Friday, August 15, 2008

Fridays are Golden

I do not expect a great deal from local television news (or any TV news, for that matter). This week, however, they hit a new low. The reporter was standing on the banks of the French Broad River. A fisherman was beside her. Here's how the report went:

Reporter: "The French Broad River and basin has reached its lowest level in recorded history. Records began in 1895, and this is the lowest on record." The reporter then turned to the fisherman and asked, "Have you ever seen the river this low?"
Fisherman: "No, I've lived here for 25 years and this is the worst I've seen."

I was so hoping the fisherman might have responded, "NO, you idiot. If the river hasn't been this low since 1895, how in the world could I have seen it lower?"

The following picture shows just how low the French Broad River is today. Normally, NONE of the rocks would be visible. The river should extend to the shore lines. There should be rafts and canoes, and tubing all along the river.

(Photograph from the Asheville Citizen-Times)

We now resume our regular "Fridays are Golden" post. I took the girls out for a new photo. I put them at a "Sit/Stay" which usually means Lucy will tense up and look goofy while Ellie will look directly at the camera and smile her award-winning smile.

Surprise! Lucy (on the left) is giving me a big smile, while Ellie (on the right) seems distracted.

I took another shot. This time Lucy is almost laughing, while Ellie is still not even looking at me.

My husband, who was with us at the time, told me quietly to be ready with the camera and turn around slowly. I did, and was surprised to see a doe and her twin fawns going down the hill, not 50 feet away from the dogs. No wonder Ellie was a bit distracted. But she had been told to sit and stay, and sit and stay she did. I can assure you that Lucy did not see the deer. While she might not have run after them, she certainly would not have remained sitting.
You may note that the girls are wearing "prong" collars. We don't use these all the time, mainly for walking on the streets and for visits to the veterinarian, etc. And when we use the prong, they don't usually have their regular collars on. They had just been for a "potty break" so we simply put the training collars on in addition to their regular ones. A lot of controversy surrounds the use of various "correction" collars. Our trainer was a firm believer and it works very well for us. The collars look barbaric, but they are far better than a standard "choke" collar. (If you put one around your leg and pull on it, you will see that it is not painful at all and it does not choke the dog.)
Lucy rarely needs correction, and Ellie never does. But we are firm believers that dog owners must have total control of their dogs when they are around other people. Their everyday collars are not restraining collars and they are fairly large dogs. The most important benefit of the collar is that Lucy and Ellie know the collar means, "Be at your best. We're not kidding." We taught our children good manners. Why would be do less for our dogs?
Here's wishing everyone a wonderful weekend filled with joy and happiness. (And for us, a bit of rain would be much appreciated.)


KGMom said...

NC--I loved your comment on how to respond to dumb dumb dumb local reporters. I agree the fisherman should have responded as you hoped!
Your golden girls--oh they are wonderful. And I love the grin on Lucy's face.
WOW--Ellie didn't chase the deer. While I completely agree that people should be in control of their dogs, I can't imagine the control Ellie showed by not chasing deer.

Lynne said...

This time we got to see Lucy's big smile! You have two very well behaved dogs there. Hope you have a good weekend too. :)

Cicero Sings said...

I think dogs should be well behaved too. I drives me nuts when these people let their dogs loose ... the dogs don't come when called, they scare up the shore birds, scare the little dogs etc. ... as they walk/run by you and tell you not to worry, their dogs wouldn't hurt a flea! Bah!!

Lucy has quite a different stance than Ellie. Ellie showed great restraint ... one can't fault her for looking with such interest ... I'd have been interested too.

Jayne said...

LOL Carolyn... sometimes the questions reporters ask are so redundant, aren't they?

I am amazed that they didn't both start towards the deer or at the very least, bark. You have some very well behaved girls there and you should be proud. Hope your weekend is glorious as well. I am home getting ready to frost the birthday cake. :c)

Kerri said...

Your girls have such beautiful faces! I Love Lucy's smile...and I can see that she is almost laughing :)

dguzman said...

