Sunday

Curious Annie...

Since Annie's first pups were born last year, she has been curious about the newborn pups and very attentive to our new moms that were born last week and she’s now known as “Curious Annie”, but I won’t let her eat bananas like Curious George.

It started last week when Meggie was having her pups and we were all in the family room with the soon to be mother and the whelping box.  As Elaine was sitting on the floor with Meg, Annie was right behind her stretching her head and neck over Elaine’s shoulder and kept trying to inch closer and closer just to get a look, and she did, her eyes as big as saucers.  She would often go around Elaine to attempt to sniff or just get a closer look or maybe even a welcome lick to the newborn pups but she was always called off by Meg with a small but very subtle snarl with her upper lip.  No other action was needed from Meg, and Annie got the picture and went back behind Elaine but continued to look over her shoulder taking in all she could.
Even at a young age, Annie was curious, going after her first ball...
Curious Annie continued to watch the pups. She always wants to be in the thick of things and she always is.  We keep her inside because of her condition and we always want to know where she is, just for our piece of mind. 
At the beginning of this week, we were getting ready for bed and it was “potty” time for the new moms and Annie, I was sitting in the recliner and saw the whole thing.  Meg, Gabby and Annie trotted to the back door when Elaine called them and they all eagerly went out for “business”  and after Annie left with the others, she returned to the nesting box and ever so gently, picked up a puppy with her mouth and off she went toward the back door, headed for outside.  Before they made it, Elaine also ever so gently suggested to Curious Annie that the pup doesn’t need to go potty and back to the nesting box the little fellow went, but Curious Annie was happy and got to touch her little buddy that she often watched.
Always being Curious...
Just yesterday, we had visitors looking at their new pup and while Meggie was resting on the couch, I was sitting on the floor with the pups, Curious Annie saw an opportunity to get a close look again.  Curious Annie stepped in the whelping box and Annie and I looked at Meg on the couch, no reaction, she continued to step in and started to sniff and started licking the pups, no reaction from Meg.  Everyone seemed to enjoy it and Curious Annie was in Heaven as were the pups with all the attention.  What happened next surprised all of us in the room.  Curious Annie laid on her side and presented herself to the always hungry little ones and in a flash, a few scampered to the meal and Curious Annie was now an official surrogate mom.  Meg didn’t seem to mind, but I called Annie out of the whelping area much to her dismay, but she had once more experienced the joys of being a mother.
One thing that I have learned from my experiences with dogs and pups, you just can't comprehend or even imagine the miracles that are performed every day…
Annie with her first litter last year...
Annie is being groomed by her sisters because she is getting ready for her journey into motherhood, for you see, her delivery day is just a few days ahead and we're waiting for her to have her own bundle of joys....  Ken
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"I Have Two Moms"

The pup was the fifth born and it took nearly an hour and a half to move into the birth canal which in itself is not unusual.  It weighed 7.4 ounces which was small compared to the 13 & 14 ounces that the others weighed at birth.  It was a large litter which would contribute to some of that.  Research says some pups have weighed less than half of that and still have very successful and long live.
Usually mom’s milk doesn’t come in until birth but this can vary a little and but nursing stimulates more milk.  According to Dr. Laura, “If all puppies are nursing, this stimulates the release of Oxytocin and then milk production is at its best as long as the puppies are still nursing. There are some dogs that do not have sufficient milk available for their puppies and in this case, you will have to alternate the puppies so that they all get the amount of milk that they need”.  This presented a problem, the pup known as “lit Bit” needed milk and needed it now.  After talking to the Vet, it was suggested that “moms milk” would be best if possible in every case and that is the direction we would take. 
Taking all the other pups off of mom for a private feeding helped “lit Bit”, but we had to do it every hour.  While we regularly checked the weight, it was starting to drop, mom was just slow to get all of the nutrients that were needed and especially for one special pup.  From 7.4 to 7 ounces then 6.8 and 6.4 was drastic and this wasn’t helping but when we reached 6.0 a miracle occurred here on the farm.  Our other female went into labor and her milk was already in before the birthing occurred and right after the last pup was born, “Lit Bit” may get a new mom with all the nutrients that are needed but we still have a large concern and decision…

