Sunday

Catching Up

Not a lot of excitement this week. The dogs got to play and run, and even got wet all the time, we had a lot of visitors that came to see their pups, so the dogs got to show off a bit.  Dutchess even fished a little for them.    Because the pups have been sold for a while, I don't post much info about them, if any. I usually email the photos and their progress directly to the owners, but I thought I would share a couple of photos.

  They are raring to go, they have progressed very well and love to run and roll around the yard.  They will be 6 weeks old on Tuesday and will get their first shot that day.  When I play with them, they will bite at my socks and pull on them, catching the strings with their teeth and paws, tripping me up or down, which ever way you look at it.  Maybe I need a first alert,  "Help, I've fallen and I can't get up"

While I was working this week in the yard, the big dogs couldn't find anything to play with so they came up with the idea that the lid of a plant food container would fly through the air, so here I was looking at them and they looking at me thinking who is going to win...and who was smarter....Oh well, I think they answered that question....

Well, you know what, as God is my witness, It does fly.  I did take time out from weeding the garden and played with the container lid and the dogs.  Never a dull moment......
 
Maddie "Bear" is doing well.  Here are a couple of updated photos of her.  I think she looks a lot like me, except I don't usually wear anything in my hair...

 

It's "OK" I'm here...

Crack.....Bang......Crash.......As soon as I hear the thunder, I know she will look for me.  Even if it's distant, here she comes with her head lowered toward the ground and walking very fast.  For what ever reason, she is scared of storms and thunder.  It's not as bad as some of the other dogs I have read about, but you have to feel sorry for her, she seems so helpless.  She will demand to come into the house and go right for a safe spot, either in the walk-in closet or in a far corner of the basement.  Today, we had a storm blow up and I was ready to go to church, I tried to persuade her to go to the kennel, however she would not move, she again lowered her head and batted those eyes and every possible way said "please don't make me go outside".  Well I didn't have the heart to make her.  I went and got a dog bed and brought it to the bedroom where the walk-in closet is and set it down.  She sprang to it and made a few circles as if digging a hole and making herself smaller and laid down.  She was in and she knew it.  I said "be good, I'll be back soon"  She again batted her eyes and and licked my hand as if to say "Thank You"  If you don't know by now, it's Dutchess.  She is the most emotional dog I have ever seen.  She is truly passionate about life and everything around it, she does live life to the fullest. 

What some experts say...
What You Can Do to Help
Create a Safe Place: Try to create a safe place for your dog to go to when she hears the noises that frighten her. But remember, this must be a safe location from her perspective, not yours. Notice where she goes, or tries to go, when she's frightened, and if at all possible, give her access to that place. If she's trying to get under your bed, give her access to your bedroom.
You can also create a "hidey hole" that is dark, small, and shielded from the frightening sound as much as possible. Encourage her to go there when you're home and the thunder or other noise occurs. Consider using a fan or radio near the spot to help block out the sound. Feed her in that location and help your dog associate that spot with other "good things" happening to her there. She must be able to come and go from this location freely. Confining her in the "hidey hole" when she doesn't want to be there will only cause more problems. The "safe place" approach may work with some dogs, but not all. Some dogs are motivated to move and be active when frightened and "hiding out" won't help them feel less fearful.

There are a lot of other things you can do and a lot of dogs suffer from this and it can be a real problem.  For more info, just 'Google" it......or call me.

A lot of people have asked, how is Shepp is doing? here is an email from his owner..
Kenny,  Hope all are doing well.  SHEPP is doing fantastic!! As a matter of fact he just walked in the office to visit. The grandchildren went swimming in the lake and Shepp went them with a little assistance. He is now venturing out on his own. He is becoming much more familiar with his surroundings, but with a whistle and a SHEPP he is right back at your side. Shepp definitely loves playing ball, but only returns the bright green ones.  Shepp is also becoming a fisherman, daily outings to the dock with the grandson . Caught four catfish, two bass, and a mess of bluegills yesterday. Did I mention Shepp loves playing ball!!  Shepp and I went up to the neighbors last night. Shepp and the neighbor dog are becoming best friends, anything the granddaughter threw, the two went bounding after.  Kenny I truly hope you are happy with the decision you had to make, because this family and Shepp are very, very happy with the one you have made.

In my heart, I will always love Shepp and he will always have a special place there.  Run Free Shepp..."I am dad, I am".......

This is the last photo I took of him, he left us, about an hour after this.......

