Sunday

A Quite Time...

We are in the dead of winter here at the farm and this winter has been one for the books.  As I set here next to the window, I hear the roar of the season from the wind and as I look outside, even though it is sunny on this Saturday, I see the snow blowing sideways from the 35 mile an hour wind that seems constant.  But there is a peace about it as I look down and see several dogs laying at my feet.  Just last night Keely, a guest dog was next to me on the couch with her front paws and head in my lap as I stroked her head and she deeply slept.  Dutchess was between my legs, stretched from one end of the recliner to the other and I too rubber her head.  She watched me for the longest time, not wanting to give it up for sleep, but she did.  Clancy had curled himself up in a dog bed in front of the TV.  He was sound asleep and was dreaming, and I know this because I watched him run and chase rabbits in his dreams.

Several nights ago, Meg was in and as always, she would sit close to me and “paw” my hand to get me to rub her, and when I do, her eyes would drift into the back of her head and she seems to be in paradise.  Everyone has a routine to get attention one way or another, but the worse is Gabby…on a dead run, she will run toward me and at about 8 feet away, she will leap into my lap.  This is very cute if you are prepared for it, but when you’re asleep, this can be the fastest you ever woke up.  In addition to the leaping, she will roll in your lap, one minute she is curled up like a ball and five seconds later, she’s on her back and her feet are straight up in the air and will do this for hours, but all of the dogs can root their nose under your arm and keep it up until you have to rub their head.  This must be a Border collie requirement because I have always seen it happen and in a way, they need it. It’s very comforting to have the dogs nuzzle, paw, cuddle and snuggle with you and I am so glad they do.  Not only is the Border Collie the Smartest dog breed it is the most loyal dog, but then if you have one, you know this...

As Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson so beautifully writes in Dogs Never Lie About Love, "Learning to know somebody intimately is often the beginnings of dislike, sometimes even of contempt. Among humans, love often does not survive a growing acquaintance, but in a dog, love seems to grow with acquaintance, to get stronger, deeper. Even when fully acquainted with all our weaknesses, our treachery, our unkindness, the dog seems to love strongly — and this dog love is returned by most humans. We, too, seem to love our dogs the more we get to know them. The bond grows between us and our dogs."

This is why we need dogs, not only do they fill a void, hopefully, we fill their needs too.  They do something for us that rarely a human can do. No matter how messy your life gets, no matter how many mistakes you make or how often you make them, regardless of your looks, income or social standing, your dog never judges you. They always thinks you are wonderful and loves you with all their heart.

It’s late Saturday night and as I am finishing up this writing, one of the dog’s jumps up, putting its paws on my chair and it suddenly it came to me.  I turned and welcomed the dog into my lap and thought about this moment.  This is not for me, it’s for the dog.  “They” need the attention, love, kindness and compassion from us.  I always thought it was the other way around and they give to us but it works both ways, and I don't always see it.   I hugged her as long as she wanted and wonder, do I give enough…

"Dogs are minor angels, and I don't mean that facetiously. They love unconditionally, forgive immediately, are the truest of friends, willing to do anything that makes us happy.  If we attributed some of those qualities to a person we would say they are special.  If they had ALL of them, we would call them angelic. But because it's "only" a dog, we dismiss them as sweet or funny but little more.  However when you think about it, what are the things that we most like in another human being?  Many times those qualities are seen in our dogs every single day-- we're just so used to them that we pay no attention".  Jonathan Carroll
Let's think about it...
Ken

The "Visit"


As the big day approached, I started getting the paperwork together and making sure the collars were clean, the leads were reads and most of all, the dogs were washed and brushed.  I was a little excited and scared at the same time wondering what to expect.  This was our first official visit of many visits to a “facility” as a therapy dog and handler.  Dutchess sensed something was up and she was overly excited and bounced around the house knowing something was up…”I hope it’s not the Vet” she said, “they usually stick things where they don’t belong and besides, it’s always cold” with a scowl on her face along with an empty stomach, she knew something was up…and off we went, little did she know…

All the way there, she sat in the back of the car looking around wondering where we were going, watching the cars pass with her tail between her legs, “no one is going there… if I can help it”  she said but as we pulled into the facility, her tail went up, out she came and off we went…

After making our presences known with the Activity Director that we had previously talked with, we were given free reign of the facility.  We were met in the lobby by several patrons of the facility that couldn’t wait, wanting to touch and kiss and of course, they got to, and even got much more back with Dutchess’s enthusiasm and affection.  One nurse said to make sure we went to room 403, she loves dogs and she can’t get out of bed and she would be so happy.  We worked our way through the maze of people and saw everyone who wanted a visit, which was many…Dutchess put on her charm and would even hold up one paw to shake hands.  She played with them, giving licks/kisses and even helped house cleaning by searching the floor trying to smell her morning breakfast which never came until later.  I thought best that she would travel on an empty stomach for apparent reasons, we may have to rethink this.

