Sunday

A True Story…


Well Christmas is over and all went well and everyone is settled into the rest of winter.  We are getting back to normal, and even the dogs are getting settled back into their regular routine.  All of my attention is stretched in several directions during this season and the dogs are without my constancy care but they will stay close to my side, evermore, wanting more lap time and play time.
The day after Christmas, I was putting the dogs up in the kennel for the night and while they were eating, I came back inside got ready for bed, watch a little TV, and ate a little snack with a glass of Chardonnay.  Just after Elaine went to bed leaving me in the TV room, I went back to the kennel and checked up on everyone and made sure everyone was content the final time.  Before we go any further, Elaine took Clancy, Molly and Abbie to bed with her upstairs from the TV room and I was going to stay up a little later just to wind down…and that's when the trouble started…
As I was checking on each dog and saying goodnight, Dutchess looked oh so pitiful and looked up at me with those sad eyes and I said goodnight and she just bowed her head and I knew I had crushed her.  I said “Want to go in”   OMG, such bright eyes and she stood up and turned in a circle and barked.  Off we went into the house and to the TV area to just wind down…another glass of Chardonnay and off we were to settling in, or so I thought…


She stood by the side of my recliner and just looked at and I knew what she wanted...“Want to play ball”? Is all I had to say and off she was to the special ball drawer next to the sink.  She jumped on the counter and tried to open the drawer and looked back at me and barked again saying “Hurry up, I’m ready to play”!  As soon as I got to the drawer, I took out a ball and gave it to her and she ran to the couch and laid the ball in my seat, waiting for me and off we were.  "Hurry up" she said  "we're going to play ball"   I did caution her that we needed to be quiet because if the other dogs heard us, they would want to play too and we would make a mess and she agreed to be quiet…

We played so hard, and did until she was finally finished and she laid down and panted heavily while she rested with the ball in-between her legs.  We had so much fun and Dutchess will always put her all into whatever she does and on this night, she knocked over a leather recliner by diving into it to get a ball and on a spin move, she fell into the Christmas tree and sent it to the ground where ornaments flew in every directions but it was after the last glass of Chardonnay, everything was just fine...  

She was so happy and after she cooled down, up on my lap she came and fell asleep for a few minutes until my TV show was over.  When I crawled into bed, up she came... turned around and laid down where she fell asleep right next to me and in all the years, this was one of the first time she did this…

I did sit the chair back up and at least put the Christmas tree back into the area it was in but most of the ornaments were placed on the couch, and when Elaine saw the disruption the next morning, she did ask “did you and Dutchess play Ball”?  “Yes” I said, and in the Christmas spirit, she said, “Looks like you had fun” and smiled…as she replaced the ornaments back on the tree...Merry Christmas Dutchess...

One of now favorite Christmas memories…

Wednesday

Christmas Morning at the Farm

Updated from December 25th, 2011
Well the time finally arrived and I knew it would and with a big bang… It wasn’t two seconds past midnight and as the clock struck 12 midnight, they all woke up and I heard them running for the office and it sounded like thoroughbreds on a racetrack. I was up and doing some business on the computer and I heard them coming.
They barked all the way in and sat in a circle around my chair. “What are you doing?” they said… “Business” I said... “What do you want, I’m busy” I said, just toying with them because I really knew what they wanted.
“IT’S CHRISTMAS MORNING, SANTA'S BEEN HERE” They all said in turn. “It’s barely past midnight” I said…”Let’s go and see, let’s go and see” they said. I know he’s been here, let’s go, let’s go let’s go… Nothing to do but get up and go in the family room and see if Santa’s been here. As we walked down the hall, all the dogs ran around me in circles and by the time we got to the room they were staggering like drunken sailors
“Oh My Goodness, He’s been here, YEA, YEA, YEA!" they all exclaimed, over and over again. "OK, let’s go in order."  I said.
“Clancy, what did you ask for?" I said, “A big bag of Rawhide” “Did you get it?” I ask, “You bet and more and now I have so many, I can share with everyone. I’m glad Santa didn’t remember I wanted to be selfish once.”  "He usually doesn't" I said…

"OK Molly, your turn, what did you get."  “I got so many, just look at all the tennis balls I got, there is a hundred I bet.” “What are you going to do with them?” I ask. “We're all going to play, and play bunches."  “You look disappointed, is there something wrong?” I ask. “No” she said, “it’s just… just…never mind, It’s OK."

“Meg, what did you get?” I ask. She had slipped on her bright green collar and looked like a princess with her red fur. “Do I look pretty?” she asked. “Just like my Princess," I said, " you look beautiful, but it’s not the collar.”

