Funny How It Happens...

I have noticed that over the years when we have dogs that visit us, they learn so much and even and some things that you don't want them to learn. Some are a perfect example of learning some things from one or most of our dogs, it’s like they share ideas and thoughts.  Last year for some reason, Annie started digging for moles that were in the ground.  If you have never had this problem, I am happy for you because they can be a pain in the backside.  

Just when you get your lawn in great shape in the spring, here they come with their construction crews out of nowhere.  For years, we were never bothered by them but last year, things changed and Annie, the "mole stalker" found a new resolve for life.  Clancy even got into the act while he watched her pound the ground and dig with her nose, tearing up the yard.  I once remember in the fall of last year, Annie was digging and apparently got tired and when she backed off, Clancy was “Johnny on the Spot” and was crazy about it as much as Annie was, they were a tag team, taking turns.  My saving grace is usually my dogs search for moles in the woods usually leaving the yard alone and luckily none of the other dogs will follow suit until now…
When we have visitors, at first a new guest will be a little apprehensive of what to do.  They will stand back and watch the “old pros” do their thing and soak everything up.  After a while, they will get curious and follow suite jumping in with all 4 feet, literally.  
Some of the best examples are when we are playing Jolly Ball and they are a little afraid of the water.  When they are not thinking about their fear, it’s not as severe as they believe or they just don’t think about it with all the activity going on and get carried up.  

Many times when a concerned dog watches a herd of BC’s run after a Jolly Ball or Frisbee straight into the water, they are pretty adapt to run with them, not evening thinking about it. 
One of my favorite lessons to get them to go to the kennel, is when it’s time to eat, I tell them “let’s go eat” and mine will knock over trees, shrubs and people if they're in the way.  I do think Dutchess will aim for a person because she likes the excitement but the visitors will soon associate the “let’s go eat” to something pleasant and quickly run with them for their treat.  I will tell you that I have said the magic words when it’s not time to eat, but there is consequences and it’s in the form of 10 pair of evil eyes watching me and every step I make with a scowl on their face…
As I said they learn so much from each other just by watching and waiting and I know when some dogs go their home after a visit, the owners are scratching their hear and saying “I wonder where they learned that” or “where did that come from”, well.. now you know and to tell you the the truth, mine can be a little rowdy and teach your dog to eat off a fork, lay on the couch, and even stay up late and watch TV with the writer of this article until the cows come home.  The last month or so, we had a new lesson learned here on the farm and she learned it with such style and grace.  Bless her little heart…
Dahlia...tired after hunting for her new predator...
Not only does she have a dirty nose and front feet, she is flopped on our (her) couch getting ready to dream about catching that mole…Ken
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Melancholy... You Bet...

Early in 2014, we were contacted by a friend and owner of one of our pups and the owner wanted to breed her dog named “Annie.”  They live not far from us and we have boarded “Annie” on several occasions.  She is a wonderful, sweet dog and we agreed to the breeding. 
Annie as a pup...
 Doc was the only stud dog available and we all thought it would be a perfect fit.  He is loving, loyal and always seeks your attention and “Annie” is a dog from Clancy and Molly.  Clancy is the dog of dogs and he has everything you want in a dog but also, in a Border Collie. 
He is obedient, strong and carries himself well and his hair is hardly ever mussed and he is a striking dog to look at.  But what you don't see is he is the most loving and gentle of all our dogs.    
Molly Mae is my "Heart Dog".  For those that don't know what that means, she is my forever dog, my soul mate dog and usually humans have only one heart dog.  
She is so gentle and loving and she is our only dog that will speak in whines and grunts.  We were excited to breed “Annie” who is one of Clancy & Molly’s dogs to Doc.  On the first attempt nothing happened.  Many months later, when “Annie” came into season again, her owner wanted to try one more time.  We knew going into this, it was the last time that “Annie” could be bred because of her age.  While chances of a mating seemed remote, the special event eventually took place. Weeks passed before we knew for sure and “Annie” delivered her little bundles of joy.  However, this time, I was on the outside looking in.  As the puppies grew, Elaine and I would visit to see how they were doing and they were always doing great and so was Mother.  Two of the puppies were going to friends of our and we offered to bring the pups to our house for them to pick up.  As the time approached for them to go to their forever homes we became excited at the prospect of bringing them to our house.  One underlying reason was so we could see them, hold them and love on them because they are entirely a part of the Shuck’s Border Collies.  Knowing this could very well be the last time we would hold a Clancy and Molly offspring, the thought was bittersweet.  Clancy and Molly appeared happy to see them and gave them a few licks of approval.  
Clancy and Molly
Doc just sniffed, seemed proud of his accomplishment and walked away.
“Annie” and Doc are the parents.

