Ethel has passed. Those in the border collie/sheepdog trialing world know exactly who Ethel is. She was a champion for the border collie, striving to maintain the working ability in these wonderful dogs. She held training clinics for many years at her Sunnybrook farm in White Post, VA. Andre and I didn’t have border collies until 8 years ago, so we never had the chance to attend those clinics. But we did have some moments in the last few years with Miss Ethel…… We initially met Ethel a few times at our neighbor’s farm Keepstone, where she had driven to visit Wink and to get help with working her dogs. Later that fall we were at the Fall Fiber Festival and Sheepdog Trial at Montpelier, VA, which is a yearly trial put on by the VBCA (VA Border Collie Association). We were helping out and also running our dogs. At one point I happened to look down towards the parking area and saw a large car trying to come through the entrance to the exhibitor’s area. It was Ethel and she was engaged in a “conversation” with an event person who was probably telling her she couldn’t go where she was trying to go. I went down to see if I could help and she yelled “WHO ARE YOU”. I told her and she wanted to know where Wink was. I pointed to the handler’s tent at the top of the hill and she said “Get in”. I did of course, the dogs jumped in the backseat and as I pushed aside her lunch that the dogs had nibbled on in the front seat, she proceeded to drive VERY FAST up the hill. I vaguely remember a woman pulling her child out of the way. She pulled up right to the handler’s tent and there she stayed for the rest of the day, watching the trial. I think her keys were taken away from her by concerned family members not too long after that. A couple years later, Andre and I helped out with a trial at Sunnybrook. She had stopped having trials at her farm years ago, but let some people know that she would like to have one again. So the day before the trial we were there helping to put fencing up for pens, panels etc. Ethel was talking to me and asked if I’d ride with her to the top. She really wanted to see how they were building the pens up there. So I hesitantly said yes and hopped in her golf cart. I had heard that the cart was known as The Grey Peril or The Grey Pearl, not sure which. After riding with Miss Ethel that day, along the ridge, very fast to the top, I think The Grey Peril is the more apt name.
Poor Belle. Just as we've conquered the UTI, she starts having issues with the poo. Thinking it was a problem with the raw diet, I just upped the % of bone in her meals to firm those poops up. AND THEN.....It's always a shock when you see something moving in your dogs poop. Yep, good ole roundworms. I took in a sample to the vet and they also saw coccidia. The vet wasn't concerned and said she probably had them all along but they are now showing up because of added stress to her system - worms, teething etc. Sorry if this is too graphic for you guys. But I know some of my friends have dogs (some have LOTS of dogs like we do!) and we all learn from the experiences of others. She got a dose of Drontal for the worms (the puppy Heartguard I gave her last month was probably not a high enough dose for her weight). She's also on Albon for the coccidia. NOW, I need input on how to get her to not bark from the time I let her out at 4 am (yep - she's got an early internal alarm clock....) until we get up at 6. We've been dealing with it by putting pillows over our heads to drown out the noise. I'm thinking of camping out in the trailer tonight to get a good nights sleep.
Andre and I moved to the country in 2002 to have a little land. We have 7 border collies, 4 cats and now sheep. I've named my farmette 4UFarm because we started out 2 years ago with 4 ewes. 3 Border Leicester sheep and 1 Suffolk thrown in for good luck.
We train our dogs to work sheep. I'm learning to make use of the wool and have a carder and a spinning wheel. With Andre's help, I shear my own sheep - bad back and all.