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TEEWINOT’S History and Philosophy

TEEWINOT’S History

  TEEWINOT has been my registered ASCA kennel name for about twenty years. An only child, I grew up with dogs all of my life. They were my best friends and oftentimes only playmates. My introduction to Australian Shepherds came later, as it has to many, with my own first dog.  I got Nico in 1970 as a rescue. Everyone said she was an Australian Shepherd with a tail. I’ll never know. Only the love and camaraderie that we shared. When she was 17, I knew I had to get another dog. I began with the Sunday paper and only got to “A” when I noticed a litter of Australian Shepherds for sale. Soon after, I brought a puppy home that literally changed my life. I named her Freya Delamere. Freya was the name of the boat I grew up on in the Bahamas and Delamere means “of the sea” in French.  I knew nothing about Aussies at the time, only that Freya, at less than a year old, would strangely round up all the dogs on the beach where I lived in California. Less than a year later, my ex-husband and I moved to Laramie when he was accepted into a PhD program in geophysics at the University of Wyoming. When I had gotten Freya, I was also told by her breeders to get a book called All About Aussies. Once settled in Laramie, I remembered the author who wrote this definitive book was from Boulder, Colorado, only a short distance away. I found the phone number for the Hartnagles and, one day, got up my courage to call. To my amazement, I was invited to come down to their ranch for a working stockdog fun day. I was overwhelmed by their invitation and hospitality. When we arrived we were greeted and accepted warmly by Ernie and Elaine, later to be followed by a tour of their kennel by their son, Joe. That is when I first met Joe’s dogs, Tommy and Dahlia, the most beautiful Aussies I had ever seen.  In the afternoon, Ernie introduced many of the dogs to his sheep, including Freya. I was told she was a natural stockdog with incredible herding instinct. I was enthralled – and forever after, hooked. However, I also learned more about Freya from Ernie. Freya was a pattern white. While that was almost a death sentence in those days, I was etermined to learn more about the breed and its genetics. We also joined the Hartnagle’s club that day, High Plains ASC. And, as they say, the rest is history.

I will never be able to thank the Hartnagles enough for this life-changing beginning and for all the love, friendship and respect I have shared with this family over these many years. Their expansive generosity, in both knowledge and wisdom came to be, for me, a life-driving force….. and the birth of TEEWINOT.

 

TEEWINOT’S Philosophy

Jeanne Joy Hartnagle’s Book, All About Aussies, introduced me to the premise that the Australian Shepherd is a versatile breed. That has been the foundation of my philosophy ever since. If a dog is bred to be versatile, it must have the implicit structure, temperament, instinct and biddible character to perform the many tasks we ask of them. Our breed standard also states that the Australian Shepherd is a working dog of strong herding and guarding instincts and shall be bred for moderation and agility of movement. I believe these attributes are paramount to this working breed. The Aussie is really the true American ranch dog, developed and primarily used in the American West to work cattle, sheep and poultry. In short, a Jack of All Trades. The breed was intended to be of moderate size, upright in carriage and loose eyed in order to be able to work these different classes of livestock effectively. As well, the Aussie was needed to both gather livestock from range and pasture land as well as work in tighter areas like pens and chutes. They also needed to rate their stock, to be aggressive on stubborn animals or be gentle enough to gather lambs, if need be, or put the poultry away at night. And, at the end of the day, watch over their family and homestead. All of this speaks to the classic versatility required of this breed.

I am an ardent advocate of this breed’s stewardship and dedicated to the principle that the Aussie should be preserved as the dog that it was originally used for and intended to be. Aussies are not Bernese Mountain Dogs, nor Border Collies nor Toy Poodles. Those breeds already exist should you want one. Although there is a wide variety of type, their true essence is well defined in our current breed and working standards. Sadly, as working ranches and farmlands are declining in the American West, the job for Aussies has waned too. More and more we see the Aussie becoming a companion pet or contestant in a vast array of competitive sports. To be more competitive in these diverse venues, the Aussie today seems to be being bred into more extremes so that oftentimes the show variety looks vastly dissimilar to the stockdog Aussie. It must be that some feel that the end justifies the means but that notion seems somewhat self-serving. I would hate to see the true Aussie’s future extinguished by fads and the race for titles and awards. I hope that the true Aussie can be preserved and co-exist in these modern times and be championed for all those versatile qualities for which the breed was originally intended. Our collective love and respect for them will only be proved by our good stewardship in what footprints we leave behind.

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