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Raven goes home


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It is with a heavy heart and tear filled eyes that I post I helped my old girl Raven over the bridge today. I know her sister Jazzy May will be there wagging to greet her.


I will write more about my special Raven when I have had a chance to let my tears dry a bit.


Run free my sweet old girl. You are sadly missed. Our walk along the river this morning will be what I remember about today's passing.

Thank your for sharing your life with me and teaching and touching my heart so much.


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A story of Raven


Raven came to me when I had barely started working with border collies. I had the sheep farm already but really knew nothing about these amazing dogs.

I got her on New Years day. It was an amazing 60 degrees out but windy as all heck.

We drove with some friends to a farm where the farmer thought he could make money off his Arther Allen dogs. AA had died and this neighbor had inherited allot of his dogs. I'm sure it had been a few years and he had no idea what he was breeding. Remember I really knew nothing so to think I was getting an AA dog had me all excited!


So here's this wee pup (she was 10 months old) that was afraid to look at anyone. All he had done was throw dog food over her kennel. Needless to say you couldn't touch her.

I asked to see her work. The guy said, "if you can catch her I will work her" so I agreed.

She was a graceful little natural worker. Had a beautiful feel for her sheep. Never really came in on her sheep but they moved off her well enough. So I took her. Took quite some magic to catch her up but got her!

The whole 2 hour ride home she stood stock still in the kennel never moving a muscle. But drooled a small lake. Got her home where she immediately stuck herself in a closet and only came out to potty, eat and right back she'd go.

After 3 months of this she started coming out. Peaking around corners. We would ignore her and she'd sneak into the room.

Finally she allowed me to corner her on the couch, she wanted interaction but was to scared to seek any out.

Once I could catch her and she was almost comfortable with that I started taking her to sheep. I took her everywhere. She was totally dog aggressive and people aggressive if anyone came at her. So I just kept her on a lead and there she'd be, lunging, growling and a sniveling mess.

But she was blossoming on sheep. SO on we trudged.

I remember one day after a few years that she was laying on the bed. I decided to "love" her. I started moving up on her and she growled. Well I was under the impression no dog should growl at it's owner and they had to submit. The closer I got the more she snarled. Eventually she bit me right in the face. I was startled and tossed her off the bed. That was the last time she bit anyone but that's because I learned to respect her warnings. She didn't want to be mean but she was still the scared little pup that I brought home.


Over the years we grew used to each other. We'd have company over and she'd retreat to her hidey hole and at least watch. Then she started sitting behind me and watching a bit closer up.


At some point I took her to a Marc Christopher clinic. The man might be good for some but I remember the day I broke the special bond we had grown together. I sent her on an outrun, and Marc said stop your dog. I tried but she didn't stop. He said...."go affect your dog" being the greenie I was I went after her and yelled at her. She lied down, I turned and looked at Marc. He said "you haven't affected your dog" so I yelled and threatened her some more. Well I affected her alright. I had broken the bond that I had worked so hard to gain. next day we were entered in a novice trial. By then I knew my dog. I had to take her out on leash or she'd of run away. But I let her go and I could hear people gasp and whisper what a beautiful out run she had done. She wasn't doing at outrun. She was running away from me! Sheep called her in or I might not ever have gotten her back.

After that day she pretty much stopped working stock for me. She'd work but we didn't have that bond. Poor girl, she had given me her all and I had let her down.

So I took her home and we worked a bit of stock at home. I didn't tell her what to do anymore and she did what she thought I wanted. The minute I opened my mouth she'd just fade away. She was my DH's working dog. when I went out of town he'd use her and she'd work great for him. He hadn't broken her trust like I had. But we soldiered on and came to a happy place. I quit taking her out but she got to work and she was happy.

Her people skills blossomed she became less aggressive to dogs and people. She found her perfect place at all the farm adventures we have had.

She was always a soft dog. Never did more that go to the door if she had to go out. Never barked to come in. A few times she got left outside cause no one remembered she was out. She'd just sit on the porch and wait till someone came. I don't think she ever barked for anything. She's bark at strangers but never at us.


She taught me so much about trust, love and understanding. I think she was the dog that changed my whole way of looking at the world.


In her last 5 years she was doggy momma to all new puppies, greeted all new people and was the best dog I owned for grandkids. I have some pictures of my GD laying on Raven. She was very camera shy. She wasn't even remotely like the little scared dog I had brought home. People came over that had met her when I fist got her and would not believe it was the same dog. We'd smile and nod. She would smile too!


Her and Jazz were together so long that they were truly partners. Greeted each other every morning, slept together and helped each other as they aged. Ray was lost a while when Jazzy passed last year. But adopted Faye as her new partner. Faye was gentle with Raven. And Faye is not a gentle kind of a dog. But she would carefully kiss and love on her Auntie RayRay. If you leaned to hard on her she'd fall over. She would fall up the steps and Faye would be there to check on her.

I think I could write a book on Ravens story but that's enough...you all understand what life with your best friends is all about.

Raven was afraid of cameras. We tried over the years to catch her in a smile but every time she thought you were taking a picture the smile would disappear. so here are my 2 best photos of Ray. I think she thought we were taking pictures of Zoe so she let us go. But she was sure elusive when it came to photos.




She was only uncomfortable because we were taking pictures. She loved her baby Zoe!


In the last year Ray seemed to be affected by doggy Alzheimer's. Sometimes she was here and sometimes she was off in Rayray world But happy none the less. She lost most of her hearing but I could call her with clapping (they echo in our valley so were quite loud) and most of her site but she knew the lay of the land. The other dogs were gentle with her and things were going good.

Then she started losing control of her lower body. Her legs would falter, and she had no control of her bladder or bowels. Finally I think a UTI did her in. After treatment for that she never came back around. So we took our final stroll at a beautiful river on a cool morning with fog all around us. She seemed to enjoy it and only needed a little help keeping on her feet. Then she went on to meet her ol friend Jazz. I know they are up there walking and playing, waiting till the day we all come home.


Thanks for letting me share a tiny part of my Raven's life with you. She will be truly missed and the lessons she taught me will never be forgotten.


On a side note, all of Raven's litter mates were put down for aggression. I am sure that fate would of been Ravens had we not found each other. Not many would put the time and effort it took to bring that sweet soul out. I didn't even know there was a sweet soul in there but we gave each other a chance and were both blessed with the results.


Run Free my sweet Raven. You are home now........

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I'm sorry for your loss Kristen. Thank you for sharing your memories of Raven and what she taught you and you her. You may have broken her trust that one time, but it sounds as if she eventually forgave you and then some. Bless you for taking a troubled soul and helping her grow into an amazing helper and friend.



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Kristen, thank you so much for sharing Raven with us, that was such a beautiful account of a life with a best friend. I feel I know a little of who she was and how special of a dog it must take to love a toddler like that after overcoming fear and everything else she had going against her. I'm so sorry for your loss.


Run free, Raven!

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