The Needs We Have…

As I sat in the family room Friday night, I looked around and observed all of the dogs sleeping on their own dog bed.  Everyone has their own spot but a few of them would get up and walk to another bed that seemed more comfortable at that time.  If someone jumps down from my lap to get a drink of water of go “potty”, another dog in in their spot in just a flash.

In December of 2012, I wrote about my heart dog which is Molly.  She was out “first” and has always has a special place in my heart.  I have now come to the realization that “all” of my dogs are my heart dog, just different.  If you have been blessed with children, you will understand this.  As your child is born and grows, you love them with all of your heart, no matter what.  They are everything to you and you would you give your life for them.  When, and if another child is born, you feel the same way and would also love them with everything you have but it may appear different.  At a distance, someone might believe you are loving one more than the other because of attention or help that you might give them.  But as a parent, each child has different needs and may need something totally opposite from your other child.  Does this mean you love one more than the other, of course not, it means that you have sharpened your parenting skills to fit each child as we should do with each dog.

As a dog parent, we may do the same thing.  As a multiple dog parent, I see this every day.  Some of my dogs are very needy, needing much time from me and to be able to touch me at will.  Some can be standoffish taking care of their own business.  Dutchess will run and jump on me or anyone, needing be the center of attention. 

 Molly even though she is Dutchess’s half-sister will very rarely come to me except for a pat on her head.   Many times during the evening, Molly will watch me from her dog bed and maybe get up, walk to the side of my chair and stand.  I try to coax her up on the couch, but after a head rub, she’s off back to her dog bed, satisfied.  Each dog is wanting and needing different things but you soon learn their needs, acting accordingly. 

Molly and Clancy
At times, I will take each dog for their own walk.  We might walk through the woods, play Frisbee, sit on the dock or may even talk.  It’s an experience that I will cherish forever and see a different dog than when they are with the pack.  I wish there were ten of me so I could give them “all” of me because they always give “all” of themselves.

Just Yesterday morning I couldn’t sleep and got out of bed.  I called Abbie and off we went walking through the woods at 4 am.  There was little or no moon but the wind was slightly blowing through the tree and it was dreamlike.  She led the way to her favorite spot at the 2nd lake, mostly because of it’s one of her play areas.  This time, she walked onto the dock and waited for me.  I sat down on a step, Addie curled up into my lap and licked my face.

We sat there and listened to the wind but what make it even more enchanting, the wind was moving through the wind chimes on the dock serenading us.  As we sat holding each other, I dreamed of younger times and of uncomplicated days, not tiring or growing weary.   I raced through a lifetime of wonderful memories but tonight my thoughts were of Abbie.  To her, we may have been dreaming for a short time but to me, it was a lifetime… and I assure you, I will never forget that moment.  As a dog parent, we look to fill their needs, but this time Abbie sensed what I needed, and filled my needs… more than she’ll ever know…  Ken
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A little help and comfort…

With all the things that have been going in the world, it’s hard to keep a calm and healthy mind and not dwell on the things going on all over the world. 

As we all know, this past Friday, Paris, France was attacked by terrorist and the bad part is this was not the first and I don’t think it will be the last time we see a horrifying event unfold right in front of us though the media.  There are no words or any way that we can know how someone feels or understands and I wouldn’t even try. 

After I watched the events of the attack on TV, I prepared for bed.  My night was very restless and it was hard to sleep because in my mind, it played over and over.  During the night, I remember turning over to the other side of the bed and for just a second I felt lost but I reached out unconsciously feeling one of my dogs that always sleeps near the pillow.  She acknowledged me by licking my hand and letting me know she was there and everything was OK and even moved closer.  It did comfort me and for some reason, I felt safe…

Many times in my life, I have depended on my dogs to guide me and at times they make me feel that things are OK.  Numerous times they have put me in a good mood, making me laugh or helping me see things differently just by the quirky things they do and my life is better. 

If you own a Border Collie, they have a unusual way to lead and teach us about things we never thought about.  A story I found years ago has always made me think they were special, and they are…

“Shepherds in the old days would often stay with the flock through the twilight prime-time hunting period of the local predators and it was usually dark when they called it a day.

