Sunday

Destiny or Divine Again?

Last year, two or our pups from different litters were sold to a “perfect farm home with a good piece of land” and everything was wonderful until September of this year.  Some may remember the updates from the owners;

Some delinquents were out shooting guns and causing a raucous.  It spooked our “Chauncey”, who is terrified of gunfire and fireworks.  She literally mangled her kennel and took off.  We searched all day and evening yesterday looking for her.  This morning at 8 am we received a call from our neighbor.  At the very least, she will lose her leg.

After several good days when Chauncey first came home from the Vet’s office, things turned very wrong, very fast…

“Chauncey” has put up a good fight, but we just can’t put her through anymore.  We are saying goodbye to her in a little while.

I cried for them and Chauncey, you will never know the pain until you go through this, it is everyone’s worst nightmare.  Not only is this some of the most devastating news for the owners, it’s also devastating to the other dog that was left behind.  He had never been alone without his companion and playmate, they went home together from the farm to start their new life or so they thought…
Several dog placements came up and I talked to the owners over several months, but it was just not the right time.  Sometime later I got some information from a friend in another state…
From Craigslist;
“Free to good home, beautiful female Border collie named Nya, around 9 months old. Great with kids, very active. Will require a farm home or a good piece of land.”  I immediately called the owner and went after the dog the next morning.  Even before bringing her home we stopped at the Vet’s office for a bath, shots and spay all of which she needed.
Ellie...
 I had many inquiries but the first one was from Chauncey’s owner.  After several emails and messages “Nya”, now “Ellie” found a wonderful home, with a wonderful dog that lost his playmate “on a farm home and a good piece of land”… Two lives were made complete again along with the owners.
The peculiar thing about this, although a horrible situation happened, two dogs from very different paths and states were united and found each other which also reminds me of another situation I wrote about several years ago.

Read Destiny or Divine here...

"Makes you think this was predestined to be. I'm just glad I could be a small part of it.  Destiny or Divine?”  These are the words I said in July 2011 on another pairing of a man and a dog that was unbelievable
For whatever reason, sometimes things happen and we just don’t understand why the outcome happened and probably never will but I will tell you it is so gratifying to help people put their lives together after a nightmare had occurred
I have always said “you never can replace a cherished dog when that time comes, you can just enhance the love and experience it again, only different”
Jetter from Destiny or Divine...
If I have learned anything about life and dogs, there are reasons things happen, I have seen it a hundred times and each time it’s gets better.  If you ever get a chance to help put a life back together while saving a dog…It doesn't get any better… While I have seen this many times here on the farm, Chauncey death affected me and Ellie was such a unique young dog.

I am asked many times “how do you do it, how do you let them go?” and my answer is always the same, “because there is always one more to help” trust me there is…  Good luck “Army” and “Ellie”, although your life has had many bumps and bruises, now enjoy it together “on a farm home and a good piece of land”   Ken

You Wanna?