As we brought the pups home this week, little howls and trills were heard throughout the car and the smell of puppy breath was in the air.  Little did I know the impact this ride would have on me. 
Heidi and Jack
That evening I had promised to send photos to one of the owners of “Annie’s” pups because she lives out of town and had not seen any pictures of the Mother yet.  As I perused though countless numbers of photos, I found several photos of “Annie” and her litter mates. It made me feel very melancholy as I reflected on times and litters past.   Victor Hugo once said “Melancholy is the pleasure of being sad” and it struck me that it is a pleasure to be sad, but in a good way.  Once again we were holding our little Molly and Clancy as we played with their Grand-pups and it was pure heaven.  Even though we have moved on in different directions, our mind is filled with memories of little squeaks and trills along with puppy breath and all the pleasures that go along with it.  Our torch has been passed, but know that our last prodigies were from the best and they were all ours.  
Jack and Heidi looks like Mom
In an email I sent to one of the owners after the puppy went home, I told them “you have my Clancy, Mollie and Doc, all in one... something only a few people will ever have... Know that she is special”....  In another email  I received from the other owner, it had a video of “our” pup playing ball at 8 weeks old and I said to her “I had to stop and wipe a tear, for many reasons, it moved me...” and it did… In the emails from the owners, I saw my little Clancy and Molly again for the last time as they were pups and as it's said, “Melancholy is the pleasure of being sad” and it truly is… Run Free my little ones, run free... Ken

Note; Annie had four pups and we are lucky to personally know all of the owners and two of them will live within 25 miles of us...
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Outside and Inside...

When it’s really cold outside, I hear stories all the time about what to do with your dog when it gets bitterly cold outside during the winter, so what should you do?  
There are many scenarios when a dog is bored stiff when they are inside because of the cold weather, which they should be for their safety.  Some dogs and people will play “Stair ball” where a dog will run up the stairs and then back down after the ball, they will get the ball and roll it themselves or with help from the owner and as we all know, BC’s will do this forever and a day.  

Some people will get dog puzzles for them to play with but the downside, BC’s have the puzzles figured out before the wrapping is in the trash.  Most people tell me what they do with only one or two dogs, try 10 dogs.  

Things have changed since we have more dogs with our inside playtime, and for the better.  Once upon a time we would play ball in the family room and two or three dogs would be fine but when more dogs joined in, it became a little distressing.  I have seen the recliner knocked over, tennis balls hitting the flat screen TV on the wall but the coup de grĂ¢ce was when the Christmas tree got knocked over by the one and only Dutchess on a leaping catch.  
This is not Dutchess
The only thing that has not seen some action is the thirty gallon fish aquarium and I really don’t want to try to catch fish on the floor.   Maybe it’s because they are getting older or wiser and more careful… or we don’t play ball in the family room anymore, I think it’s the latter

During this bitter cold weather, there is a saving grace and that is the ground is frozen and there are no muddy paw prints or dirty floors. 
We did go out this week and I’m telling you it was cold, real cold.  I even wore two coats and my thermal “Lands Ends 40 degree below zero boots” and was still a little frosty.  Thursday morning, I had good intentions to take all of them for a walk around the farm and take some photos because the sun was out and that always helps.  After about 300 feet, I put my hands in my pocket and did not take another picture.  As much as I try to keep them warm, they don’t want to come inside and take a break even when they should.  A few will, but I will look at them from the back door and they look at me but when I crack the door and call for them, they run like a rocket as if we are going for another walk or to play ball and Frisbee.   
Poor Abby will hold one foot up and then another and another just to rotate which one is on the ground because her feet are cold.  They sure are driven and will do everything to stay active no matter what the weather condition is.  

Several weeks ago, a local store had dog beds on sale and I purchased nearly one for each dog for the family room.  

A gift from a friend put to good use...

Everyone loves them and takes advantage of their softness and warmth.  We are at the point where everyone comes in and finds their spot and will lay still for hours.  You just need to keep clear of the door when you say, “let’s go potty”, they are off like a rocket…  Ken
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It May Take Some Time...

