Like a walk through the country side living on a small farm is full of daily surprises, sometimes wonderful and amazing, and other times puzzling and sad. I hope you will walk with me as I live out my dream of living on this tiny farm. You will come to know the dogs, cats, Shetland sheep and chickens that make up this farm and what goes into keeping them happy and healthy. Come and join the journey with me.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


I thought I'd post a few pictures of 'the old girl' this morning. Ariel is a registered Blue Merle Rough Collie. She will be ten this year. She didn't have quite all that it takes to make a show dog, so she got to come live with me and be a 'farm dog' instead. I've had her since she was about 7-8 months old. Until last June she and her buddy, Jody, a Sable/white Rough Collie kept things pretty much in line around here. Jody died a few days after her 10th birthday, suddenly and still pretty much of unknown reasons. Despite a bunch of tests done on her to try and save her, there was still never a diagnosis of the root cause.

The girls were half sisters (same sire) and about a year apart. They were buds, but intensely jealous of everything the other one did. They would occasionally have 'melt-downs' that sounded a whole lot worse than they were. Ariel has had a difficult and lonely time without her barking bud, but she seems to be doing better. She is actually trying to create a 'pack' with Boone, the big Mastiff. They are a funny pair to see, and I have to supervise, since he is so big and rambunctious and she is a bit on the frail side these days.

Ariey 'insists' on going on walks when I take Boone out, although some days you could tell she really didn't have the energy for it. She stuck it out though, and I believe by the end of summer she was really moving alot better.

She is a dork and a little goofy, but she is such a good girl. Her bark is so high pitched and annoying that it would drive a reasonably sane man or woman crazy in a short while. I don't exaggerate. I've watched 'company' literally cringe when she starts barking. She does love to bark--at existent and non-existent things alike. She listens though when I tell her to shut up. She used to steal stuff when she was younger--tools and things that a dog really shouldn't need. Very sneaky about it too...... It burns her up when Boone gets a bone and she doesn't (she won't chew them anymore), so she will wait until he is out of the yard and steal whatever it is out of his pen. She still occasionlly has big running sprees--sometimes when I first get home, she'll start running big looping circles as fast as she can. She doesn't last as long as she once did but not bad for an old lady!

She has always been moody--either the highest highs or sometimes the deepest lows. She would have to work her way through her blue funk---a day or two--then she'd be fine. From the first she has had odd eating habits. A very hearty appetite for a couple of days, and then she will eat nothing for a couple of days. Jody used to love that part and would clean up both pans if I let her!

When she was around 4 or 5 I took her to obedience classes just for the socialization and 'special' time together. She loved it and already knew most of the lessons. When we were 'at ease' and having a command explained to us, she would lay on her back with all four feet sticking up in the air......much to the amusement of the class. She also got a small order of french fries afterward, which to this day she really, really loves. Now, she will do the obedience commands if she takes a notion to. :-)

Ariel gets to spend the nights in the house these days. Something I started when Jody passed on, as Ariey was so sad. She enjoys laying in front of the wood stove on her blanket and never makes a sound all night.

I love the Collie breed and have had the pleasure of having four beautiful collie girls in my life. They've all had wonderful, easy going temperments, unique to the breed characteristics and terribly smart. Many 'commands' they seem to pick up by osmosis. Basic manners seemed to be inbred and things like 'thats far enough' on walks seemed to be readily understood. My girls have all enjoyed being around other critters (even chickens) and not harming them. The only big drawback to the collies is their long double coats. As they age some of them seem to have a hard time shedding out and it can become a mess very quickly. One of my first collies, Mara, was a blue merle 'smoothie'. She was a lovely thing and her coat was a snap to care for.....but its still not the same as that beautiful long flowing 'Lassie' coat.
I was glad to get these two pictures of Ariel. She hates to have me point 'that thing' at her and so its very difficult to get a good photo of her. She was engrossed in something off in the distance in both of she never even knew when I snapped 'em..... :-)

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