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philologus

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  1. I looked at the pics of US "Suffolks" and didn't recognise them. I am used to seeing Suffolks in the fields near where I live and I have yet to see anything even faintly resembling those pics. What have you done to them?
  2. I live close to the moors mentioned in that BBC article and have seen sheep that have "escaped". I have often had to stop the car and carry one back over the cattle grid. I didn't realise how they did it until I read that article.
  3. I'm in the north east of England and would like to know about local trials. I have two collies, they are not working dogs, but I enjoy watching others who are.
  4. I'm reading a book about sheepdogs by Tony Iley, who I saw recently at a trial. This quote is from a part of the book where Tony has been talking to Tim Longton - a well known name in the UK. " Tim thought very highly of Nell, and told me about one of her more memorable escapades. She was once bringing sheep home from the fell together with several other men and dogs. Two lambs were giving Nell a lot of trouble. As she worked one the other moved further away from the flock. She was working at a distance from Tim and entirely under her own initiative when she eventually left one lamb and worked the other right into the centre of the flock. Returning for the first lamb, she found that it had made its way through the fence and mixed with another large flock of sheep. 'When we got to the bottom of the fell,' said Tim, 'there was Nell with the lamb waiting at the gate. She had sorted it out all alone and without a single command'"
  5. I drive a 2litre diesel Citroen Picasso. Diesel costs about $7 a gallon where I live (UK). Because I add a fuel additive called Titan 20, I get 56mpg. I drive around 15,000 miles a year. There is a 1.6 litre common rail diesel version of my car available that does 0-60 in ten seconds and gets around 60mpg. I live in the north east of the UK and a company has just started producing bio-diesel so I'm hoping that this will be available soon.
  6. In view of my previous post I should have made that clear shouldn't I? The two girls were neices of Jim Cropper who is very well known in BC circles here. Jim was an upset and dissappointed man. The judge disqualified him because he thought that Jim's dog gripped a sheep as Jim was penning them. I was stood just a few feet away and saw what happened and the dog did not bite the sheep. There was a particularly stubborn sheep that would not move no matter how much pressure the dog applied so the dog lurched forward towards the sheep and got within a foot of it before it would move. There was a definite gap between dog and sheep - but the judge must have seen it from a different angle and assumed that the dog gripped the sheep. A number of others saw the same as me and we made this clear to the judge but the decision stood.
  7. Thanks for the reply Julie. It seemed obvious to me that the dog just wasn't up to the task. I thought that the speed (if you could call it that) of her outrun would have given the judge cause for concern. To the shepherd's credit, he did tell me after his run that he was retiring the dog from competitive work now and she would only be used for light duties on the farm. You are right about the sheep getting the better of many of the dogs. The judge stopped quite a few of the runs because, in his judgement, the run was not of a good enough quality. One of the heartening things I saw was that there were two fourteen year old competitors (both female). I'm looking forward to Kelso next month.
  8. Before a dog runs in a trial are there any checks made on its health, fitness to run, etc? The reason I ask is that I was at the English Nationals at the weekend and was stood near the entrance to the field where the runs were taking place. I saw a bitch that was obviously old and it was also obvious that she had recently had a litter. I asked the handler about her and he confirmed that she was nearly ten and had had a litter of five pups eight weeks ago. At the end of her run the bitch had done her best but failed to complete the course in time. She was exhausted and flopped into the container full of water just outside the judge's trailer. My question is: should this have been allowed to happen? There were a few other issues concerning the health of some of the dogs that were running that I was not happy with. If it is too expensive for a Vet to check the dogs before they compete, would it be possible to have one of the judges do this?
  9. Because England is such a small place and we live not far from the England/Scotland border, it is unusual to meet anyone who does not immediately recognise our dogs as BC's. I was at the English Nationals over the weekend and the range of dogs was amazing. The "barbies" were not much in evidence and those who breed "barbies" would not have classed half the competing dogs as being BC's.
  10. I've just got back from day two of the English Nationals and have had a very enjoyable time but the standard, both singles and brace, was not very good. Top score today was 195 for the singles. Top score in the pairs was 200. Far too many didn't make the grade and were stopped before they finished the course because they did not meet the judge's standard. One of the top shepherds, Jim Cropper, was disqualified because the judges said that his dog gripped a sheep. I was stood only a few feet away at the time and, although the dog got very near to a stubborn sheep, he definitely did not grip it. As you can imagine, Jim was not pleased. I hope next month at Kelso will be better.
