How do you end up camping with five dogs? First, you schedule a herding trial the first weekend of your trip in Durango, CO (one of my favorite places, and Cathy Sumeracki's Summerny Ranch is just lovely). This requires bringing the two current herding dogs: Cody and Tagg. Then Schedule our first ever dock diving event in Las Cruces, NM (which just happens to be on our way home from the ranch in Estancia, NM) which requires packing up the three dock diving dogs: Matilda, Ruby, and Tagg (Cody thinks leaping into water in pursuit of a toy is silly and beneath her).
This leaves Ketchum (14 years old), Dice, and Billy at home. Billy can remain loose to protect the stock. Ketchum can be loose to spend her time mooching food from the neighbor's daughter and splitting her time between spying on the sheep, being spoiled by the pet sitter, and lounging in her bed in the neighbor's house. If she plays her cards right, she can get two dinners - one from each house. Dice has to be kenneled or inside at all times. Dice, left to his own devices will cause himself injury and make the most idiotic choices.
Dice does not like Billy AT ALL, and would be alone in the kennel while Billy stayed down by the sheep, and Ketchum mooched off the neighbors.
I felt that Dice would be lonely. So, along came Dice. Five dogs.
The trip up to Durango was delayed when my husband's flight was eight (8!!!) hours late! Not eight all at once, which, honestly, I could have driven to Vegas and picked him up, no, eight in bits and drabs and circling Phoenix, and returning for fuel, and crews needing to be replaced. It was just insane.
Due to the insane monsoon storms this summer, our favorite stop over in the woods just south of Flagstaff was a mud bog that threatened to swallow the huge GMC's tires. We stayed at a state park instead, and got an early start towards Durango.
To say my herding trial went well is an understatement.
The judge, Carol Deisman gave a little intro speech on the first day, and I loved her philosophy. She said that dogs just walking behind sheep but failing to affect them would not receive qualifying scores. She wanted to see herding. I was thrilled!
Tagg received reserve high in Trial on Started Farm Dog Sheep the first day, while Cody Received second. The next two days, Tagg did incredibly well in Novice, and Cody was just spectacular in her foray into Intermediate and went two for two and got a second and a fifth. She finished her title on sheep in course D (farm Dog).
We camped for a few days in Durango, exploring, hiking, riding the train, and lounging in the forest.
From there we traveled up to Great Sand Dunes National Park for a day, then headed south to visit family in Santa Fe and Estancia NM.
Along the way we played disc, went on hikes, and had fun digging holes and exploring
We ended in Las Cruces, where we met Randi and Jim for our first ever Dock Diving Competition. It takes 5 qualifying jumps in a given distance to earn a title, so I entered Ruby (Aussie), Matilda (maniac), and Tagg in 6 jumps (splashes) I figured that would provide a buffer while everyone got the hang of the sport.
Ruby started off and stayed in Junior, though she improved her distance from essentially falling off the dock, to about 9 feet by the end. She earned a Novice (0- 9’11”) title, and in a crowded building with plenty of triggers, she handled her reactivity with remarkable calm.
Matilda improved massively starting at about 6 feet and ending at about 14’ - earning a Junior Title (10’-14’11”)
Tagg also had huge improvements over the weekend jumping into the Senior title division one time. She earned her Junior title as well.
Dock Diving is super fun. We randomly all won ‘placings’ within our divisions and both Randi and I came home with yummy NM salsa.
As always, I couldn't be prouder of my dogs. They never cease to impress and humble me.