Saturday

Gone Fishin'

Well, if you have ever been to the farm and met the dogs, this won't be any surprise.  One of the dogs has discovered a new talent.  It has to do with, #1 water, #2 catching something, and #3 food.  As I said, this should be of no surprise.  It's the..... "Princess" or known to some as "I'll love you till I knock you down" but mostly known as the "The Party Girl" yes it's Dutchess.  She has discovered fishin'.
She will start out on the dock and give those ole' catfish the evil eye.  Then she will go to the bank and watch and plan her attack from there.  She will ponder the water conditions and watch the sky for just the right time.  When the time is right, she will slip into the water, without waders, (they seem to bog her down) and pounce on them ole' catfish.
She will stare at the fish for hours and watch their every move, just hoping for a chance to catch one.  She will chase them around the lake and move from one place to the other. 

"Dutchess, Dutchess" it's time to come in and dry off........"Oh crud, do I have to?"   Just don't stay too long....  As of this writing, she's still in the water.
We have a boarder staying with us this week, her name is Maxine.  She is the pup of Dutchess and Clancy and she is having a ball.  Her parents went on vacation and she will be with us for a week or so.  I love to see our dogs when they come back, they always know where their bed was and always go right to it.  She is a chip off the old block.  Here you see them in the water, but they're not Fishin', just playing............


"Shepp", the Whole Story.........What to do...What to do...


Oh, little 'Sheppie,' what are we going to do?  It will break my heart to give you up, and it's not even your fault, but I don't know if I can always protect you.  I spent a lot of time thinking of the right thing to do, ......what to do, .....what to do!!!!  As my son Brad would say, "This is a family pickle"  and this is a big family pickle.  Let me explain. 

We purchased Meg because we wanted to have a red Border Collie and red pups, of course, so we need a red male to have red pups, so we searched and found a pup that was beautiful and available, so off on the road trip we went, to get our red pup.  We were so excited and just knew that everything would be just wonderful.  Well, it wasn't.

This is part of an email I sent to my dog owners...

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. That is not the problem, we would gladly keep him if that were 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, and I am even more passionate about my personal 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.

My heart broke as I hit the "send" button, for I knew there was no turning back now, It was done.  I might as well say my goodbyes now and gather his favorite toys and take his name off the kennel door.  I teared up a little and just sat in my chair looking at the computer screen.  "Your Message Has Been Sent"  I cursed under my breath, What have I done, I might as well of signed his death sentence.  My little boy was leaving, and I did it. 

That night I tried to go to sleep,   It was a bad night.  I might as well-of-been Ebenezer Scrooge.  I saw all three ghost, and they weren't very friendly, especially to me.  The only thing, there wasn't a future, no redemption for me. 

I got many emails back, everybody wanted My Little Sheppie.  My heart was breaking inside, and every response was tearing me apart, but I knew it was the right thing to do.
I got a phone call from California.  It was a very nice lady who was looking for a Border Collie for her dad.  He had one that had passed away, and it was going to be a surprise for him.  It sounded perfect, could not be better, better for everyone, except me, I was dying inside.  I tried to be cheerful and happy and knew this was the best or was it? 

Just then, I said NO, you're not going!!!  We can work this out, you're part of this family.  I will protect you, you can stay by my side,  I will watch over you.  I picked up the phone and called the lady back from California.  She sounded so cheerful and nice.  I just blurted out and interrupted her conversation, "I'm sorry, I can't give him up, I just can't.  I'm sorry".  Through my tears and sniffles, in a very nice way, she said. "I understand, I've been there one time too"  I thanked her again, and hung up.  I gave little Sheppie a big hug and said: "let's go to bed."

That night I slept much better.  I dreamed of the things we would do and how much he loved me and how he was always near me, just wanting me to love him back.  Just like Ebenezer Scrooge, there was a future for Tiny Tim, and so there will be for "Shepp,"   or so I thought... 

We tried everything to make it better for him.  We would keep him separated from the other dogs, but the dominance instinct was just too strong.  It came to a head on Sunday.  I cannot let this go until he is injured or worse.  I had an inquiry from a family that was just perfect,  He would be King of the hill.  He has lots of land, lots of water and older children to play with him.  He even has neighbors that have two of our dogs to keep him company but at the end of the day, he would be King. 

They always say that if you love something, you'll let it go.  Sheppie, as much as it hurts, and as much as I try to put you out of my mind, I can't.  I want you to be everything you deserve, and I know you will.  You'll always have part of my heart.  Run Free little fellow, Run Free...

Note:  This was the hardest thing I have ever done.......