We are exhausted after spending last week in Klamath Falls, OR at 2009 National Sheepdog Finals.
There have been so many fantastic pictures on other blogs posted of the handlers with their dogs that I am not going to bore you with my terrible photos.
Diane Pagel kept a play by play report of the action throughout the week on her blog at
Sunday's live action was also posted live by Pearse Ward on the National Finals Blog at
Comebye.net - A Home for Shepherds and Their Dogges
One thing we learned: Never, never, never go to Nationals without somewhere to keep your dogs. It was blazing hot during the day and I did not feel comfortable leaving my dogs in the car, or in crates near the car. So we ended up hauling them around with us on leash for five days. This proved to be difficult to manage and lessened our ability to watch and enjoy the runs.
Brynn may be a sweet loving dog to us, but in public she is difficult - regardless of all my efforts to socialize her. She is good meeting grown-up people but children are not her favorite and she barks at them when they move quickly. Other dogs are a challenge, she will growl, and snap if they get to close - many times we had to quickly remove her from the area. Over the days she did improve significantly. But I was constantly on guard to her barking or growling - so I was unable to relax.
Which meant John was unable to relax. The poor man. I ripped his head off more than once the past week. Actually, I am surprised I am still breathing, because if anyone had talked to me the way I talked to him...I would, simply kill them. But he patiently tolerates is. How? I don't know...
John was wonderful, many times he would take the dogs up to the pasture to run and potty just so I could catch a moment to watch some runs. On the last day he kept all three with him while standing in the sun so I could watch a few of the double lift runs. The seating was limited and I did not want to have any of my dogs near the fence or shedding ring on the off chance they would bark or lunge.
Perhaps it wasnt altruism rather self preservation that motivated his willingness to get away from me - but I am grateful all the same.
So many times we take our spouse for granted. Sure, they make you angry and there are times I have simply wished he would disappear (especially when he is snoring so loudly at night the walls rattle), but I love him and I appreciate how much he puts up with me, e.g., my snappy, sarcastic mouth. John found a friend in Jodi Darling. One afternoon I found him sitting with her at the "friendship mobile" in the parking lot...well on their way through a case of Corona's. He was in heaven with a beer in his hand and good conversation with a person who wasn't ripping his head off every other sentence.
John - Thank you for not killing me. Jodi - Thank you for keeping him inebriated & happy.
Watching nationals is a humbling experience. The oodles of talent and skill displayed on the field with each and every run is awe inspiring.
My favorite part was to sit in the tent and listen to the handlers discuss the runs, their training methods and their livestock - such a wealth of information.
We stayed in Tulelake, CA at Ellis Motel. It is a small family owned motel that is VERY 'retro' (another way of saying 1950's accouterments), but the beds are nice and the place is amazingly clean. The best part? It is DOG FRIENDLY! Directly next to the motel is a large field we were able to run our dogs off leash.
The dogs loved their morning and evening runs with their buddies. Vicki stayed at the same hotel with Blitz, Skye, Brandy, Doodle and Zoe. Our dogs were in heaven when their friends came out to play. Another new friend Patricia Pedersen (she ran a dog in Nursery) was also staying there. I will post those photos later.
One highlight of our trip was on the ride home. While driving through the mountains outside of Klamath Falls the traffic slowed. John shouted "Look at that!" when we saw a large black bear running hell bent for leather, like satan himself was chasing him out of the trees and right across the highway. Wow...those bears can seriously haul arse. What an amazing sight.
Now I am off to can more tomatoes, applesauce and pears. Later we are heading down to Fido's for some sheep time.
So glad to be home.