“Abbie, your turn.” I said. She looked and said, “I don’t understand” and she looked puzzled. "What is it?"  She showed me a photo of a large area of land. “I can’t do anything with this” she said. I told her that Santa had left me instructions of a place where she could run as fast and far as she wanted to. “I can’t get there” she said. “That’s part of the present” I said, “We can do this together, just you and me” “Can we take a tennis ball?” Molly spoke up and said “You can take one of my new ones!” “Thank you Mom, I love you.” said Abbie. Clancy said “you can take a rawhide to chew on during the ride.” “Thank you too Dad, I love you too.”

"Annie what did you get?” I ask. “Books and more books, now I can learn to do things that everyone else can do!” she said. All the dogs spoke up and each took their turn and told her that they would help her fit in and learn things. “Thanks, everyone, now I am one of you and not a misfit.” "No you’re not a misfit, you’re family…we love you, because you are family."

And that brings us to Dutchess. I had to ask, “Dutchess, what did you get?” “Holy Cra*, look at all these Frisbees!" "DUTCHESS, I’m surprised you got anything." I said, “Just look at all of these things, I can play for days and even carry two of them in my mouth. This is great! Just look, I love them!” She said, and then I saw something I usually don’t see. You see, Dutchess is a dog that’s wants everything, just for her. She bowed her head and picked up the green Frisbee and took it to Meg. “Here, this is for you, it will look good with your red fur."  “Thank you Dutchess.” said Meg.
“Hey what about us”…as Gabby and Doc jumped in.  “We’re new around here” and they are new to the Christmas tradition…but seem to fit right in.  Molly, Clancy and even old scrooge Dutchess shared some of their gifts this season and Abbie offered to let them run with her in the open fields that she got for a present.  You see we all got what we wanted but most importunely, we “got” each other.  For you see four of the dogs were a gift to the farm and we took them as our own and they are…We are a team and now Doc and Gabby are part of us…Gabby said “I was older when I came here and had to leave my home” Dutchess jumped in and said “I was too…Abbie and even Doc had homes and we came here too…did you see all the Frisbees I got…isn’t this place great”  Gabby said…”yes, it is, we all got a new homes now and I think it’s forever” and I jumped in and said it was…
  
Well it’s over for another year, all the presents were opened and paper was all over the house, and as I was cleaning up, I thought about what had happened. You see Christmas is about love and family. It’s about helping each other to become better and growing and reaching out and thinking of someone else but ourselves. But I think it’s mostly about love.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. This is Love…
This is our family, we all have our strengths and weaknesses, but we love and help each other and any of us are just a whisper away if needed.
“Molly, Come here”! I said. I went to the family room and sat in my recliner. I patted my lap and said come on, “I owe you some lap time” She looked surprised because she didn’t get everything she asked for. I told her that Santa sent me a special note just for her. As she sprang into my lap, she circled once and then twice and settled down but before she fell to dreamland, she moved to the side so Gabby could have room too… as Doc curled at my feet. I patted everyone on their head and thought to myself. “Yes” we've got everything we wanted, we usually do, and we don’t always know it.  Give your dog a hug....

Merry Christmas from the dogs. Life is good...God is good



Sunday

Nana's & PaPaw's House

As some of you know, we do board Border Collie dogs at times.  This started when we would want to see our pups again after they went home, so made it available for our pup owners to let the dogs stay here with their dog parents and we could play with them again while they were on vacation.  This started many years ago and has increased a little and it seems like we now get old friends to stay with us.  We have seen them grow up and now, we even see “just” a little gray in some selected spots and I never thought I’d see the day of the gray, but then I never thought I would see it on mine, and now it is a reality.
It always starts when they get out of the car and they run to me and some even roll on their back and lift their paws up to me and to play.  Many will run and jump a hard as they can, knocking me backwards while the owners will say…”this never happens at home”, but now they are at Nana’s and Papaw's” house and things are just a little different.  I will ask if they mind if we spoil them but usually, we just don’t ask, but they know.  Usually, they get to sleep in the house and jump on the furniture and lay in my lap.
This year, we have started to see something different.  I have notices that most every dog will gravitate to me and follow me around.  They lay by my feet when I am writing and make a point to lay in my lap when I'm sitting…for hours...  Xena, one dog who boarded earlier this month was just like this.  She stayed in the house the whole time, slept in the bed and was in my lap the whole time she was here…for hours and a lot of dogs will do this and I know it's because she will at home...and it was wonderful on cold days when be both took a little nap, warming us both.
About 9 months ago, Elaine sat on the couch (she usually is in a rocker) and I sat on the other couch (we have two in the family room) and she made room for a dog to sit with her and she wanted some attention from them.  We had three dogs inside and two jumped on the couch with her but kept looking at me and I had just one.  
After about 10 minutes, both dogs jumped off and came over to me, leaving her without any dogs.  “I just don’t understand this, why do they always go to you”? she said, I answered as best as I could…”That’s simple”  “What do you mean, what is it”?  “So simple” I said…”What is it”!!! “They just don’t like you” I snickered and she even laughed…”OK, but really what is it” she said.  “Look… I feed them, see them nearly 24 hours a day, play with them, walk with them and even sing to them and they look at me as the caretaker and leader”.  The one thing I also mentioned is that I make them mind and they do the things they ask.  Elaine is soft hearted and will baby talk them when she wants them to do something, I put on the “Big Boy” voice and they know I mean it and will do it out of respect, but this is what they want.  They want to follow a leader and if they don’t have one, someone will become the leader and that’s not always good, but that night I had three trying to get in my lap or at least in my arms.
I will tell you, it can be overwhelming at times and I just want my space too, especially if I'm trying to put on my shoes or type.  Elaine says it’s because I am the “man” meaning I am their leader, but not hers...never her she said, and that’s OK.  Every dog is different and that’s what makes it fun.
As Christmas comes up, remember what this time of year is really all about and share your love, especially with your dog…Ken