With the flock bedded down and watched over by a sheep guard, the shepherds stumbled back to their campsite, which changed location every few days as the sheep denuded the area and had to be moved.

After a hard day’s work, the herding dogs were also ready for a rest-having better night vision than the shepherd, and a much better sense of smell, they had no trouble at all in finding their way to the camp. All the shepherd had to do was follow along. The problem, of course, was seeing the dog.

Border Collies carry their tail low and use it for balance when they are working. However, when they are not concentrating on work, and are happy and contented, like after a day’s work it is not unusual to see them with a “gay” tail, the tail carried higher than back level, almost like a flag.

If the tip of the tail is white, held high, and is flapping around, it is easy to see in the open areas where sheep are usually pastured, even at night; the white tip picks up the ambient light and the bobbling “lantern” leads the shepherd to his bed.”

When things look troubled and you feel restless, look to the experts.  I have found so much solace in those soulful eyes, pure heart and loving face.

We don’t always need advice.  Sometimes, all we need is a hand to hold, an ear to listen, and a heart that understands. Sometimes, all we need is a dog.

Never forget that they will always be there and never question your moods or motives and will accept you for what or who you are and in the past year, I have depended a little more on them for comfort.  We are their world and I have noticed that they have become mine...   Ken

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A New House...

There is always a project going on here at the farm.  The bad thing, everything else suffers because my mind compels me to finish it, leaving other things undone and this Saturday I finished it...

Doc has been on Holiday for a few months and he is scheduled to arrive back home soon.  e loves the outdoors He logesHe loves the outdoors  mkkkk,lllxs

Doc Holliday
He loves the outdoors and will stay outside, even at night.  Since we have had him he never liked to be pinned up without his freedom.  This has been a problem at times because when he needed to be kenneled, he would bark excessively the entire time and that was a long night for both of us.  

For the last few winter seasons, we had an Igloo house for him to sleep in and I even installed a dog door into the garage where he could get into a heated room but he still preferred the back porch.  In preparation for his arrival, the dogs and I have decided to build him a NEW dog house that will sit on the covered back porch near the back door.  Much thought has gone into this new project and at one time I thought about purchasing one but I thought "we" could do a better job, with Dutchess's help.
Dutchess has been using the plainer...
Plans were prepared, shopping trips were made and we were off to construct a “better dog house”   As you can see, the whole garage was used for this venture.  Working part-time for Sears in the past has some advantages and I have nearly every tool that they made but my worst attribute is that when I get a tool out to use, it stays out until the project is over, making a messy workplace.  Even our Jeep had to weather the rain, something “Nellie Belle” is not accustom to.
What a mess...
Much thought went into this project because I want him to stay warm, comfortable and happy.  It needed to be insulated, weatherproof and easily accessible but near the back door.  Its three foot by four foot and a large dog bed where two dogs will fit nicely inside if he wanted company.

Meggie and Dutchess trying it out...
It had one and one half inches of foam insulation inside every wall including the top and bottom along with a magnetic dog door which he is used to.   On top of the walls and ceiling it is covered with laminate flooring and trimmed out with trim that I made from wood here at the farm.  I painted and caulked the inside to insure that the wood was sealed and would stop any cold breeze.  Because of its size and knowing I can’t get inside, the roof is easily removable if I needed to change the bedding or clean it out.  It was a huge project and I am thankful it’s over.

Of course I had lots of help along the way…

Dutchess helping me with the two wheeler to move it...
It was a big heavy job for a dog house, I'm sure Doc will love it but I know the others do...

It has plenty of room inside and plans for a heater if needed.  I even put an area on top for a second dog bed for those lazy "dog" days when you just wanted to take a cat nap without going inside.  I'm sure Doc will be happy to return and to find a new "home" just for him.  He is such a sweetheart and lover-boy... see you soon, welcome home Mr. Holliday...   Dad...