Last night I was sitting on the couch and we were just finishing dinner and as usual, the dogs wanted part of our food.  I will give them a snack during our snack time but when it comes to my main meal, it’s all mine so there is no sharing.  I even tell the dogs “this is my supper, don’t eat mine and I won’t eat yours” and they seem to understand.  After we were done, I looked at Shepp, “you wanna go eat?” I said, and his ears popped up and his big brown eyes opened wide, his mouth opened a little and he was all smiles while he cocked his head from side to side.  I said it again, “you wanna go eat?” and then Finn looked up and her ears went up too because she also understood.  
Finn
Don’t tell me they don’t understand, I know they do I thought.  Shepp and Finn went to the door and Little Boo went too, he knew something was up.  Before I got up and opened the door, I said it again and again and they were all excited and started barking, they were hungry and they let me know.  I’ve seen a lot of dogs but I never thought I would see ones that can understand things you say and at times Border Collies know, Elaine and I will spell the word out so the dog doesn’t get excited and even then, sometimes they do, scary... 
A border collie called Chaser has been taught the names of 1022 items more words than any other animal. She can also categorize them according to function and shape, something children learn to do around the age of 3 year old.  Over three years, they taught the Chaser the names of 1022 toys by introducing them to her one by one, getting her to fetch the toy and then repeating the name to reinforce the association. They regularly tested Chaser on her vocabulary by putting random groups of 20 toys in another room and having her fetch them by name.  Chaser, now 10, never got less than 18 out of 20 right, in 838 separate tests over three years and to think, I get excited when I say a few words and they do what I want or sit down. 
Chaser the Border Collie
It always starts out the same, a new dog or boarder comes in and they are a little unsure of what I want them to do when I give the commands but they will watch what mine are doing and usually follow suit.  In a few days, after watching, they fit right in and go with the flow with my commands.  Do they just follow or do they really understand?  It’s my opinion that we put the confines on what they know by “not” working with them more than we do and I too am guilty of this.  Nearly every dog will usually know, sit, shake and a few other words and commands but have you ever thought of the quandary we would be in if they knew more words than the few we teach them?  It would be heaven because they could be my helper or learn a task.  Several times in the past, we have had dogs that loved to play with sticks and although we don’t play with them for safety and health reasons, they will bring us a stick and then another and another and so on.  Elaine once said that “if this keeps up, we’ll have all the sticks picked up” and she was right because they are driven and smarter than we know.

While I am sure that they know “let’s go eat”, “let’s go outside” or “let’s potty”, this is only the starting point of the thousands of things that they could do and learn.  I can only imagine the trouble that Dutchess could get into if she knew 1022 different words.  When I say something and look into their eyes I know they know what I am talking about.  Even when I look at something they want such as a door, gate or Frisbee they will watch me look, look at me with their perked up ears and in my heart, I know they are reading my mind, and to think we only thought they knew “sit”.  Ken
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Wiggle, Wiggle, Wiggle...

Wiggle wiggle wiggle, twist, jump and spin.  I’m sure all of us have seen this many times if you have had a young BC or young dog.  We are watching “Lola”, Gabby’s last pup until she goes home in a day or two and to say it has been an adventure, is an understatement.   I have seen the above descriptions many times because she has stayed in the house with us getting her training and rearing.  I too remember our own young dogs having the zoomies going from one side of the house to the other.  There is nothing like “full on” puppy energy and Lola sure has it.
Many people have ask, “When do they slowdown, because I wish they would”  I first ask them, “Do you give them things to do and keep them busy?”  After talking about their activity for a few minutes, and my opinion and advice is given, all is set.  I do remember the puppy stage so well and just by chance, have been plunged into it again.  Wiggle, twist, jump and spin are in the vocabulary of a young BC and Oh how have I forgot them running down the driveway, me running after them and their ears set back from the wind running to the end of the world.  “When do they slow down, I wish she would?” I ask myself forgetting my own advice but I soon remember.  If there is any consolation, they do slow down, but with some melancholy.
As I have watched some of my own dogs grow into senior dogs over the years, I thought I would love the “slower” time.  Now don’t get me wrong, I do love some quiet time, but I also see a little gray, slower gaits and aches and pains and rather than jumping on the couch, they slowly climb, and it makes me sad because we are closer to that inescapable bridge.

