Only people who have to be on call can understand the feeling - the burst of excitement when your phone rings - or in my case - it really isn't excitement, it is more like a shiver. As a vet, you try to evaluate the situation through the crystal ball, and decide whether it can wait. Here are a few of the conversations I had this weekend:"Muffy's toenail is ripped off, well, I can come down right away, but you do realize there is after hour charges, and I likely will just rip it off.....yes, you can come tomorrow, we'll see you then." "Please don't believe everything you read on the internet - I don't think your dog is having milk fever - your dog is a male." "Oh, I think you should bring her down, she may need a c-section if she has been having pups for 24 hours." "Yes, I think it is broken, that is the bone sticking through the skin." "PLEASE, don't give your dog human medication - your chihuahua is not a full grown person, and you MUST NOT give Tylenol to a dog." The cream of the crop seems to be coming in right now. Funny it is an emergency if your dog has been vomiting and diarrhea all weekend, but it becomes a true emergency when you wake up in the middle of the night and step in it. Oh, the life of the vet - never boring.
Once again we are in the middle of freezing temperatures - one minute you think spring is coming, the next we are in the Arctic freeze. With the combination of cold weather, and working away from home, there is not much in the way of training dogs. May will be here soon, and am planning to go to the Bluegrass with LouanneTwa, and really want my dogs ready. Gin is looking a bit potty these days, due to whelp in later March, so no training will be done on her until likely a week before Bluegrass. With Floss, I try as much as I can to get some more miles on her - she seems to be on an incline in the learning department which is nice - but I always await for that proverbial brick wall in which I hit all of the time with training dogs.
I have decided I may let go of Creed-but jury is still out-in a year's time I will have too many dogs to run once again. Mitch just turned a year, and really like him, and he is a real handsome devil, and Lyn, who is only 4 months old now, but it won't be long and I will be saying she is a year and ready to train, and I should keep a Gin/Don pup. I think a perfect number to run is 2 open dogs, with a nursery dog in the wings or a pro-novice dog working for open competition. But then, I shouldn't put any carts before any horses - the young dogs haven't proven themselves yet, so maybe I shouldn't let go of Creed prematurely. I do think he will do fairly well this year - he does his best to listen, and think if a dog really is your partner, they will do their best for you. I was working him with cattle last week, and was quite pleased with him. I may have to sleep on it.
Laura Hicks and Jaimie Spring asked me to judge their trials in late September - so with their trial, the whole month of September is a wash - from going to Soldier Hollow at the beginning of September, to going to England for the World's (of which I am starting to make plans now, since Gin's rabies titres came back at good levels), there isn't much left of that month to work. So in the meantime, we will work as much as we can, and save a few pennies along the way so that I can take off September without any guilt. Perhaps a sponsor is in order- I wonder. I think Mohawk or Exxon should sponsor me since I have filled their wallets over the last 10 years. Or perhaps Jeep, or maybe Ford. Or Michelin tires. There are endless possibilities. Maybe the province of Saskatchewan will do it. Maybe Broad View Mobile Veterinary Services will do it - hey, wait, that's me.
Our weekend was spent with our extended family. On Saturday we went for supper at Rachel and John's - fur parents of Kitty and Kenny.
As you can see, Jack Russells are quite easy to dry them from a bath - it really should be put in a Maytag manual.
Then Sunday, we went out and met up with Bill and Naomi Shields, and Chris Jobe to do some dog training. Sorry, no pictures-the arena was too dark. Chris was looking after the arena for some friends, and she got to use the arena on their off time. I brought out my young dogs -Mitch and Tim - and was pretty pleased after the afternoon was done. All the dogs we brought out progressed - some finally understood what a lie down meant, others found their pace. We all tried to help each other - and I am sure I can speak for all spouses - you can never help your own spouse with dog training -it must be something in the vows I missed - but it quite alright to help other spouses with their dogs. I do believe it is the 11th commandment -Thou shall take dog training suggestions from thy neighbor's spouse.
We finished the day with supper (thanks to Cosco and friends) and of course some dog talk.
Now Family Day will be spent with our family - the family of cows. Missing tags are going to be put into the cows, and hopefully it will be a nice day to do so. I started the day by taking a pup to the airport - it was -6C at the airport, and -21C here. Oh, I sure do hope it does warm up today.
Finally the weather is getting a little nicer. The dogs seem to like it as well... I think cabin fever had been setting in. Been working a lot these days, but at the moment I am working at Nanton, and have been lucky to been able to bring a few dogs down to work at Naomi and Bill Shields after work. Naomi had said something to me which I have known for quite awhile - and I am paraphrasing - there are a lot of nice people in the dog trialing community. I would have to agree.
