Git Along Little Doggies

Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies above
Don't fence me in
Let me ride through the wide open country that I love
Don't fence me in
Let me be by myself in the evenin' breeze
Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies above
And listen to the murmur of the cottonwood trees
Send me off forever but I ask you please
Don't fence me in

Just turn me loose, let me straddle my old saddle
Underneath the western skies
On my Cayuse, let me wander over yonder
Till I see the mountains rise

I want to ride to the ridge where the west commences
And gaze at the moon till I lose my senses
And I can't look at hovels and I can't stand fences
Don't fence me in

Sorry little doggies….

This has been a busy week in that we are moving right along on the new fence here on the farm.  If you haven’t kept up with the dog’s Facebook page, we are fencing nearly ¾’s of a mile that will cover most of the farm.  We are doing this for several reasons, the first to keep my dogs safe from other dogs that sometimes roam onto our property, but mostly to allow any guest dogs that stay with us, the ability to run loose or just roam around, doing as they please.  When we have dog boarders, they are never allowed to stay out if I’m not with them unless they have proven themselves of being able to stay with the pack.  I have never had a problem except once when Gabby was frightened by a low flying plane that even scared me, she ran into the woods and kept running, when she did come back 3 hours later, she was covered with briers and had cut her paw.  She was a mess, but hopefully, this won’t happen again.
The fence will be 5’ tall with a strand of barbed-wire on top in case we were ever to aquire livestock.  It will be easier to do it now as opposed to later. 
This job was hired out, but of course I am helping and supervising, but mostly getting in the way. But I really do think I am helping, I think?  The company is very nice and we are getting along well and having fun.
The bad part about going through the woods is that we need at least an 8 foot path to get the equipment through because the job is too big to do by hand.  I am glad we didn’t have to cut any big trees, we either went around them or moved the fence. 
There will be 4 drive-through gates and at least one walk-through gate.  I know people think we are crazy and that’s a lot of space for the dogs, but I want peace of mind.  I want to know my dogs are safe and any guest dog is safe and can run as much as they want and as far as they want. 
Another good thing about this project is; where we have cleared for the fence row will make a wonderful place to walk or ride the 4-wheeler, which my dogs will love.  They get so excited even when I walk close to the 4-wheeler, and I can just say “verooooom” and they're  off and running.  This will add a lot of peace of mind not only for me, but for the owners of the dogs that stay.  I don’t imagine the dogs will ever know it is there.   We should finish by the second week of November.  

I Need some input.  Elaine had a suggestion last week that I actually thought was good (Elaine never reads this, I think, but I'm sure I'll know soon enough).  She suggested that we have a puppy renunion sometime during the summer.  I have visions of a weekend of play, Frisbee and ball and all the running your dogs can do.  I have had 14 dogs here at once and what's a few more.  If you have a suggestion or think it's good or bad idea, let me know on the dog's facebook Page My Dog's Facebook Page.  Suimming, food, music, campfires at night and camping if you want to stay overnight and of cource, all of our pups are invited.   Great Idea Elaine, hope she reads this part.  KS
PS... Dogs can run free, because of the fence...Sweet...


Please God...It's Got To End

Because of our website about border collies and the life of our dogs, we get several calls a week about dogs and puppies.  We usually don’t have any to sell but people will want a recommendation for a breeder or will have a question about one or they want advice about their BC.  I don’t mind giving my thoughts if I know, on recommending or a breeder, but I have to actually know who I'm talking about, only to be fair to them.  In the last two years, I have received several dozen calls about a BC breeder in Lafayette, Indiana and all of them were people that had concerns about the border collies that were there.  

Two calls really stuck with me.  The first was a man that had made a visit and was upset because of the conditions of the kennel.  I listened to him and tried to console him thinking it couldn't have been that bad.  He called back and stated that he had made another visit only to be more upset.  He didn't know who to call, and I gave him some information and contacts he could use.  After he had vented for a while, he broke down and cried because of their treatment and abuse and didn't understand how anybody could do that to an animal.  I took it upon myself to call the local authorities “just to talk” one retired investigator to an active one.  The officer was well aware of the breeder and stated that 80% of ALL their calls are from the same breeder and abuse.  They did state that there was a court hearing at the end of the month.  All was well; problem solved…or, so I thought…

In August of this year, I received a lengthy email about the same breeder and abuse.  After reading it, I asked her to call me so we could talk.  It was a woman who made a stop from Florida going to her home up north.  She was shocked and just needed to vent and a shoulder to cry on.  She stated that she couldn't go any further inside the kennel after she saw the first of the 43 dogs that were caged, it was just too much, and she left the; we crying while her husband spoke to the breeder.