Merry Christmas Little Shepp and Max...and all of our little pups and dogs, you always bring joy to our life and you're always welcome to come and see us at Nana and PaPaw's house....


Note: all of the dogs in this post are guest dogs...except one, Doc with his son who came to visit.



An Open Letter…

Sometimes things get under my skin especially when I have a dog in the fight or if I think it's wrong…This is both...
Earlier this week, I had an acquaintance contact me about helping out with rescue dogs, and she was turned down because in a couple of years…she might breed her purebred dog.  The problem with this is she “might” and she was willing to help the life of a dog and possibly save its life or support the dog community through work or money NOW, and possible for some time and now "they" have cut any ties to her and the dogs actually lost out.  

I did post a question on the dog’s Facebook page concerning the same thing…and here are a few responses…On a personal note, I was going to rescue a dog at the local shelter, and after I did all the paperwork and the fee was more than a purebred, I said no…I just wanted a dog for the farm.   I walked away and looked in the paper and got “free to good home” my first Border Collie, Max.  How interesting would it be if every shelter/rescue worker had to fill out the form to adopt a dog, and how many would pass, and this is the same person who is making this decision…?

From a breeder;

So yes, one can do both, and be responsible for it, and then yes there are those that use the "rescue dog" to pull at people heart strings, to just obtain more money, which is really a shame, and some rescues/shelters, I do feel go a bit overboard with their rules, because that dog is missing out on a really great forever home.
She rescued a dog from a shelter that was destined to death and No BC rescue shelters in the 4 surrounding states would take him…and now he is happy because she took him and re-homed him and he it is one of many.

Another…
The rescues seem to only accept "perfect" applicants, and then get surprised when they have too many dogs. I’m not perfect by any means, but my 2 dogs have a great life. A rescue would never accept me, a single, working, city dweller, in a million years….

Another
I agree totally. I get very tired of the "better than thou" attitude taken by so many of the rescue shelters. They practically want to know what time you are going to go to the potty yourself.....most make you fill out pages and pages of personal info......and IF you happen to tell them you might use anything else than a "Humane" collar or leash (according to their standards) or IF you mention the word "breeding" to them they tell you No, they cannot accept you. They are often missing the boat in their efforts to "rescue" a dog. 

There were many responses and even personal messages and it’s like we are the enemy.  I do rescue dogs and yes, I do breed them.   I will be the first to say, leave it to the people who know and will react to a problem and always look for the dogs well being.  No one should ever breed, and all dogs that are rescued, re-homed and even kept in the back yard should be spayed or neutered.

The question is…what do we do?  I am in favor of stricter laws that govern this, especially the breeders.  A possibility would be to team up the breeder and rescue/shelters together.  Let’s face it. Most, (not all) breeders are in it because they love dogs and want to share the joy of them, but in the eyes of the rescue/shelter people, they will not even talk to us.    Another solution would be, for every dog you sell, a portion would be destined for the relief of overpopulation and care.  Many things can be done, but we need to do something more, and that’s, the gist of this letter…

This is a perfect time to do something.  I realize not all people can foster a dog, but there is more.  You can support financially, clean/visit, donate goods, transport and even shelter, you just have to make up your mind what to do.  Glen Highland Farm, a Border Collie rescue in New York (501-C-3) even has info on Amazon, and you can buy a specific toy for a specific dog and here is a donation page on Amazon Glen Highland's Wishlist on Amazon
It automatically sends it to them, and there are many things under $10.

