Sunday

Destiny or Divine Again?

Last year, two or our pups from different litters were sold to a “perfect farm home with a good piece of land” and everything was wonderful until September of this year.  Some may remember the updates from the owners;

Some delinquents were out shooting guns and causing a raucous.  It spooked our “Chauncey”, who is terrified of gunfire and fireworks.  She literally mangled her kennel and took off.  We searched all day and evening yesterday looking for her.  This morning at 8 am we received a call from our neighbor.  At the very least, she will lose her leg.

After several good days when Chauncey first came home from the Vet’s office, things turned very wrong, very fast…

“Chauncey” has put up a good fight, but we just can’t put her through anymore.  We are saying goodbye to her in a little while.

I cried for them and Chauncey, you will never know the pain until you go through this, it is everyone’s worst nightmare.  Not only is this some of the most devastating news for the owners, it’s also devastating to the other dog that was left behind.  He had never been alone without his companion and playmate, they went home together from the farm to start their new life or so they thought…
Several dog placements came up and I talked to the owners over several months, but it was just not the right time.  Sometime later I got some information from a friend in another state…
From Craigslist;
“Free to good home, beautiful female Border collie named Nya, around 9 months old. Great with kids, very active. Will require a farm home or a good piece of land.”  I immediately called the owner and went after the dog the next morning.  Even before bringing her home we stopped at the Vet’s office for a bath, shots and spay all of which she needed.
Ellie...
 I had many inquiries but the first one was from Chauncey’s owner.  After several emails and messages “Nya”, now “Ellie” found a wonderful home, with a wonderful dog that lost his playmate “on a farm home and a good piece of land”… Two lives were made complete again along with the owners.
The peculiar thing about this, although a horrible situation happened, two dogs from very different paths and states were united and found each other which also reminds me of another situation I wrote about several years ago.

Read Destiny or Divine here...

"Makes you think this was predestined to be. I'm just glad I could be a small part of it.  Destiny or Divine?”  These are the words I said in July 2011 on another pairing of a man and a dog that was unbelievable
For whatever reason, sometimes things happen and we just don’t understand why the outcome happened and probably never will but I will tell you it is so gratifying to help people put their lives together after a nightmare had occurred
I have always said “you never can replace a cherished dog when that time comes, you can just enhance the love and experience it again, only different”
Jetter from Destiny or Divine...
If I have learned anything about life and dogs, there are reasons things happen, I have seen it a hundred times and each time it’s gets better.  If you ever get a chance to help put a life back together while saving a dog…It doesn't get any better… While I have seen this many times here on the farm, Chauncey death affected me and Ellie was such a unique young dog.

I am asked many times “how do you do it, how do you let them go?” and my answer is always the same, “because there is always one more to help” trust me there is…  Good luck “Army” and “Ellie”, although your life has had many bumps and bruises, now enjoy it together “on a farm home and a good piece of land”   Ken

You Wanna?


