Tomorrow I run in my last trial of this year.  Hannah and I are running first thing in the morning, in Novice-Novice (NN) as usual.  But we are also running in, gulp, Pro-Novice (PN).   This will be a big jump up for us, but Hannah is driving solidly and there really is no reason to stay in NN any longer.  Plus, we can’t after this trial because we won the overall championship for the year, so have to move up at the end of this season!  I’m quite pleased with this accomplishment, even though many of the dogs we competed against this summer moved up to PN part way through the season so who knows how we would have done if they had stayed.  But I’m proud of my girl and we have worked darn hard to get here, as you will know if you have been reading this blog.

I don’t expect we will be seeing ribbons or prizes for a long, long time after this.  Pro-novice puts us in with the big guns, or should I say the big-hats.  Tomorrow we will be running against people who have formerly won the Canadian and USBCHA national championships. But you know what?  That actually makes me LESS nervous because I have no expectations. My goal is to get the sheep to the first drive panels and thus make the first leg of the course.  If we still have sheep when we hit those panels, I will consider the run a smashing success!  You see, we will be driving the sheep directly towards the exhaust.  To keep them calm, I will need to keep Hannah about 30 feet behind them.  Ha! Fat chance.  If we push them even a little too hard, they will leap away like gazels to join the rest of the heard on the other side of the exhaust gates and it will be game over.  I am debating whether or not to get someone to video our runs.  I probalby will, but I’m not promising that I’ll post them if I do!  Let’s see how things go first…

Last weekened, Hannah blew her pads again.  I am quite sure this is because she was running on the hard-packed soil of the forest at my parents house again, the same place she blew them the last time.  However Mira doesn’t blow her pads when she runs there, and she runs even harder than Hannah.  Hannah clearly has a problem with soft feet.  I mentioned that to the homeopath I am working with for Ross.  Every time Hannah hurts her feet I have been giving her Hypericum.  I thought perhaps that this was an indication that Hannah needed to take the chronic version of Hypericum, if that existed.  I asked our homeopath, but, after asking me some more questions about Hannah, suggested I give her Calcarea Carbonica.  So I did, and we will see I guess!

I expect tomorow to be quite a challenge as Hannah has been put up to rest for about 10 days now with very, very little exercise.  I took her swimming this morning and perhaps should do that again tomorrow before going to the trial to try and take the edge off without wrecking her feet.  However I don’t want her working sheep with wet feet as that will increase the likliehood of her tearing them open again.  She does work much more slowly and carefully when her feet are sore, but I don’t think that’s an ethical way to improve your dog’s performance!

Our other challenge for tomorrow is that Hannah is in full standing heat.  Lovely.  I brought her out today and she flagged and presented her hind end to a daschund.  Just what the world needs!  She spent the rest of the afternoon in her crate, in my car, with the windows only half open.  Good thing it’s cool out!  I am actually happy that she flirted and flagged – she’s never done that before.  Her mother had to be forceably bred, and I won’t do that to Hannah.  I think a bitch should want to be bred or that may indicate a problem.  Until this heat cycle Hannah has always stayed snippy with the boys, even when standing, and has never flagged at any point in her cycle.  I included that in her profile and selected a remedy accordingly last spring after her heat cycle was also several months late.  This time it was right on schedule (6 months) and she’s actually showing interest in boys!  This bodes well as a sign of improved health.

Funny thing at the trial – it seems I have already developed a reputation as someone with holistic and homeopathic knowledge.  Someone sought me out explicitly to ask about her dog’s back problems.  I like that this crowd is very open to holistic medicine and raw feeding.  In fact it is more the norm than not it seems!  And when I ask about vaccines, most say they don’t vaccinate past puppy shots, other than rabies every 3 years to get across the border.  That’s a big improvement but I wish they’d drop that rabies shot.  I won’t trial my dogs rather than vaccinate them just to cross the border.  I really must find out if they will accept titers.