Thursday, August 30, 2007

Soldier Hollow Classic

Come on, you gotta admit it's pretty cool when you get your name up in lights!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Goodbye and Hello

It wouldn't be right to say hello to Skid without taking a moment to say good bye to Nessie. Nessie, our German Shepherd was the only non border collie at Alta-Pete. .
She did a little herding andplayed a guard dog on a couple tv shows, but her main job was as my companion and protector. She'd been trained to do attack work as a young dog and she always had my back. We had to say good bye to Nessie at the beginning of our spring trip. It was her time. The tumor in her belly was giving her trouble so we released her from her pain, and buried her ashes in our flower garden.

Enter Skid. We met Skid six weeks later as we returned from our trip. He had just flown out of the back of a pickup truck going 90 mph plus on a wide open highway. The truck never stopped and Skid skidded to a stop on the side of the road. After our truck and camper trailer skidded to a stop we ran down the road expecting to find a dead dog. He wasn't dead. He was sensless and on his back. Scott sat him upright and I grabbed a towel so we could take him to the nearest vet. We couldn't see any external injuries but we were sure a vet would tell us to put him to sleep. A half hour later, he got up and sarted to walk around the cab of the truck. An hour later he was playing with our border collies at a pit stop. You would never know anything had happened. He had no tags and wasn't neutered. We questioned ourselves. What do we need with a cute little mutt? Is he of any use? We decided we did have a use for him. Nessie left a big hole in our heart and Skid could fill a little bit of that. So he stayed and we haven't regretted it one bit.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Meet Pete

Pete has an official title, it's "barn cat" but actually, Pete runs the place. No, the name Alta Pete has nothing to do with Pete (shhh, don't tell him). Scott picked that name long before Pete came around. Pete and Scott met 5 1/2 years ago when Pete was just a youngster and they both lived in Buffalo, Alberta. Every night in the winter, Scott would leave a heat lamp with a tarp over it on the quad so that it would keep the engine warm enough to start. In the morning, Scott would go out and take off the tarp and see a small streak as it took off to shelter elsewhere. When he figured out it was a feral kitten, he started leaving a bowl of food under the tarp too. Eventually, the kitten started hanging around to meet Scott and they became tentative friends. Both of his ears and the tip of his tail had been frozen off but it didn't seem to bother him.

When it came time to move, Scott caught Pete, neutered him and released him to the new barn in New Dayton where Pete took over his daily duties. Petey, now quite friendly, feels it is very important to supervise all dog work done on our farm and you will often hear his comments (non stop meowing) on the video tapes we do of the dogs in training. Recently, Pete begrudgingly aquired an apprentice. When our neighbors moved and left their farm house vacant, Cali came over to see what we had going on. Between the two of them the farm mice live in fear and never dare to get in to our grain storage.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Duck Duck Goose

Aug 1, 2007: DUCK, DUCK, GOOSE Once upon a time there were 3 ducks. OK, to be truthful, there were 6 ducks but most of them didn't stick around for long. We originally purchased 6 ducks to help us train a couple of goose dogs but when the first 3 were left alone to enjoy their new pond - they left. I don't know if they waddled the long walk to Tyrell lake (a couple of acres away) or what, but I'm sure they've gone down in pet duck lore as the ones that escaped to freedom.Anyway, so now we were down to 3. I was more careful with these and made sure they were comfortable in their new surroundings before I left them without supervision. They were a happy trio and went everywhere together that summer. They swam all day and then learned to walk to the barn at night to get their dinner. All was well until the pond froze... When the temperature dropped and the snow started, I ushered them into the barn for shelter, but when I came out the next morning, there was only one. Sometime during the night they had wandered back out to their beloved frozen pond and were eaten by a fox or stray dog when they couldn't get back into the saftey of the water.

The remaining duck was in a state of shock. He was clearly depressed and spent the rest of the winter alone,huddling under his heat lamp in the barn or swimming when the pond unfroze. When the spring came, he seemed to enjoy the company of the wild ducks that came to visit so we decided to get him a buddy during the summer.

Enter the goose. Bought at an auction where we were selling our sheep we eagerly let him out to swim in his first pond and meet the duck. Unfortunately, we had just bought the only goose in Western Canada who didn't like to swim. He wanted to follow me or most often, the sheep. I put him in the water and he'd panic and run back to the sheep.

Finally, I locked him and the duck in the barn together. The duck was so happy. I came in the next morning to find them cuddling. Would it work? Had the goose imprinted on the duck enough to try to swim? I herded them out to the water and... success! He's not very good at it, but he swims! And they all lived happily ever after. The End