Last night I was sitting on the couch and we were just finishing dinner and as usual, the dogs wanted part of our food.  I will give them a snack during our snack time but when it comes to my main meal, it’s all mine so there is no sharing.  I even tell the dogs “this is my supper, don’t eat mine and I won’t eat yours” and they seem to understand.  After we were done, I looked at Shepp, “you wanna go eat?” I said, and his ears popped up and his big brown eyes opened wide, his mouth opened a little and he was all smiles while he cocked his head from side to side.  I said it again, “you wanna go eat?” and then Finn looked up and her ears went up too because she also understood.  
Finn
Don’t tell me they don’t understand, I know they do I thought.  Shepp and Finn went to the door and Little Boo went too, he knew something was up.  Before I got up and opened the door, I said it again and again and they were all excited and started barking, they were hungry and they let me know.  I’ve seen a lot of dogs but I never thought I would see ones that can understand things you say and at times Border Collies know, Elaine and I will spell the word out so the dog doesn’t get excited and even then, sometimes they do, scary... 
A border collie called Chaser has been taught the names of 1022 items more words than any other animal. She can also categorize them according to function and shape, something children learn to do around the age of 3 year old.  Over three years, they taught the Chaser the names of 1022 toys by introducing them to her one by one, getting her to fetch the toy and then repeating the name to reinforce the association. They regularly tested Chaser on her vocabulary by putting random groups of 20 toys in another room and having her fetch them by name.  Chaser, now 10, never got less than 18 out of 20 right, in 838 separate tests over three years and to think, I get excited when I say a few words and they do what I want or sit down. 
Chaser the Border Collie
It always starts out the same, a new dog or boarder comes in and they are a little unsure of what I want them to do when I give the commands but they will watch what mine are doing and usually follow suit.  In a few days, after watching, they fit right in and go with the flow with my commands.  Do they just follow or do they really understand?  It’s my opinion that we put the confines on what they know by “not” working with them more than we do and I too am guilty of this.  Nearly every dog will usually know, sit, shake and a few other words and commands but have you ever thought of the quandary we would be in if they knew more words than the few we teach them?  It would be heaven because they could be my helper or learn a task.  Several times in the past, we have had dogs that loved to play with sticks and although we don’t play with them for safety and health reasons, they will bring us a stick and then another and another and so on.  Elaine once said that “if this keeps up, we’ll have all the sticks picked up” and she was right because they are driven and smarter than we know.

While I am sure that they know “let’s go eat”, “let’s go outside” or “let’s potty”, this is only the starting point of the thousands of things that they could do and learn.  I can only imagine the trouble that Dutchess could get into if she knew 1022 different words.  When I say something and look into their eyes I know they know what I am talking about.  Even when I look at something they want such as a door, gate or Frisbee they will watch me look, look at me with their perked up ears and in my heart, I know they are reading my mind, and to think we only thought they knew “sit”.  Ken
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Wiggle, Wiggle, Wiggle...

Wiggle wiggle wiggle, twist, jump and spin.  I’m sure all of us have seen this many times if you have had a young BC or young dog.  We are watching “Lola”, Gabby’s last pup until she goes home in a day or two and to say it has been an adventure, is an understatement.   I have seen the above descriptions many times because she has stayed in the house with us getting her training and rearing.  I too remember our own young dogs having the zoomies going from one side of the house to the other.  There is nothing like “full on” puppy energy and Lola sure has it.
Many people have ask, “When do they slowdown, because I wish they would”  I first ask them, “Do you give them things to do and keep them busy?”  After talking about their activity for a few minutes, and my opinion and advice is given, all is set.  I do remember the puppy stage so well and just by chance, have been plunged into it again.  Wiggle, twist, jump and spin are in the vocabulary of a young BC and Oh how have I forgot them running down the driveway, me running after them and their ears set back from the wind running to the end of the world.  “When do they slow down, I wish she would?” I ask myself forgetting my own advice but I soon remember.  If there is any consolation, they do slow down, but with some melancholy.
As I have watched some of my own dogs grow into senior dogs over the years, I thought I would love the “slower” time.  Now don’t get me wrong, I do love some quiet time, but I also see a little gray, slower gaits and aches and pains and rather than jumping on the couch, they slowly climb, and it makes me sad because we are closer to that inescapable bridge.

The one that hurts me the most is Dutchess, while she is still spunky and very playful I can tell she is getting a little slower with some of the things she does.  She has always been the dog that instigated all the activity here on the farm and still does, but now she picks things that works for her.  She will run with the best and youngest of them, but when she lays down, her body and joints are not as quick to return and even though she will get up for more play, she is just a little slower but with some effort she is ready to start again and go full speed.
As I know so well, I to know the effects of a little age and I too will pick my battles and activity just like Dutchess, Molly and Clancy but we do have to face some aches and pains and consequences.  Several times I have noticed that some of our dogs will take a few more naps and seem to be more relaxed than they use to be.  Molly has always wanted to be near me and get her head scratched but Dutchess has always been too busy to subsume to such nonsense, but that time seems to be changing.  Clancy will now pick his battles not needing to win all of them.
In just the last three months, Dutchess had made a point to come inside the house and find a place to lay down, but her most sought-after place is when I settle into the recliner and park her butt next to my feet.  She will look at me with her soulful eyes and as soon as I say “come up”, she will climb into my lap where she will sleep for hours in-between my legs as I rub her head and she dreams of younger days, occasionally licking my hand with gratitude. When it comes time for me to leave because I need to get up for a few minutes, I will ask her to get down, but as soon as I come back to the chair, she’s right back to her “spot” and off she goes to dreamland again… Little does she know, her “spot” is shared with each on of the dogs and I covet each visit.  As I rub her face, as I do with each one, I too think of the younger times that we all have shared with each other and the life bridges we have crossed.  We’ve seen the good and bad in each other, but we also know we are family and friends and there is a love and respect for each other.  