According to the Daily Puppy,
Mother dogs aren't always able to produce enough milk, and if yours senses that she can't feed her litter, she may reject some or all of them. 
What to do now?  Will both moms reject “lit Bit” and then we are into hand feeding around the clock or would one or both moms reject the whole litter and then we would be feeding all 16 pups?  As fate and faith have it, “lit Bit” got a new mom and after they were placed on the teat, it went right to work.  After a lick on the head and a sniff from the new mom, “Lit Bit” was going to town.  After a good feeding, “Lit Bit” was placed back into “old mom’s” cradle and she also welcomed it in, but after he lick on the head and belly.

So after a night of no sleep and several very trying days of stress “lit Bit” was steady gaining .10’s of ounces and was a very active little pup.  Many people will assume “lit Bit” is a runt, however, I have seen a runt from a litter long ago and this may not be true.  It was a pup that was born from Dutchess and Clancy and he was named after mom.  Dutchess’s pup started nearly the same was and we also had to do special feedings but today, “Dutch” is as big or bigger than Clancy and just as beautiful.

I am truly sorry that I was a little late on the post, however “Lit Bit” is doing well and gaining weight and lucky enough to have two two moms…
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Dog Heaven?

I had an interesting question this week from a friend of mine who asked “Do dogs go to Heaven?”  Some folks might think this is an odd question and at times I probably did too, but as I have grown to see what love they share and how much I always want to be around them, I have also thought the same thing because I want it to be true.

Because we all have free will with thinking and opinions, many people can answer this in a very short sentence and the answer would be “No, there is no Heaven” and I am not here to debate this or sway opinions or to give a lesson but that’s what free will is all about, the right to believe what you want.  There are so many unanswered questions throughout the universe and this is a minor question in the grand scheme of things, but to a dog lover, it is a big deal and I will take the point that there is a higher order/power and I know many people have asked this same question. 

I grew up in a religious home and I so remember my Father would always tune in Reverend Billy Graham's Revival during his heydays on our old black and white TV and we always listened to the fire and brimstone sermons that he gave.  I have always had a great admiration for him and especially when he said, "God will prepare everything for our perfect happiness in heaven, and if it takes my dog being there, I believe he'll be there." Animals aren’t nearly as valuable as people, but God made the animals and he has touched many people’s lives through these animals.

We live in a world as complicated as Chinese arithmetic and no two people can agree on any one thing except that the love for a dog can melt your heart in an instant and change the whole way you look at the world.  So to answer the question, I don’t know, but I know what I want.  I am a pessimist and sometimes believe the worst about things but hope for the best, but if I believed in heaven and I do, and I could pick the things I wanted.  At the top of the list would be a reunion of me and my dogs…and again I would see that tail wag at “just” the tip when I said their name, that head burrow between my armrest and arm, just to get a pat on the head as I type and just last night, as I write this blog, Abbie wanted to get closer to me and I backed away from the keyboard she jumped in my lap while I leaned all the way back in my chair while she licked my brow and I will tell you, if this is anything like Heaven, I’m looking forward to it…

As I suddenly appear in a beautiful unfamiliar forever home, my dogs run to meet me in all their splendor and robustness, jumping and barking and turning circles.  I sit down in the cool tall grass while they all smother we with lick’s and kisses as we all roll and play and I know the Lord provided me with everything for my perfect happiness in heaven…and running from a distance like a young child would to its parent are my pups with their tongue and ears flopping from side to side, I would again see, Ranger, Ruby, Bob, Keely, Ellie, Keko, Toby, Max, Katelyn, Nelly, Thaddeus, Grace, Kacie and many many others who came to welcome me home before they ran back to their own loved ones, truly this is a dog’s lovers heaven and our journey begins…and as Dutchess can now finally speak…”Did you bring a Frisbee?”  Ken

