Sunday

A Snowy Day...

A Snowy Day…
Last year, we had snow nearly all winter long and the dogs had a ball and life was good.  This year was expected to be another snowy year and we looked so forward to this winter season but as it got closer and we all were excited to see the cold weather arrive it meant that snow was soon behind, or so we thought…
We waited and waited and it appeared that the whole United States received snow but us.  It would get close to our area but always petered out.  Don't get me wrong, we have had a very harsh winter here on the farm with many rainy days which meant dirty dogs. 

A below zero cold front came in November which is unusual before January but as quick as it came in, it was gone and wet weather soon found us again.  February is always unpredictable but you expect some days that are not below the freezing mark, but this year, it’s the opposite.  It has been a very cold month, and at times the nights have been at below zero for days on end which brings up one special problem.  Doc hates to be kenneled, he just can't stand to be put up and as much as we have tried, there is just no doing it.  He loves the outside and enjoys his porch and laying by the back door.  He is welcome to come in, but his loves his outside space.  I installed a dog door to the heated garage, a heat light where he sleeps, an igloo doghouse on the back porch but his loves his space and will usually sleep on a rug on the covered porch leaving the heat behind.  I do worry about Doc and his health and try to make him comfortable and warm.  He has gotten better when it gets below freezing and seems to do well and will tolerate some inside time and I will make him stay warm even if he doesn't want to do it.
Last week, we got our first snow, it was about 4 inches and we were all happy, especially the dogs.  Running and scampering was in order for them but two days later, we received nearly 4 more inches and they were overjoyed. 


 None of the previous snow had melted so we had snow up to their bellies or higher. 
Friday night, we were only supposed to get just a few inches but received nearly 7 inches and it snowed most of the day.  Happy dogs are everywhere and the only bad part for me is snowshoes are needed because it’s like walking in deep sand.
 Now I know this is light compared to snow in the North East because one of my friends on Facebook stated she had three feet or better of snow and that’s hard to imagine, but very common there.  I would never find the dogs and lose every ball and Frisbee we ever owned until spring. 

We are all happy for the snow so enjoy some snow photos and a few from the past…  Dutchess can’t wait until spring when it’s “water” time… 
Ken and the Gang…
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Enjoy...






Do they?...

While yesterday was Valentine Day, we all celebrated it in one way or another or we heard about it if we forgot. 
The day is special, and this year, I thought ahead and purchased a present AND card, something that slipped up on me once I have had to talk my way out of it s when I received MY gift... oops...

It is a cute way to have special time with the people who share your life and even your dogs, everyone loves the attention, gifts and candy and I wish everyday could be Valentine’s Day because it’s like a small Christmas.



John Grogan said;
“Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day.  It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them.”  Families grow together when a dog is in the middle and at the very least, you talk more, even if it’s about the dog.

They give so much to us and while it’s not hard to make them happy, it shows from the tip of their nose to the tip of their tail.  Something as simple as a walk in the park or to chase a squirrel is the best of times and they soak in every moment as if it was their last, enjoying every minute and every breath and when it’s time to rest, they do it without any guilt or concern and sleep a sleep that anyone would be jealous of.  If only I could sleep one night like they do…

Heidi, sound asleep...
“No matter how close we are to another person, few human relationships are as free from strife, disagreement, and frustration as is the relationship you have with a good dog. Few human beings give of themselves to another as a dog gives of itself. I also suspect that we cherish dogs because their unblemished souls make us wish - consciously or unconsciously - that we were as innocent as they are, and make us yearn for a place where innocence is universal and where the meanness, the betrayals, and the cruelties of this world are unknown.”
― Dean Koontz, A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog

But when we love our dog, do they really love us?  They have long been known as man’s best friend: loyal companions that adore their owners, but it’s not just an act to make sure they get fed – dogs really are capable of love, research has shown.

Scientists at the Claremont Graduate University in California found that domesticated dogs release oxytocin in intimate situations, The Atlantic reported, known as the “love hormone”, it is the same chemical used to create close bonds between humans. “We found that the dog had a 48 per cent increase in oxytocin.   Professor Paul Zak added: “The only time I have seen such a surge in oxytocin in humans is when someone sees their loved one, is romantically attracted to someone, or is shown an enormous kindness.”

“The dog is the most faithful of animals and would be much esteemed were it not so common. Our Lord God has made His greatest gifts the commonest.”
― Martin Luther

So the next time you pet, kiss or stroke your dog, know that in their heart, they really love you too.  Just a night ago, Meggie sat by my recliner as I watched a game on TV.  She would raise her paw and stroke my leg wanting something.  “Do you want to go out? Do you want to eat?”  



When nothing happened, I moved the pillow from my lap and Meggie jumped in and nestled down to sleep, she knew what she wanted, to love and be loved...

Happy belated Valentine Day…  Ken
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Once Upon a Throne...

In my years of experience being around dogs, there is always something in the back of your mind, that you don't really want to talk about. You know it happens to everyone and there is usually nothing you can do to prevent it.  It’s that little secret, that you would only share with your best friend or at a party, when you are trying to impress someone or had “one too many”. I will tell you, the next day, you will regret it and wish you could turn back the hands of the time and start over. Even if it means avoiding the person you spoke to the night before.  Hopefully it won't have been the office or neighborhood tattle-tail and you had just given them enough fodder for a whole week of stories .  We all have one of those experiences and will always avoid “that” conversation and pretend it never happened…but it does… we can only hide our heads in shame.