As I rub their faces and stroke their fur, I too remember the days when they all had the zoomies, wiggling, running, twisting and barking.  I do know that they have “slowed down” and there is not a better place than in my lap as we both drift off to dreamland.

Rest well Dutchess, Molly and Clancy, but to my readers, remember what you wish for…  Ken

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What Do You Do?...

I have spoken about this several times and it’s only gets worse.  This Saturday morning, I was awaken at just a little after 5 am.  I don’t know how/why it happens but it does and when it does to you, it a surprise at first but par for the course thereafter.  My life use to be simple with nothing to do but decide what we wanted to watch on TV and what kind of snack you get before bedtime and now even this has changed. 
If you’re a Border Collie owner, you know exactly what I mean.  This Saturday morning right after 5 am, Dutchess moved even closer (on top) of me in the bed because she was cold, and when she moved, Abby decided it was face washing time and even Annie got into the picture by getting on the other side of Dutchess and laying on my hand.  So here I was Dutchess laying against my back, Abby licking my face and Annie laying on my hand, I was trapped.  
Abby waiting to wash...
I was so tired and just wanted to sleep and desperately tried, but to no avail.  Things really went downhill when Abby licked me so much, not only was my face wet, I had to turn the pillow over to get a dry spot and it was still 5:10 am.  Enough is enough…I got up and moved to the recliner where I could lean back and get a little cat nap before time to get up.  After stretching out and closing my eyes, Molly sitting next to me decided she wanted to paw my arm for attention, which she did about every 10 minutes or when I would drift off and my hand fell off her head.  Funny how things change when you get a dog…
One thing that is so funny is when Dutchess is fast asleep and you need to move her around the bed so you can at least have part of the bed, she will “talk” to you in dog “talk” telling you how upset she is.  There is no doubt that she is not pleased with the move but needs her beauty sleep but at times I wondered if it was worth it.  I guess the fact is, it’s worth it to them if I got up and moved yesterday morning.


When we do settle down for TV time at night, after an hour or two, I usually get a hankering for a small snack.   I will go to the snack cabinet and pick something out not only for me, but also something that the dogs will like because every time I sit with a snack, I get one bite, then Dutchess, then Abby, then Clancy and so on.  After nine snacks have been handed out, I finally get one again.  I just hope they don’t figure out that I break theirs in half.  Dutchess will give me the evil eye if I go out of order and I usually find myself at the grocery store asking “will the dogs like this”, and usually the answer is yes but peanuts are not one of Abby’s favorites and I’m waiting for a snack list from them.  If it’s a little past our snack time, Dutchess will get up…look at me…bark…walk to the snack cabinet…bark and you know it’s time for a snack, so don’t run out, they’ll be sure to let you know…

Mine sure have some idiosyncrasies and I always find myself thinking “what would the dogs want” I’m just glad they can’t drive…but do they want to?  I’ve always wondered what some other BC’s parents do and if I’m the crazy one… Ken
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"The Circle of Life"

