Sunday

Sleep...



As I sat in my Recliner on Saturday afternoon, I looked around me and saw six Border Collies asleep in various positions in the family room with me and I knew the other two were asleep on the back porch.  It seems like time is marching on and we are getting older and hopefully wiser.  I know I’m older and the “wiser” is still in question, at times. 
We got a dog in on Saturday to stay with us and we see her every year and she is a dreamboat.  As always, we catch up and check on things and have a good short reunion.  I ask, “How old is she, about 4 years old?”  And he said “She is six”  I remember so well her when she was here as a pup and the family that took her and the day she went home and it was not possible that she was because it was like yesterday, but she was.  Where does time go?  Several years ago, my crew would not let take a nap and especially not with me and especially in the day.  They would be barking and licking my hand wanting me to get up and do something and we would.  Today they look for a place to flop down and just be content they are together.  Even Dutchess has come to appreciate my lap and will come and stand at the foot of the recliner and until I give the command “up” and she will climb into my lap and circle once before falling into a deep sleep, something she would never do before.
We have had dogs for many years and started out pretty na├»ve.  Like most people, we think we know everything and have learned the ropes by trial and error and what works for us.  We learn every day and with each new litter we do something different after the fact, we ask ourselves “why didn’t we do that before?” it much easier and better.  I’ve always said that just about the time we’re too old to do this, we will be experts.  In some funny ways, many have suggested a book, but I know I’m no expert, just what works for me and if I did, it would be some of the funny stories and there are thousands…besides would any one read it, much less follow it…like most things, you have to live it before you do it.

After just a short time of rest and relaxation on Saturday, which is always coveted, I felt something on my face.  When I opened my eyes, Dutchess was holding her head up near mine and from the side of her mouth she had her tongue out sideways, and was licking my face letting me know something was up…From a deep short sleep, this was awakening and startling but when she went for my nose holes, I was wide awake and in a hurry.  This woke Abbie up and she ran immediately to the “ball” drawer and starting barking for a ball.  Meg jumped up on the couch and also started prancing and barking looking at Abbie and telling her to get the ball in “dog talk”.  Annie ran to Abbie as to help her get the ball and hopefully it will pop out the drawer by more barking, but did not but only intensified the effect.  Gabby, as always ran after the other dogs barking and crouching at them watching every move wanting to herd them.  By now, Annie found a ball that was stashed by her and had it in her mouth.  All the dogs were running after her trying to get it and they were jumping from one couch to another and in a circle.  Clancy just looked at me as if to say, “I can’t stop them…its outa control” and it was.  This whole time, Dutchess looked at me and with those sad eyes said “I guess it’s time to get up” the whole time knowing what she did.  As she sashayed up the steps, I thought of what a little stinker she is as we went to play ball...
Maybe they’re not as old as I thought…

A Passion...

Everyone needs a passion…no I’m not talking about a movie star (don’t go there), I’m talking about something you love to do that you can put your heart in and get some real satisfaction added to your life.  I started work when I was 14 years old and I pumped gas at a local filling station after school.  I made $1.00 an hour and I was in heaven and very rich, I thought.  I have been so fortunate to have a job that I liked all the way to retirement at 43 years old, and even a few jobs that I did for something to do, but when I was ready, I moved on, and look for something to do and knew I need something I really liked. 
I love my life and wouldn’t change a thing and really didn’t think I could be happier in the things I do.  It started when I needed to keep the deer out of my garden and flower beds.  I got a border collie because I need a dog to keep them out and he did.  He was “free to a good home” from the newspaper and he could have easily have been a mix or a shepherd or anything else, but fate intervened, that is how I got to where I got and I saw my first border collie.  One thing about a passion, not only does it usually help you, he can help in other ways and this is something I never knew.  Where would we be now if the free dog was anything else? 
Yesterday, we had one of our former pups “Thadd” come to town to see us and to reconnect with our dogs.  He is a beautiful dog and has the best dog parents ever, as many of our dogs parents are!  He works and plays and shares so much love at the nursing home, church functions and everyone he touches.  This has made me ponder about how my passion has led others to have a similar passion too.
As I look back and see all the wonderful friends we have and the lives that has been touched because of the dogs I am grateful that my passion has helps in so many areas…who would have thought…
I think what surprises me, is this phenomena is not just with me, but anyone who might look at the opportunities to do something that they love.  The odds of what happened were about zero.  I had looked for something to do in my idle time that would give me some purpose and enjoyment.  I looked at a few crafts, woodworking or stained glass but you can only make so many kid toys or stained glass windows and I guess I can give my work as Christmas presents but after a few years, I’m sure people would hate to see us coming,  I even bought some plans and would set up shop in a building I have and little did I know that fate would strike me and that same building became my first dog kennel and not a workshop?  But if we allow our thoughts to expand and see what we can truly do, it’s amazing and is but the first step is ours.
As I sat back and look at all of the good things the dogs do, I am amazed that so many lives have been touched by good fortune and as I have spoken before, many lives are changed by others getting up and doing something and living their dream.  I personally see people going to herd sheep with their dog, dock diving with their dog, healing others with their dog through therapy and even search and rescue.
With me, the passion didn’t come all at once and with some it doesn’t but it nurtured itself and grew on its own, I just allowed it too and when I saw an opportunity, I let it continue, it’s also the opportunity of the dogs and who knows, it might be their passion too.  I once remember many months ago, I saw a video of one of our pups on the dogs Facebook page that had just learned how to jump off the dock at a dock diving facility and once he learned, he was in heaven and kept going back for more and we were all in heaven.  Sometime later I was invited by a friend of ours to take one of our dogs dock diving, Clancy met up with "Nelly & Ruby".  We met “Leo” the young dog that was in the video and everyone had a ball jumping and diving and getting together and everyone did great, but whose passion is it and who knows, it might be the dogs.  Clancy was the dad to Leo and Nelly and Meg was the mother of Ruby.  