By The Rev. Dale Chrisman Rector
Billy Graham tells this story: "Early in my ministry, I arrived in a small town to preach at a revival. I had a letter to mail and asked a young boy how to get to the post office. The boy told me and I said thank you. Then, I invited the boy to come to the revival meeting. I said "If you come to church this evening, you can hear me tell everyone how to get to Heaven." The boy said "No. I don't think so. You don't even know the way to the post office."
I've been thinking about Heaven lately. I've experienced several deaths of church members, family and friends. But I've also experienced several deaths of pets. Jacque and I lost our beloved yellow lab a couple of months ago. Several other members and friends have lost their pets. So, the question comes up "will we see our pets in Heaven?"
Before I address the answer to that question, let's look a minute at Heaven itself. First, I believe many ministers fail to engage this subject very often. Additionally, I think in today's society we have such a strong focus on money, sex, drugs, youth, fashion, food, that I think Heaven just gets overlooked. The Bible and subjects such as Heaven are just not very popular.
Now you might be thinking at this point:  what do YOU know about Heaven, anyway? Have you ever been there?" My answer, of course is "No, not personally. But I have a very dear and close friend who has. He came here and told us about it and showed it to us. His name is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. The Prince of Peace. The King of Kings."
Let's approach the answer to the question of will we see our pets in Heaven this way.
Will We Know Each Other in Heaven?
Absolutely! On the Mount of Transfiguration, Moses and Elijah knew each other and Peter recognized them. In Jesus's story about Lazarus and the rich man, didn't the rich man, after he died, recognize Lazarus and Abraham? There's a lot of scriptural evidence that we'll know each other. Fathers will know their children, wives will know their husbands. It'll be a family reunion like no other!
We're told that, at the moment of our death, angels will accompany us. Lazarus was accompanied to Heaven by angels and in Hebrews it says "God's angels are ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation."
Will Our Pets Be in Heaven?
• Everything needed for our total happiness will be in Heaven. Because Heaven is a place of eternal joy, and if being with our pets is what it would take to make us eternally joyful, then I believe there will be animals in Heaven.
• We know that God created animals when he created man and woman when everything was perfect. It was man and woman who disobeyed God and created sin as a barrier between us and God ... not the animals.
• We know that in the book of Elijah, he was picked up and taken to Heaven by a chariot drawn by a team of horses.
• In Isaiah, he describes what will happen once God's creation is restored: "the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid; the calf and the young lion together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall feed together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain."
• If "to die is to gain" as Paul said, why shouldn't we enjoy even more in Heaven the things we loved on earth? Why wouldn't that include our beloved pets?
• And in Revelation, John describes God "making ALL things new." I believe that includes animals.
Please listen to the Words of Jesus as written in John and consider how we are to prepare for Heaven.
"Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's House are many mansions... I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also."

What a place! Remember. As the old hymn says: "This world is not my home, I'm just a passing through." Heaven is our home, not earth. I believe firmly that there will be animals in Heaven and that means we'll be reunited with our pets that have gone on before us.  Billy Graham
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Can you Tell?