June 2001...I got out of my car and went into the shelter to pick out a dog for the farm to keep any pest that may roam our property run off.  We live next to a National Forest and there are plenty of wild geese, raccoons, turkeys and especially deer.  While I don't object to the geese and turkeys, I do have a problem with the raccoons and deer for several reasons.   I once lost a large patch of corn that was planted and was so proud and planned to pick it the next day.  I went to the field very early in the morning and it had been conquered by raccoons.  I lost every cob of corn but one, but I tell you, that one ear was delicious, but “never again” I said. 

Everyone had raccoon hats for Christmas that year but the deer were still conquering everything and as an old farmer once said, “Deer will eat anything if they are hungry” and I found out the hard way.
As I walked into the dog pound I had my heart set on a German Shepherd. My Aunt had several Shepherds when I was young and I loved hers so.  I liked their disposition, look and even their size.  If I was going to get a dog, I wanted a Shepherd and had my heart set on one.  When I approached the reception counter up front, I was told “just look around and let us know what you want.”  After walking for some time, I did see an older Shepherd mix but it just wasn't right and I just didn't know.  When I went back to the reception counter, I filled out countless papers and soon found out I had to pay the building off and send their grandkids through college just to get a dog.  “I think I will give this some thought” I said, and my hopes of owning a German Shepherd went out the door and two days later got my first dog “free to a good home” out of the paper and it was a Border Collie.  (June 2001)
Present time…Several months ago, I received an email from a friend that was looking for a good home for a good dog.  The caller knew I only worked with Border Collies and my response was “Sure, at the very least we can find her a good home.” which we did.  Dahlia was the name we called her because her official name was German and hard to pronounce and even her commands were in German.  Dahlia’s Father was Schutzhund III trained and had also earned both the Schutzhund I and the Schutzhund II titles, and was now a Master, although very impressive, we needed to find her a home.  She fit right in at the farm and did things that puppy’s do and got along with all of our other dogs and guest dogs too.  

I thought it would be easy to find Dahlia find a home, but sometimes it can be a struggle to find a good home for a large dog because they need room and attention.  Several things were going "for" her, she was a puppy, great personality, up to date on shots, spayed and house broken.  Some of her "bad" traits, she gets on the couch, sleeps in bed and was trained in German, all which can be a discouragement to some folks but we found her a great home, or so we think…
Her new owner is very devoted to dogs, and has already got her a nameplate for her kennel door, her own food bowl and lots of love.  
Her new owner even speaks German which he took in high school, "sprechen Sin Deutsch?"  
What a perfect fit, she will live with us… Meet "our" new dog here at our farm…
A new name tag...
The very night I received the call about Dahlia, I dreamed about getting a Shepherd and all logic went out the door... again.  I always wanted a Shepherd but one or more obstacles were always in the way, but like life itself, things have a way of working themselves out, it just might take 30 years or so, you just need to be patient.  She came to us because she needed a new home and we have it … Ken
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Note: It is recognized that Border Collies are the Smartest dog, German Shepherds are number 2.

5 Smartest Dog Breeds Chosen by Veterinary Professionals

No. 2: German Shepherd Dog
The GSD is an adaptable, fearless dog who's a natural protector, making him a great fit for military and police work. However, even if you don't carry a badge, he's still a loyal, energetic companion. He loves spending time with his family, especially if that time is spent playing, running, hiking, working or doing something else that uses up some of that energy.


Merry Christmas from the Farm…

It’s Christmas morning at the farm and all the dogs are gathered around the Christmas tree to reflect on 2014 and to bring in the New Year.
Upon hearing the news about having pups, “What are we going to do” Annie says.  “I love to play with our puppies and let them chase me and to think there won't be anymore.”  Dutchess and Molly who are half-sisters sat down together.  Dutchess looked at Molly and got a little teary eyed as she licked Molly’s ears and face and said.  “I will miss not seeing the little pups, it reminded me of the times “we” had pups and we were still young,” as she looked at Molly and hung her head.  Clancy ever so strong also bowed his head and looked remorseful.  “I know I never acted like it, but I am proud of my pups and the things they do.  I tried to be tough to show them what a strong dog is supposed to do, to teach them their trade.”  Meggie, the silent one spoke up.  