Having the weekend off, I can spend a little more time with the rest of the dogs - bringing out the yearlings out to put them through the paces. I feel now we have a good number of dogs - there was a time when it was quite overwhelming, and felt like nobody was getting justice. Let's see, there is Fly (who will die with me), Gin(at this moment, too expensive to buy), Creed (a Fly son and also Fly's half brother if you want to get technical-line breeding is a wonderful thing), Floss (the nursery bitch out of Fly and by A. Milliken's Clive), Mitch (another Fly son by our nephew's Bill dog, almost a year of age) , Tim (a Gin x Creed year old for sale-got to sell something right?), Lyn (the last pup out of Fly and Clive - well, the only pup really out of the litter), June (Chris's new dog, and won't sell her for anything, at least not at this time), Jill (Chris's main trial dog), Cap (Chris's main ranch dog - and I think would be a pretty fair trial dog as well if he would stop flossing his teeth) , Jet (a pup kept back from Cassie and Bill) and Penny (just a pup, really doesn't count, as well as her remaining sisters, Swift andPurdy). On the JRT side of things, I have been trying to shave the numbers as well. Artie (will remain), Cliff (the main one legged stud dog), Billie (the one eyed girl is looking with her other eye for a home), Yola (is looking for her new retirement home), Tessa (is going to live in Edmonton), Tranna (will be the new brood bitch), Lizzie (who will be the matriarch female) and Willie (Billie and Cliff's son, who was returned, and now will be the next stud dog). So let's count -14 border collies minus Tim, Swift and Purdy will be 11, and 8 JRTs minus the 3 old girls will make it 5. When you think the old dogs really don't count, that actually decreases the number further - since older trained dogs really aren't that much bother - so that would decrease the number by another 3 dogs. So 13 dogs isn't that many at all, And one can never the upcoming puppies from Gin coming - not unless I keep one of them. And you can't count the guardian dog Mike or our nephew's Joey's dog Joy either. No, we don't have many dogs at all. Just a lot of mouths to feed that is all. I am starting to feel overwhelmed again, so will end with this math lesson.
Over the week in Nanton I had taken Floss out a couple of times, and have been pleased with her progress - her driving is coming along quite nicely. She is a quick one, and will be fun to run. The main dogs I will have to run this year will be her, Creed and Gin. I plan to keep running Fly in arena trials - she cannot quit cold turkey. She is helping quite a bit these days helping with the young dogs - she is a great portable fence for the sheep. She still is worth her weight in gold - all 30 pounds of her.
The teenagers, Jet and Lyn, are setting their sights on the sheep and cattle these days, so one has to keep a keen eye on these two, or they are out working.
Jet is 6 months now, and soon she is going to have her cord back on to remind her of her name.
Lyn knows her name quite well, thanks to 1200 pound test climbing rope.
Christine Jobe is going to be around these parts with her sheep and an arena - we might just let these girls go and see what they have. These two might have to ride in Dora. And this is Dora the Explorer - after 310,000 KM on my Jeep (whose name was Mildred), it was time to retire her. I had an uneasy feeling that her BMW transmission was once again going to give me the proverbial finger. After 17 years of driving Jeeps, I decided to part ways and dabble in the Ford. I do believe Dora will be okay, it is slightly bigger than the Jeep, so if I have any company with me on dog trials, there should be more than enough room.
I am not sure what the salesman thought when I said I didn't care about the color, but needed exactly 46 cm across for it to be usable. With the upcoming trial season, it will be used well.
Just got word from a little birdie (Louanne is her name), that I got an invite to Soldier Hollow! This is a trial in the first weekend in September in Utah's Heber Valley, where they held the 2002 Winter Olympics. Their website is www.soldierhollowclassic.com if you want some more dirt on it. The teams that get invited are those who have won or placed a major trial in a double lift in the previous year. Although I haven't done that (the closest was 3rd at Kingston, and 4th at the USBCHA), I was still invited. Now I am going to change my plans a little bit. I was going to go to England in early September to get the Worlds. Oh, I am still going, I am just going to go to both (crazy dog trialer that I am). The Worlds run from the 15-18th in September, so I will just travel back from Utah, and hop on a plane, say on the 8th, and then find a day or two with sheep somewhere, and then tackle the Worlds. The year starts with the Bluegrass in Kentucky in May. I must get starting training the dogs again-I get to run 2 dogs in Soldier Hollow, so I think old Creed will be thrown in the deep end this fall. Oh my, oh my, what is a dog to do?