As I sit here with a dog/dogs, I ponder the things that we both enjoy.  I know with just “one” dog, it can be confusing at times but if you have a pack or even more than one, it can get mind boggling at times but we quickly learn them by their touch or sound.   When I have had my eyes shut sleeping sitting in the chair, one will jump on my lap and even while sleeping watching TV, I can tell who it is by the sounds they make and texture of their hair. 
There are some that are so obvious, I can tell right away.  Doc will knock you down trying to get at your face to look into your mouth and stare at you.  He has learned that if he walks on his hind legs, he can walk with me nearly the length of the driveway, whining as he walks and he will get louder.  I usually stop walking to pay attention to him and we whine together and he loves it holding his head up in the air. 
Abbie will jump in the bed when she hears my breathing change in the early morning and as soon as that happens, she attacks my face with her tongue and lick as fast as she can, moving to my ears and standing on my chest.  It’s no wonder that I get up between 5:30 and 6 am, today it was 3:30 am. 
You can hear Gabby prance in place when she approaches you from behind.  She will stand in one place and shuffle her feet making herself known just by the sound of her nails hitting the floor and of course, every time I’m at the computer she will stick her head between the armrest and put her head on my lap until she gets her butt scratched.
Annie is another butt scratcher fanatic, but she will do it with much more robustness than Gabby.  She will turn around on the couch and as soon as you put your hand on her back, she will position her backend toward you and get the maximum scratch, bouncing all the time and I swear, her eyes will roll back in her head.
However, can you tell who it is by sound or smell, each are unique and will make a different sigh and even have a unique smell and texture but did you know their paw pads smell like popcorn?
As I sit doing busy work and am focused on a job, I can tell who walks in or who runs off after something.  We share so many thing in our daily paces that sometimes it is scary that we know what the other is thinking.  I know I/we do this with our wife or husband, but with a dog?  I do think so, and have seen it many times especially with a few of the dogs and the one that immediately comes to mind is Dutchess…
Who me...What mud?
I can tell when she runs through the house looking for food because she barks in every direction licking every plate in site.
I know she wants to play because she gets a Frisbee and holds it in her mouth and follows me around laying it down long enough to bark, like I don’t see her…picks it up and moves with me…and barks...
I know she wants attention because she runs to me while I’m walking and jumps on me barking all the time…I once saw her knock a man down…
I know where she is as she runs down the driveway as a car approaches because she barks with joy and the guest receive a free “food clean up” and inspection…
On the table
I know where she is when she is looking at me and then at Clancy while he is holding the Frisbee because she is telling me to tell Clancy to give it up, because she wants the toy…
But most especially I know where she is when she looks at me with those sad eyes and crawls up and circles twice…in my lap…where she should be…and we dream together...
Note to self…NEVER teach a dog to bark when they want something because they always want something…Ken
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Trust Me, Don't Get Caught...

Everyone tells you the same thing when you go to the Vet and if you read the box the same thing is said, but many people make the same mistake and think against their better judgment that they are smarter than the scientist that poured countless of hours and millions of dollars into developing a product that will keep death away from your dog.
I am talking about something that hit very close to home with one of our dogs.  Doc was found to have heartworms on a routine test that was performed on our dogs this spring.  When the news came back, I was devastated to say the least.  When I worked for a Vet, the chances were minimal at best that a dog would make it if heartworms were discovered.  I remember once asking the Vet I worked for why is it so bad and he said, “You poison the blood to kill the heartworms” and nearly the same thing is true today.  It has been refined some, but you have to kill the worms.  Dog get heartworms from mosquitos and I take every precaution because I don’t ever want it go through this again.  For nearly 3 months, Doc had to be kept quite and is not only is the treatment very dangerous it is also very expensive.  When we were just starting to go through it the treatment, as usual, I researched it and made many calls to the manufacture of the preventive medication and to the maker of the treatment medication too.   
You MUST…
Purchase from a Vet or a reputable online pharmacy, not a discount supply house and you Must have a prescription.
If you are a standing customer and the dog had the yearly test, chances are the manufacturer will cover the cost of the treatment.  
Give the medication ALL year long.  Just because mosquitoes are not present, doesn’t mean they aren’t around.
If you are a standing customer and the dog had the yearly test, chances are the manufacture will cover the cost of the treatment.
Give the medication ALL year long.  Just because mosquitos are not present, doesn’t mean they aren’t around.
 And the most important statement is if you don’t treat in the winter months you WILL NOT kill the microfilaria (newborn children of the adult heartworm) if they are infected and when you start back up in the spring, they have grown and will not be killed by monthly prevention.
My protocol has changed on treatment,
Give EVERY month
Watch the dog when you give it.  Don’t let the go back to playing where they can throw up and lose the dose.  I put mine in the kennel for one hour so I can make sure it stays down.
Purchase from your Vet.  If you use a bargain treatment and it fails, the money you spent on treatment could supply all the dogs in the neighborhood. 

Heartworm Removal Video 

Below is some scientific info on the subject put together by Karen Newhall.  Please read it and trust me, it can happen, and did here on the farm.