  11. I found this and thoughtyou might like it. (Apologies if it's been put here before.) THE BASQUE SHEEPHERDER AND THE SHEPHERD PSALM From The Archives of: "The National Wool Grower" "Not many people today realize the practical application of the Twenty-third Psalm to the highly skilled and now dying craft of Sheepherding. The average modem has little idea of the immense knowledge and long training that is necessary for this craft. Most people today, if they ever think about the shepherd and his work, think of him as a patriarchal old man leaning on the traditional crook, or as a half faun-like lad playing upon a pan-pipe on some deserted hilltop. "King David," however, as the article states, "knew sheep and their ways, and he had translated a sheep's musings into simple words." The following article may surprise many people in its very accurate summing-up of sheep-ranging and its generally unrecognized practical application to the shepherd's most exact and skilful trade. Old Ferando d'Alfonso, a Basque herder, is employee by one of the big Nevada sheep outfits. He is rated as one of the best sheep rangers in the state, and he should be; for back of him are at least 20 generations of Iberian shepherds. But d'Alfonso is more than a sheepherder; he is a patriarch of his guild; the traditions and secrets of which have been handed down from generation to generation, just as were those of the Damascus steel temperers and other trade guilds of the premedieval age. Despite a thirty-year absence from his homeland he is still full of the legends, the mysteries, the religious fervour of his native hills. I sat with him one night under the clear, starry skies, his sheep bedded down beside a pool of sparkling water. As we were preparing to curl up in our blankets, he suddenly began a dissertation in a jargon of Greek and Basque. When he had finished I asked him what he had said. In reply he began to quote in English the Twenty-third Psalm. There on the desert I learned the shepherd's literal interpretation of this beautiful poem. "David and his ancestors," said d'Alfonso, "knew sheep and their ways, and David has translated a sheep's musings into simple words. The daily repetition of this psalm fills the sheepherder with reverence for his calling. Our guild takes this poem as a lodestone to guide us. It is our bulwark when the days are hot or stormy, when the nights are dark; when wild animals surround our bands. Many of its lines are the statements of the simple requirements and actual duties of a Holy Land shepherd, whether he lives today or followed the same calling 3,000 years ago. Phrase by phrase, it has a well-understood meaning for us. THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD I SHALL NOT WANT "Sheep instinctively know," said d'Alfonso, "that before they have been folded for the night the shepherd has planned out their grazing for the morrow. It may be that he will take them back over the same range. It may be that he will go to a new grazing ground. They do not worry. His guidance has been good in the past and they have faith in the future because they know he has their well being in view." HE MAKETH ME TO LIE DOWN IN GREEN PASTURES "Sheep graze from around 3:30 o'clock in the morning until about ten, they then lie down for three or four hours and rest," said d'Alfonso. "When they are contentedly chewing their ends, the shepherd knows they are putting on fat. Consequently the good shepherd starts his flocks out in the early hours on the rougher herbage, moving on through the morning to the richer, sweeter grasses, and finally coming with the band to a shady place for its forenoon rest in fine green pastures, the best grazing of the day. Sheep, while resting in such happy surroundings, feel contentment." HE LEADETH ME BESIDE THE STILL WATERS "Every shepherd knows," said the Basque, "that sheep will not drink gurgling water. There are many small springs high in the hills of the Holy Land, whose waters run down the valleys only to evaporate in the desert sun. Although the sheep need the water, they will not drink from these fast-flowing streams. The shepherd must find a place where rocks or erosion have made a little pool, or else he fashions with his hands a pocket sufficient to hold at least a bucketful," HE RESTORETH MY SOUL; HE LEADETH ME IN THE PATHS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS FOR HIS NAME'S SAKE "Holy Land sheep exceed in herding instinct the Spanish Merino or the French Rambouillet," went on d'Alfonso. "Each takes their place in the grazing line and keeps the same position throughout the day. Once, however, during the day, each sheep leaves its place and goes to the shepherd. Whereupon the shepherd stretches out his hand as the sheep approaches with expectant eyes and mild little baas. The shepherd rubs its nose and ears, scratches its chin, whispers affectionately into its ears. The sheep, meanwhile, rubs against his leg or, if the shepherd is sitting down, nibbles at his ear and rubs its cheek against his face. After a few minutes of this communion with the master, the sheep returns to its place in the feeding line." YEA, THOUGH I WALK THROUGH THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH, I WILL FEAR NO EVIL. THY ROD AND STAFF THEY COMFORT ME "There is an actual 'Valley of the Shadow of Death' in Palestine, and every sheepherder from Spain to Dalmatia knows of it It is south of the Jericho Road leading from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea and is a narrow defile through a mountain range. Climatic and grazing conditions make it necessary for the sheep to be moved through this valley for seasonal feeding each year. The valley is four and a half miles long. Its side walls are over 1500 feet high in places and it is only ten or twelve feet wide at the bottom. Travel through the valley is dangerous, because its floor, badly eroded by cloud bursts, has gullies seven or eight feet deep. Actual footing on solid rock is so narrow in many places that sheep cannot turn around, and it is an unwritten law of shepherds that flocks