If breeders and shelter/rescue groups don’t stand together, we will fail and the problem will never be solved, please be responsible and do your part…remember it’s for the dog and when you hold their head in your hands and look very close into their eyes, you are looking at your own destiny.  If you are involved with shelters, please know that we want to help...

Note…

I will donate a monetary amount of every litter our dogs have to a rescue and continue to help transport, feed, donate goods and supplies to anyone who ask for help and I will seek ones that don’t.  I will, and have made a difference in the nearly 20 dogs we have re-homed...Ken
The Dog's Facebook Page 

63 Days


It happens every 6 months…either it’s a time you look forward to or it's a curse from Hades…
 If you haven't watched your calendar, you wouldn't notice that Meg, Annie AND Gabby have reached that exciting time again and you might remember that 6 months ago, we had little ones running around playing and getting into everything and I can only do this once a year and it’s NOT time... girls, did you hear me?
It started out as a typical day, girls inside, boys outside and then it was time to change, boys inside, girls outside, sounds so simple right…wrong.  So here I am, I have Doc on an orange leash and I am transferring him to a sizeable kennel so he will be happy.  We need to stop right there, Doc is NEVER happy when he is in, and a romantic female dog is outside, NEVER.  At any rate, he bolted from my grasp during a weak moment and off he ran toward the girls who were playing thirty feet away from us dragging a bright orange leash behind him.  Gabby is leading the way and Doc is following…It looked like an orange lightning bolt traveling down the driveway, giggling all the way…I just know it…

Most people don’t really consider the drive that a male dog has when it comes to his romances.  I will tell you, it is very strong and I really mean strong.  On one occasion, Clancy was behind a 5 foot fence and he wanted out to frolic with the girls.  After trying to get under the fence, he started biting it and repeatability bit into a chain link fence and broke the wire.  He continued to work at it until he could squeeze his body through the hole he had made in the middle of the fence and I have the hair that was left on the fence.  Sixty three days later we had 7 pups.  If you want to make the world’s strongest jail, put a male dog inside and female dog outside and watch how he escapes and keep it up until he can’t.  No human could ever get out…but a little known fact, it is the female that is the aggressor too, sometimes she is worse than the male is!  Why do you think we call Dutchess the “party girl”?
Gabby…come here…G A B B Y come here.... down the driveway they ran, my mind raced, what to do…what to do… my 18 year old mind said “Run” as I started running.  The lovebirds would run about 100 feet and get ahead and stop and prance and play and Gabby would act real interested…OMG…”NO” I yelled and off they went in another direction, Gabby and the orange lightning bolt right behind, both turning their head and looking at me and again, I knew they were giggling and saying, “how long do you think he can run like that” to each other.  

Well this old man kept up,   for at least 10 seconds.  Through the woods I could see the orange lightning bolt slicing through the trees.  We were about 6 acres away, I was ninety six years old and it sounded like I was a steam engine puffing so much.  I was out of breath, weak legged, angry, annoyed and all the words that went with it and I knew I was going to die.  I can just see it now…”Retired Detective died from unknown reasons” in the local paper and Elaine would sell the new pups all the while wondering what I was doing on the other side of the big lake by myself, but that was not going to happen…I pulled up my sock on my shoeless right foot, because my shoe was in the woods somewhere on the path and was off again to catch the orange lightning bolt that was still running and stopping for a little kiss.  As I ran, I really did wonder what the neighbors thought of the shoeless wild man running madly through the woods screaming at nothing but a dog with an orange leash.  Little did they know the real story. 
After what seemed like 4 days we had worked our way all over the farm and ended up back at the house.  In my mind, I was grateful that if I did die, I would be home and they could find me.
I was done…No more was left, It is finished…I went in the walkout door and walked up the step to the first floor, one shoe on, one off, reached on top of the cabinet and pulled it out.  I was lucky, I always saw Gabby running and the orange lightning bolt right in-front, but it was over, only several steps were left in my legs.  I walked on the porch and pointed it in the air, toward the sun and “let it go” The sound of thunder roared from its mouth, belching a 2 foot stream of fire.  The S&W 357 said its peace.  Not a sound was heard anywhere, nor did the wind even blow, but what I did hear, was the sound of a dog running and as it got closer, the lightning bolt ran to the kennel and went in…Luckily, Doc is a little apprehensive about gunshots…and as I turned the latch shut, I patted him on the head and took off his orange lightning bolt, nothing more to say, just Mother Nature at work…

Epilog…

I did find my shoe and then my sock and when a neighbor asked if I knew anything about a “wild” man, I just snickered and asked…”Where did you hear that?”
In Sixty Three days, we'll know for sure…

Moral of the Story

No matter where you start, you may return back to the same place if you don't change your ways… Ken