We've all had our hand in having little ones around here.   Dutchess, you and Molly have shown us both sides of our personality, Molly you are lover, Dutchess you are active and skillful.  You both were the “yin and yang” of the farm.  Annie, you are the kid and “play partner” to everyone and Gabby you are the roust-a-bout, always watching and Doc, you are everything Clancy is not, you're the lover and jumper-upper and will run 200 feet just to jump in someone’s arms just to get a hug and you always do.  Abby and Shepp, you are “our” kids, Abby by birth and Shepp by love, you are products of all of us in this room.”  Everyone understood I think, but there was a lot of head tilting as if to catch the reason from the air.  One dog, not to be mentioned by name said, “It’s not that I don't want to help with other dogs, I don't want to share, I like it the way it is, just us.”  I looked around the room and said, “Where would we all be now if we didn't share” pointing to Dutchess, Doc, Gabby, Abby, Shepp and Dahlia, “remember we took you in when you needed a home.”  To get love, sometimes you need to give love and you're in the best home ever.”  Heads bent and eyes watered but I think they understood we all need a second chance.
I spoke up again and said, “It’s not the end of the world, we see other dogs all the time when they come to visit, we play with all of them and even though it’s not the same as “our” little pups, we’re all from the same cut of cloth.   We are all related, some of us are black and white, some red and some are all kinds of colors,” as I looked at Annie and Gabby, “besides, we will still see dogs that need our help.  Just like you help our pups learn to walk, play, swim and the valuable lessons of life, you can still teach dogs that were not born here, and help them just like you did with your pups.  Remember Nya and Boone,” I said.  “Yeah we do, they were so much fun and we hated to see them go,” me too I said “but you helped them in more ways than you'll ever know and they weren't our pups, but because of you, they will have better homes.”
Then all of the dogs piped up and started telling each other what they will do and it was fun to listen to them tell their stories and how they would show them about life, Dutchess even said “I will teach them how to speak to play Frisbee.”  

Clancy said “I will teach them how to be strong when needed but gentle which is also desired.”  Doc said “I will teach them how to jump up on humans,” but I said “that might not be a good idea, even though you do it with such flair.”  Everyone had a lesson to teach and Annie even offered to teach them how to roll in poop.  

They were excited to support other dogs that needed help and especially the ones that need a second chance… because most of us do. 
You see, as the Christmas Season is upon us, it’s really about second chances, something we all need.  It is a gift that we don’t deserve but was given because of love many years ago, it’s only fitting that we give others a second chance too, whether it’s for people or pets.
“Some stories are told with Claymation, puppets, and cheesy musical numbers but don’t miss their deep and abiding meaning! These stories have lasted for decades, if not centuries, because their message connects with us on a deeply human level by inviting simple truths into our souls, truths like “beauty comes from brokenness,” “joy isn't about what we own, but who we are,” and “even the worst of us deserve a second chance.”
Christmas is a gift from God.

It is a gentle reminder of the plot to this whole story called Life: that we once were lost and are now found, once broken and now restored. The Gospel of the Second Chance brought by the helpless baby-king born in a barn is a gift for all of us”…  Mike Foster

Whilst we are a person or a dog, we need second chances… Ken

Merry Christmas from the Farm…Ken, Elaine and the dogs…

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Two Peas in a Pod…

Elaine and I stepped out into an unknown and out of our comfort zone. This fall, I got a message: “free to a good home” Border Collie on Craigslist;

Border Collie-Purebred (Radcliff)
Beautiful female Border Collie, around 9 months old. Great with kids, but very active. Will require a farm home or a good piece of land. She does not do well with small breed dogs and not likely with cats either.

I contacted the owner within 10 minutes, told him I would be there in the morning but my one condition was for him to take the ad off Craigslist so I could get the BC, and he did.  I told Elaine what I was doing and we both looked at each other and said simultaneous “do we really want to do this?”  I told her I have a bad feeling about this and it was against my better judgment, but moved on.   I was on the road to another state at 5 am to pick up a dog that I knew nothing about or what I would do when I got her.  She was in a cage when I arrived and the owner was very friendly even though he had a gun tucked in his back waistband.  As soon as we were on the road, I called a Vet in Louisville and made arrangements to stop and get all the necessary shots, bath and spay.  She was so scared but when we finally got home and she settled in quickly, she just wanting to be touched and loved. 

Just a few days later, I received another message from several concerned people one as far away as New Jersey;

We have a 9 month old male BC from a puppy mill that didn't work out.  This is one that was given away on Craigslist, would you guys be willing to find him a foster home?  He should be ready to go by the weekend.

In just a few days, we were guardians of two BC’s that were on Craigslist and to think I was hesitant about one, but two?  What are we getting ourselves into, this is officially something that is new to us and to tell you the truth, I am just a little unconvinced of this at this point.

