Le Clos des Castagniers Smooth Collies - ABOUT US - Part 2

Le Clos des Castagniers Smooth Collies - Colleys à poil court - Kurzhaar-Collies

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Le Clos des Castagniers Smooth Collies

About Us - Part II

Tessie and Clea lived through many changes in our lives and shared many adventures with us — always loving and attentive — barking at intruders (mainly the postman), and “keeping us together” on promenades in true sheepdog fashion. A little light hunting of mice in the field next to our house was not out of order. Tess guarded one entrance to the hole while Clea dug at another. I doubt they caught much, but they loved it, coming home muddy and tired. Thank god they were smooth, and thank god when snow fell at our new home which was at 750 metres!!

     Clea was shown three times - once at a Swiss collie club show and twice at Evian (1992 and 1993); she won each time, twice beating international champions.

Smooth Collie CH Astrellita Gold Dust - Clea - at Evian, 1992

Smooth Collie CH Astrellita Gold Dust - Clea - at Evian, 1992

     She was such a pretty dog, small and neat and full of character and bounce. Nothing phased her except thunder. Late for a first mating, we tried to breed her and she unfortunately refused the only male we knew of. Discouraged, we gave up the show scene. This was in about 1993, and smooths were as rare as a white blackbird in our area.
When we retired, we began to ask ourselves a question which several of our doggy friends were asking. To have another dog or not?? Were we too old? Did we want our “freedom”? On the other hand, could we live without a dog? We all seem to have come up with the answer, no, we cannot. And so Sadie arrived by Air France at Marseilles, and so began the great adventure we have embarked on now.
     I had rung Stella Clark, and asked if by any chance she would have any puppies in the foreseeable future. She told me she had not bred any of her dogs for two years, but there was now a litter on the way. By some incredible chance, she was willing to reserve us a puppy. OneWay's Skalle Per had won the Crufts championshiop and was at stud at Foxearth which belongs to Trevor and Birgit Hayward. Per was bred to Astrellita Bedazzled, and Sadie, or Astrellita Gold Dust, was one of four marvellous puppies. We felt very priviledged to get one of them. Gold Dust was chosen as a name because Pärn worked in precious metals, and in particular, gold, all his working life.
     And so the pet name Sadie came to us from the ether, and Sadie she is. She arrived at Marseilles completely unworried by her flight and long incarceration in a crate.

First contact: Sadie at Marseilles airport in January 2002First contact: Sadie at Marseilles airport in January 2002

     Two ears like antennas could be seen sticking up through a gap in the crate which when opened, let this little scrap — sorry not so little (she's a big girl) — out to meet Clea, now a grand old dame. Would they get on? Clea, naturally suspicious, was quickly won around by the absolutely confident charm of Sadie.
     A one and a half hour journey brought us home to St Quentin-la-Poterie, to where we had retired in 1999, near Uzès in the south of France. You might locate us between the Palais des Papes in Avignon and the Roman arena in Nîmes!! Sadie came out of the car and explored her new home with a total lack of fear, loping round the garden and sniffing out all the corners.

Sadie's first day in her new homeSadie's first day in her new home

Clea had never lost her playfulness, and although aged 13, was soon playing with Sadie.

Clea and Sadie having funClea and Sadie having fun together in the garden

     When Sadie was 6 months old, we were curious to see what a judge would make of her. She is worth showing, Stella had assured us right from the start. So we went to the French Nationale d'Elevage organised by the Club des Amis du Colley at Magny Cours. I can hardly bring myself to write this — it is now two years later, but we had lost Clea three days before to a disease of the liver. If we had not had Sadie, perhaps at this point, we might have hesitated to have another dog — many people do, as the pain of separation is too intense. When our children are grown, our animals become our children and their lives are brief compared with ours. No love is without its inverse, pain, and we must face this latter in order to experience the joy of love. So, luckily, we had Sadie and Sadie's future to think about, and so we carried on.
     From the beginning, Sadie has had good results, from that first "very promising" given by the judge, M Dupas, at the Nationale d'Elevage at Magny Cours.

First show: The Nationale d'Elevage at Magny Cours in April 2002First show: The Nationale d'Elevage at Magny Cours in April 2002

     At the enormous farm where it was held, we wandered around like zombies, partly because of our loss, and partly due to our total confusion at the complexities of our first Nationale d'Elevage. There was the individual judgement to be got through - much queueing while smooth collies always seemed to be at the end of the line. (Smooths always pass last). There was the eye test for eye abnormalities - much queueing, and the photograph - much queueing again. There was the character test for which we were not enrolled and which would have to wait for next year. Although we met many people who were very kind to us, and pointed us in the right direction, nobody seemed to be able to give us the whole pattern of what we were supposed to achieve while there. We saw other smooth collies for the first time for years: the Roziers' dogs from the Jasse D'Hervelyne, with the lovely Dandinas Millennium Sweet, and the wonderful male, Scrimshaw Ambassador to Fame belonging to Mr David.
     Sadie is now French champion and International champion and has been bred to Mika - OneWay's Miraculix at Jack Mack's owned by Mrs Gudrun Hartmann. In a few days, she is expecting her first puppies, and we are excited and terrified by turns. In our usual fashion, we have read every book available, but wonder whether we will be “up to it” when the moment arrives.


     Story and photographs © 2004 Dianne Taimsalu




Updated 24 April 2005. Copyright © 2005 Le Clos des Castagniers kennels and Parn Taimsalu.