The one that hurts me the most is Dutchess, while she is still spunky and very playful I can tell she is getting a little slower with some of the things she does.  She has always been the dog that instigated all the activity here on the farm and still does, but now she picks things that works for her.  She will run with the best and youngest of them, but when she lays down, her body and joints are not as quick to return and even though she will get up for more play, she is just a little slower but with some effort she is ready to start again and go full speed.
As I know so well, I to know the effects of a little age and I too will pick my battles and activity just like Dutchess, Molly and Clancy but we do have to face some aches and pains and consequences.  Several times I have noticed that some of our dogs will take a few more naps and seem to be more relaxed than they use to be.  Molly has always wanted to be near me and get her head scratched but Dutchess has always been too busy to subsume to such nonsense, but that time seems to be changing.  Clancy will now pick his battles not needing to win all of them.
In just the last three months, Dutchess had made a point to come inside the house and find a place to lay down, but her most sought-after place is when I settle into the recliner and park her butt next to my feet.  She will look at me with her soulful eyes and as soon as I say “come up”, she will climb into my lap where she will sleep for hours in-between my legs as I rub her head and she dreams of younger days, occasionally licking my hand with gratitude. When it comes time for me to leave because I need to get up for a few minutes, I will ask her to get down, but as soon as I come back to the chair, she’s right back to her “spot” and off she goes to dreamland again… Little does she know, her “spot” is shared with each on of the dogs and I covet each visit.  As I rub her face, as I do with each one, I too think of the younger times that we all have shared with each other and the life bridges we have crossed.  We’ve seen the good and bad in each other, but we also know we are family and friends and there is a love and respect for each other.  

As I rub their faces and stroke their fur, I too remember the days when they all had the zoomies, wiggling, running, twisting and barking.  I do know that they have “slowed down” and there is not a better place than in my lap as we both drift off to dreamland.

Rest well Dutchess, Molly and Clancy, but to my readers, remember what you wish for…  Ken

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What Do You Do?...

I have spoken about this several times and it’s only gets worse.  This Saturday morning, I was awaken at just a little after 5 am.  I don’t know how/why it happens but it does and when it does to you, it a surprise at first but par for the course thereafter.  My life use to be simple with nothing to do but decide what we wanted to watch on TV and what kind of snack you get before bedtime and now even this has changed. 
If you’re a Border Collie owner, you know exactly what I mean.  This Saturday morning right after 5 am, Dutchess moved even closer (on top) of me in the bed because she was cold, and when she moved, Abby decided it was face washing time and even Annie got into the picture by getting on the other side of Dutchess and laying on my hand.  So here I was Dutchess laying against my back, Abby licking my face and Annie laying on my hand, I was trapped.  
Abby waiting to wash...
I was so tired and just wanted to sleep and desperately tried, but to no avail.  Things really went downhill when Abby licked me so much, not only was my face wet, I had to turn the pillow over to get a dry spot and it was still 5:10 am.  Enough is enough…I got up and moved to the recliner where I could lean back and get a little cat nap before time to get up.  After stretching out and closing my eyes, Molly sitting next to me decided she wanted to paw my arm for attention, which she did about every 10 minutes or when I would drift off and my hand fell off her head.  Funny how things change when you get a dog…
One thing that is so funny is when Dutchess is fast asleep and you need to move her around the bed so you can at least have part of the bed, she will “talk” to you in dog “talk” telling you how upset she is.  There is no doubt that she is not pleased with the move but needs her beauty sleep but at times I wondered if it was worth it.  I guess the fact is, it’s worth it to them if I got up and moved yesterday morning.


When we do settle down for TV time at night, after an hour or two, I usually get a hankering for a small snack.   I will go to the snack cabinet and pick something out not only for me, but also something that the dogs will like because every time I sit with a snack, I get one bite, then Dutchess, then Abby, then Clancy and so on.  After nine snacks have been handed out, I finally get one again.  I just hope they don’t figure out that I break theirs in half.  Dutchess will give me the evil eye if I go out of order and I usually find myself at the grocery store asking “will the dogs like this”, and usually the answer is yes but peanuts are not one of Abby’s favorites and I’m waiting for a snack list from them.  If it’s a little past our snack time, Dutchess will get up…look at me…bark…walk to the snack cabinet…bark and you know it’s time for a snack, so don’t run out, they’ll be sure to let you know…

Mine sure have some idiosyncrasies and I always find myself thinking “what would the dogs want” I’m just glad they can’t drive…but do they want to?  I’ve always wondered what some other BC’s parents do and if I’m the crazy one… Ken
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