We all know that Border Collies are the smartest dogs and according to “Entirely  Pets”, the Collie and German Shepherd are at the top of the list of the most loyal dogs as well.  This can really be a dilemma and let me tell you why.  Just yesterday, as I was going to the “necessary” room and as usual, my many shadows followed close behind me.  I have tried to shut them out, but they always bark, whine or stretch their paws under the door, while I’m trying to enjoy a moment of private time which is pretty much impossible in these situations.

But now I pose this question to you, my readers, my expert pet-loving friends. Why do dogs always want to follow us into the bathroom, especially when they know we're going to have to stand or sit on that porcelain throne? 


Back to yesterday's tale, as I was being a stand-up guy in the "necessary" room, (I had snuck in without anyone hearing me), they were in the other part of the house and I thought, I was getting away with the whole process without being pestered by pets.  Several of the dogs zoomed into the room and began bouncing  about. One even excitingly snuck up behind me and poked his cold nose straight into my derriere and what a surprise it was and it misdirected my task at hand.  Once while I was reading and enjoying a sit, three of the dogs met me on their level and wanted their head scratched which is fine, but I'm trying to balance three heads and a book, I found myself trying to alternate the petting as one gets impatient and pokes their head up through the leg holes of my undergarments.  Then one will jump up on my leg getting some "real" face to face time because we're on the same level… so much for relaxing… and I have to grab my house shoes before one gets carried off.


While the bathroom is much more than a “bath” room, it’s a meeting place for the dogs especially if someone is using it.  It has a China porcelain dish that stays cooler longer and the water is magically refreshed several times a day. To add to their delight the porcelain adds no taste to the water and it can  get no better than this!  Dutchess has learned the art of raising the seat for a quick water refreshment, but to the others, the porcelain dog dish is blocked because they can't raise the lid. The other dogs can always refresh their thirst by eagerly licking water from someone who has just exited the bath or shower and by licking they can even assist with the drying process.  Although you have  just washed and cleaned yourself, the dogs are only assisting with your cleanliness efforts…just their way of helping...



So from their point of view, the bathroom is a wonderful place to entertain, drink, snuggle, play fetch and "surprise" you and basically just have a whale of a time.  Afterall, it even includes toys to play with...  
Note to dogs:  While I so enjoy playing with you and receiving all the kisses you have, just in case you don't know this, I do not enjoy ten dogs crowded around me in a semicircle with several paws in my underwear. Can you please...please give me one minute alone in the "necessary" room and I promise I'll be out as soon as I can...
Ken
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It Happens Again and Again…


Over the last several months, I have had nearly eight to ten notices about a dog that had done something that they shouldn't have done, my dogs included.  We do get many updates with photos of past pups that we once bred, most are funny and charming but one of the most serious issue is “my dog has eaten”… and fill in “your” blank because it can be anything.  I have a lot of experience about this and even a few of my dogs will try to eat anything, anytime they can.
Annie brings her utensils...

Dr. Jules Benson, VP of Veterinary Services says, “Typically, the insatiable hunger can be attributed to canine biology.”  He explains that a dog’s eat when food is presented mentality may be because of their wild ancestry. Looking at the domestic dogs nearest wild relative, the grey wolf, they are adapted to a feast-or-famine diet and can go many days without fresh prey,” Dr. Benson explains. “They achieve this through eating large amounts when food is available, food caching (may be analogous to burying bones in the garden!) and scavenging (watch out for the kitchen trash can!).”

So it’s possible your dog is not actually hungry, but eating whenever food is offered in case you stop offering it and if they don’t always get it, they will find it in a form of a cake on the table or anything on the counter.   Dutchess, is by far the worse about this.  She licks the dishwasher, gets on the table, walks the counter and begs for food to the point that we now put her outside when we eat. 

What always amazes me, you can spend sixty dollars for a fifteen pound bag of the best dog food made and they will turn their nose up at it but go outside and eat dear, rabbit and raccoon poop, like it was caviar.  I have seen dogs eat sticks, rocks, toys and last week, mine were surrounded around a dead bird in the driveway each getting a lick of it.  Once when we had company over, one of our dogs came running to the house with the rotten hind leg of a dear and was proud as punch he had gathered his lunch, which was quickly taken away.
Dutchess in on the table
One thing I found about bringing a dog home, you have to puppy and dog proof your home just like a child but I found you need to do it even more vigilant than with a young child because of the dogs determination, which we know is unlimited and Dutchess can think like us and outsmart us. 
The drive of the dog industry also plays a part in this problem because they continue to make adorable and cute toys for little “Ralphie” to play with.  We all have purchased certified “dog” toys that were “indestructible” only to find out in five minutes or less that the “parts” of the object are scattered throughout the house or even worse… missing. This is why we do not purchase or use dog toys because of the understandable craving they have.  Not every dog is like this but when they are, there is no holding back on what they will do.  Once Clancy got on top of the washer to get a leftover chicken package that we were getting ready to put in the garbage and Dahlia and Annie ate an entire unopened large package of Baklava over Christmas.  I can't think of how many times I have had to make them throw up or be on poop “patrol” watching for the evidence in the rain and cold.  

They are just attracted to anything and I've had people call about their dog eating underwear, socks, rocks, wash rags and especially toys.  I've even made a Fort Knox garbage container in the garbage, but it doesn't do any good when I don’t put the lid on.  Doc has learned this and will test the waters daily.  The good news is when it’s passed without a problem, but when it doesn’t it can be life threatening and requires extensive surgery with lots of down time.  Once, because Dutchess is resentful to give up her food, we took her on a drive on a curvy back road until the deed was done.
All in all, from experience and multiple callers please puppy/dog proof your house, yard, car, garage and anywhere your dogs can go but have a plan of action for immediate reaction because time matters. If you see me in the cold rain standing with a dog sniffing the ground, you know what we are doing… again…Ken

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