Oh do I have some blog posts for you! I'm so behind in recording our adventures, so I figure I'll just start with the oldest and work my way forward.
On Labor day, we took our kids up to Midway for the Sheepdog championship. The closest I've ever been to something like that was watching the movie Babe, but I thought it might be fun, and certainly would be a different experience for our family.
It was a huge crowd. There were dogs from Canada and Australia, from all over. Pretty amazing.
I was fascinated by the process. I wanted to take great pictures, but as you can see, the herd of sheep is a little blur on the right side, and the dog is a black dot to the left of them. Those dogs were speedy! They started from right in front of the crowd, and sprinted up into the foothills to grab the herd. I asked Tia if she thought anyone on her cross country team was that fast, and she assured me that they weren't even close. The dog rounded up the herd and moved them through a set of gates, and down to the center field where he/she separated out at least five, then penned the rest.
What was most surprising to me, a Babe aficionado, was that the key for every move the dog made was the trainer's whistle. I guess there were around 8 commands (at least?), and the trainer was blowing that whistle the whole time. It really was an impressive partnership between the two. That's the trainer in the field with her dog right before the start of a run.
There were other attractions at the show. There was a petting zoo from the wildlife rescue, and vendor booths (Kai bought a crossbow, which caused some problems at home later..), and acrobat dogs, but the biggest hit with my family were the splash dogs.
The trainer throws an object, and the dog jumps after it. The furthest jump wins. There were big dogs and tiny dogs jumping; many different breeds. I did wonder about these trainers. Is this just a hobby? Or do they spend full time throwing stuff to their dogs in a pool. Huh. Different lifestyles. We sure liked watching.
The girls never like picture taking however.