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#1 Eileen Stein

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Posted 16 December 2005 - 10:57 PM

I've just been reading David Kennard's book, A Shepherd's Watch: Through the Seasons with One Man and His Dogs, and I would highly recommend it as a great Christmas present for yourself or a friend. The author is shepherd on a National Trust property in the southwest of England, and some of you may know him from his video, The Year of the Working Sheepdog, which came out a few years ago. The book is just out, and gives a lively and lovely account of what it's like to be a traditional shepherd in today's world. His dogs are a major part of the book -- besides seeing his flock through its yearly cycle, Kennard is also occupied with training and working his dogs, helping young farmers learn how to handle their dogs, and running two of his dogs in brace competition in the English Nationals and the International. I think the book would interest anyone who cares about the working border collie and the shepherd's calling, and might help to explain our preoccupation with this way of life to those who don't (yet?) share it.

A publisher's blurb calls the book "reminiscent of James Herriot and Jon Katz's The Dogs of Bedlam Farm." I can see the Herriot comparison, but anyone who sees a similarity between this book and Katz's can't tell sheep from shinola.
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#2 Keegan's Mom

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Posted 17 December 2005 - 02:21 AM

Thanks for the recommendation Eileen. I will have to check it out.

#3 Debbie Crowder-BaaramuLuke

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Posted 17 December 2005 - 03:03 AM

Is this the one he had out a couple years ago? I have it, and thought it was a limited printing, cost a bit and WELL worth it, gosh almighty, it is truly beautiful and great writing. That is is compared to Katz is criminal. It isn't in the same league at all.

Mesmerizing, but then I love sheep almost as much as the dogs.

#4 Wendy V

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Posted 17 December 2005 - 03:28 AM

I just finished a great book from Temple Grandin published this year, called "Animals in Translation". Very interesting observations from an animal's point of view. She talks much about livestock and dogs, and everything else under the sun. Her autistic perpective is truely unique when relating to animals.

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#5 blackacre

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Posted 17 December 2005 - 03:44 AM

Morning Wendy,
I thought it was pretty flaky. Pseudoscience mixted with a random selection of actual controlled studies if they happened to support her position. In other words, I was totally not persuaded that being autistic was in any way comparable with how an animal thought.
Off to my sheep, did you guys get this huge snowstorm? I'm thinking I'm going to have to dig out their round bale feeder if not an actual sheep or two.
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#6 Wendy V

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Posted 17 December 2005 - 03:58 AM

To each, their own. :rolleyes:

Yes, we have about a foot or more on the ground, but I love to train in the snow. It makes the sheep very heavy and the dogs have to push, push, push to move them. Does wonders for the thighs, too. Impossible to shed them, though.

Wendy

#7 PennyT

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Posted 17 December 2005 - 04:03 AM

The video about a shepherd's year has the most breathtaking footage I've ever seen of dogs working.

I'm going to call Geri Byrne today and see about getting Kennard's book.

Penny

#8 Eileen Stein

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Posted 17 December 2005 - 06:15 AM

<< The video about a shepherd's year has the most breathtaking footage I've ever seen of dogs working. >>

I agree. You can't help being in awe of the dogs when you watch it. It doesn't hurt that that part of north Devon is gorgeous. The book and video together make a nice set.

Debbie, I think you're right that there was an edition of this book out a year or so ago. It was only distributed in the UK, I believe, but some of our specialty vendors like Geri and Francis may have brought over some copies for sale. This is its first release in the US. The amazon.com price is substantially under the list price, BTW.

As for Animals in Translation, impossible as it may sound, I agree with BOTH Wendy and Andrea. I thought it was loaded with interesting insights, some of which were demonstrably wrong but provided food for thought all the same. Occasionally she said things that were embarrassingly ignorant for a PhD in Animal Science (her apparent belief that all white color in animals is a form of albinism, for example), but she also said plenty of things that seemed valid as well as original. (Although I must report that a friend whom I respect a lot remarked to me that the more you knew about the particular topic she was talking about, the less sound and insightful she seemed, and I have to say I agree with that -- much of the dog stuff seemed weak and perfunctory to me.) But on the whole I thought it was pretty fascinating and provocative reading, with an unusual perspective, and I've given it as a gift to more than one friend.
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#9 blackacre

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Posted 17 December 2005 - 10:12 AM

Originally posted by Eileen Stein:
. . . Although I must report that a friend whom I respect a lot remarked to me that the more you knew about the particular topic she was talking about, the less sound and insightful she seemed . . .

