tatjna (tatjna) wrote,

In which I wax all sentimental about First. Again.

Like most people these days, I get TreatMe and Groupon emails sent to me - I even occasionally indulge. It's how I got my hearing tested, and what started me doing proper things with my oral hygiene. And sometimes they have awesome restaurant or theatre thingies (Dr Wheel and I are trying to be Occasionally Cultured and cheap restaurant vouchers help with that yup). But this morning I opened it up and went "OMG what is this stuff?" Bee venom? For your lips? Uhh..

So I can kind of see how it might work, but I'm not sure inducing a histamine reaction on sensitive body parts by rubbing venom on them is all that good for you, and seriously, wtf? I mean, I've heard that botox is actually injecting yourself with botulism, so I guess this isn't any worse than that - but.. why do people do this to themselves? I mean really, why? YOU TOO CAN HAVE DUCK LIPS! *shudder*

Also, I'm about as un-allergic to bee stings as it gets, so chances are that stuff wouldn't 'plump' my lips at all. Whereas if the YoT used it, his lips would end up eating his head. Plump would not be the right word for it...

Sorry, I'm still stuck on what people will do to themselves for the sake of meeting arbitrary standards of beauty.

Last night I got booked to partially shear two sheep on the weekend. I don't know what's up with the shedding sheep this year, but this is the third lot of sheep that are supposed to shed their fleece, that I've had to shear because they haven't shed properly. I've been doing this since the 2005 shearing season, and it's the first time I've ever had to 'finish' Wiltshires. I'd never even touched on before a month ago. Weird.

Anyway, this client came from the lifestyleblock.co.nz forums, and thus reminded me of their existence. I went to have a squiz at what they've been up to lately, and found a request for heading dog pedigrees.


*cough* Shut up.

Yes, I have one of those. And not only did First have a pedigree, she was bred by the keeper of the stud book. The NZ Sheepdog Trial Association keeps a book of all heading dogs and huntaways, and the deal with these is that if a dog wins at an open event, they must be registered before they can compete again. This means that the stud book is a comprehensive list of well-bred dogs, and First was no exception. Here's her pedigree:

Click here for phuge image

What's missing from there is her parents, D Bartlett's Last (sire) and J Bartlett's Vamp (dam). Riveting stuff, huh? Well actually it is. Anderson's Clyde and Ben are very well known in trial dog circles, and as you can see she's got Clyde on both sides of her pedigree. If you look closely at it, you'll see little underlinings - the solid ones are National Championship winners, the broken ones are National Championship finalists. To save you time I did a count-up:

Winners: Anderson's Ben, Hill's Dick* , Anderson's Clyde II, Boynton's Guy, Boynton's Boss, Burke's Lady.
Finalists:Anderson's Clyde, Anderson's Queen, Anderson's Snow, Henricksen's Ned, Berkahn's Laddie, Whiteman's Keen.

* Don't laugh, that's what he was called. Sometimes they even use the first name of the owner, so it's conceivable that "Bruce Hill's Dick" was called out over the loudspeaker quite regularly. I wonder if he regretted naming his dog that ...

So that's 6 National Finalists and 6 National Champions in First's pedigree. She was a very well bred dog.

For those of you who are going "Who the hell is First?" She was my dog, obviously. The only one I kept from a team of 6 when I gave up shepherding and moved to the city. She lived out her life as a Lady of Leisure, occasionally working the lifestyle sheep but mostly observing the cat, very very closely. She died in 2011 - I had her euthanised because she had cancer, which is a common ailment of heading dogs. Here's the story for those who are interested:

Blowing snot all over the vet.
Attempted diagnosis.
Process of elimination and some decisions.
Final diagnosis.
Eulogy for First.

I ended up reading through those last night and it made me cry. I still miss her, even though I know that not having a dog has been advantageous to my life.

Anyway, for those who are going "WTF is a sheepdog trial?", it's where shepherds compete to see who's got the best dog. Heading dogs do this:

This is from a TV show that was incredibly popular in New Zealand in the 1980s, that showcased dog trialling. The pairs event isn't all that common in normal trials, but if you google 'short head and yard' you'll see the sort of thing that First was bred for. Perhaps surprisingly, it's compelling viewing. Will the sheep go in? Will the dog be able to mesmerise them into behaving? Don't believe me? Watch the video. And just out of interest, that white dog in the video, Meg? First's great-great granddam. And she works just like First did, almost too softly but with a calming effect on the sheep. See how he uses her for the shedding because she can get so close to the sheep without panicking them? *swoon*

*cough* anyway...

Finally, here's an article on a recent dog trial, complete with a picture of John Bartlett. Because he's still at it. ;-)

I'm not sure what this post started out as, but it seems it's turned into yet another tribute to First and working dogs in general, and I'm really glad I spotted that pedigree request on that site last night because sheepdogs are fucking cool.

I miss my dog.
Tags: a dog's show, first, mah dawg, sheepdog geekery
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