A small, full blooded Border Collie was brought to our door step this Friday that needed a place to stay, learn about life and know that people are good, but his “Circle of Life” was very small and he didn't really know what his purpose was.  At our first meeting, he was a little unsure of me, but very curious.   He was doing very well on a leash but would pull away when someone approached.  
Even Atticus Helped...
After watching my dogs run and scamper in the games they play with each other, he really seemed to want to join in the activities.  I was a little nervous to un-clip him from his leach but was assured by some friends that they would help me round him up if needed.  While I was apprehensive, off came the leash and in an instance, he was gone… running like never before and I had to wonder if this was his first time.  He ran charging straight to one of my pets and I was anxious because there was talk of aggression in his young past.  Once there, it was heaven…he played and pawed at my dogs and off they went into "zoomie" land.  In big circles they ran up the hills and back down chasing each other with tails wagging, tongues flopping and ears sensing every sound there was.  They were in a world of their own, one the new dog may have never experienced and I got choked up and shed a tear of joy for him.  I carried a pocked full of kibble and would treat him every time he got near.  The first treat, he was unsure, but very soon after, thing changed and he was making eye contact and seeking me out for snacks.  He soon learned, I’m not the old man who would pick him up by his tail which is evident, he was happy and so was I, his “Circle of Life” was changing...
We soon learned that he was starving for attention and so needed it.  He sought to be near “humans” that would reward him with love and take him for what he is, something more than a breeding machine for profit as most of his other BC’s companions were just months ago.  In his first 9 months of life, he was unsure of everything, living in 4 different places, born in a puppy mill and never seeing grass and his first move was because of a court order.  He was brought to me because he was relinquished and had been placed in an environment where he had to defend himself from Doberman Pinschers.  This was his “Circle of Life” and it wasn't very good.
After the evening started to slow down and it was feeding time, he was hungry but didn't want the fun to stop and would only take little bites of food and come to me.  He didn't like the kennel and at one point, I sat inside it with him, feeding him from my hand and while he ate, he would look at me and then the food over and over.  His “Circle of Life” had changed, “humans” can be good, but kennels are still bad…  We had a campfire that night and sat around talking with friends while the dogs were laying near our feet enjoying the warmth of the fire.  As sleep approached, “what are we going to do” I asked, looking at him laying next to me feet, “where is he going to sleep, he hates to be kenneled?"  Because of his early environment, a kennel is prison, a place of no escape, no grass to run on, no friends to play with.  A place where “humans” are bad, but now that he met one that can share something he may never have had, he liked it and wanted more and didn't want to let go of what he found.
As we put the dogs up, one young very special little Border Collie got to come into “the man’s” house.  After teaching him that the bed is good, he found his spot right next to my leg and nestled next to me without moving…”humans” can be good.  His “Circle of Life” has changed and so has mine… Ken

Note:   After sufficient time and when his training is complete, he will go to his new home, ready for a full life of love and attention but it will be the right home, I will make sure...  There will be no charge, I owe it to him and all the dogs I help because they help me... Run Free "little one" and enjoy, you deserve it...
Thank you Dr Baker...you saved another... Thank you "Lillie" you taught me...

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Changing of the Season…

It's now is getting dark early but I realized that we are winding down this summer and it’s kinda sad.  We will soon turn our clocks backwards for daylight saving time and in a way, it’s sad that the season is changing.  I love spring and summer except the hot humid weather but it’s worth putting up with for the long pretty days and dry weather.  The only good part of winter that I like, I can take longer naps and don’t feel that I have “be on the move” the whole time.  There is nothing like a long nap in front of the TV with several dogs in my lap.  Every season has its perks but spring is best for me.  This particular fall/winter is bittersweet for several reasons and the number one reason is a chapter is closing that won’t open again.  As many have read, this is our last breeding season for Border Collie pups and just happens, all of the puppies go to their new home this coming week.  It’s something I really don’t want to think about, but this door will shut, but it may be fitting because we are in a seasonal change too.
As I said, a new chapter in my “book of life” has opened and with the fresh winter season, and new adventures will come our way and fun will be had by all.  There will be more focus on my dogs and less on guest boarding or rehabilitation of other dogs here on the farm because of the cold weather but will soon return next spring.  Spring and summer are always busy and packed full of adventures of play and fun and especially work and I'm sure my dogs suffer a bit and miss "our" time. 