Heartworm Disease – what is it?
Heartworms (Dirofilaria immitis) are found in more than 30 species of animals as well as humans.  They have been identified in species such as coyotes, foxes, wolves, other wild canids, domestic cats, wild felids, ferrets and even sea lions, however, the dog is considered the primary host for heartworm, meaning that it is in the dog where the heartworm reaches maturity and is able to sexually reproduce.  Heartworm larvae (immature stage) are transmitted between hosts by mosquitos.  When a mosquito infected with heartworm larvae bites a dog, the larvae are transmitted into the dog’s blood stream and begin to migrate throughout the body while maturing.  They end up as sexually mature heartworms in the heart and lungs.  Here, they begin to reproduce and the females release offspring called microfilariae into the circulating blood supply of the host (your dog).  Heartworm cannot be spread between mammals without first going through the mosquito.
The initial population of adult heartworms living in a dog resides in the arteries of the lower lobes of the lungs.  As the population continues to grow and mature, adult heartworms can be found in the right chamber of the heart.  In cases with extremely high numbers of adult heartworms present, worms can be found in the caudal vena cava, which is the primary vein of the lower body.  When worms are present here, they must be removed surgically due to the likelihood of sudden death caused by an embolism which can occur within a few days.  The presence of worms in these major organs will cause inflammation in the heart, lungs and arteries around these organs.  The heart will begin to enlarge and congested heart failure will likely develop over time.  Dogs that lead a very active lifestyle such as working/herding breeds that are infected with heartworms will likely develop a more severe disease state with fewer heartworms present than a less active dog. This is due to the need for greater heart and lung capacity needed for an active lifestyle.
Heartworm Prevention – why and how
The best methods to ensure you and your dog never have to go through the devastating results of being heartworm positive; PREVENTION is truly the best medicine.  Dogs have been tested positive for heartworm infections in all 50 states.  There are many products on the market that are highly effective for the prevention of heartworm disease.  There are both oral and injectable products that have to be dosed daily, monthly or even every six months.  You should consult with your veterinarian on which product is best for your dog, ideally, your dog should be tested for heartworm disease prior to starting a preventative program.  Most prevention products currently on the market will effectively kill the heartworm larvae that are transmitted by mosquitos, therefore preventing mature heartworms to develop in the dog.
The most important part of administering heartworm prevention products is complying with the label directions given by the manufacturer of the product.  You should not only talk to your veterinarian but also carefully read the product insert so that you understand how the medicine should be given and potential adverse effects associated with the product.  Heartworm prevention is recommended to be done year round by most practitioners and the American Heartworm Society.  In most climates there can be mosquito hatches every month of the year and therefore your dog is at risk of being infected.  Additionally, some products will actually continue to prevent disease if you are late or even miss a dose provided you have reliably dosed your dogs on a monthly basis for at least three consecutive months, consider year round dosing an insurance policy in disease prevention for the life of your pet.
Heartworm testing – why, when and how
There are many thoughts and opinions on the frequency of heartworm testing dogs.  You should always follow the advice of your veterinarian; they are the trained professional and have an established relationship with your dog.  Generally, it is a good idea to have your veterinarian test your dog during your annual wellness visit to the clinic, but minimally, you should test your dog prior to initiating or changing preventatives.  If you missed one or more doses of heartworm preventatives during the year, it is imperative that you have your dog tested for heartworm the following year.
There are two types of heartworm tests available, one detects antigens and the second detects antibodies, both are simple blood tests.  The antibody test has been used for decades and detects antibodies that the dog’s body is producing in response to the presence of adult heartworms.  The antigen test is most commonly used now and detects a protein in the heartworm that causes an immune response in the body.  The antigen test can detect an infection of one or more mature female heartworms that are at least seven to eight months old.  They cannot detect infections of less than five months in duration.  A veterinarian can also test for the presence of microfilariae in the bloodstream of a dog, these will only be present if adult heartworms are also present and can be detected six to seven months after a dog is bitten by an infected mosquito.  This is due to the life cycle of the heartworm; a mosquito will pass the larvae into the bloodstream of the dog which then takes many months to develop into a sexually mature worm that is able to produce microfilariae.  This is why it is important to test your dog for heartworm annually, especially if you are not 100% certain that all doses of prevention were given at the same time of every month, year round.
There are four main phases in the lifecycle of a heartworm: microfilaria, larva, juvenile worm and adult worm.