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They just admitted Wyatt…

"They Just admitted Wyatt"... News I didn’t want to hear from his owners…  As I write this, Wyatt, one of our adult pups is having a rash of unknown medical problem and the answers seem to be a mystery for now.  Much thought, prayers and concern has been lifted and medical experts have been summonsed again.
Wyatt at the Vet's office
It can be said that if you are a “human” parent, you will always be the parent, no matter what!  You watch in anticipation as your child grows but even before they are born you wonder and worry what kind of child they will be and hope for a smooth birth.  Is it a boy, girl, tall, short, brown eyes or blue?  As a parent, there will always be questions and concerns, but the “one” fact that will always ring true is that you worry about them, always…

As a dog parent you go through the same thing whenever you get word that there is a problem.  As the breeder, when I hear their is a problem with one of our adult pups, I sit on pins and needles waiting for the test results and even butt in giveing my advice on what test should be run and tell them “make sure to take their temperature and watch for infection”  I just wanted the best for them but I also know they are in good hands. 

Once, I was told by an owner of one on our pups that their dog was really sick and was at the Vet's office, I only had the name of the town where the dog lived and the owner’s info.  After calling nearly every Vet’s offices in the town, I finally got the right one and I remember the receptionist telling me they can't give any information out.  I wouldn't take "No" for an answer and after telling her that I was the breeder and maybe because of the quiver in my voice, she felt sorry for me.   I found out that our pup just died.  I cried like a child because I loved our dog. 

I try to do want what is best for my pups and dogs no matter how old they are, and at times probably have been a little sharp with an owner if I see something that I didn’t like with one of our pups.  If I have, please forgive me, it’s nothing personal or a reflection on you, it’s a parent wanting what is best for their dog child.  Remember “It might be your dog, but it will always be my pup”   I held every single one of them as the first breath of life was taken into their little body and suffer with you when things are not right and they all are special to me.

If you have ever had a medical situation with your pet, you worry about your dog!  Don’t ever think you are alone, you’re not.  Several times I have posted something about one of my own dogs and a problem they are having.  I received so much comfort and understanding, I actually felt relief because I know people truly care and it helped. 

Annie, Wyatt's Mom
Doc... Wyatt's Dad

If I have learned one thing that runs true, we all share a common bond, and it’s a love we can’t understand at times but it is a bond with our dogs and each other.  Whatever you believe, send good vibes, prayers and sweet thoughts because I have been in those shoes when things were not going right, they meant the world to me and I knew I was not alone!  No-one is an island and we all care and love each one of our furry pets and support each other. 

I pray for Wyatt, and think of him often through these troubled times, I know he may be without his human parents at the clinic today, but know for sure, he has thousands of thoughts and prayers flooding the heavens, just for him…  See you soon and bring a Frisbee when you get well and visit, Dutchess would love it... Ken

Give your dog a hug today...

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Your my Buddy...

There is a commercial that is playing now that struck me from the first time I saw it.  As most would assume, I love dog commercials and actually watch them but my “most” favorites are the ones of Golden Retrievers that star in Subaru Commercials.  Elaine and I will stop everything we’re doing and watch them if they come on, even over and over and nearly belly rolling each time.

This past week, I along with hundreds of people received a notice “the Border Collie community to rally around a girl. She was adopted to a home in Harahan, Louisiana which obviously did not take care of her and has been returned to the shelter.  All Border Collie Rescue is looking for a permanent foster for this 14 year old, owner surrendered girl (named Girly) in Louisiana so I'm hoping one of you may know someone who is a soft touch for seniors. At most, it would be a couple of years but probably substantially less. (And yes, I'm thinking very evil thoughts about someone who owner surrenders an old girl like this).  Her chances of adoption in or out of a rescue are probably nil - the oldest ones we've adopted out have been no older than 12. She is very sweet. Get with me if you have any questions. Thanks.” from the shelter.

14 year old Girly at the shelter

Without even talking to Elaine about it, I sent off a request that we would take her.  NO… I don’t need another dog, I have plenty, and yes… she is old but needs a home.  But there was that tug at my heart and something needed to be done for this 14 year old Border Collie.  The Facebook page was ablaze with chatter.  Most people would just “like” but several request for more information was asked and some people offered help, even people I know.