I’m sure the dogs will appreciate more time with “the man” and in truth I will to, I just don’t want to deal with the mud.  Frozen ground is good but lots of rain and mud is brutal to everyone and then the nap time with dad is out until they are clean, something they never think about, just running and playing for the moment.
Cold winters seems to bring the best out, I put on my subzero coat and insulated boots and off we go on long walks several times a day around the lake and down the long trails.  In the evenings, Dutchess will park herself in front of the TV just to watch the local weatherman and when the word “snow” comes on, a loud bark follows from her with eager ears and a spring in her step.  I will tell you, around here snow is great.  The deeper the better and as long as it last, there is joy is in the air.


 If things are going to change, then bring it on, lets face it with open arms because it is going to happen and we should do our best to make the most out of it.  Change can be good...
To everything there is a season,

A time for every purpose under the sun.
A time to be born and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill and a time to heal ...
A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance ...
A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to lose and a time to seek;
A time to rend and a time to sew;
A time to keep silent and a time to speak;
A time to love and a time to hate;
A time for war and a time for peace.

As change is inevitable, life will move on, but it will be hard not to look back...especially when I hand over our "last" pup this week and watch that car travel out of sight...  Ken
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Run...Run...Run...

Does it ever stop?  I've seen it a thousand times and they do it everywhere they go, no matter what they are doing.  If I’m inside the house and they are in a dead sleep on the porch and I walk anywhere near the sliding backdoor,  off they go down the driveway.  As fast as they can go, thundering toward the gate at the end of the lane.  If they are really excited, they don’t even look for me, they just thunder off to "somewhere land" not knowing where they are going, just somewhere.  They know there are balls and Frisbee's to be played with, and a lake they can swim in if they can get there in a hurry.  They are so crestfallen when I open the door to get something and walk right back inside that they pout.  “Bark, Bark and more Bark” Dutchess says “hey, what about us, let's play” with that evil eye she has.  All in all, they run everywhere they go, trust me.
Now I really don’t care if they run, I just want them to be careful when they do.  We have had many vet trips for sutures and x-rays and nearly every one of our dogs and neighbor dogs have made that same Vet trip.  Sometimes they will run into each other, nip at each other and even run into anything or everything.  “Over the river and through the woods to grandmothers house” is a wonderful verse to a lovely song, but with Border Collies, the through the woods part scares the bejeebers out of me.  I've seen them run through overgrowth and around trees missing them by only a smidgen of space with me, gritting my teeth the whole time, wanting to turn my head and look elsewhere.  Just a few weeks ago, I was brushing Abbie and discovered that she had a cut on her right side.  
After a good exam, I felt that it is something that we can manage and watch at home.  I had some antibiotics from another dog injury which would help with infection so we were well on our way to the “home health care” plan.  I sprinkled on some antibiotic powder along with an antibiotic pill and now we were on our way to recovery or so I thought...  In just about 2 minutes, Abbie had licked the powder off and continued to lick her boo boo with great pleasure.  As it comes to pass in most dog’s life, especially Border Collies, they face the dreaded doom…”THE CONE OF SHAME” or as some call it, "The No Fly food cover".
Being an experienced BC owner, I went to the top shelf in the kennel and got the last cone we had.  This was Abbie’s first time in the cone but after a rough start, she had mastered the “run and bang” theory very well, hitting everything in sight, and not stopping.  
Cone # 1...Help me...I can't lick my butt... 
Of all the past “cone of shame” wearers, she was the most active.  Abbie would assume it was flexible and would run as normal.  While I tried to limit her activity, you know it’s impossible with a BC, so off we were on a joy ride of sorts.  After nearly knocking the back door off its hinges, tires off of the car and whizzing past me knocking me to the ground, the “Cone of Shame” had seen better days in just one day. 
Cone #2, one day old... notice all the hits to solid objects...
Needing to replace the “Cone” as we BC experts call it, I made a trip to our local and friendly Vet’s office where I am always welcomed with open arms and wallet where a new one was purchased and off we were on "our" joy ride again… and in just a few days, Abbie was running and her cone was flapping like a bird trying to take off and because of her speed, she even whistled as she ran through the woods.  I discovered that the manufacturer may want to upgrade the material or make a special Border Collie “Cone” made from of indestructible material but in the meantime, the Vets office has ordered me a few more...  Ken

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