But the point is just do something.  Remember, I didn’t really want a dog, I never had a border collie, I felt uncomfortable around people and I didn’t especially like older people because I didn’t know what to say, but in every case, it was the passion of the dogs and they have taught me many lessons about life, people and my limitations and with their eyes and love, they do the talking…and remember it’s not always about us and to get love, you need to give love and the dogs are great at it.  Ken
The're waiting for us, and they have the passion...

A Starfish Made a Difference...



“Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

Once upon a time, I was not a very wise man and went to work, never writing and only lived for the day, thinking of myself…

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As I walked along, I never looked at anything nor did I see anything or anyone because I was too busy and never smiled at myself.  I walked faster to get more done…

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

As I got closer, I saw myself doing nothing, and I was going nowhere…

He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"

I came closer, and I said nothing to him…

The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean."

I didn’t listen…

"I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man.

I said nothing…

To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up, and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die."

I started to think…

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach, and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"

I always thought I couldn’t…

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said,
"It made a difference for that one.”

I never helped anyone or anything and then bent down and started to help…
Loren Eiseley  and  Ken Shuck

Sometimes we feel like we can’t help or undertake anything, and it may be that we just haven’t put one foot in front of the other. 

Dutchess...The First dog I took in, that needed a home, and my life changed...
Years ago, when we got our first dogs, I had a different outlook on life.   I am so pleased, and with the help of friends who have our same passion, we have helped find Border Collies a good home.  Not only does it change the life of the dog, it changes the life of the family receiving the dog, but the real benefit is that it changes the person rescuing, and this last Friday "it saved another".  Only with your help and people who have this passion can we accomplish anything.  At one time, I did not care and only “talked the talk” and when I realized that I needed something more, I “walked the walk” and my life changed, when I “bend down, pick up a starfish”… There are more dogs than I can imagine that needs help, and we can't save them all but to that dog that we help... it does.       Ken

Follow Clancy's Dream

Evolution?

It’s so funny to watch them do the things they do…Of Course Border Collies is what I am talking about.  Even on this page, it says “There are so many things that happen during a week with eight Border Collies and it is so fun to share” and that’s true.  But there is a warning here that we need to heed.  I do not believe in evolution as it is stated from a single cell and if this is the case, and in time, Border Collies will become our masters.  Just look at the things they do and the intelligences they have.  They are thinkers and planners and if they had thumbs they could drive a car. 

I see each one of them cock their head as if gaining more knowledge and when they turn from one side to the other and the smarts actually seems to come to them, because they usually figure it out.  Last night just about killed me from laughter, as Annie is always hungry because she needs the nutrition for the babies.  A big bag of corn chips was finished and it had a few crumbs in it and Annie was interested in it and as usual, I gave her a last crumb by hand and she decided she wanted to clean the bag.  I was on the couch and so was the bag.  She jumped next to me and stuck her head inside the bag, trying to get all the little pieces.  She was not having any success in reaching the bottom and she raised her head up and places the bottom of the bag on the back of the couch and ever so gently, pushed her head to the bottom, licking all the way.  She had figured out that if you push against something and turn your head up, a reward is in the works.  What made it so funny, she would lick the side of the bag as she was pushing her head to the bottom of the clear bad.  She then jumped off the couch where she had more room and would walk around effortlessly hold the bag up in the air and getting the very last tasty fragments.  After she was satisfied it was empty, she held her head down and put one paw on the bag and so effortlessly took it off and jumped back on the couch licking her lips.  No shaking the bag or ripping it up, logic used and problem solved as is done many times with many problems.

