Friday, May 15, 2009

Getting Prepared

So, its been a busy last couple of weeks, not to mention a sight expensive couple of weeks as well. I'm drained, mentally and monetarily. Getting horses and sheep ready for the move, and paying the transport hauler, blood tests, health certs, and the list goes on, as well as dealing with all the bureaucracy that goes along with it, well, lets just say I'm sure glad I feel that they are worth it, cause its been an experience. It hasn't been all that difficult really, its just relearning all the things that go into having to ship livestock 1800 miles. But, happily I will report, that the USDA gal who happen to be a lovely lady to deal with and a very pleasant conversationalist, was out on Wednesday and scrapie's tagged the sheep, and that was a good thing, so not anything left to do now but get the health certs back from the vet and the coggins results back for the horses and bar any complications there, (of which I can foresee none) they are set except the loading and the ride.

Ive tried out my new Vera, (my new GPS system) several times now, and I think after our initial disagreements that she and I are going to get along just fine. We are both very simple and talk the same language. The one thing Ive found about Vera is that in some instances she spells phonetically. A good example, the street I live on is called Bayles Rd. Spoken like a bale of hay, however, when I told Vera I wanted to go to Bayles Rd. she told me there was no such place! I felt like arguing with her about this, because I knew she was wrong, and did for a minuet, but she was adamant that she was right. Its difficult to argue with a machine, they are not emotional, and just keep saying the same thing in the same monotone voice, over and over, even when one is banging her on the dash board and saying stuff like; "get over it! I'm right and your wrong! Quit trying to mess me up you stupid machine!"
We finally reached a compromise, (when she started to stutter,) I guess she didn't take well to being smacked against the dash, and when I asked her to take me to Bayles Rd. spelled phonetically, ( I had to try two different spellings) and we finally agreed on the spelling "Bails" then, she was very happy to oblige.
I called the Radio shack where Vera and I first met, and asked them if they had a dictionary or translator for her, suspecting that this would be some thing you didn't get in the package with her and that Id more than likely have to pay extra for, but they humorously assured me there was no such book to be had.
Their explanation.....just fiddle with her a bit and the two of you will come to a meeting of the minds. Minds?? Vera has a mind?? Well, if that's so, than she is about as stubborn as I am, albeit, a bit more fragile. Though I have to say, that her stuttering bit was clever, and shows me that perhaps she does have a sense of self preservation.

I shaved, in preparation for the trip, my LGD (Great Pyr) Bruin. I knew there was a fairly good sized dog under all that hair, but Id always thought all that hair gave a false illusion to his size. Boy was I wrong! There is a gigantic dog under there!
When I first shaved him last week, Bru acted a bit sheepish, like he was walking around naked, which I guess he probably felt as if he was. But after a few days, he seems to have not only gotten use to his new do, but is actually enjoying it. However, this will be the first and last time I shave him. I don't care for the look. If Id wanted an Anatolian, that's what Id have gotten. It is nice though, not to have to keep pulling all matter of.....matter out of his coat, which can range anywhere from wire and hay, to sheep doo and things that should be buried in a big deep hole some where back on the north forty! Traveling with Bru without all that hair will make us all much more comfortable, and my truck interior will likely thank me for not unleashing the drooling snow storm that is Bruin on the seats. Yes, Bru will get a back seat for the ride. Id thought about letting him ride in the horse trailer, but I just don't feel comfortable with that idea.

When the gal from USDA came out the other day, I thought it would be a nice time to get Bear out and let him do a little practical work. Man does he shine! I had originally thought to use Chris, and had taken her out prior to my appointment with the USDA gal getting there, but she was way to hyped up, and even though she was listening, she wasn't quite ready to do the up close work that was required of her. She could have done it, but not in the frame of mind Id have wanted her to be in, and so I fell back on Bear instead. Ive come to some conclusions about Chris and Bear. For the close work, Bear can keep his head much better than Chris, so those jobs will fall to him. Big spaces and big field work, Bear is equally competent with, but Chris is exceptional at doing also, so in order to help her keep her mind in the right frame, I will for now, stick to keeping her out of small quarters where she gets so ramped up. She doesn't tear into sheep anymore, so we have come along way in that respect, but she still has a bit of a problem getting her mind to relax so she can do the work without unsettling the sheep so much. Bear, glides in and out between sheep, and walls and fences and the sheep barely know he is there. Sheep like Bear, and move off him calmly and easily. If Ive said it once, I'll say it again, he is such a pleasure to work with. Not dissing Chris in the least, she is my heart, and is a lot of fun to work with. Her energy and happy attitude are infectious. I can always count on her to never give up no matter what the task, always count on her to always get all the sheep, always count on her to do her best and give me her all and try her best to understand what it is I'm asking of her. Ive never seen this dog quite at anything. Her work ethic is phenomenal.