It was a wonderful visit and we made many new friends and hopefully we will see all of them again.  Ms. Pearl* was so excited to see the dogs but said she was lucky to see us, because she was going home tomorrow and I inquired where home was?  We found out it was in another Independent Home, where she lived for the last 9 years.   Ms. Pearl was at this location because she had a setback, but is now doing much better and leaving for home.  After leaving, Elaine and I talked about our visit and the pro’s and con’s and we discovered that there were no con’s.

Ms. Pearl, was being transfer to her long-standing Independent Retirement Home the next day but before we traveled back home, we paid a visit to that same location Ms. Pearl was moving to, and hopefully next week, we will see Ms. Pearl again, because management welcomed us with open arms and it will be on our schedule, we are the only ones doing this at this location. 

Dutchess was not alone as Clancy was with her.  You see, even though Clancy did not pass his evaluation for unforsaken reasons, he can still visit, just not certified which can restrict his locations which is understandable.  He was a champ, doing all the right things and making everyone feel good and even getting on the bed which was allowed.  It was the best of times…

“Look into their eyes,  and you will ultimately see yourself. An emotional mirror, looking back at you, animal to animal. Never mind dominance or the bag of treats, our dog’s behavior is driven by our emotion. And then it goes deeper still, know thy dog, know thyself”.
- Tom Ashbrook

Note:
If you are interested in visiting a nursing home or an Independent Living facility, just check, most will allow a visit.  Thaddeus, one of our pups from Annie/Doc and is well on his way to becoming a wonderful Therapy dog and makes regular visits now at only 7 months old and had taken the hearts of many.  Clancy can go because he has been immunized and that is the only requirement as with Thaddeus.  It is a very moving experience and will touch your heart.  Lord knows, I have been on both ends and in truth, this end is better but I can’t help to think that when I looked into the eyes of some of the patients, I was looking into my own eyes…very moving.  Ken

*Ms. Pearl…not her real name.

A Difference…

If you feel that you might get your toes stepped on, or this is directed at you or anyone you know, it is not…

This has been a very bad winter season for some dogs, there are some positive outcomes and changed ways of many people have occurred because some concerned citizens worked together.  I am citing a case that was all over the social media outlets this week and it also made big news in the New York papers.  Glen Highland Border Collie Farm was asked by the Montgomery County SPCA to assist in the seizure of many border collies at Flat Creek Border Collies, in Sprakers, NY.   The short of it, people got together and did something to protect nearly 100 border collies that were chained outside in the negative 45 below zero weather with no water that had been gripping the north/east for nearly a week, and it worked…

The short point, people got together and worked as a group, a Facebook page was started and hundreds and thousands of people called the Governor, senators, representatives, SPCA, law enforcement and even drove by the house just to watch and check.  Local media and law enforcement was besieged by the complaints from people who cared about the dogs and when Law Enforcement did not file charges, they were sued by the group.   In this particular case, I have a friend that also contacted the leaders of this very cause and offered any help, as did I, and I know this is not the first time for them.  This case gripped at the hearts of many, but they organized, and it worked…and even a state representative is going to introduce changes in the law, which we need to do too.  If we don’t complain, nothing will change for the better, because there is not a problem in their eyes, and it can work, the dogs were rescued and the owner was charged, but it took work…

I was also contacted by a friend that had deleted a post that was put on their own social media a few days ago about animal abuse that was horrid and in their own words;

“It did disturbed me, and I did not even watch it, it had to affect others that way too.  I looked at her page and she had a lot of post of dogs and how they died. Don't need people in my life like that.  I know it is a public forum and you can post anything, but videos that disturbing, I will use my option and block you. It was removed off the page last night, I guess people see helping animals, is spreading the bad. This lady has never been to a meeting or function.” 