We have worked with recusing BC’s for a number of years and it was always pretty simple but we would never rehabilitate “and” home a dog at the same time.  What have we gotten ourselves into? 
In just a few days, we had both dogs and they were “two peas in a pod” and they were dreamboats and fun to have around.  Boone and Nya would play and scamper around the farm, play “fight” and chase each other. 

Nya went home first and met her new brother and Boone was pledged to a family with a BC and went soon after. 

After both BC’s left, Elaine and I looked at each other and wondered what we were now going to do.  We became so attached to both of the dogs and in a way, wanted them to stay but I put my foot down (in a kind way) and said if we keep them, there is no more room for another rescues, even though in my heart I secretly wanted both of them to stay.  It was a sad day when they went home and as usual we said our goodbyes outside at the gate and took that long walk down the drive toward the house, something we have done many times before when we sold a pup and we honestly felt the same, a part of our heart was missing.  Something that we discovered is that although we were unsure of what we were getting into, these dogs brought so much joy to our family and fit right in and we now know it was a right decision.  We do miss them and know they are in good hands and in loving homes.  Two days after Boone went home, I received “that” call again… “I am looking for help” and we did, and "Jack" too found his forever home. 

Boone any Nya showed me the way, the same way my dogs have many times, but then again, I guess they're all my dogs.  There are hundreds of ways you can help, I know you can be anxious, that first step in the hardest, trust me I know, but the rewards are heartwarming and uplifting and you may save a dog...  Ken

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An Observation...

As I was sitting in the recliner this Friday night, Dutchess has become a regular visitor on my lap and burrows in-between my legs.  Every night is the same, when she walks in the room, she will stand by my chair and patiently look at me and if I don’t respond, she will paw my leg and bark.  All it takes for her to spring up is I have to pat my chest, and in a jiffy, she is laying in-between my legs.  Now while this is very enduring and sweet, a fifty five pound dog can get a little uncomfortable especially when she gets more and more relaxed requiring more room.  By hour two, I have my legs wide enough to set each foot on the floor and she has the whole bottom half of the chair, but at least she is comfortable, not so much for me.  

As I sat and look around the family room, we have sitting and laying places for the dogs.  We have (5) 3 X 4 dog beds, lined with Vellux with cedar chips and plush stuffing inside.  Really?  Not counting the 2 couches and one recliner that they also have.  They sleep better than I do at times and I know they take up more room.  We just purchased a second King Size bed to accommodate us and I swear I have the same room as I had when I slept on a double bed.  I just wonder what has happened.

Usually before we were kid less and dog less, we would pretty much do what we wanted when we wanted.  As we now have gotten into this dog thing, unbeknown to me, my life has changed.  When our human children were born,  We would eat on time for the kids, no afternoon naps, we have to get up early, pack backup items abundantly for a trip, take food and make sure we had our medical records, extra clothing and vaccination records just in case we needed them.  Is it really different with a dog?  We see that they eat on time, we don’t ever take a nap or they will wake you, they will lick your face at 5 am (time to get up), we take extra tennis balls or Frisbees in case they can’t find one, take the Vet records if needed and put everyone in the dirty car.  Wow… it’s like having 10 kids around here, something I never thought of until now.
I think our whole attitude changes.  Before children, our house was spotless, everything was in order, we had money and things were simple but when the kids came along… do I even have to go there, we all know the changes and with dogs it’s the same.  I have noticed that the glass on the back door just doesn’t look the same if it doesn’t have muddy paw prints, there’s a 2 gallon water bucket on the floor and it’s knocked over if someone finds it empty, just to remind us.  A clean bed with a white blanket is filled with dog hair on the second day, the car is dirtier on the inside than on the outside and even the Christmas tree gets turned over, thanks to Dutchess’s rough play.  You just endeavor on, pick up, go without sleep and pack for the dog.
Fix their Boo Boo's
Dutchess likes Wonder Woman Band-Aids
With our children, we would buy the finest clothes, get the coolest stuff, go on “kid” vacations, serve the proper food and our life revolved around them.  With dogs, we will get cool dog booties, beds, blankets, jackets and the best food that money can buy and go on vacation only where your dog is allowed.

Do I see a pattern here?  Many people joke around and say “My dogs are my kids” not really thinking about what they are saying, but when you do think, they are our kids and I wouldn’t have it any other way plus they don’t talk back…Ken
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