Saturday, September 8, 2012


The other day someone asked me "What are your goals with the dogs and sheep?"

I have to admit, I didn't have an answer at the ready. 


When I first started this 'journey' it was about trialing and getting better, bigger, faster, pushing myself, pushing my dog,  pushing pushing pushing.  It took some healthy introspection about why I was being competitive and just what I was out to prove. 

I am not a competitive person.  I am a pleaser.  Big difference there.  Both are rooted in ego, although the path is slightly different. 

Who was I trying to please? My trainer? My husband? My friends? Me?

Certainly not my dog.  She could care less if we ever go to a trial again.


Was I trying to please myself?  In a bizzare way, perhaps. More than anything I believe I have been trying to prove something. 

Trials scare the crap out of me.  Yes, it is good for my social phobia to put myself out there in public, but most of the time I feel like I made an idiot out of myself.  Then I go home and over-think every interaction and make myself miserable for a week.   And this is before I ever get to the post. 

At a trial I feel terribly alone.  It is not much fun and putting that kind of pressure on myself and Brynn, just sucks. 

I backed off of the trials.  Started to chose only the trials and situations that will be a good experience for my dog.  My perspective changed from wanting to expose my dog to every trial under the sun, to protecting her and managing those exposures.  In doing so, I am protecting myself too.  The first time I have ever done that.  It is a new experience. 

I am learning how to see a trial as simply a measure of where we are.  Nothing more, nothing less.  In the big scheme of things, no one gives a sh*t.   They really don't.  Heck, I can barely remember a trial run of our own from a year ago, let alone anyone elses.

My focus and desires have changed from being all about my dogs to now being about my sheep AND dogs.  The dogs are happier. I am happier.

What are my goals for my sheep? 

Continue learning about this business.  Ensure my sheep are healthy, cared for and content. 

One thing I have learned about myself is how much I enjoy nurturing and caring for the flock.  To see the sheep growing, gaining weight, shining bright eyes, full beautiful fleeces - just brings a smile to my face. 

It makes me realize how much I have missed my children since they have grown.  Fixing meals, talking over dinner, sharing our days, giving them a bath and tucking them into bed with a story. 

Perhaps I have transferred that need to nurture and care for someone from my kids as they grew up, to the dogs and now the sheep. 

I just know that I am at peace with the flock & my dogs.  

What are my goals? 

To get out of bed tomorrow. 
To care for myself, my family, my dogs and my sheep.  
Anything else will be taken a minute, an hour, a day at a time.  

Be happy in the moment - that's enough
Each moment is all we need - not more.  
~Mother Teresa


Doniene said...

Well said, Carolyn! I too have "evaluated" my goals. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your lovely photos!

Have a great day!

Kelpie and Collie said...

C- you need to honestly BELIEVE that no one cares at trials. Pick maybe five a year that you love and do them. Avoiding trialing is just that, avoidance. You need to force yourself to realize that a) no one cares how you do, except if you do well ;) and b) that it is VERY cool to see your dog rise to the challenge... We have had good and bad runs but the ones I purged out of my mind are the bad ones. The good ones are the ones I remember. Don't isolate yourself. Keep at it.

Pat A said...

As long as you only compete with yourself and do as well as you can do that perticular day with the dog in what ever mood it is in and the draw of the sheep, you are a winner. The thing is to see that the dog is enjoying itself with you and that puts joy in your heart. That is really all that matters. Brynn loves working sheep with you, it is written all over her face. I have it on a video.

BCxFour said...

Julie: I am working on BELIEVING that. Which is why I wrote " In the big scheme of things, no one gives a sh*t. They really don't. Heck, I can barely remember a trial run of our own from a year ago, let alone anyone elses." It isnt so much that I am worried about what other people think, it is the social phobia that gets me. Sitting for hours alone, feeling like I am left out, not knowing how to join in a group or feel like I belong. Just the same old crap that we bring with us from childhood. Know what I mean? That is what I hate about the trials, the social side of things.

Anonymous said...

The last photo is my absolute favourite, it deserves to be in a book. I love Collies, surprisingly enough my two girls go on a walk with one and the Collie is usually tired before they are!

Great blog, I look forward to reading more :)

Kelpie and Collie said...

I see what you mean. I have a friend I travel with, and when she is not there, it's not so fun. But, that said I make the best out of it and am friendly to pass the time. That's why I wish there were more smaller trials so we could show up, and go home and not have to spend days there!

Wingfall at dusk said...

Well said. Instead of inspiring us, goals can so often be ghosts from our past that mire us back in the past.
From one who also finds social things can too readily turn into a nightmare I hope that the year ahead brings you much joy and fulfilment.
As Abbie has already noted, that last photograph is a masterpiece.