Monday Musings ~ March 9, 2020

OMD, Monday again? And an hour earlier on top of that? What the double dog heck? Yes, it’s that time of year again where we ‘spring forward’ and try to convince ourselves all is just groovy. The fact that it’s oh-dark-thirty in the morning gets fluffed over.

Hate to burst your bubble, Copernicus…but you still only get the same 24 hours a day. I know a lot of you like the time switch but I’m here to tell you you’re only fooling yourself if you think there’s an extra hour of sunlight. That said, those of you who like it, be my guest and enjoy. Those of us who think it’s the dumbest manipulation of time will grouse about it until our Circadian rhythms finally sync with the clock. Sometime in August if I’m lucky.

But enough of the ranting. Let’s move on to something different. Today we’re launching a new monthly feature, “Meet the Breed.” Elsa suggested it at our last editors’ meeting and the other half of the Old Couple, Brother Norman was on board once I asked him to introduce us to his tribe, the Old English Sheepdog. Take it away, Norman.

OES

Thanks, mum. As you probably know, I’m an Old English Sheepdog who arrived at the Ranch a little over a month ago after living in southwest Kansas. Mum may have fussed about DST but I’m quite ‘chuffed to the mitt’ about it because it means I can spend more awake time with my mum. Let’s just say I can get started earlier engaging in one of my favorite pastimes. Anyway, let’s take a look at my people.

OESWe are an affable bunch, us Sheepies. Some think we’re the canine comedians of the dog world. George Carlin aside, from where did we come?

Lush meadows, thatch-roofed cottages with wooded gorges from bonnie ole England are thought to be where we originated. ‘Course our origins are nearly as clouded as the mist-encircled, rugged valleys where we herded and/or drove sheep. Some historical paintings show sheepdogs being depicted as early as the late 1700’s but most breed authorities agree farmers in the counties of Devon, Somerset and the duchy of Cornwall in southwest England used a dog that resembled what we look like today. We weren’t bred for a specific purpose but were the result of a natural evolution of available breeding stock. Prized herding dogs were selected for breeding based on their ability to handle themselves well with the area’s rather rugged livestock that flourished in the craggy climate.

It’s been suggested we received the nickname Bobtail when farmers and the gentry devised a way to avoid paying taxes on us working blokes and docked our tails to prove the tax status. Drover dogs were exempt from being taxed due to their working status and tails were docked.There is some dispute with that notion however. Dogs with long tails tend to use them for balance and since we didn’t chase game, we didn’t need a long tail since there was no need for it when herding. Then again it could have been merely hygienic-there being less chance of ‘fouling’ the tail, if you get my drift. Bobtails are far more common in the US as England and Europe have generally abolished tail docking. Either way, with my handsome tube sock legs, who needs to draw attention to a useless tail? I can wiggle my bum with the best of ’em.

OES

No longer a breed for the wealthy or for farmers, us OES are big, furry, intelligent and even-tempered. We’re easily trained (but don’t tell my mum that; I rather enjoy all the treats she uses on training sessions and wouldn’t want them to be reduced). We are not an aggressive breed and typically get on well with other pets. We enjoy playful companionship. Playful being the operative word, Elsa. Just saying.

Sheepdogs are not for everyone though. If you’re not prepared to spend a fair amount of time brushing and grooming us, you should probably  choose a breed that doesn’t require as much time maintaining our woolly, profuse coats. We have hair (as opposed to fur) and as such do not ‘shed’ per se, but keep that full coat all year long (although hair does fall out so if you’re fussy about dust bunnies we may not be right for you). We adore people, especially the wee little ones and are often called the “Nanny” dog for good reason.

A couple of drawbacks to being owned by an OES owning a sheepdog is we tend to be a tad messy when it comes to drinking water (and we drink a LOT of water). Water collects in our beards so naturally that’s when we want to give you lots of attention, right after a good H2O quaff. Our manners aren’t quite as impeccable as our British heritage might suggest and we’ll always have stained beards unless you’re constantly grooming and cleaning us up.

We also tend to suffer from ‘unbridled’ enthusiasm. Remember, we’re not purse-sized dogs so we often bump into people’s legs because we’re natural herders and can easily knock over any unsteady uprights. In Britain when we say “mind the gap” it means look out where you’re going and that applies to us sheepies. We don’t mean anything nefarious by bumping into you, we are after all, herders. We’re jovial and have astute reckoning powers. You will not win many battle of wits with us sheepdogs because we’re terrific problem-solvers and get easily bored with rote exercises/routines. Because we’re natural athletes, we make great agility competitors. Just remember bored dogs can make life insufferable, no matter what the breed.

OESSince an OES can easily reach more than 80 lbs. (36 kg), we can take up a fair amount of real estate. We do not curl up into little balls, preferring to stretch out.

We sheepies have what’s referred to as a bark with a Pot-Casse ring, a particularly deep, booming (almost echoing) bark. Pot-Casse is French for “broken urn” or “cracked bell.” Which means our bark sounds like a couple of pots clanging together. It is the signature bark of sheepies so however you translate it, it’s going to be deafening. Mum says with my size, I should have a rich baritone voice but instead sound more like a puny tenor. Ha, ha, mum-you crack me up. Either way, she says it’s very loud at oh-dark o’clock when it’s the best way for waking her up.

