Sunday, June 13, 2010

on preservation

I thought this was a great story I heard on NPR this morning about the Navajo Churro sheep breed.I couldn't help but be reminded of the IDI (Azawakh to us) and how they are an integrated part of the culture they come from where a livelihood linked to their livestock is also key.
The Churro is more than just a sheep.And the Azawakh - IDI is more than just a dog.
Preserving the breeds of animals is directly linked with preserving these endangered cultures and traditional ways of life. The constant encroachment of globalization and modernization make it increasingly difficult to "earn a living" within a traditional lifestyle.More and more of the young people leave those traditions behind along with the knowledge of those cultures and the keeping of those practices, including the uniquely specialized animals.
In the story of the Churro, I especially like how the professor managed to work with the herders and elders in the community to establish a breeding program.He was able to reintroduce the keeping of these sheep through-out their native area.
I hope there is still a chance to learn more deeply from the native people of the Sahel.

Friday, June 4, 2010

I thought I would post something since it's been awhile and I see everyone else has cool new stuff up on theirs!The start of summer has been a huge relief, with the finally warmer weather after what seemed like an especially long winter here in NM.School is out too! - So I can finally make some room to go hiking or take that day trip I keep meaning to take. The warmth brings a real sense of revitalization and renewal that, even though spring has progressed for quite sometime, just wasn't truly vibrant and palpable in the air till now. My work has kept me going these past few months and some truly fantastic outings with the dogs lifted my spirits and keep me soaring still!
Late March was a gorgeous time in Southern NM and our day in the field then provided us with mostly a lovely, long walk through the grasslands but it also provided a most memorable trip to the base of the Florida Mtns and the spectacular california poppy bloom that covered the entire base in a brilliant orange blanket. -In juxtaposition with the rocks and the cacti and the brilliant blue sky... I was left transfixed.
(I am grateful to Dan Gauss for guiding me up the jeep roads to see the poppy bloom that day)
Then in early May a few of the dogs and I were finally able to make one last hunting run before the season warmed too much. It was a blustery day, which was good for the longdogs or it may have been too warm to stay out with them. The Azawakhs can take the heat for much longer, but the day would have been worthless without our companions!
We had gorgeous runs with plenty of work turning the hare - my guys were right up there too, in the action with the longdogs! We had two runs with catches and a final run going for a what seemed like a tremendous distance (nearly 4 minutes, if I'm remembering correctly) with turns and straightaways, then more work and turning again, and just when you thought they were going to get it, it went on with the hare outsmarting them... It was incredible! Fantastic! A true exhilaration watching the dogs athleticism and heart. Both desert-breds, Ananas and Chomeissa were my two Azawakh running that day along with Dutch Salmon's amazing longdogs Cowboy, Phyllis and Archie.
Puppy Nizhoni got to walk along and watch the fun. She even jumped up and hit the end of the leash like she was ready to join in. She had a good day chasing bugs and little lizards and interacting with all dogs.
In other news - Hortaya Borzaya, Velika has found a new home in Tuscon, AZ.
She is living with a wonderful lady who loves to hike and is taking her around to all sorts of dog friendly attractions. Velika is sounding like she's having a lot of fun and we wish them both the best in enjoying life together!