I have seen them do things that have surprised me and the way they solve a problem is remarkable.  Each dog is different and I have seen many do things, but the smarts they have can get them into problems because they think and problem solve all the time and at times, I think they can out solve me.  In an exhausted statement, I have ask Elaine "am I stupid or is the dog smarter than me"...and do not want to know the answer. 

If there is any species that can/would evolve, it would be the Border Collie and God help us if Dutchess starts to grow thumbs…can you imagine…I can’t… Ken

Answered Question...

 On Friday, as I took my second step onto the ice of the lake…a loud crack echoed but there was no time to react when I fell through and I just pushed forward with more determination toward the middle of the lake, toward my purpose.  My tunnel vision had set in and the only object in my sight was the ever sinking face of a dog that was struggling to keep afloat, 30 feet from me.  In just a short time I was witnessing the fear and its life seemed to be weakening in front of me and we have a problem.

Just a few minutes earlier, the dogs, guest dogs and I were playing and I went inside to get warm and clean up and to let them rest.  I heard a dog whine and looked out the window, and at first, I didn’t see anything but when I stepped onto the porch looking toward the lake, an explosion of fear bolted through my mind and the adrenaline flooded throughout by body like a lightning rod and not “one” single second was wasted on anything!  Through the house I ran as fast as I could to the closest door which was the walkout door, and I flew through it, not even closing it as I sped to my mission which was clear and ever present. 

After I fell through, and was neck deep in the water I still had 25 feet to go and the ice was nearly 3 inches thick and appeared to be getting denser.  My only tools were my hands and fists and it appeared to be working for the moment but my movement was slowing and I was coming to a stop.  With no tools to help and no time to get them, I needed a plan and in a micro seconds I had to think and the dog’s eyes never looked away and kept me focused on my mission which had to be completed at any cost and I knew there was not a second to lose.  The only thought that came to mind, if I couldn’t break the ice, I could swim to the dog underwater and while I am a excellent swimmer and scuba diver, I know directions can easily change underwater and the chances of finding a dog in a small hole 30 feet from shore are nearly impossible and the chances of surviving are about zero especially in black water because there is no sunlight under the ice and then to bring the dog with me underwater to the very spot I came from is a very long shot and there is only one chance at it or you’re trapped.  With that now calculated, I was determined to forge ahead and with all my might, breaking the ice, there was no other way and it HAD to break.  

With all the fortitude I had, I pounded the cold hard ice with my fist, forearms and chest, and it started breaking in pieces, it was hard, but it broke and I made it to the dog that was depending on me to save its life and we both knew it.  Thirty feet from shore and in twenty feet of black water, the dog latched onto me with all four feet and attempted to crawl on me because I was solid ground which is a normal instinct.  While in college, I was a lifeguard and was trained in rescue and used the very training to turn the dog around and started pulling it from the back, swimming through the ice chunks to the shore, but when I turned, I discovered another monumental problem… 
Other dogs were now on the shore and attempting to come to me but no reason matters, it’s not play time and they can’t help, only hurt and more possible tragedies could occur, so with all the strength I had, I shouted “Go…Away” and every one knew the uncompromising voice, and turned and ran to the kennel but not before stopping, looking and knowing something was very wrong, but they obeyed.  When I got within fifteen feet of shore and the dog was facing the right direction, I pushed with all of my might, pushing the dog even closer, I had a very brief break but in just a short second, the dog turned and came back for protection and the challenge to survive was on again in ice water that was now only 10 feet deep but could have been 100.  Breathing air and gasping water, this was going to stop, one way or another.  I again turned the dog and pushed kicking my way closer and once I touched ground, I knew I was home free, choking and wheezing for air, we were on solid ground…we had a chance.

There was no pain or cold…those feelings were gone and that scared me and during the long walk back to the kennel, my socks froze to my ankles and my tee shirt was frozen too.  When I reached the kennel, I dried the dog off, bedding it down, making sure everything was alright, got a lick and walked to the house on hard rocks, not feeling any pain.  Stripped, I got into the shower, I knew to start with cold water and as it got just a little warmer the pain started.  My legs, arms, feet and chest started bleeding as the circulation was returning and blood was now flowing from the cuts just made, as were tears, but we were alive.

I never understood why a person would run back into a burning building to save someone even if they knew their life would be in danger, but as I sit here typing, I now do.  Nothing will stop you and for years, I have played this very scenario over in my mind a thousand times and never had the answer, today I do.
Everyone is fine, maybe a little wiser but truly know the driving force of love and determination and doing what is needed to be done…is very strong.

One of the factors that may have helped in this rescue, was the fact that when I came in after playing, I took a quick shower and as I was starting to dress afterwards, I heard the dog whining from outside and went into action, I only had on a tee shirt and white socks, which allowed me to swim…
Would I do it again?...you bet...Ken