Sheepdogs don’t like being separated from their family and can raise the dead with their barking. I think that’s what got me and my previous sister in trouble with the neighbors (Libby, the Weimaraner who still appears to be available for adoption here if you’re interested in rescuing her). She needs a loving family and I feel badly she hasn’t been adopted yet and hope she finds a home as nice as the one I found. Even with Elsa sometimes picking on me, I remain a proper British gentleman in spite of her shenanigans, my life is quite “tickety-boo” around the Ranch. A comfy sofa, tasty food/treats, multiple water bowls, frequent walks, a good “chin wag” with everyone I meet-how could it not be fab?

So “Bob’s your uncle” and now I’m kind of knackered after sharing all that info. I should probably go catch a few 💤 before dragging mum around the neighborhood again my next walk. Us sheepies are a lively bunch but we give loads of love. Hope you enjoyed meeting my breed.

If you’d like your breed featured, contact my mum in an email with a photo and some interesting facts. Elsa and I will pick next month’s next “Meet the Breed” post. Cheerio, mates.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Gambling on Nature

Hello sports fans, it’s moi, Elsa. Mom said if behaved myself and didn’t get too rowdy, I could join the fun with our friends, Rosy and her brothers from LLB in Our Backyard for this week’s edition of the Nature Friday Blog Hop.

Paw prints
Art paw prints by Elsa and Mother Nature

Well all I can say about Nature this week is…what the dog?! We experienced it all this week-warm/cold/wet/dry/grey/sunny…and that’s unlikely to change any time soon. Wednesday there was a slushy snow/freezing rain that fell on top of the 4″ of snow that fell earlier. By Thursday probably 80% of it had melted except for northern exposures. Then there are humans who try to influence nature by changing time, which happens this weekend. Yup, the dreaded Daylight Savings Time switch arrives early on Sunday in the US. On the surface, it seems like a good idea…dinner arrives an hour early…color us dogs happy!  But then there’ll be an hour less of sleep which will make for crabbish sleepy huMoms and one hour less of any potential Spring. Messing with time seems like hoping a Vegas casino croupier will be your friend when he smiles and says, “Go ahead, roll the dice, hit me, or place your bets,” but we know how that often ends up where spring is concerned. When you play Blackjack-Spring edition, shouldn’t you actually win once in a while? 

More than likely, nature will deal these guys instead of the Spring we’d like.

Deal the cards

When we went out for our walk, we saw more signs that Spring might be in the air but I’m not holding my dog breath. When we got home, mom looked at the calendar that saw that the dreaded time gyp arrives and then groaned. We all know mom groans are never a good sound.

Tulip bulbs

The reticulated irises and crocuses mom shared managed to survive the snow fairly well. Talk about hardy little devils. They must be Ninjas in the bulb world.Irises

More than likely I’ll end up being up to my elbows in white stuff soon since March is our snowiest month of the year. But it’s not all bad, snow is fun mom, trust me.

Elsa in snow
Here’s my happy face that doesn’t want to walk on a cleared sidewalk and stay dry

So what’s your bet? Aces or jokers? Either way, don’t forget to ‘spring’ forward. Whichever way the cards are dealt, we hope there’s a full house or three of a kind for weekend fun, even if it will be an hour short.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

 

Wordy Wednesday ~ March 14, 2018

Daylight Saving Time may have begun a couple of days but we’re absolutely gung-ho, mom. Yup, raring to start. Umm…give us five more minutes and we’ll be totally ready. Have you adapted to the time change as well as we have?

We made it to mid-week. Woof, woof. Should be all downhill toward Friday now.

Live, love, bark 🐾

It’s Baaacckk…

This is a public service announcement announcing  the dreaded time change starts this weekend. Daylight Saving Time…otherwise known as ‘Hell’ around the Ranch is that bi-annual exercise in aggravation when you own a pet whose entire life is ruled by a routine that is not to be adjusted. How in the world do you explain a time change to a dog who is governed by the most regulated of internal clocks when it comes to the dinner hour? Don’t know about you, but my two guys are like the Rolex of the dog world and can rival any Swiss watch when it comes to dinner being served. But in the good news category, it is Friday so there’s that.

With Elsa’s anti-seizure medication needing to be administered at precise times, this complicates things even more. Ugh…why can’t they just leave well enough along? Does the switch to DST cause you or your pet to be discombobulated? 

Here’s hoping you have a good weekend, despite the time change.

Live, love, bark❣

Monday Moanings

Not impressed with the idea of a new week? We share your pain. Hope your weekend was a good one. You adjusting to the return of standard time?

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

[Post script. Another day, another shooting. My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Texas and our country. And yet thoughts and prayers seem to do little to change this weekly phenomena. Something must be done. Any ideas?]

Word(y) Wednesday

While catching up on my blog reading in the studio, my two little yin and yang shadows mirrored one another in the ‘tuck’ position during siesta time.  Oh, to be that flexible!

Happy mid-week. With DST, I still feel like I’m losing time and wonder when make that, if my bio-rhythms will ever catch up?  How about you…have you adjusted yet to the new time? On the bright side, at least we’re moving toward the weekend more quickly.

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

Ding dong, DST is gone PSA

img_4018Well, at least gone until next Spring. Don’t forget to set your clocks back Saturday night and ‘sleep in’ an extra hour this Sunday unless you live in Hawaii, Arizona, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and parts of Indiana. I still keep wondering why the rest of us go through this reset twice a year. Sounds like something Facebook would do.

  • No one asks for it.
  • It messes everyone up.
  • Just when you’re used to it, they change it…again.
  • Besides, everyone just loves turning back their clocks and resetting watches so it’s dark by 4 pm. Said no one ever.

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On the plus side, I think my car clock will be ‘correct’ now till next Spring. Does the return to standard time mess up your bio-rhythms? How do you and your pets handle the switch back to ‘regular’ time?

Live, love, bark! <3