I havent done much training with Hank for a bit. He would love it if I worked him daily, but thats not what he needs right now. He needs to grown up in his head, and collect himself physically. Im working with him right now off the field, on helping him to understand that I am the one in charge. He likes to stand there and puzzle things that I ask of him, funny enough, he does it with his silly head cocked to one side, and you can actually see the wheels turning while he is staring at me from across the yard contemplating whether doing what I ask will be worth his while, or some thing he truely wants to do. Its amazing how transparent he is. For the most part, Hank is a very happy and obedient dog, and trys hard to do what is asked of him. He doesnt even really present a battle of wills, so much as he is just appearing to weigh his odds. Alot of it I attribute to age. He is just comming 13 months, so with a little more work on my part, and a little more growing up on his, Im sure things will sort themselves out.

Lex is still hating retirement. I dont think she will ever get use to the idea that the other dogs can do the work. She doesnt see the perks in not working. And for her, there are many. She seems to feel as if she has been demoted. Another dog with a flawless work ethic, who lives to work. Sadly, getting to sleep on the funiture because she doesnt smell like sheep doo, and getting free range 24/7 of the house with no crate time, getting to go everywhere with me, and basically, just being allowed to be a pet, doesnt set well with her and she is constantly standing by the gate asking for me to let her work. The hopeful look on her face, is one that is hard to deny. So, to keep her happy and fit, a couple of times a week, I'll let her go in and do a little OLF and some flanking and put the sheep in the lambing pen for me. It just makes her day, and the look on her little grey face when we are through, is priceless! Panting up a storm she is, but the grin goes from ear to ear. I love it when we are walking off the field together, the way she walks beside me and purposely bumps up aginst my leg, looking up at me with such joy in her eyes. So proud of herself and so happy to get to do a little work for me. What a grand ole gal.

So, everything is in order, but the waiting is hard. A couple of weeks, seems like a couple of years right now, patience has never been one of my strongest virtues when it comes to getting on the road and getting the driving out of the way.
Work is so slack right now, Im tempted to bag it and let the new gal they have hired just go on in and get settled and started. What she thinks she stands to gain working there I dont know. I havent talked to her, and Im not sure what the owners have told her, but if she thinks she is going to make any money there, I wish her the best, but know she wont be doing much. My clients arent going to take kindly to some one else handling their dogs, and I suspect that many wont continue to go there for their grooming needs. Grooming is a very personal biz, one that you slowly build relationships of trust, getting it right off the bat doesnt come easy. It would have been helpful if the owners had included me in the hiring process, which as manager of the groom shop, I felt was my right to start with, however the owners felt my presence wasnt necessary, and did not feel obligated to include me. as far as Im concerned, this little bad judgement on their part, is going to seal this new gals fate. Clients are coming in and calling me left and right, grilling me on the new groomer coming in. Sadly I can tell them nothing about her, as I know nothing, and therein lies the problem. If I had been included, I would have been able to reassure my clients that they could expect the same, or comprable professionalism from the new gal, I could assure them that I had seen her quality of work and animal handling skills, and had I been able to give my seal of approval, they probably would continue to use the shops services. As it stands, I know my clients, and doubt they will return for many, many months, and only if the new gal has been able to build a decent reputation for herself, if at all. But, there is nothinhg I can do about it, but I feel so terrible that I have had to leave my clients hanging like this. The shop owners decision, has made me look as if I dont care about my clients, which is so totally untrue. I am going to miss my clients here, I have nutured the old ones and started the puppies, and really enjoyed my clients, human and dog for the last three years, and leaving them like this weighs heavy on me. On the up side, when I get back to Vernal, I stand to gain back a lot of the old clients I left back there and am looking forward to seeing all of them again. It kinda feels like Im going full circle.

1 comment:

Chasing The Dog said...

wow! I am super impressed with how quickly you got all your ducks in a row. I have one stupid condo and i am a mess come moving time!

I hope the trip "home" is uneventful and a nice ride home. :)