Heartworm Positive – what and how
A positive heartworm test will determine that your dog was not only been bitten by an infected mosquito, but that sufficient time has passed and the heartworm larvae was able to develop into sexually mature worms over a period of 6-7 months.  It is possible for a dog to test positive to heartworm while on prevention products, this is because the preventative will only control larvae and not microfilariae or adults.  If you routinely stop preventative administration during the winter, larvae transferred from infected mosquitoes to your dog late in the season will have ample time to develop into mature and reproducing adult heartworms before you re-initiate your prevention program in the spring. 
Treatment for heartworm – what, how, why and risks
Your veterinarian will discuss treatment options with you along with associated costs and risks.  There is only one product available commercially for the treatment of adult heartworm infestations, Immiticide®, this compound is a form of arsenic and can have severe adverse side effects, it is not always readily available and it is expensive, however, it is the only treatment option available.  It is injected deep into the muscles of the lower back twice, 24 hours apart and typically repeated four months later. 
A secondary part of treatment that your veterinarian may consider is treating for Wolbachia infection.  Wolbachia is a genus of richettsial organism and is similar to a bacteria; they live inside of adult heartworms.  Wolbachia organisms are not fully understood, but they seem to provide a protective and beneficial effect for the adult heartworms.  Treating the dog with the antibiotic doxycycline will kill Wolbachia and seem to also sterilize the female heartworms, preventing them from reproducing.  Wolbachia is also thought to be involved in the embolism and shock that result when heartworms die.  Doxycycline treatment is typically prescribed for four weeks prior to Immiticide® treatment and is relatively inexpensive and considered safe.   Be sure to discuss this treatment addition with your veterinarian!


There are severe complications that can occur following Immiticide® treatment that need to be monitored for.  Typically the attending veterinarian will keep the dog they are treating for several days during and after treatment to ensure the best outcomes are possible.  The most serious complication is the development of severe pulmonary thromboembolism.  This is caused by presence of dead heartworm fragments and lesions caused by the living heartworms and inflammation in the arteries and capillaries of the lungs.  Some degree of pulmonary thromboembolism will occur following the treatment process, it is important to keep the dog very quiet to minimize these embolisms and the effects of them.  Clinical signs associated with treatment include fever, cough, and sudden death.

Home is where your Dog is…


On September 7, 2009 a little red/white puppy was born in Kentucky and on October 24th of that same year, his “official” name-tag was ordered before he came home but his name was changed from “Ringo” to “Shepherd James” and it's after me, just like “Clancy James.”  
Shepherd James at his breeder
On November 6, 2009 “Sheppie” came home forever, I thought…
In June of 2011 on the 6th day of the month, as a car pulled down our lane, I sat on the steps of our back porch and held Shepp and cried like a child.  
When the man, who was a retired military officer got out of the car, he stopped and waited for me to compose myself which took longer than I thought, but he understood and waited.  My life had been devastated.  Here is an email I sent out just a few days earlier to my dog people…

It is with great sadness that I write this email..... Beyond our control, we need to find "Shepard James" or "Shepp" (to most of you), a forever home. After much thought and trying every way to make this work, it just won't. Let me explain. Several years ago, we wanted to expand into Red dogs. After we picked up Meg, we needed a suitable mate for her. After much Internet searching and phone calls we found our perfect dog, which was Shepp. Since that time, we have been trying to have Red pups with no success. He would do the deed, but it never took. Last week he went to a fertility specialist in Kentucky and the results were heartbreaking, he was sterile. This is not the problem, we would gladly keep him if that was the only issue. Because he has no testosterone, he is at the bottom of the pack and is getting picked on. It has started a little and it will get worse as time goes on. Even the girls will dominate him. The only solution is to find him a home where there are not so many hormones running around all the time. He can be with other dogs just not so many, and my wish would be that he would be with another one of our dogs, so that is why I am only letting all my dog owners know.