The next day, Shirley Thompson the Adoption Coordinator in Louisiana wrote me,
“Thank you so very much for offering to take Girly.  We are placing her in a permanent home in Louisiana and are very sure she will have a wonderful life with her new family.”  

This is wonderful news and I am so glad for Girly (now Josey).  It seems her life, short as it may be will be with people who love her and want her until she lays her head down to sleep and crosses that bridge.  But know that many people stepped up to do the right thing for Girley who was 14 years old, dirty, scared and matted, who was turned over to a shelter which probably meant her death.   We don’t know why she was relinquished, it doesn’t matter but what does matter, she is home and safe in loving arms. 

I have seen this commercial before, but this day when I watched it, it meant so much more to me and reminded me of what the dogs expect of us…

“You're my buddy, my pal, my friend
It will be that way until the end
And wherever you go, I want you to know
You're my buddy, my pal, my friend”

Video of   "Your my Buddy"...  it says so much... and a 14 - 3/4 year old dog going through his bucket list... worth every 60 second of the video... something to learn here...

14 years young Josey (Girly) getting ready to go to her new home
We all will need a place to call home but mostly when that time comes. “It’s not just the miles in life, it’s what "you" make of them” and truer words were never spoken…  We all need help at times and especially when we get old, but hopefully someone will help, just like the shelter in Louisiana did with Girly and her new family.  Thanks to everyone involved who loved “Girly” when no one else did… 

"Girly in the twilight of your life, rest well and know that you are a Lady and even though you days are mostly behind you, your future is very bright"...  We all need a "buddy" until the very end...Ken...

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Note, my favorite Golden Retriever commercials 

My New Room...

This past Friday night came with cold weather.  I had a bonfire earlier in the day because it just seemed fitting because of the crisp air and falling leaves.  It was supposed to get near freezing and it’s almost a welcome event.  We’ve had a multitude of different types of weather this year from 20 inches of rain in six weeks during the spring to very dry weather for the remainder of the fall but freezing weather was now upon us.

Leaves changing this Friday...
The dogs had a very good day this Friday, playing and running and even getting in the lakes but running was the event of the afternoon which always makes for a quiet night, which is good.  We’ve had guest for the weekend and their two dogs are related to our dogs and it was a homecoming of sorts which is always nice to see “family”. 

The usual routine for us is to bring our dogs inside during “TV” time and at bedtime separate them up for sleep.   They like to sleep anywhere but prefer to be in bed with us.    As Elaine and I were settling down for the night, our usual space was occupied by our weekend guest which meant some of our dogs were going to stay in the kennel.  It’s such an indignity for them because of the accommodations and they suffer so much.   It has controlled heat, padded beds, their own individual rooms, background music and even a nightlight, poor dogs…

When we had our very first dogs, one would sleep in the house and one would protect the covered porch in the summer but in the winter, we would kennel them up because it seemed like the right thing to do.  Their shed, was drafty with a straw floor, a heat light for warmth and it was a palace to them but we know, dogs belonged outside… or do they?  Times changed, hearts changed and we built a new 14 run kennel with “out” runs, a gas furnace, ceiling and ventilation fans, padded beds, soothing music and a night light… times did changed but Dutchess wanted the food channel too.

Dutchess dreaming of food...
Friday night was kennel night for most of the dogs because of the lack of room but they would be fine and everyone would sleep better.  As I went to the back door, putting on my shoes for the walk to the kennel I noticed something…

Friday night, there were humans in the bed too...
As I was walking them for their last walk before sleep and when we approached the kennel to go in, they turned toward the back door of the “human” kennel and it was the sad eyes from them that changed my mind.  Up on the porch I went and everyone went inside to our/their bed and climbed to their spot.  It’s hard to keep them out when they look at you and knowing what they want, just to be with us.  As we settled in for slumber, it just was a little crowded…   “Rest well" I said as I gathered my pillow and blanket and went to a cozy kennel for the night to watch the food channel…  Ken

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8:00 PM

I have pondered this letter many times but never thought of how to do it.  It will be very profound and most people can’t imagine the implications of being in my shoes, including me at times…  As I have experienced this often, it’s hard to put into words and one of those situations you must see and experience for yourself to get into the right frame of mind, and even then it will be exhausting to read and hard for me to write… There is only one way to inscribe it, and that is as it actually materializes most every night…

Note:  As I sit in my recliner at 8 pm to "relax" and watch TV, this is the customary one sided conservation every night in the family room before the witching hour…

My Turn?

