Tuesday, September 23, 2008

True Confessions From the Stage-Mom of a [Would-Be] Calendar Queen

I’ve been taking a lot of pictures of the dogs lately, even more than usual. Candids, action shots, pretty poses – you name it, I’ve been shooting it. Why, you ask? (Besides the fact that I enjoy taking pictures of my furry family members?) Well, it’s time to submit pictures for the premier edition of the Western Border Collie Rescue’s 2009 fundraising calendar! Rules for submitting pictures for the calendar are pretty simple: photos need to be high resolution shots containing one or more WBCR alumni/foster dog(s) (“no recognizable people or non-WBCR dogs, please.”) We adopted Allie from Wyoming Border Collie Rescue (http://www.wybcrescue.org/ in October of 2005, when she was about 6 mos. old and I think she is beeeeuuuutiful and would make a wonderful calendar model. Wyoming Border Collie Rescue is in the process of changing it’s name to Western Border Collie Rescue to reflect the growth of the rescue, which now has dogs/volunteers in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Montana and New Mexico.

Let me say, Allie herself has absolutely no interest in becoming a calendar pin-up girl. She would much rather play fetch or frisbee, than pose for more stinkin’ pictures. Any aspirations of cover girl glory are purely delusions on my own part and are continually being frustrated by one very basic fact – Allie is nearly impossible to photograph.

"Allie look here!" "No, not over there -- here!" "No! Look HERE!!!"

Her dark eyes in her black face usually cause her to appear to have no eyes at all (except for the really lovely glowing “demon eyes” caused from the flash).

Sometimes her eyespots get mistaken for big white moth eyes and people always tell me that her head looks about three times bigger than the rest of her skinny body.
To further complicate things, she can never sit still, so most of my pictures of her turn out like this.

Rusty, on the other hand, is a dream to photograph, with his lovely red and white coloring and obliging shy smiles. He will also sit and pose for the camera, which Allie will not.

(“Ball, ball? Isn’t there a ball around here somewhere?”)

Rusty, however, is not a WBCR dog, but was adopted from another great rescue (“That’ll Do Border Collie Rescue”), out of Vancouver, B.C., and thus is not eligible for this calendar competition.

I’m sure a more skilled photographer could coax a better picture out of Allie than I manage with my little point-n-shoot camera, but I do what I can. I love Allie and she is my “heart” dog, but I’m afraid that my hopes of greater glory for my skinny pup are just pipedreams. I will have to be content with following her around going “Allie, sit still” – “stay,” . . . “no, no, Allie, leave the ball alone now!”. . .”look this way!” . . . and just hope that maybe just one of the last 500 pictures I just took will actually turn out.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Down at the Ol' Watering Hole

My son and I just got back from taking the dogs to one of the best off-leash dog park in town -Parley's Nature Preserve. This is a very cool dog park because the park encompasses approximately 85 acres, has lots of trees and vegetation and has a great river running through it -- many places are deep enough to swim, even at this time of year (much to Rusty's delight).

There were about a million dogs there and it must have been "Border Collie Night" because we ran into about 18 different BCs.
This is one of the favorite swimming spots because it's pretty deep most of the year. (However, we avoid it in the early spring, as the run-off out of the canyon makes this a death-trap for dogs and there have been several canine (and human) fatalities in this area.)

Something smells mighty good."Throw the @#&% ball already!" (Allie has a one-track mind.)

Shake it, baby -- shake it!

Both dogs are tired tonight and even Allie seems to be settling in. It was a good day for walkies. :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Life Through a Peeky Hole

There is an alley behind my house. It doesn't get used a lot, in fact, it isn't really even paved. But sometimes people walk their dogs and the kids in neighborhood ride their bikes back there. One of my neighbors came over to tell me that lately Rusty had been greeting people through a hole in my fence.

I've known that we needed to fix the fence back there, but the foliage is pretty thick and I hadn't really seen the fence for a while, so I decided I'd better check out the "peeky hole". Tonight I put the dogs into the back yard and took a little stroll around the block so I could enter the alley and check the fence. Can you spot the doggie?

It's actually a pretty darn big "peeky hole" and the weight of the grapevine has collapsed a section of the fence, so I guess we'll be hauling in some new dog-earred cedar slats to fix it up. I actually hate to totally close off his view entirely, so I'll probably make sure we leave a little spot for him to stick his nose out.

Allie doesn't like sticking her head out of the hole and she barked and howled her fool head off at me when I was talking to her through fence. Silly dog.

(She does like popcicles, though.) :)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

It's A Jungle Out There

At least my yard looks like one. We've had a bit of rain and it's been bit cooler, so all of the greenery has really taken off.

The dogs like it -- it's fun to roll in the long grass and to hide in the bamboo. It does make walking on the grass a little like walking through a minefield, however. You can't see the doggie droppings very easily, so I advise everyone to wear shoes (it's my 15 yr. old's job to "scoop poop" and unfortunately, he's a little hit-and-miss about it).

Allie reeaallly wants that ball to start flying.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Labor Day Weekend

The camping trip up to Mirror Lake turned out to be a lot of fun -- for the first day.

We hiked, fished and the weather was gorgeous. Unfortunately, it came to an abrupt end and the rain started pouring on Saturday night. By mid-day on Sunday, we were ready to leave (very cold, wet and soggy and even the dogs didn't want to go out of the trailer). So, during one of the rare breaks in the weather, we hastily packed up and made our journey back home to dry everything out. (We really didn't want to be snowed in.)

Despite the bad weather, we did have a good time and the dogs wore themselves out playing in the river and hiking and, on Monday, I even got to go up to Soldier Hollow for the finals of the sheepdog trials.
The trials were incredible. I am in awe of the great skill that the handlers have with their dogs. These dogs were performing in very wild weather (pouring rain, hail, sun, more rain and then very warm), but almost all of them managed to complete the difficult course. What a great weekend! (The picture above is of Amanda Milliken and Clive working on getting the "pen" portion of their run. I LOVE her blue wellies!!!)