I have always been in love with this coat colouring and Collies as a breed. My first ever puppy, Tag was a Blue Merle Collie, a very sweet boy, followed me around like a Lamb, cried like a baby at night but contracted Parvovirus and sadly died 11 days after I had got him. The friend who I had got him from very kindly gave me his Mum as she was no longer being worked at the farm. Blue, surprise, surprise, another Blue Merle. She was a darling. Could not have asked for a sweeter, more obedient companion. She lived a great life and holds a very firm place in my heart.
Did you know that Merle is a pattern in a dogs coat, though is commonly incorrectly referred to as a colour. The merle gene creates mottled patches of color in a solid piebald coat, blue or odd coloured eyes, and can affect skin pigment as well.
I now have another Blue Merle. Maya. She was 5 yrs this month. It seems ages ago that she was just a little pup. I wanted another Collie to do Agility with and the same friend I got Blue from had their bitch in pup to the Blue Merle dog they had. Working sheep dogs. That was it… I wanted on… but it had to be a girl and it had to be a Blue Merle… luckily on the 11th January 2009, Maya was born and two days later I was across to see her. There were no hard decisions. She was the only Blue girl.
There was no going back. I fell in love and she was mine. The following weeks passed slowly but we had regular visits to watch her grow. She got nicknamed Stumpy as she had a very short tail and was rather plumb to say the least.
However, what goes around comes around! She soon learned how to look after herself! She is definitely the top dog in the house now!
She loves agility more than anything else and we are trained by the wonderful Jo Fraser. We have grown together in over the last three years. We started puppy with training with Jo and so far she has helped us move up to Grade 3, as you can see below she showed an interest in jumping from an early age!
I doubt we will ever join the Elite Competitors who sit at Grade 7, but we will have fun trying. Unfortunately, last season we did very little due to my broken foot in April and Mayas leg injury later in the year. Hopefully we can both gain full fitness and maintain it for the coming season. I would like to climb to at least the next grade in 2014. The competition is fierce with usually 200-300 dogs per class at Kennel Club events.
For those of you who don’t know what Dog agility is, it is a dog sport in which a handler directs a dog through an obstacle course in a race for both time and accuracy. Dogs run off the lead with no food or toys as incentives, and the handler can not touch neither dog nor obstacles. Consequently the handler’s controls are limited to voice, and various body signals, requiring exceptional training of the animal and coordination of the handler.
This image was taking during a training session. Sadly I have not yet learnt the art of running her in a competition and taking images of us at the same time!
Apart from Agility training, we love to walk and look for and photograph wildlife. Maya and her companion Flynn are the subjects of many of my images. I was delighted in 2013 to be shortlisted with an image I had taken of Maya in the Hamdan International Photography Award and I also had my image published in their book, The Beauty of Light, and displayed at the Royal Geographical Society in London at their exhibition. I also gained two Gold Awards with the Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers in 2013 with images that I had taken of Maya.
Maya is without doubt my most patient Model, there are not many places that she will not stand, sit or lie down for me and will stay until she is asked to move. Below are two examples location portraits of her.
To celebrate her 5th birthday this week she had a play in the Studio today. I love the Pet Portrait side of my business and offer both location and Studio sessions.
Please refer to my website for further details. www.meltaylorphotography.co.uk or call me on 01235 763359 if you are interested in booking a session.