I am not looking for just a home to take him, I am looking for a forever home to love him. If you know me, you also know I am passionate about my dogs.
There has been a lot of thought and discussion at home about this and it is not an easy decision. The hard decisions never are...I love him too much not to let him live his life in peace.
This photo was taken 10 minutes before he went to his new home
Shepp went to his new home and I was left to think and I did.  In my heart I knew I was wrong.  I received a lot of support but several people weren’t so kind and nothing could be said that I didn’t know.  It was the worst decision I have ever made and I beat myself up relentlessly and still do at times.  On November 20, 2011, Elaine and I went to see Shepp at his new home and here is the last paragraph of that blog…

After some good conversation, it was time to go, I just felt it. We all walked toward our car except Shepp. Oh how I wanted him to jump in the car, but he didn't  He stopped with his owner and sat down next to him, just inside the garage and I swear I saw Shepp lean into “him” as if saying to us, “I’m OK, Thank You Dad”.
At his new home during our visit
As hard as it was to leave, I’m happy because Shepp is happy. Goodbye old Friend, I’ll never, never, forget you……I will tell you, it was a long trip back home. Give your dog a hug, we hugged ours, that night……every single one of them, except Shepp...

I never did forget him and even said goodbye to him in my Christmas blogs every year and I knew I would never see him again.  I pestered his owner with emails, some never returned, but I selfishly wanted to know more which was unfair.  I found an old email that had a cell number and I called, and his owner answer.  My heart raced but I need to know he was OK.  They were great and he was moving the family to a southern state to take care of family.  Shepp was going even further, my little Sheppie would be gone forever and I knew it…

An email, July 13, 2014…
Kenny,
I know it's been a long time since we've been in touch.  Shepp is doing well; however, we are not.  Last November we had to move due to family’s health.  We find ourselves in the position to find another home for him.  The weather down here has been an issue for him (he hates the heat!) and the daily thunderstorms are wreaking havoc with his nervous system.  We loathe having to give him the tablets the vet said to use.
We have come to this decision with VERY heavy hearts and of course you all were are first thought.  Please let me know as soon as possible if you would be able to take Shepp back into the fold.

As fast as I could, I hit reply, “Yes” I said and three days later, I was meeting a man that I was three years earlier.  A person who couldn’t speak without a whimper, but I understood so well and waited.  His life had been devastated.  As I looked inside his vehicle, my little Sheppie wagged his tail, picked up his squeaker ball and walked to me putting his head on my chest.  I said “I’m so sorry” Very few words were said because they didn’t need to be said.  His basket full of toys were with him and we went “home” but a retired detective and career military man were in tears.
One day later, his new name tag was ordered and when I pulled his records up on the computer, his old one were still there and I just re-ordered it and a new kennel plaque is in the works.  It’s funny how life works out at times.
Clancy and Shepp
Things are good now because Clancy and the girls have been neutered and spayed and the young ones pay no mind to him except to play…

Thanks to the owners that took such great care of “both of our dog,” Shepp ,and I will forever be indebted to you and your family for loving him and sending me the email.  Sometimes things happen for a reason and people come into our life and help each other with something we don't understand.

Many years from now...

“Hey…who is that?” someone said at Rainbow Bridge “Shepp, I thought your earthly owner was here with you!”  Shepp spoke up, “I’m one of the lucky ones, you see, I had two families that loved me with all their heart”…as he pranced to greet them with his squeaker ball…

Notes and comments from friends…
Good things always come to those who wait and I know there are more good times to come and when things come full circle it was meant to be.
…Shepp left yesterday and I am just beside myself.  I think what bothers me the most is that Shepp has never done anything wrong.  This was my only choice.  We tried so hard to make it work, but it wouldn't. 
…He must have been a great friend. Always ready to do what YOU wanted. Always trying to make YOU happy.  Well, you have done something to make HIM happy. He may even develop some protective instincts for his new family left alone to his own devices.
…Time is a mysterious cure for these situations. Just when you think you can never recover, something happens with a loved one that brings you out of your introspection and sense of loss. I have made my peace that I’ll never get over losing my border collie. My memories of her are like a collection of rare art. At any time, no matter where I am, these memories can be summoned and I’ll go on a little tour of part of our life together. Shepp will be in this place for you. Plus you can still see him if that is what you want.
Something tells me he would meet you at the end of the driveway.
… Before Shepp left, we spend time together and just did guy things.  I would look into his face and it killed me a thousand times.  When the family came to get him, as always, Shepp ran to them, just like he knew them.  I broke down and cried like a child, but I didn't care.  It was truly the hardest thing I ever did.  Last night when I was putting all the dogs up, I called the dogs and most went in as they always do and I couldn't find Shepp, and then I remembered.....At times I feel like my heart will explode, 
I do know it was the right decision, but it sucks.....