The person who posted has never helped or raised a finger to save an animal and I too delete these types of post on our dog’s Facebook page.  It’s one thing to alert and ask for help, to change something, but you need to do more than “share”, and it can work…
Because of the cold season, it has been bad for animals, but hot weather and rainy weather is bad too.  Because I’m connected in the dog world, I know of people that make “cat shelters” for outside strays that they can’t catch, and will bring inside the ones they can, they also round up dogs giving them shelter too, but you can also donate your time to the local shelter, or give food, old towels, or stop and see what they need, it works…
Make a difference, get involved, do something, don’t just “share” or “agree” to a post, I got this from a friend this week;

“Anyone can take 1 seconds to share, it takes a person who wants change to do something about it, then in my opinion you become the voice for the animals.”  

You can use social media to help and for a good purpose, but remember when someone shares, they are asking for help and hopefully they have done everything they can do and are now asking for more assistance.  As I have said, not everyone can foster or work at a shelter/rescue, but everyone can support in some way,  It does my heart good to know that the many dogs that I have rescued and agencies that have benefited from my support can do so, even if I don’t see the results.  My only hope is the shelter or the new owner will hold their face, looking into their eyes and tell them “We love you” and then, the dream really works…
Ken


Glen Highland Farm is a 501-C-3 organization and are accepting donations for the care of the fully surrendered dogs from the Flat Creek Border Collies raid.  Your help will be greatly appreciated! Visit this link to make a donation online:  I did…

Let's have a "Party"

Well here it is, just 5 days after New Year’s Day and a time to reflect back on last year and the events on this “Eve”…
New Year’s Eve fell just a few days ago and everyone had a blast here at the farm.  Elaine and I were going to have a quiet time and watch the ball drop at midnight or so we thought… In the past, we’ve had friends over and a party would usually last until the sun came up and we would have breakfast but this year was a little different.  This year it was with our 4 legged friends and we would watch the “ball” together or so we thought…again…
We know “ball playing” with Dutchess was out because of the turned over recliner and the Christmas on the ground with its ornaments on the floor, so we needed to think up something different this year…
”Thanks Dutchess” as she looked to the ground.
Let's have a party! was shouted, and as soon as these words were spoken, Dutchess's ears perked up...

First we needed to know, what we would eat for the party?  Some of the dogs wanted to try some new kibble, but Clancy wanted a big juicy bone and Dutchess wanted a Frisbee full of potato chips and when she was done, she said “she” could play with the Frisbee…This was quickly nixed for various reasons but the main one was because we were still picking up Christmas ornaments that had fallen under the couch.  I chose a new kibble, it was safe and much better than potato chips.  Annie wasn’t hungry as usual so things were fine and it was OK with her.  “What to drink…What to drink” Dutchess exclaimed… ”Champagne”? With great big eyes and a happy smile…”NO” I said “clean water and not dirty water from the pond” Such a sad face she had…

Ok, what are we going to do?  “TV” Meggie said “but I want my spot on the couch”  “No I want it” said Gabby and just then Clancy said “it’s mine...if I want it” and the room went quiet except Dutchess shouted… ”Wine…Wine…Wine, I’ve seen you drink it and besides, it’s good for us”…”NO” I said “clean water for you, and beside I don’t want to see the effect, especially with you”, again bowing her head…so mistreated I thought…
Molly wanted some lap time, Doc wanted to be in charge of the pack but got the stink eye from Clancy…little did Clancy know it would soon happen.  Abbie just wanted to be alone and to be the house dog again, not having every “guest dogs” inside so she wouldn’t be booted out.
All in all we all said what we wanted and it was all a little different but in the long run, it was “Peace” and getting along and knowing what the other one liked and needed.  

Everyone was full and comfortable after the snack, and after watching TV and feeling cozy near the fire, we all drifted asleep.  Gabby on my lap, Annie’s head on my arm, Molly and Clancy side by side on their pallet, Meggie curled in a ball on the couch, Doc upside down next to Meggie and Abbie at my foot watching, just to make sure no one comes close to me.  We all were at peace as we’d wished for and the world was in full of harmony…I heard the clock strike twelve and opened my eyes and saw Dutchess gulping down the Champagne from the half empty glass and as she finished, she turned to me saying…”got orange juice…I love Mimosa’s”…Thank Goodness the Christmas tree was down…

As I heard the singing of “Auld Lang Syne”, which is a Scottish song from my chair, I looked around and saw peace, and as you know, the song is meant to evoke the memories of the past year and brings on new hope for the New Year, I just wonder what the New Year would bring. 

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