Sunday

The Hard Part

“The hard part about “this puppy thing”, I wonder if the new puppy owners will love them as much as I do.  I hope and pray they do.”  Ken

This quote is from a post many years ago on our newly developed web page from the first litter we ever had and I still wonder…


Molly's First Litter

I have thought about writing this blog for nearly 10 years, even today it’s hard to put everything into words and I get misty eyed thinking about it.
Many years ago we had two great dogs and loved them so much that we wanted other people to share in what we had, the joys of a great Border Collie.  We were green and unknowing as to what to do and never planned or thought it out much.  “How can this be difficult?” not knowing that breeding and selling the pups could be the only problems.   Because I am an “A” type person and my glass is always half empty, I always strive to better any situation, including the dogs and doing the right thing whether it’s my dogs or someone else’s that needs help.

Dutchess's First Litter


Our first female was bred on February 14th, Valentine’s Day.  I remember saying, “it’s got to be love” and it was.  We helped deliver every pup that was born with the exception of one litter that Dutchess had while we were at work and when I came home, she and the pups were sleeping peacefully and all was right with the world, especially here at the farm.   I worked hard to learn and do the right thing, always wanting the best for my dogs and pups, making sure they went to good responsible and loving homes.  From the very first litter we had, we always had two hard and fast rules, #1, “Don’t over feed the dog” #2.  “If it doesn’t work out, the dog comes back home to us.” And some did.   We always had a “come to Jesus” talk with every owner about every pup that went home concerning their responsibility and I meant every word that I said.  Some listened, some didn’t.  I didn’t always understand why, because it’s so simple, to make a puppy into a good dog if you really want to…

Our First...
As many have read or heard, we will no longer raise pups.  Gabby and Meggie were spayed this week and Annie will be spayed next week.  Doc’s neutering will soon follow. 
I had anticipated this day but believed it was a long way off. Reality hit when we got involved in a puppy mill a few years ago.  The other significant factor came when Karen Newhall and I transported 5 dogs from that same puppy mill to Glen Highland Farm.  We saw the never ending work that took place just to fix “one” broken Border Collie and at times it couldn’t be done… my heart broke.   Was this my wake-up call?  Did this affect me more than I thought it would?  You bet it did.  I want to help and not hinder the breed because I love them. However, I will miss the little squeaks, yelps, and barks and oh I love the puppy breath and smell.  Over the years, we have met so many wonderful people, some continue to be cherished friends and we get together often.  I have talked with people about dogs from all over the world most of whom I have never met.  I have even cried with them when they told me their tragic story about their best friend passing away.   They wanted me to know because they felt I would understand how they felt and I did.  People have even told me that their dog “saved them” and I believe that to be true, because mine has saved me too, in so many ways.

In the Beginning
I started this blog when we were selling pups from an ad in the newspaper.  Everyone wanted to see the pups when they called and wanted me to send an individual photo to them.  My plan was to post them on a website, so I only had to do it once, and it worked, but it worked too well.  Presently, we’ve had nearly five hundred thousand hits and it’s growing all the time, but at times too much.  We’ve spoken to thousands of people that wanted a dog, wanted to sell a dog, wanted to rehabilitate a dog, and wanted help with a breeder.  Google even tries to sell me a front page location on their search engine, which we already have because of our volume, if they would only look, they would realize that that is not necessary.
The long and short of it is, we love the breed, and it was never about money because there is none.
It was about watching the miracle of life.  It was helping people who had a need and the joy of watching a little handful of fur turn into the most loyal and smartest dog in the world.  I have seen hundreds of people pick up their pup and the excitement is overwhelming for both of us.  Little did they know the pain that was left behind as they drove off down the drive way.  Elaine and I shed a tear for each of our pups as they left us, not knowing if we would ever see that pup again. The walk back to the house was always way too long and in our minds, we could still smell the puppy’s breath. 
Remember, from birth until they leave for their new home, we were their birthing assistant, caretaker, nurse, comforter, teacher and the person who picks each pup up and cradles them in our arms thousands of times.  Many nights before bed, I would sing to them while they would sit perfectly still, turning their head from side to side watching and listing to every word.  We used to have a rocking chair in the kennel and at times either Elaine or I would rock the puppies to sleep, cherishing every moment they were still with us. The last pup from a litter that went home was always the worse.  I would go to their kennel area afterward and change it back for an adult dog, but I will tell you the very last litter was so very hard.  Each one that went home meant it was closer to that final pup leaving and the knowledge that we’ll never do this again.  There were many wonderful moments that I will never forget but there are ones that I would like to forget because of a tragedy, but that’s reality and sometimes it just plain sucks.
To my knowledge, we have lost nearly ten dogs to car hits and after each family notifies us, I would always go back to the litter photos and remember them in my own way.   We have always tried to keep in contact with each family, either by email, reunions and even the boarding.  We do this, just to make sure they are alright, plus it allows us to watch “our” pups grow.
Time moves on and life changes.  It was a hard decision made not to breed again, but it’s the right decision.  I’ve always said, “The right decision is usually the hardest ones” and I believe it.  I will miss all of them so much, but I do have memories, videos and nearly 80 gigabits of photos just of the dogs and pups.


My fondest moments with the pups were always singing to them before bed and sitting in the middle of the floor while they climbed all over me, untying my shoestrings, biting my fingers and licking my face.  Some would even suckle my nose looking for food and thinking it was their mom, this was heaven as it should be.  Someday when I cross that bridge… Hopefully I will experience this again…

"Hey, who’s this”?  A Border Collie speaks as someone new arrives at Rainbow Bridge.  A small crowd of Border Collies, that know each other, gather around the new arrival.  There is jumping, barking and running in circles with lots of licks and kisses for the stranger.  "We know you" and for some reason, they did.  Something was familiar, they seemed to know the stranger, but weren’t sure, until he sat down in the middle of the meadow, the dogs gathering around the stranger, discovered that the "one" thing they all had in common with each other was a piece of the strangers heart and “I” was a stranger no more when I started to sing…
Someday we'll all be together again...until that day…take care little ones…I Love You, Dad


Note: This weekly blog has been written every Sunday since June 2010.  It is called “What Happened this Week” and every post is about the dogs and puppies and the things they do during the week, it’s happy, or sad, but always the truth.  I’ve tried to share the good, the bad and even my mistakes.  It’s not written with flair or the best punctuation, but it’s from my heart.  Thanks for reading…  Ken
See you next week or follow us today on Facebook