It's Hard To Say Goodbye

I see it every time someone drops their dog off to stay with us while they go on vacation. The dog is so excited, they run around and play and scamper with the other dogs, but the first think they learn is where they fit into "the pack". There is a lot of smelling of butts and checking each other out, and sometimes Clancy will have to put everyone in their place, but it usually takes a minute or so, and then "off" down the driveway they all go, happy as they can be. I assure the owners that everything will be "OK" but they feel, "No One Can Take Care of Their Baby but Them", and that's usually true. We try our best to make the dog feel at home and I will tell you, we do spoil them.
Elaine and I just got back from vacation last week on a 10 day trip. I'm a "night before" packer so I don't plan too much. Socks, check...Shorts, check... Hawaiian shirts, check... passport, check...underwear, don't care...I'm ready in ten minutes. Elaine takes a few days longer, but then it's a girl thing. "Elaine, do you think we can take the dogs?", "No", she said.. "How about if they were our service dogs?", believe me I have tried to think of a way.

When we leave for that length of time, it's a hassle to line up people to take care of the dogs and to know they will do a good job. We usually try to get someone to come and live at the house and that has proven to be a disaster when Dogwood Ridge turned into party central. We did get it all figured out and I was very comfortable with the people watching the dogs. So off we went on the big trip...ten minutes on the road and I said to Elaine "What do you think the dogs are doing?, and we actually tried to figure it out. I am now in the same position as the many people that leave their dog with us. When it's time to leave, they rub them and try to get the last hug in, but the dog is too interested in running and playing for that. I reassure them everything will be "OK".

Only because some people will ask, I now ask everyone, "Do you want updates" and they always say "YES!". During the week I will email to their Blackberry or IPhone, photo's and progress reports. I do enjoy it, because I enjoy writing. Well now I'm in their shoes and there will be no updates.

Every day we talked about the dogs and wondered how they were doing. They were always somewhere in my thoughts. I hoped they were not barking or getting into trouble doing something bad, yes, they do bad things sometimes. The last day of the Cruise, we always have a farewell bottle of wine on the fantail of the ship. It's usually late and the stars are always out and you can see forever. We talk about our life and plan for the future. It's kinda nice and we reflect on the past too. This nights talk turned to the dogs and we wondered what they were doing, we assumed they were bedded down for the night, I only hoped so.

Usually there are no problems when a dog  stays with us, only once, did I have to take one to the Vet. She had broken her toe and had to wear a cast, but she healed nicely with no problems. The only other times were when some dogs tore their paw pads but they were fine. You always worry about them. I think that's the difference between a dog owner and a dog lover.

When we first got into raising dogs, we only had Max and Molly. We wanted to breed Molly so we purchased "Morgan" (seen above and below), because Max was neutered. Morgan was a beautiful dog and he was the apple of every one's eye. One day I came home from being in town and he had gotten tangled up in a fence with his collar. That night we buried him with our other forever pets here on the farm. Just a few days after the second photo was taken was when he passed away, with the very blue collar he has on. To this day, my dogs never wear a collar, and I always take a collar off if a dog comes to visit.
The trip home is always a little unnerving. I always worry just a little, but when we pulled into the driveway, all the worries fled away. They all greeted us and showered us with licks and kisses. They whine and moan and jump and dance, and in my heart I do too. It’s good to be home.....

Run Free Morgan...See you at the bridge. Dad

Footnote:  Just two days after Morgan's death, we found Clancy and brought him home and it all started....