March 7th

Thursday, March 7th, 2019

This sweet girl.

Each day, I see more of a dog instead of a puppy. She’s growing up.

Her boundless energy is definitely still there, but her ability to lay down in complete focus when cued is one of those moments I can see the transformation. Her ability to focus has honed enough too that she’s starting to learn lots of fun tricks – shake, high five. We’re even working on nonverbal cues, and she’s rocking it. Soon, we’ll add in some dog agility elements and see how fast she conquers those.

Up until just a couple months ago, the only thing about her that resembled her cattle dog heritage was her coloring. Recently, her chest and neck have began to bulk up – very indicative of her ACD genes (also, check out that controlled, reserved look she’s tossing my way – that is the cool confidence and independence of the ACD). Her slim hips, petite face, and herding style still represent her Border Collie side, but it’s been fun to see her come together as she reaches full physical maturity.

She’s a pretty great gal pal.

February 12th

Tuesday, February 12th, 2019

Paul and went back to the farm to dig out our north facing barn door this morning and Henna was in a state of euphoria.

Snow. Snow. Snow. Snow. Snow.

Sweet wonderul powdery snow.

Up and down the snow piles, racing around the buildings, hurdling snow drifts… she was in a form of Henna heaven.

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The most hilarious? The extent in which she went to “catch” the snow we were shoveling. No one would’ve believed the acrobatics, so I stopped to photograph her.

Seriously, her athleticism is astounding. She was four, five feet off the ground flipping, whipping, and twisting.

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I think by the time we left she was actually worn out.

January 18th

Friday, January 18th, 2019

I’ve gotten out of the habit of putting my camera in my car when I leave the house, and I’ve been relying on my phone a lot lately.

I apologize for that, as that’s me simply being lazy, and I’m going to work harder at staying motivated despite the cold weather and no snow.

So stick with me and I’ll bring my A game back.

I get frustrated with myself when I leave my camera at home, especially when I take pictures like this with my phone knowing it could’ve come out so much better with my actual camera. The distortion of my wide angle lens would’ve bubbled out the very center of the image, making Henna’s chest seem bigger, in turn making her look like a canine superhero.  Especially with me shooting this overly dramatic pose from below. 😉

As I’m writing about the distortion of my wide angle lens, I’m thinking of how seasoned photographers can spot different lens distortions, but to the untrained eye it’s not obvious. Maybe one day I’ll do a post with a side by side edited vs unedited to show the difference.

Anyone interested?

October 6th

Saturday, October 6th, 2018

These two, I tell ya.

I walked out to photograph the horses, and Henna could not be left out, so here she came, racing around like a maniac.

Can you tell that the horses have become used to it?

It’s been great for desensitizing – even if she is able to sneak up on them, they startle a couple steps, but then settle right back down. And after that whole kicking incident with Henna and Bucky a few weeks ago, Henna’s learned her lesson about boundaries. It’s settled into a good balance.

I was able to get Henna to sit next to Junior and I almost got a (really cute) picture, but then Junior started licking Henna’s head, and she wasn’t about to sit still for that – haha!

If you know Australian Cattle Dogs, you know that they legitimately often have OCD-like tendencies. Routines are everything to them – if you don’t provide them with one, they create their own. Bandit had worn a single path down through my parent’s grass around their house, because that was the route she patrolled multiple times a night; the exact same route every night. Our farrier had cattle a few years ago when he had his heeler, and she did the same thing around the perimeter of their pasture. It’s like she walked around doing a head count. She also slept in the middle of the round bale feeder (as the cows happily munched around her) so she could keep a close eye on her herd.

I giggled when one of the ranch accounts I follow on Instagram showed their red heeler, Pearl, walking down the road – but only on the white line on the edge of the road, like she was walking a tightrope.

Henna’s most recent “routine” is greeting Paul and me when we pull up at the farm, but only long enough for one pet, and then she beelines it out around the barn into the paddocks and pasture to let the boys know we’ve arrived. She doesn’t even herd them back in, she just runs out, barks a couple times, then beelines it back to say hi to us a little more thoroughly. As she runs back in, the horses often amble in behind her.

And she only does that when we come. It’s like she knows we’re the “horse people.”

Inter-animal/people relationships are fascinating.

August 23rd

Thursday, August 23rd, 2018

We can talk about this now, because she’s doing fine.

But this girl got walloped by Buck on Tuesday.

Slammed.

Pummeled.

Hammered.

A lesson she hadn’t learned yet, and one that could only be learned the hard way. One that definitely isn’t fun for anyone to go through.

She always helps bring horses in in the evenings; she enjoys bringing them up into the paddocks. Her herding style tends to lean to the Border Collie side, so she stands back and uses her body and eye pressure to move them, which I don’t mind when she’s out with them. The horses will move off of her pressure, but no one gets riled up.

On Tuesday, however, the horses came running in. As Henna ran out to meet them, Buck dropped his head, snapped his front feet at her a couple times, and I saw the look of Australian Cattle Dog come out, and she met Buck’s challenge head on.