must go up the valley in the morning hours and down toward the eventide, lest flocks meet in the defile. Mules have not been able to make the trip for centuries, but sheep and goat herders from earliest Old Testament days have maintained a passage for their stock. About halfway through the valley the walk crosses from one side to the other at a place where the path is cut in two by an eight-foot gully. One section of the path is about 18 inches higher than the other; the sheep must jump across it. The shepherd stands at this break and coaxes or forces the sheep to make the leap. If a sheep slips and lands in the gully, the shepherd's rod is brought into play. The old-style crook is encircled around a large sheep's neck or a small sheep's chest, and it is lifted to safety. If a more modern narrow crook is used, the sheep is caught about the hoofs and lifted up to the walk. Many wild dogs lurk in the shadows of the valley looking for prey. After a band of sheep has entered the defile, the leader may come upon such a dog. Unable to retreat, the leader baas a warning. The shepherd, skilled in throwing his staff, hurls it at the dog and knocks the animal into the washed-out gully, where it is easily killed. Thus the sheep have learned to fear no evil even in the Valley of the Shadow of Death, for their master is there to aid them and protect them from harm." THOU PREPAREST A TABLE BEFORE ME IN THE PRESENCE OF MINE ENEMIES "David's meaning is a simple one," said d'Alfonso, "when conditions on the Holy Land sheep ranges are known. Poisonous plants abound which are fatal to grazing animals. Each spring the shepherd must be constantly alert. When he finds the plants he takes his mattock and goes on ahead of the flock, grubbing out every stock and root he can see. As he digs out the stocks, he lays them on little stone pyres, some of which were built by shepherds in Old Testament days, and by the morrow they are dry enough to bum. In the meantime, the sheep are led into the newly prepared pasture, which is now free from poisonous plants, and, in the presence of their deadly plant enemies,they eat in peace. THOU ANOINTEST MY HEAD WITH OIL; MY CUP RUNNETH OVER "At every sheep fold there is a big earthen bowl of olive oil and a large stone jar of water. As the sheep come in for the night they are led to a gate. The shepherd lays his rod across the top of the gateway just higher than the backs of his sheep. As each sheep passes in single file, he quickly examines it for briars in the ears, snags in the cheek, or weeping of the eyes from dust or scratches. When such conditions are found he drops his rod across the sheep's back and it steps out of line. Each sheep's wounds are carefully cleaned. Then the shepherd dips his hand into the olive oil and anoints the injury. A large cup is dipped into the jar of water, kept cool by evaporation in the unglazed pottery, and is brought out - never half full but always overflowing. The sheep will sink its nose into the water clear to the eyes, if fevered, and drink until fully refreshed. When all the sheep are at rest the shepherd lays his staff on the ground within reach in case it is needed for protection of the flock during the night, wraps himself in his heavy woollen robe and lies down across the gateway, facing the sheep, for his night's repose," "So," concluded d'Alfonso, "After all the care and protection the shepherd has given it, a sheep may well soliloquize in the twilight, as translated into words by David: Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the House of the Lord for ever."
  12. You won't be saying that when you get the bills! (Only joking) - and I'd like to add my thanks for all the balanced input she gives in other threads apart from the excellent advice.
  13. Thank you for the replies - they are very helpful. I took her to the vet after the first incidence and he said that if it was sporadic and she was OK afterwards it was nothing to worry about. He said that if it happened on a regular basis I should take her back to see him. He did a blood test and ruled out full epilepsy. He also said that I should look for any pattern that might help in diagnosing the problem. The only pattern I have observed is that it happens after a good,long run. I take both dogs on the beach and sandbanks near where I live and let them of the leash for an hour or more. as you can imagine, they cover a lot of ground. I always take some water in the car and when we have finished the walk I give them a drink - not too much though. I usually drop my wife off at the shops before I take the dogs out and then pick her up again when we are finished. This is what heppened a few days ago when the incident happened: Dropped wife off at shops 2pm. Drove a mile and a half to beach. Walked until 3:30. Gave dogs a drink of water. Drove back to shops and picked wife up. Drove a mile and a half home home. Tiffy jumped out of the car and walked about five yards before collapsing. (No twitching, no frothing.) After about one minute she got up - a bit wobbly and followed me into the house where she went straight for some food and drink. (Which she normally does after a walk.) Tiffy then went to bed for an hour (Which she normally does.) After that you'd think that nothing had happened.
  14. My bitch, Tiffy, is five years old and has passed out on three occasions in the last two years. She is walking along normally and then, suddenly, collapses onto her side - eyes open but fixed stare. Within a minute she is up on her feet again, wobbly for a minute, and then running, eating, drinking etc as normal. Anyone else had this problem who can throw some light on it or can offer suggestions as to how it can be treated please?
  15. I have often wondered if it would be possible to train the dog to hit the board, run past it as the ball is released, do a quick turn, and catch the ball on the way back. This utilises the time that the ball is in the air and would save the time it takes to turn after the ball has been caught. Thoughts anyone?
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