8 PM

“Jump up, come on…UP, UP”
“Dutchess, stop going in circles, lay down, you’re killing me”
“Abby stop growling, she beat you up to my lap, now lay down”
“Meggie, lay on the other end of the couch”
“Meggie, quit holding your paw up in the air”
“Meggie, quit staring at me, lay down”
“Annie, there isn’t enough room for you up here”
“Abby, what are you looking at, Dutchess beat you”
“Abby, there isn’t enough room for you too”
“Abby, get off your back, Dahlia, get you nose out of there, Abby, she was just checking you, no harm and quit growling”

8:30 PM

“Dutchess, get up, move I’m getting something”
“Dutchess, you’re not getting any, it’s for adults, not dogs”
“Look, this is not a treat for you, it’s a necessity for me, just to take the edge off”
“Molly… good girl, but there is no room, maybe later”
“Shepp, get off the remote control, you’re changing the TV”
“Please everyone, just sit down and relax”
“Dahlia I can’t see the TV if you’re in my lap”

9:00 PM

“Phew…Who did that, don’t look at me… I didn’t do it”
“Someone needs to go to the bathroom?”
“Everyone out”
“Dahlia, quit barking at the cat”
“Holy Mother of God… why does this have to be so difficult”
“Everyone in… slow down, it’s not a race”
“I need another drink”
“Where am I going to sit?”
“Abby get up,”
“Dutchess “this” is for adults, not dogs”

9:30 PM

“Gabby lay still, don’t roll over on your back”
“Clancy get you nose out of there”
“Clancy, don’t lick yourself, there is nothing down there”
“Abby, we’re not playing ball, lay down”
“Annie quit pestering Molly, Molly quit growling”
“Thank God for the rewind function on the TV”

10:00 PM Snack Time

“Everyone will get a bite”
“Dutchess it’s not your turn”
“Dahlia get your feet off the Coffee table”
“Dutchess, get back”
“Molly, you can have a bite”
(Repeated 4 times)

10:30 PM

“Get up everyone, I need something”
“Need more whiskey”
“You all did this to me”
“Abby quit growling, no one is going to get me”
“Abby, Thank you for the sugar and saving me”
“I don’t even know what I watched”
“Please be still”
“Dutchess do you think I need another drink?”
“Dutchess stop, I should have never asked the question”
“Shepp quit barking”
“Come on Molly, up”

11 PM

“News is on, everyone quiet”
“Meggie, quit looking at me”
“Someone needs to go out”
“No it wasn’t me, I know dog phew”
“Dahlia, quit barking at the woods”
“Slow down, it’s not a race to get out the door”
“DAHLIA, quit waking up the neighborhood”
“Let’s go inside”
“Molly, Shepp, Dahlia, Annie, Gabby go upstairs, find Momma”
“Just a little more TV”
“Abby, Dutchess, Clancy, Meggie find your spot”
“Abby, where am I going to sit”

1:39 AM

“Slurp Slurp Slurp”
“I know, I’m getting up, I was just resting my eyes”
“Abby, Dutchess, Clancy, Meggie get in bed, up…up”
“Where am I going to sleep?”
“Thank you for moving”
“Abby, thank you for protecting me tonight, please don’t lick my nose off, why is the pillow wet”
“Note to self, need more Whiskey”

5:49 AM

Abby, thank you for washing my face, please don’t lick my nose off”
“I can’t breathe, everyone’s on top of me”
“Who did that, no it wasn’t me… I don’t think”
“Just another day”

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