Things Loki has taught me: herding

Loki has been on sheep a handful of times since turning 6 months back in April. When I went out to Sam Furman’s lot for his second herding lesson he was able to sweep back and forth between the sheep and didn’t hesitate to push between them and the fence.

I didn’t understand at the time why she considered him such a “nice dog”.

Since that time I’ve seen a few dogs work, most of them started or Veterans. I had the opportunity to meet a Gallagher’s Cap son and that pup was VICIOUS on sheep: went for cheap shots at the shoulder and held on, dove into the flock, snap-snap-snap constantly. I’ve met a few young dogs out of Kevin Evans and they are pushy but immature.

Sam Furman has a pup out of Henry Kuykendall who is all power when on sheep and I’ve met another 2 young dogs out of Henry’s line who are more reserved with the stock– very nice workers.

Loki is still learning herding and I’m just now reading the manual. We need to learn to SLOW DOWN, I need to keep moving while slowing him down, and I need to force him to feel my pressure (not in a negative way of course).

Fostering for EHDR

I’ve neglected to post my fosters up here but let me say: it has been an adventure!

Since owning Io I’ve wanted to involve my spare time with fostering for a rescue, mainly ARCBCR. I volunteered at events, transported, and helped in other small ways but I was never able to foster. I wanted to train, work, and care of herding dogs but mainly border collies. I have a fanatical obsession with the breed (working style, natural ability, instinct, athletic ability, jump height, weight, male/female, breeder/rescue, genetics, health…) and wanted to help the poor degenerates that no one wanted.


Until joining Eastern Herding Dog Rescue in 2014 I thought dogs lingered in rescue. ARCBCR moved (maybe) 10-15 dogs a year. Maybe. I had thought all rescues functioned in this capacity.


EHDR is nearing there 100th adoption in just 10 months. Let me say it this way: that’s 10+ dogs a month that they’ve moved since starting in February 2014. Since signing on as a foster at the end of August I’ve fostered and adopted out 9 dogs.





Super Mario


It has been incredible and fulfilling (and, some days, challenging) to foster with the rescue. I admire the group for what they have accomplished in just 10 months and I’m hoping for their continued success in the future.

It has given me the opportunity to train different types of dogs and enhance my experience, it has opened the doorway to new friendships, and it has completed a dream: fostering!

If you want to support EHDR head over to their Facebook Page and give them a like.

Mock Run Loki 1

I have just started training Loki in competitive agility: I started with foundations including basic obedience, following hand signals, working 2 on/2 off with boards, placing him on wobble boards, various commands while running on the flat, restrained recall, heel work. Next I started with recognition of the obstacles, moved to maneuvering over jumps, collection.


Here is his first mock run.


The Story Behind Loki

imp. shep
Loki’s Father, Imp. Shep
Loki and his litter mates
Imp astra bobbie
Imp. Astra Bobbie, Loki’s mother

As Loki nears 1 year old (and trust me, there will be a HUGE post on here as well as on my website) I want to take a moment to reflect on the story behind this incredible, amazing boy.

After Io I buckled down and started looking hard for where I wanted my next Border Collie to come from. I didn’t want to buy local for personal reasons and so I started looking out across the web for reputable, respectable breeders that had been breeding for 10+ years. I wanted a breeder who bred for working, high energy, versatile border collies. I wanted someone who actively sought titles for their breeding stock and whose litters were successful in all venues.

I kept coming across a handful of breeders that I kept returning to: Contact Point Border Collies, Hillcrest Border Collies, and Rising Sun Border Collies.

It became an obsession of mine to find the best possible pup; as much as I love Io I didn’t want to end up with a dog with another disability.

Three and a half years later of searching and obsessing I saw a sweet little puppy on Rising Sun’s website and my heart squeezed when I looked at him.


shep bobbie boy 2 face cu lg



Holy crap.

