31 December 2006

Catching up

We've let an embarrassing amount of time pass since we last blogged, but, then again, not that much has happened in the last several months. Actually, that's not really true, but we don't think anyone would be interested in the minutiae of post-sabbatical blues. As it's New Year's Eve, though, we're feeling sentimental and wanting to look back--it hasn't been all that bad. The human's coming around (we think), though he still complains about his job a lot. We're actually hoping the new year brings him something special: he is quite smitten with someone at the moment, and it's been years since that's happened (way long before any of us)! Also, we're kinda sad for him that he's alone tonight. We love him and all, but he needs another human, too. (He probably won't like us writing that... did not mean it to sound like Sleepless in Seattle) Anyway, the next few little posts summarize some of our fall highlights... We'll try to be better in 2007!

Human talent, too

Okay, so it's not that special, but we're proud of our human for contributing to the Canine Partners for Life benefit auction. And he made a painting of us no less! :)

Doing what comes naturally

Why does Narra get to do all the fun stuff? Like chase sheep! Buko and Jacks watched from the van... Not fair. We packed up the van and went up to Raspberry Ridge Sheep Farm in Bangor, PA to try herding with shepherd Carolyn Wilki. The first step was a herding instinct test that Narra passed with flying colors! Carolyn's written assessment of Narra commented on her beautiful tending trot, ability to read sheep, and her attentiveness to her human. Narra and human then did a seminar with Carolyn where they spent a day learning some formal herding stuff. Again, Narra did great. In fact, she impressed everyone when she could be called off the sheep so reliably and consistently. We were told that's unusual for a fist-time herder! Of course, one other dog was able to do the same thing--another GSD bitch, of course! :) What now? Bangor is a little far from home, but we like Carolyn and her farm, so, hopefully, more lessons are in store.

Far Above Cayuga's Waters

With sabbatical over, the human has been pretty insufferable; in fact, we hear a lot of people refer to him as being unusually bitchy. While we don't normally subscribe to the use of the word "bitch" as negative, we understand what they're saying. Even as months have passed, his moodiness continues (beyond normal, that is). Thankfully, he has taken time for some little roadtrips. Usually, we go somewhere where Narra is entered in an agility trial. Back at the end of September, we ventured back up to the Finger Lakes for a weekend of dog shows known as the Wine Country Cluster. Pretty nice. It was up in Romulus, NY at Sampson State Park. Ironically, Buko ended up doing obedience, and Narra sat out the agility trial. Bad weather made for horrible agility courses: way too muddy for delicate competitors such as ourselves. The obedience ring, on the other hand, was just wet grass, so Buko gave it a go. Valorous attempt, but he's feeling too old for this stuff. He didn't really want to do the retrieve over the high jump, but he did try his best. He's what you call "retired" now--apparently, our human would like to be retired, too.

After the trials, we went to Ithaca, a place that is super sentimental to our person. We walked around the Arts quad and looked out over West Campus from the top of Libe slope. We even got to watch the sun set on Cayuga lake. School was still in session, so students stopped to visit with us. They say we're beautiful. :) Although one girl did tell Jackson he stinks. Ha, stinky is as stinky does. Another girl laughed at us while we took this picture. Ah, those were the days--at least, that's what we're told.

BTW, in October, Narra and Buko competed in rally obedience at the advanced level for the first time. Rally's not as demanding as conventional obedience, and jumps are only 16" so Buko's happy with this event. Also, humans actually get to talk to us, like in agility, so it's much more fun all the way around. Oh, almost forgot to mention, both Narra and Buko earned qualifying scores! That means they each have one leg toward their Advanced Rally titles (RA). Better yet, Buko got a third place! Yes, he beat Narra even. Well, long story short: Narra went first, and her human made all kinds of mistakes which he was then able to correct when it was Buko's turn.