of June.  I made a mistake in making my hotel reservation.  Days Inn has what they call a prepaid option.  I guess this is so that if you make a reservation very far in advance and expenses go up for the hotel, they have some guaranty that you will not cancel the reservation when it gets close to that date.  I don’t know, but I didn’t read the fine print.  They charged me for the hotel room when I made the reservation and I cannot cancel or change it.  Lovely.  I know I’ll benefit from this clinic so it will be worth it.

Update on the finger:  swelling is completely gone.  It’s itching and a bit hot where the injury originally occurred.  I really want to dig into it with a needle to see if anything is in there, but my homeopath said not to.  I soaked it this morning and will take some Epsom salt to work with me to soak it today if necessary.  Mentally, I feel good, really, really good.