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In 2018 Paula McDermid, came over the to UK to run a workshop, on our Aussies Ancestors, as well as looking at what Jobs our dogs do.  


After the event, Paula wrote;

In Devon the scone (or is it pronounced skahn?) is layered first with clotted cream, which is almost as thick as butter. On top goes the strawberry jam. In Cornwall the jam is spread first and the cream on top. Or is it the other way around?

In Yorkshire sandwich buns are called tea cakes. In Manchester they are called barm cakes. Either way, they are sliced in half, filled with ham or whatever you like, and eaten any time you are hungry for a sandwich.

There’s also an oven-bottom cake that’s a large loaf of bread which is sliced in half and filled with sausage, tomatoes, eggs, and black pudding and is eaten for breakfast. These are some of the “foodie” things I discovered during my visit to the UK in June.

Speaking of food, I couldn’t decide between the coq au vin or the minted lamb prepared by my hostess Pat, so I had both. Delicious! The minted lamb, which I’d never tasted before, was divine! Pat then brought out a meringue mounded with fresh whipped cream, strawberries and blueberries. It was a spectacular ending to a magnificent meal.

I did more than just eat during my stay. I presented my new workshop “Who Are Your Aussie’s Famous Ancestors?” to a group of over 40 Aussie fanciers whose interests included dog dancing, obedience, agility, rally, herding, and conformation.

The first game “Brag About Your Dog” introduced people to other Aussie folks they hadn’t met before, ending in delightful chaos of people chatting away with new friends. During the second game “Pedigree Bingo” each person saw photos of important foundation dogs who were in the pedigrees of their own Aussies and they learned how those dogs contributed to the breed. Everybody circled at least three foundation dogs on their pedigrees and were prize winners!

Right before lunch, Christina Chapman added some fun with two silly guessing games that made people groan when they heard the answers.

We broke for lunch and were served savory meat pies—a choice of chicken or steak—and several pudding options. (For my American friends, pudding is dessert.) There I go talking about food again!

The after-lunch session began with “Every Aussie is a Working Dog. What’s Your Dog’s Job”? Attendees divided into four categories—obedience/agility, conformation, herding, and a general category of other performance sports (and dog dancing). Each group discussed and wrote down the traits necessary for their primary area of interest, then moved on to the next area of interest and wrote down the traits needed for that area of interest. Everyone had input into all four categories. Many attendees were surprised to discover that all areas of competition required identical traits in their Aussies, both physically and mentally. Hopefully they developed new respect for other people’s dogs and breeding programs.

The wrap-up session of the workshop “Like This, Not That” was a visual presentation of the breed standard. Photos of correct and incorrect traits were shown, along with discussion about why the standard was written as it was, and how those physical traits affect performance in all areas of competition. Several people mentioned to me that they understood more clearly what the standard meant. Objective achieved.

Comments from workshop attendees were enthusiastic. Long-time breeders and newer fanciers went home with new knowledge and feeling good about their dogs. I had the pleasure of chatting with old friends and making many new friends.

Thank you to the Australian Shepherd Club of the UK for inviting me to present my workshop and thank you to all the attendees who came to learn. Thanks to Christina Chapman for adding humor to the day. Huge thank you to Julie Holligan for her tremendous effort in pulling all the details together.  It was a monumental task, and she used her super-human powers to make sure everything was perfect. I think she’s secretly Wonder Woman. Thanks to Kevin for picking me up at the airport and being our tech wizard at the workshop. Thanks to Wally for his sense of humor and behind-the-scenes work. Thank you to the chefs in the kitchen who prepared the delicious lunch. Massive thank you to Geoff and Pat for hosting me, feeding me, chauffeuring me and treating me like royalty.




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