Cattle Dogs are tough, confident dogs – they’re herding style is more aggressive; bred to take kicks of a thousand pound animal, and go in for bites to the nose of a stubborn cow to get them to move. They are much more physical. So when Buck gave her attitude, Henna was on Buck’s heels like a magnet. He tossed his back legs out a couple times to tell her to back off, but she didn’t. It only egged her on. So by the time they made it up to the barn she was barking at him and ran him up into the paddock – and cornered him.

That was a mistake on her point. You don’t corner an animal who survives on a “Fight or Flight” mentality. He couldn’t flee, so he fought.

It happened so fast – Buck’s back leg shot out like lightning and solidly connected with Henna’s left side.

It was like slow motion, and then it all came quickly into regular time again. She was screaming like something was broken, and as she turned to run into my arms, she wasn’t putting any weight on her limp front left leg, and my heart stopped.

I tried to calm her down, but she screamed for 30-45 seconds. Which may not sound like a long time, but stop and sit in your chair for that long and imagine an animal in pain desperate to be in your lap, looking to you for help.

Once dad and I finally got her calmed down enough to check her over, I started down at her toes and worked my way up her leg, looking for broken bones or a reaction from her to tell me what hurt. I made it up to behind her shoulder, and onto her ribs, and while I found a swollen spot, she didn’t flinch at anything. She had started putting her weight back on that front leg.

At that point, I was satisfied nothing was broken, so I went in and grabbed a bag of frozen peas and she let me hold it on her side for a bit to hopefully help with any swelling.

She laid low for the remainder of the evening, and enjoyed all of the extra attention she was getting because no one was really willing to leave her alone.

A couple hours after the incident she had a healthy appetite and was drinking water, so we put her down for the night.

I called my mom the next morning to check in on her, and mom said “It’s like nothing ever happened! She’s running around with no limp, and happily went to check on the horses in the pasture. She’s bringing me all of her toys and wants to play.”

When they say Cattle Dogs are tough, they mean it.

They’re also smart – I’m happy to report that she did indeed learn that tough lesson – Buck now gets a wide berth, and she keeps her wits about her when walking around them.

And I’ve recovered from my near heart attack, so we’re all on the mend.

August 18th

Saturday, August 18th, 2018

I tried something new today!

There is a photographic technique called “panning” in which you have a semi slow shutter speed, and a moving subject. The goal is to focus on your moving subject, and pan your camera with the subject to attempt areas of both focus and blur to create a sense of movement. It can create some really neat effects!

So while Paul threw a frisbee for Henna this morning, I wanted to give it a try. The smokey skies helped give me enough light for a decent shutter speed, but diffuse it enough that I could drop it down. I wasn’t able to get completely sharp areas of focus, but I got pretty close! My goal was to show just how fast and athletic she is – how do you think I did?

July 18th

Wednesday, July 18th, 2018

How is she this big already?

Sharp as a tack and just as independent.

She is also one of the most social dogs I have ever met. She hasn’t met a human (or toy if were being honest) who she doesn’t love.

Here she’s waiting for Paul to give her the cue that she can get up from her sit to chase a thrown toy. Ears erect, eyes connected, poised, ready to spring into action.

Her ears have finally decided to stand all the way up, and I love that.

This beautiful pup. I just love her.

June 29th

Friday, June 29th, 2018

My family did something today that they have never done before.

Actually, strike that, they did two things they’ve never done before:
1. Henna came to the cabin, and
2. She slept INSIDE the cabin.

Farm dog turned indoor cabin dog all in the span of 6 hours.

We all loved it, especially Henna.

With the crazy heat today (Heat indices of 110 degrees), we couldn’t not bring her. We were all a little concerned about how much she would bark, or that the activity of boats, people, and other dogs would have her too riled up, but she actually did so great with it. So much so in fact that it actually wore her out mentally.

For anyone who has (or ever has had) a VERY, smart active puppy, that is hard to do, and is a true God send.

She was perfectly content to be in her harness, on a leash all weekend. She happily laid in the yard and monitored all of the jet ski’s drive by. However, she was pretty perplexed by the skiers and wake boarders (they are ON TOP of the water!), and when they were out, her eyes were constantly scanning the water.

That’s what’s happening in today’s picture.

Being the sweet, loyal, brave, control freak pup she is, she was very concerned for the people in the water. She’d whine and whine, concerned for them, but unable to help them. So to cope, she’d keep at least one paw fimrly on Emma, so she couldn’t leave. She had to at least keep one of her humans safe!

We all had a good laugh at her expense, but it’s only because she’s got a sweet heart.

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May 23rd

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018

This sweet girl.

I’m just realizing that this is her picture-taking face.

In real life, both of her ears flop at the tips. However, now that I’m thinking about it, in almost all pictures I have of her, that ear is flipped upright. Perhaps it’s because gravity does it’s thing when she throws her head back to look up at me, and gets it to stick.

Anyway, not that that is really important, just an observation.

Her eyes are starting to become less puppy-like. Not quite so hectic and fast-paced; more relaxed, soft, and observant.

The heat really does help with that along with the downtick in her energy level though, haha!