November 20, 2017: Goodbye Blade - the most joyous of dogs.
Today we lost one of the originals. Blade was Kelvin's first dog. Purchased at 13 months old, he barely knew the outside of a kennel. We took him back to Canada where he flourished into a terrific dog on the farm. While he didn't really like trialling, he was a fabulous hill dog who could locate sheep even in tall bracken ferns. With ewes and lambs he was gentle but purposeful. In the pens, he got the job done without ever having to use his teeth. His stamina was enviable and his enthusiam infectious.
On the trial field, his heart just wasn't in it the same way it was at work. Despite this he won the 2006 Alberta Novice Championship when we lived in Alberta, Canada. He went on to represent New Zealand at the 2008 World Trial in Llandeilo. He finished his trial career with 14 placings and one win in Open competition...far in excess of what anyone thought he could achieve, except Kelvin. How lucky Blade and Kelvin were to find each other. They showed what love and friendship can do to a dog who most others would have written off.
Due to his noise sensitivity, we made the difficult decision to rehome Blade to a quieter home where he could live out his days in peace and quiet. Within a few days of us making this decision we received a phone call out of the blue asking if we had any near retirement 'girls'...um, no, we said but we have a lovely boy. On meeting Blade, it was agreed that Blade was to go live with Claire Jakeman and her family. So in 2014, Blade went to England, the country of his birth, to live with Claire and his sheep and dog pals. The last three years of his life were packed with fun, some sheep work and lots of love, attention and treats. Blade had two families who loved him dearly. We thank Claire Jakeman for loving Blade like we did. Kelvin's little superstar and pal. The two 'B's - Blade and Bailey, gone. Never to be forgotten. They started us on this sheepdog journey and no matter how, when or why it finishes, it's been a fascinating trip so far. Today is one of those hard days along the road. Sleep well, Blade, till Bailey gives you heck.