Oh, how this year has flown by!
Rowena will be turning a year old on labor day weekend. Both dog and human have learned a lot about life and each other this year. My new obsession is Rowena, and Rowena's new obsession is... well, yes me, but she has many other things too. Within just the last few months, she has blossomed into the ever-alert, over-focused Border Collie that I had always read about. Nothing I ever read said that one day, out of the blue, my dog would suddenly gain the attention span of an obsessed Border Collie... and nothing I read ever taught me how to teach a Border Collie what the term "That'll do" means. So I see a somewhat humorous memory running through my mind of Rowena, after a long walk in the forest, (See photo above of the old railroad bed she found the bee's nest off of) after a swim, a swarm of bees swarming at her butt for the past hour and pads blistered open, my husband and I decide that with the storm clouds rolling in (Photo above) we should stop playing in the blood-sucker infested pond and take the trail back to the car. Retriever toy in hand, I call Rowena out of the water and insist on carrying her toy in my hand. "No" I tell my husband, "She has to learn that just because it is out doesn't mean she has to play with it." The term I must use is "No more." She knows "NO" means stop whatever your doing or about to do. So we are walking down the trail and we are yelling "no" at her to keep her out of the murky, stagnant, algae covered water in the ditches on the side of the trail, and she begins jumping on me to get her retriever toy from my hand. Then I am yelling "NO! OFF!" and I realize that those bees she got into earlier are still after her. I am dancing around trying to avoid contact with her and her entourage of bees so I don't get stung... she is dancing around oblivious to her fan club and is dancing around me. I should have just given up the whole consistency concept for the moment and thrown the darn toy. Chris comes to my rescue and grabs the shredded frisbee from my pack and throws it out for Rowena to run after. The bees fade away before the car, and we pack Rowena in the back seat. On the drive home, I notice she has ripped off nearly the whole pad of one of her feet. It had blistered loose somewhere... either on the trail or in the bottom of the pond. I checked her other foot which was blistered worse. At home, I immediately drag her in for a shower and discover 2 bloodsuckers. One was swimming for the drain (I helped it in) and the other was in her inner thigh of a leg. I took the ole salt to it and joyed at the wormy creature curling up, writhing in... well whatever those creatures feel, and washing down the drain. It was at that point that I realized I would really have to watch how hard Rowena plays. She must learn "That'll do" no matter how I teach it to her. I cannot let her wear her pads down like that. It was also then that I realized what a "tenderfoot" my little Border Collie really was. My husband says to poor Rowena that Border Collies all over the world are laughing at her ("RRRrr-hrr-hrr-hrr!") because her feet are so delicate. I explain that sheep live in fields of grass normally, so herding didn't necessarily call for rugged calloused pads. I don't know how true this is, but I hate to admit that my Border Collie is a "Fragile Flower" (as one of my friends describes her to be.)