It seems as if she has always been a part of our lives and our daily routine. So it's hard to imagine that she is only a year old. At the same time it seems only a short while ago she was a little short nosed puppy playing with her blue ball under the rungs of the kitchen chairs.
Our Joni is now a year old and has all the best qualities of the border collie, developing more and more as she grows. She has the intensity (here she is watching the blue ball in the launcher that Steve is holding for her) and the energy. She has the intelligence and the love of learning. She also has the patience (as here) to wait until she is told to do the job she is waiting to do. When we take her out on her walks, as she runs free, if we have the ball and launcher she watches us and won't go far. She completely ignores anyone and anything else. If we have the ball, all we have to do is say 'down' and she drops to the ground. If she has the ball in her mouth then she is not quite so keen to do as she's told, though she just runs around us teasing us and trying to bounce it on the grass or the hard sand if we are on the beach.
She loves to run up the seats of the bleachers on the sports field, running along the boards then jumping from seat to seat up and down in her own private agility course. Here you see her on the top row, pretty much at the height of Steven's head, as he is holding her attention with…. you guessed it…. the blue ball !
A few people have said to me that they particularly missed seeing pictures of Joni, in particular my dear G+ friends , +Christina Lihani and +Ursula Klepper. Thanks to you both for your friendship.
Joni has come a long way from the photograph of her that you see at the beginning of this album. Not only has she grown so that she looks almost adult, but she is (mostly) obedient enough to be able to walk with us off her leash, in the woods and on the beach at least. She doesn't exactly walk to heel (not at all, to be honest unless she is on the leash) but she runs and walks a little way ahead before pausing and turning to see if we are coming along behind her. She will wait if I tell her to and will even sit when I ask, even though I am not nearby. If she thinks she knows where we are going she will sometimes run too far ahead, so this is something we have to work on, but generally she is getting better and better all the time.
Here you see her at 9 months old, sitting up on the top of a bank in the woods. As part of the obedience exercises I practice with her, she will run up the bank and sit and wait until I tell her that she can come down and carry on along the path. The way I taught her to do that was by running up and down the bank myself until she caught on. I leave you to imagine that. She has been running through the damp fields and woods as you can see, but that is what a dog loves to do.
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Is there anything more fun than playing on the beach when there is a ball with a chuck-it launcher involved and you are an almost 8 month old Border Collie? I would say not. Even though it does involve getting a mouth full of sand and a coat full of mud. Because there is always the water to jump into again to get you clean and cool. As you see, she has to sit before the ball is thrown for her. For some reason she has combined the command to sit with the one to get her to drop the ball. If she is reluctant to let it go, all you have to do is ask her to sit and she drops it and gets ready for the next throw. Then she runs like the wind after it, into the water, or along the shore. She streaks back towards us, but then does a little victory lap around to celebrate her retrieval and the joy of living.
Joni will be 8 months old next week. She loves the beach more than anything, although as we live where the tides are the highest in the world, this needs careful planning and the use of a tide app to predict the water levels. At the highest point you can't access the beach. At the lowest you can have a long walk (30 minutes) through mud to get to the water. About 2 hours before high tide is a sweet spot, where the majority of the beach is sandy and the water is warm as it is washing in over the warm sand. But we have to keep an eye on the water level and not forget that there are places along this long stretch of beach where the inlets will fill faster. There are ladders up to the top of the cliff, but I don't fancy my chances on them. I'm sure Joni would manage just fine as she swims well and loves the water.
I must remember to tell you the story of the lost ball and share the photograph that I took to go with it. (It will be for the next time.) Meanwhile, have a great weekend and enjoy your furry friends.
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I’m completely out of order here, but … hey! It’s my project and I’ll do what I want! 🙂
Today was Joni’s first day at the beach. It was hot and sunny and Arya’s owner called to see if we wanted to bring her down to play with their dog (1 year old) and introduce Joni to the ocean. The tide comes in at a terrific rate here and we had to time it before high tide, when the beach disappears completely under water. We all had a great time, with the two dogs playing and swimming in the waves and rolling about in the sand. When, after only a short time, we looked up, we had become cut off from our escape route back up the beach. After soaking my shoes in wading through the shallowest part of the water, I had to scramble up onto the rocks to work my way around the shore back to the exit. Joni went through the shallows below (which were not too bad, just too deep for shoes) and we met up at what remained of the dry part of the beach, making our way up to the boardwalk where the cars were.
Here you see Joni (left) with Arya on the right. Aria was obsessed with catching the Frisbee, Joni was just obsessed with having fun. And with catching Arya. I think I probably got a bit sunburned. I’ll know later. 😀 Incidentally, there was plenty of room for us all on this beach – people and dogs. There is no overcrowding on our sandy beaches.
Thanks for all of your great comments. I will get to them as soon as I can. Life is so busy just at the moment and summer is too short to spend longer than I need to at the computer.
A dog is still a puppy until about 8 months of age (when they are officially adolescent) and you can see that at 6 months Joni's ear has decided to flop into the front of her forehead once again, as she still has growing and developing to do. She is looking more adult now, though still is very slender as the breed often is. She is as intense as ever over her ball, but this time she is waiting for it to be thrown for her in the field. And behind her the field is white with dandelion seeds, making a perfect backdrop for her. Her eyes are still striking, but this time in their intensity as she wills me to throw that ball for her. She is also learning slowly to walk on a leash with a bit of decorum. In spite of our combined best efforts at the moment it's still a bit like walking an erratic (and strong) yo-yo. But it is slowly getting better.
It’s hot playing ball in the summer, but a border collie never worries about little inconveniences like summer heat!
New Photo Gallery “Joni the Border Collie” just created:
Our pets have a special place in our lives. This is the gallery of my photographs of Joni, our Border Collie. On a browser click on a thumbnail to bring up the full size image. Play the slideshow or choose full screen option. On mobile devices just swipe left to right to navigate from image to image or use the arrows.
Yesterday was the first lovely evening we have had in a long time, with a lovely warm light (only warm in colour, not so warm in temperature yet), so Joni and I were just hanging around the frisbee throwing area while Steven got on with the weeding in the flower beds. Who had the more fun? No prizes for guessing.
Isn't this a sweet picture? (Almost too sweet?) Looks as if Joni had found her new best friend? Don't be deceived. This was taken just before the death of Lamb Chop. In fact, if you look at this, the first part of the destruction had already started. The first soft pink ear is already being chewed off as she looks at us so innocently. This was within 5 minutes of the introduction of Lamb Chop to Joni on Saturday afternoon. I won't go through the gory details of the process, but you should know that by Monday morning she had been disembowelled and today she is a shred of fluffy fabric, minus squeakers, ears, in fact almost everything.
So Lamb Chop is the last fluffy toy for Joni. From now on it's tough toys only. Even the famous blue balls have been chewed up and eaten (at least mostly eaten). So we are in the market for some indestructibles. Any suggestions? (Preferably blue, by the way, and if they can be bounced like the blue ball, then that would be a bonus.)