An post I never thoght I'd write,
Welcome home Sheppie…  Dad
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So Near...

So Near…
Does it ever stop?…This past Monday, I was getting ready to take Annie to meet Elaine for Annie’s training, and as I was putting Annie in the back seat, Clancy and Doc were also wanting to get in the car and take a ride.  Because it would be a distraction for Annie, they had to stay home and watch the girls at home.  After telling and watching them to get back on the porch, I got in the car and slowly backed up.  After moving about three feet, I heard an awful yelp and felt a bump and KNEW what had happened, I just didn’t know who it was… As fast as I could jumped out of the car, I did.
After Doc’s Heartworm scare, he and I became buddies.  I guess I felt a little sorry for him because his life had been uprooted and has lived in three different states, but he was finally home.  He had fit in nicely and was part of our pack.  Just last week, “just the two of us” were playing on the driveway and I was also talking baby “dog” talk and he was jumping and prancing and giving me kisses.  I do this with all the dogs but this was the first time Elaine had watched me, and from the porch she said “You really love him, don’t you”, “Of course I do” I said, “he’s special, but I also do this with all the dogs” and that very night, Doc got to come inside and watch TV with us and lay on my lap and every night thus far, he expects to come in and he has.  He learned the routine and would jump on the couch and flop over, putting his palls up in the air with half of his 45 pound body on the couch and the other half on me.  I at least got the “head” end where he would drift off to sleep with his mouth open just a little, showing his white teeth and dreaming of great times.  I would rub his lips and brush over his face and he would be oblivious to my touch, but I was not, and it was very comforting to me.  Last week, and in just a few days, we bonded even more.  I don’t know why, except that in my heart, I feel sorry for him going through the pain and medication and not being able to run with the pack but watching from the porch and he was a prince about it while he healed from the Heartworm treatment.  It has happened thousands of times and many times it occurs when you least expect it, and the worst tragedy is when it could be a family member and he was…
As I first jumped out of the car my heart was in my throat and knew what to expect, I saw one of the dogs on the porch and as I looked back at the rear wheel, I saw blond hair on the driveway and knew…Doc had been run over.
As I looked around and even under the car, he had moved and when I looked toward the porch, he was quickly headed that same way.  “DOC” I screamed and ran toward him, “What were you doing?” as I touched and rubbing his chest and legs. His eyes looked normal and were reactive and no blood was visible, anywhere.  I extended his legs and checked for movement and breaks and saw nothing but several skinned spots, all in all, he was fine except a little scared.  I immediately gave him a Rimadyl and he took it for any swelling that may occur but he seemed fine.
Right after putting them on the porch before the accident, Doc decided to lay on the driveway and in just a few seconds, he was on a road to destruction for both of us.   At least 7 of our pups that have left and grown up have been hit by a car and killed, one even in the driveway by a UPS truck.  Dogs don’t experience fear like we do and we need to be aware of it and watch for them.  Was there something I could have done?  I don’t know, but I will tell you, I will give this much thought and plan a course of action.  Last year, My Vet was talking to me and he stated that he once ran over his dog.   Lord knows we’ve been lucky, Dutchess will run toward the cars that come in, once jumping on the car but usually looking for food inside and they all will swarm the cars that visit because they know they will get to play.

Later that evening, after everyone was put up, Doc was waiting on the porch because he loves to stay out, but this night, as I opened the back door, he pranced in and jumped on his end of the couch.  As I sat down on the other end, he walked to my lap and flop over, putting his palls up in the air with half of his 45 pound body on the couch and the other half on me with his mouth open just a little, showing his white teeth and dreaming of great times… and it was…

How lucky we are, I love you Doc…Dad…
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