Her testimony was heartbreaking, and I knew at that very moment, I had to do something, I didn't know what, but I had to do something.  Before I could take anyone’s word, I had to make a visit.  It would not be fair to discuss the situation or make an opinion if I did not witness the “so called” abuse for myself, so I made my mind up; I was going to make a visit, just to see…and our journey starts.

The date was set, and I asked Elaine to go, but she was busy at church and couldn't.  I then asked a friend of ours, Karen Newhall who has 20 years experience in developing drugs for animal health and has a working sheep farm with two border collies.  We chose a day to go, and off to Lafayette we went.   A lot of small talk in the 3-hour drive, but as we got closer, the conversation was getting serious about the dogs.  "What are we going to say?"  "What are we going to ask?"  I told Karen, I was getting a little nervous.  In my past life, I was a detective for 25 years in a major city, but what I was about to do hit close to home and concerned me more than anything I had done in those twenty-five years.  As we pulled in, I turned to Karen and said, "I hope it's not as bad as we've been told" and she said "Me too".

The farm property was located at 10112 South 700 East, Clarks Hill, Indiana, which is a rural farm property; there are a mobile home and at least two metal pole buildings and four wire corn cribs.  Many of the dogs are housed in a 30 x 60 metal pole building. The property is overgrown and unkempt. Some dogs are housed in the corn cribs, one dog was tied outside, and one dog was loose. The border collies totaled at 43,  that’s all we could see.
As we got in the car and pulled away from our visit, both Karen and I didn’t say anything at first, and I think we were in shock.  The first words were spoken, and I would like to remember what they were but I can't.  That period is a buzz, and my mind is flashing images from one kennel to another. Through the entire visit we both kept our composure and asked many questions and were given complete answers, most of which we didn’t agree with, but he did respond to questions. We found him to be a very proud man of his accomplishments and when we asked if we could take photos, he gladly agreed and even encouraged us to “take photos of anything we wanted, except him” which we agreed to. There is nothing I can write or say that can describe this trip and as I have said many times, “you just have to visit” to get the full effect of his kennel. I will tell you, this trip has affected me in ways that will haunt me for the rest of my life. As I sit here at my keyboard at 4 am on the very Sunday that this post needs to go up, I should tell you something, sleep has escaped me on more than one night, in fact it usually escapes me on most nights either going to sleep or waking at 3 am with  the images spinning in my mind.

What to do?  Karen and I were on a mission now…Letters were written, phone calls were made, and visits were scheduled. There were many people that helped, but most did not. Of all the animal groups out there that are advertised to help, all of them kept referring us back to the local authorities, but they did want our money.  I even called PETA, and even they were aware of him but referred us back to the locals. The Captain of the sheriff’s department was well aware of him and even stated that 80% of their complaints and workload was about this breeder, so the fight was on again. We had to do it for the dogs, we were their voice.

After much work and many phone calls, we were summoned to the sheriff’s department for a meeting. At first, we thought they were just trying to blow us off and coddle us, and the meeting started a little shaky because of me, I just wanted to say my piece.  Little did I know who was in attendance. There were Detectives, Captains, Prosecutors and even the National Director of “Puppy Mills” of the National Humane Society from Washington DC, she had flown in just for this meeting and the raid, and after the meeting, I hugged her.   The wheels were finally turning. At the raid a few days later the kennel was cited with over 50 citations and various charges were filed from the health department. All of which are pending, but it's not over.

One night a week or so ago, I was sitting in my recliner, and Clancy had crawled in my lap and was sound asleep, Abbie was right next to me as close as she could get, with Dutchess laying at my feet. Clancy was knocked completely out, fast asleep and I was rubbing him from his snout down his back, it was heaven for both of us. Just then I thought about Randy and his dogs, and I don’t know why.  I’m sure he cares for them but has he experienced this, the bond and love of a dog. Has he experienced the speed of them running and playing and being happy watching them run and jump? With 43 dogs on his property, it would be hard. He has stated that he can’t let them out because he’s afraid they will run off or get hurt, so I imagine they stay in their kennel all day begging for attention and just a chance to run.

As I lay in bed every night, I see the scared faces of dogs that I know need more than they are getting. Even sometimes my seven dogs are a handful, and I can’t imagine 43, and I know it would hard to do under the best circumstances. But in my thoughts late at night… I do feel sorry for the breeder and wonder what happened in the 40 years he has been breeding border collies. In my suffering, I pray… I pray for him, and I also pray for the dogs in his care and hope that this will be resolved soon.  Let’s just hope.
As I drift off, I see the faces of the dogs some of which look like mine and wonder if things were different…but rain falls on the just and the unjust.