When I started my searching for my new pup I had NO CARE what coat color/coat length/ears/ eye color/ectect the dog had. My goal was to have a puppy that was mine that would grow into a dog that worked with me, who trusted me, who competed with me. I wanted a companion and a dog that I could live with over the next 15 + years. It is much easier to live with a dog whose personality compliments your own as opposed to a dog that has the physical traits you desire. 

After getting the OK from my landlady I contacted Becky Beckman and asked if she still sold breeding rights with her puppy (I’m also obsessed with producing my own line of performance border collie, but more on that later) and she said no. After about 5 minutes of debating (and I can admit it’s partially a control issue with me) of reading Becky’s returned email I agreed that the spay/neuter contract would be the best for my new fur-baby and I.

At that point I described all the traits I wanted in a puppy and all the goals I hoped to accomplish with him. She had 2 puppies remaining from the Shep/Bobbie litter but the boy would be better suited for me. He was the first out of the box, the first to escape through the exercise pen, he was mischievous and a “little over the top”. Along with this description I already knew the background of his very impressive pedigree.

Astra_Bobbie_298961         Shep_272967_pdf_1


After that he was mine and I sent her a check consisting of my savings from the past year that I had gathered from my house sitting stents.

That Friday night my roommate and I drove up to the Richmond International Airport to pick him up and after some confusion as to where I needed to go I finally picked up my little bundle of energy. I love, love, LOVE the Wildman and I am very thankful to have him in my life. At nearly 1 year of age I have started seeing the intense, driven dog he will become in herding and agility. He’s game for everything and shows no fear on the obstacle course. He is all mine (definitely a momma’s boy) and each day he is overcoming his uncertainty of people.

Loki and the Frisbee!
herding Loki
Loki at 11 months at his herding lesson with Sam Furman (left) and I (right)


Leaping Loki at 10.5 months of age

When is too many… too many?

IMG_8143I asked on my Facebook a week back, mainly to irritate my roommates:

“How many is too many?”

I have 3 dogs and between my roommates and I we have 4 cats(… 3 of which are mine). Our furniture has a collection of hair, furballs are always creeping along the tiled floor like frightening creatures (these lumps put dust bunnies to shame), and there is always a suspicious smear that may or may not be drool.

Despite the hair and the mud and the lingering wet dog smell my dogs have never done their business anywhere but outside (I’ll ignore the times my roommate gave all natural cookies to the pups and I slept through an explosive accident) and I treat monthly against fleas and ticks for all my crew. Heartworm prevention for the dogs, toys, raw/high priced kibble. I want to make this point as I take the care of my animals very seriously.

My youngest pup will be a year in August and I’m training him for agility and herding both which he does beautifully in. Seeing him work is incredible and it drives me to start my own breeding program to ensure that the instincts, drive, and ability of the border collie are preserved.

The question came about because I had started debating on buying my next border collie in the next 6-12 months to start the foundation of my own breeding program.

The Facebook response was EXPLOSIVE! And the response was basically the same: as many as you can care for.

In some cases, I’ve seen where 1 dog is too much for one household. In other cases someone who has five dogs, is competing and caring for them, is looking for the newest member of their canine crew.

So, the analytical organizer inside of all of us (or is it just me?) started making lists the moment I considered bringing another puppy into the fold and here is what I devised (minus the cost of the puppy):

  • Puppy Vaccinations ($150/2 visits)
  • Flea/tick preventitive for a year ($268/ 12 month K9 Advantix off of 1800petmeds)
  • Heartworm preventitive for a year ($72/12 months)
  • Toys ($100)
  • Collar/leash/harness ($100)
  • Good Quality Food ($80-$600/12 months)
  • Bedding ($50/1 bed)

These are the immediate expenses that your puppy/dog will incur in a year. This does not include emergency visits, boarding, training, and costs of showing/competing with your dog.

Not only is there a financial expense to owning a dog… do you have the time and energy to care for a puppy and dog?