Local news here in PA isn't much better, believe me. I wish the fisherman had sassed that idiot reporter too: "Why yes, missy, back when I was wee, during the war between the states--the river was about this low back then! I remember them yankees walkin' right across!"

Anonymous said...

Ok, so I know that this is probably not the correct post to ask you about this, but oh well. I want to purchase a set of Merrells. Now, I personally wanted some ankle support, but the mid height ones seem to go really high and limit your movement. Any suggestions?

Shellmo said...

Your dogs are so beautiful and i think you're being a responsible dog owner!

KatDoc said...

Wow! "Sit/Stay" with the distraction of 3 deer? I'm highly impressed! And what a lovely smile Lucy has.

I took Holly birding with me on Thursday, and for most of the walk she was off-lead. She is so well-trained that I can give her hand signals to stop and wait or to come to me on "quiet feet" so that she doesn't scare a bird. I know, I know - I broke the rules of the preserve. So, sue me, but she is better OFF-lead than most dogs I see who are ON lead. In fact, sometimes she is heeling and people who pass us don't even notice she isn't on a leash.

Now, Grace is another story. She believes commands are merely "suggestions," and doesn't always give me the attention and quick response Holly does. If I want to bird with both dogs, I have to keep at least Grace, if not both of them, on lead. Two dogs together tend to egg each other on.


KatDoc said...

PS: Reporters are often idiots. My favorite dumb question is when they ask the survivors of a tornado or house fire or flood or some other disaster how they feel. THEY FEEL TERRIBLE, you idiot!!! How do you think they feel?


NCmountainwoman said...

Science guy - I have the mid-high ventilated Goretex. I need ankle support for an often sprained left ankle and these give good support. They do not feel constricting and don't make me feel at all limited in walking, hiking.

LauraHinNJ said...

What gorgeous portraits - and with deer prancing behind you - wow!

I use a prong with Luka too, when I need him to know I mean business. I used to be afraid of them, choosing instead a Halti lead, but until he grows up and calms down some (and stops pulling so much!) I use it when needed.

Margaret Cloud said...

Those dogs are so cute and look well behaved, the photo of the deer is nice, I can't believe they came that close to the dogs even though they were sitting.

Hendersonville Epicurean said...

Just found your blog today while researching the goats at Connemara. How wonderful to find another blogger in the area. I'm looking forward to reading more of your posts!

NCmountainwoman said...

Donna - I'm not so sure that Ellie wasn't a bit afraid of the deer, although I would like to think it was control.

Lynne - Lucy does smile often, just not for the camera.

Cicero - I agree completely.

Jayne - I'm sure Lucy did not see the deer. She would have immediately broken the sit/stay and stood up, tail straight in the air.

Kerri - She smiles a lot and has a great sense of humor.

Delia - Oh, I love it. Wish I'd thought of it.

Science guy - I answered in an earlier response above.

Shelley - It's a shame that all dog owners won't invest the time and energy to train their dogs.

Kathi - We also break the law during the winter and let the girls off lead on the trails. If they see other people, they immediately come back to us and sit to get their collars on. We don't take them in summer...too many people and too much risk of running into copperheads.

Laura - We don't need the prong anymore, but we use them. The girls immediately go into a more disciplined mode with the collars on.

Margaret - Thanks for dropping by. The deer in our community have no fear of people and little fear of dogs. They just go about their business as if we aren't here.

Epicurean - Thanks for dropping by. I'll be checking your blog for new places to eat.

Heaven Scent said...

Your girls are gorgeous and so well behaved! I know if my dog was in a sit/stay and a deer walked by, there is no way he would remain in sit/stay. I think I need to go back to obedience basics 101!!! :))

Mary said...

If my dogs saw deer, they'd break a sit-stay in a heartbeat :o) What well-trained dogs they are! My daughter has a boxer mix (65 lbs) and an English Bulldog. Both of them had good training with prong collars. They wear them for walking and visits to the vet, etc. I saw a huge difference in their behavior after training.

fishing guy said...

Carolyn: Love the photo of the deer and the fawns. you are so lucky to see them at this close range.