Yesterday was our granddaughters 2nd birthday. After I post this, we are going to Louisville to see her and have a birthday party.  I know if I see a Border Collie running and playing during the trip, I will first think of mine and then think of Sanders Border Collies and the little faces I left behind which will forever haunt me.

To the dogs I left behind, know this, we did everything we could do.  It's in God's hands now, and hopefully I'll see you again, maybe even at the bridge where you'll finally be able to run and scamper and have someone hug and hold you, stroking you face looking into your sad eyes...I'm sure I'll know you, Your faces will live with me forever...

Give your dog a hug today.... some Border Collies have never had one....  Ken

That Thing They Do…

With my dogs, they all have “That thing they do”.  They are as different as chocolate pie and cherry pie, but you love them all.  I had all of them in the house the other day because it was a rainy day and they needed something to do.  As I was setting and they were all looking at me, I saw the different personalities unfold in one place and was amazed at the differences they have.  It started with Gabby while she was flopping around my lap…

Gabby…What a cutie pie.  She needs all my attention, and I really mean all of it.  She will always run to me and if Elaine lets her in, she runs down the steps and circles the couch and flops in my lap.  She will wiggle and twist and in just a few seconds, fall to sleep on her back with her mouth open.  She allows me to rub and move her around the whole time she sleeps.  I was in bed one morning and she bounced in the bedroom and jumped up on the bed and circled once and fell asleep in my arms along with me.  No matter what, whenever she comes to me or I come in from outside, she dances and prances and will jump straight up in the air for me to pick her up
Molly… my heart dog.  She is the quite one that captured my heart the day I picked her out of a barn with 18 other pups running around in the straw.  I’ll never know why I chose her, but there was just something there.  She would be content to stay in the house and watch TV or just sleep.  She will wake and walk to me in the recliner and if no one in my lap, she’ll hop up for 10 minutes or so and hop back down and go back to her dog bed.  One thing she will do while we are walking and still moving, she will jump up and put her front paws up on my side and walk with me and grunt (her dog talk) as we travel down the path.  Funny thing, Molly is the Alpha female.

Annie…Loves to play and be the tough girl.  When we do out go to play, I always grab and extra ball just to give Annie because she is a carrier…She will always carry things such as a Jolly Ball or a tennis ball in her mouth during play time and will even run up and down the hills carrying the ball with no intent to get the other ball, but satisfied with hers.   If for some reason, someone grabs the ball and she is without it, she will latch onto Abbie's fur near her neck and Abbie will nearly drag her around but doesn’t seem to mind.  Annie loves to play “bite”,  it’s the same as when two dogs will play fight with each other, but they don’t actually bite, they just mouth each other, she has learned this with me and we have quite a time

Abbie….loves to nuzzle and be in my lap.  She is my defender and if any person or dog gets between us, she will circle around and go between my legs and ward them off.  When we are relaxing and it’s only us in the room, she will lay next to me on the couch, but if any other dog ventures into the room, boom, she’s in my lap so no one can be there but her.  Quite the little defender.  Only once did the UPS driver get too close...

Meg…the quite one.  So shy and reserved.  She is the little princess that wouldn't do anything wrong.  If I give a command to anyone, she will do it too, just because she wants to please.  She is the fastest dog we have and did well in agility but she will gather up the dogs and lead them in a race around the lake always winning.  When we took Meg to the sheep trials, she did great with everything but for some reason, as the bagpipes went by, it really annoyed her and in my lap she came.
Clancy…Loves to love.  He is my gentle giant, he comes in at 50 pounds but he has a large head which makes him look bigger.  Always in control and in charge, but he is the lover.  He never jumps into a lap or on the couch, but climbs on.  When someone or a family comes over to visit, he always gets in the middle of them and will lay his head on someone’s lap and goes to sleep, everyone wants Clancy…sorry.

Dutchess…The thinker.  All border collies are smart, but Dutchess is the teacher.  She is the smartest dog I have ever seen.  Whenever I am out, she will hunt and find a ball to play with, always bring it to my feet and if she thinks I don’t see it, she will pick it up and re-position it so she is sure I did see it.  She will even do this while I am mowing the fields, making me stop or go around the ball.  It’s hard for Dutchess to slow down, she does everything with zeal.  I don’t know how many times we have been to the Vet for an x-ray just to check, which always checks out, but 2 weeks of rest is just not in her schedule.  Sorry girl.

Again all my dogs are unique in their own way and I’m glad they are.  It would be boring if we only had chocolate pie and nothing to compare.  Think of your dog and see if you can put your finger on “That thing they do”…Ken