Just so. Exactly my reaction.

I did like her book on autism though.

A

#10 donna frankland (uk)

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Posted 17 December 2005 - 10:58 AM

Originally posted by Eileen Stein:
I've just been reading David Kennard's book, A Shepherd's Watch: Through the Seasons with One Man and His Dogs,

i met him once at a trial, he is a very nice man!
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#11 Rebecca, Irena Farm

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Posted 17 December 2005 - 11:01 AM

Having grown up with a brother with profound autism, I have to say that is ONE subject where Temple Grandin was right on most of the time. I happened to like the book overall just as an interesting insight into the world of livestock and I did get some helpful tidbits there.

Thanks for the heads up on the David Kennard book, Eileen Something for my birthday list - too late for Christmas!
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#12 Zoe

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Posted 18 December 2005 - 03:19 AM

I think I might ask hubby to get it for me for my birthday .......!!! Thanks for the recommendation.

#13 Eileen Stein

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Posted 18 December 2005 - 06:44 AM

[O/T] You mean there are people who have done their Christmas shopping already?? [O/T]
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#14 Barb Scott

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Posted 18 December 2005 - 07:26 AM

I did almost all my shopping in one evening before obedience class at Petco. There was a book store, a Party America (wrapping paper) and a Linens and More in the same little strip mall! What I didn't do at the other stores, I did during the potty break at Petco. The instructor was kind enough to work with Bryte while I stood in the cash register line!
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who now highly recommends book stores as a place to find great gifts!

#15 KathyF

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Posted 18 December 2005 - 12:58 PM

This book sounded so good that I just ordered it. It will be here in about a week, but it gives me something to do when it's too cold to work dogs. I get so many books read in the winter.

Kathy

#16 Red Kev

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Posted 19 December 2005 - 09:11 AM

Funny you should mention that just finished his second book the dogs of windcutter down. Which is even better in my opinion as it focuses
more on the dogs. Available on Amazon now

#17 Eileen Stein

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Posted 19 December 2005 - 10:12 AM

Kev, I'd love to read it, having appreciated A Shepherd's Watch so much, but it's not readily available over here. I see it's listed on our Amazon as "usually ships within one to two months." The last time I ordered a book from Amazon that said that (also a UK book), they strung me along for six months or so and then said it was unavailable. But maybe if the US distribution of A Shepherd's Watch does well, they'll publish it over here as well. Yet another reason to buy the book.
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#18 diane allen

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Posted 19 December 2005 - 11:26 AM

Having a dear friend lately "into" herding, I did order A Shepherd's Watch for her. My local, small-town bookstore got it within 4 days! (not cheap, but hey...) I took a look and it looks very good. I believe it just came out in the US in November, so if you're interested, you should be able to get it!

#19 AK dog doc

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 09:02 PM

Oooh, titles to put on my B-day wish list! Thx for the suggestions on Kennard's work.

A different perspective on Temple Grandin... She teaches at CSU, where I got both my master's and my doctorate, so I've heard her lecture. Having not read the book, I cannot comment on that, but in person, she's wonderful. She's a fascinating lecturer, and she has very significantly improved the handling of feedlot and slaughterhouse stock, at least locally (not sure on a national level). She gives the impression of having an absolutely brilliant mind, and yet it's clear that there's something different about her. But when she started talking I found myself sitting with my chin propped in my hands, staring at her in complete absorption, nary a note taken - and I'm a compulsive note-taker in lecture. So perhaps I'll have to read her book to see if I agree with it or not. It's true that her main focus, at least in the lectures I attended, was livestock, not dogs; perhaps she's more gifted in dealing with stock than with dogs. I can't say at this juncture.

Anyway, just another view of things.
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#20 Wendy V

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Posted 22 December 2005 - 03:51 AM

I love it! Someone who will take the time to form their own opinion.

Happy holidays, all. I must get back to waiting on the in-laws....



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