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I got my first border collie Ella as a first-year vet student at Penn. We were recruited for a local flyball team from the time she was a baby, and she certainly was very good at flyball, but I quit shortly before competing because it was overly stimulating to her. Around this time I met my best friend Sue Asten who introduced me to stockwork. Ella was very dificult to start, super keen but hard-headed, often too amped up to think. I wasn't making much progress so went into agility with her. She developed into a very talented agility dog, but my passion was stockwork. Last winter Ella developed a slight but persistent lameness and was diagnosed with Medial Shoulder Instability. She underwent Radio Frequency treatment and an intensive 6 month rehab program. Fast-forward to this fall when I re-started her, and she showed considerable natural talent. Unfortunately, she suffered a neck injury around Thanksgiving, so I've been slow to bring her back. I will no longer pursue agility with her, due to her injuries as well as my changing interests. Her chiropractor has given us the green light to get back working sheep, so I may get her going again when her fitness improves. Here are some winter photos:

 

The Merlefriend

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So Ella

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While I was still in school, I got to play around with some of Sue's dogs. Then last May I found a partner of my very own in Renee Billadeau's Rae. She went right to work for me, and we've gotten on pretty well. Though she came to me as a fully-trained dog that had a very successful trial career, there has been considerable "re-learning" on her part as she and I develop our partnership. I'm very pleased with our progress, and we're now running in Open.

 

Rae working at home in the fresh snow

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Silly Rae

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Really not a fan of the snow

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Not only has Renee entrusted me with her precious Rae, but now baby Livy has entered the picture. I'd been looking for a dog from those lines for some time, plus I've very much admired Bette both on and off the field, so it was an easy decision. Liv's fitting in quite nicely.

 

"Remember me?"

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And I'd be remiss without giving a shout out to my friend Christine Henry who has helped me tremendously since I've moved down to VA to take on my first job as a mixed animal vet! This winter she gave me the incredible opportunity to borrow one of her youngsters, a Tweed x Bess named Gabe. She has recently agreed to let him go (without excessive nagging on my part), so Gabe will be joining the family on a permanent basis! I love that dog, and I'm so excited about his potential.

 

Majestic Gabe

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A clean flank in the clean snow

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Wheeee!

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Thanks for looking!

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Hey Emily! Great to see the shots of Ella - she's as gorgeous as ever! Welcome to the boards!

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Welcome! Beautiful dogs, and it sure sounds like you've made some wonderful connections to feed that passion for stockwork. Congratulations!

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Thanks Emily! You're going to go far in this sport... you've got what it takes. I wouldn't have let Gabe go to anyone else. I know you two will be a perfect match and you will love him like I do!

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Welcome! Lovely dogs. :rolleyes: I've been checking in with your blog since I found it through Laura's. Nice to see you here.

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