Sunday

Stay Calm and…

I will admit, I am a news junkie, I don’t watch the new too much or ever watch the local news, but I do read several news sites from top to bottom and even one that is overseas for a balanced update of events. 
When I was young, we watched Walker Cronkite at 6 pm but that was pretty sterile and nowhere close to what we get today which at times is a shame.  News can become addicting and will pull you down into a funk if you let it.  In the last week or so, I have seen things on the world news that is so common place for some but it would send a gasp through me and literally made me sick to my stomach and I’ve ask myself “how can this happen”.  The only think that helps me is that I believe whatever goes around comes around and in the end we will all face our maker and answer to our transgressions and I think some of us may be pleasantly surprised or tragically stunned but we all have a choice. 
With that being said, how do we get out of the whirlwind of the news…? What is the answer to calming our heart and minds?  Nothing that we physically do, can change a thing in world events and the more we think about the turmoil, the worse it seems to me at times, so what do we physically do?


The answer is usually in my lap or laying at my feet and how many times have we missed the opportunity to be comforted?   Is this one of the reasons that we have dogs?  They have many purposes but the one that works for me, calms me and shows me my faults is usually close by.  Just last night, I was sitting in a chair out on the porch trying to cool off and relax.  As usual, several dogs were trying to squeeze into my lap or lick my face and I wanted to just relax.  Doc is the ultimate lover and the one who will knock me out of the chair trying to get on top of me, just to be near.  This time, he squeezed his head between the arm rest and seat, picking up his head nearly turning me over.  “Doc be still” and he walked away dejected because he felt reprimanded and I guess he was.  After a few minutes, I got up and went to him and gave him what he wanted… just some attention and love which he gladly accepted.  Abby kept poking my arm as I type this so I pulled another chair over just so she could sit with me. 
For me, when the day is done or we’re ready to relax, they all have their way to teach me the meaning of life and this is what I have learned from them if I would just watch and listen…

1. Live in the moment...

2. Overcome fear with love...

3. Don't hold grudges..

4. Play every day...

5. Jump for joy when you're happy...

6. Accept yourself...

7. Enjoy the journey...

8. Eat good...

9. Be loyal and dependable...

10. Love unconditionally...

No matter what, dogs love us unconditionally. They wag their tails or lick our face when they see us, no matter what mood we’re in. They still want to give you big wet kisses or get in your lap, even if you've just yelled at them. And they instantly forgive you no matter how you behave. Loving others unconditionally is a difficult task, but it's the one that would surely make the world a better place if we all just tried and listened.

Everyone should have a dog just to teach us how to live, but it only works if we follow their advice…   Ken

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Back Home...

Everything was packed in the Jeep the night before and we packed the essentials the morning we left.  I had planned to leave at 8 am and we actually got on the road about 7:30 which was a first.  Elaine did a great job getting everything ready and taking care of me by packing my stuff.  She will work on packing for days and when it comes to me, I put the suitcase in the middle of the bed, and open the chest of drawer… shorts, tee shirts, socks...OK I’m ready.  Elaine does everything else and I will tell you, she does a fine job.  Off we were, Clancy and Abby were in the back of the Jeep, ready to go.  Both are excellent riders and right away snuggled in the back of the vehicle on their dog beds and off to sleep.  No more than 2 minutes into the trip, Elaine asked me if I brought my pillows…which she reminded me to do.  “No” I forgot, but there is always Walmart and we now have new pillows thanks to my forgetfulness…  The drive was uneventful and we made good time to Michigan and was at the beach in no time.  After unpacking, off the beach we went.  


The dogs were a little confused and we were too because of the new territory were had traveling.  After finding the park, out the door they went and when I grabbed the Frisbee, they really perked up and Abby even carried it from the Jeep to the beach.  Twisting and turning, both of them were in rare form itching for the fun to start.  They didn’t know where, but all the signs looked good for them to have some Frisbee time with just two of them.  As we took just one step onto the beach, Abby dropped the Frisbee at my feet and ran down the shoreline looking back at me. 


We had a wonderful day and the dogs were the attraction of the beach croud.  We were going to stay on the shoreline with the dogs because we were just a little unsure of the waves, sand and wide open space but once they got sand in their mouth, they showed us the way to get in, even cleaning themselves off, and they did. 


Every morning, even before breakfast, I took them to an open field just to wear them out and play.  Both of them were so good and minded well, even in crowded places but the real fun was the water and playtime.  


I will tell you, sleep came early and easy for them each night.  We had their dog beds but at home, they usually sleep on the bed and they didn’t disappointed us and made us feel right at home by getting on the beds.  It was somewhat rustic where we stayed and we had plenty of together time with the dogs.  Lots of fun and exploring for all of us and a well-rounded trip.


The trip was a huge success and everyone had fun even the mosquitoes but the fun has to end as we packed the Jeep and pulled out one bright morning and for the entire drive, not a peep was heard from the back of the Jeep and every time we looked at them, they were sound asleep…  Happy Dogs and Happy Dog Parents... Ken

Note:  I don't think I ever planned a vacation solely for the dogs.  From the time we went to the place we stayed and the activities we did, it was all about the dogs... just don't tell Dutchess...

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About Time...

After our four kids moved away, Elaine and I moved to Indiana and enjoyed quiet time and spending time doing things we wanted to do without any distractions or interruptions but that was before dogs.  At one time we drove across the USA, going to every state out West and the next year, each state on the East coast.  In all we have been to all 50 states except Maine and we hope to make it soon.  We always enjoyed our vacations and time away from home just to see this beautiful land and see all the many wonderful things the states have to offer. 


That all stopped when we had to share our time with several four legged furry friends and the more that was added to the pack meant, the less time we had for trips and our ventures both inside and outside the country, but that should briefly stop this very week because we are going on vacation and I am actually leaving the farm for some fun.  During the last four years, Elaine has gone to see her Dad every 6 weeks or so and travels to Louisville.  She also goes on a trip to “Covered Bridge” Indiana with her girlfriends every year and I would always stay home and take care of the chores and dogs. 

This coming week, we are taking a road trip to Michigan Beach and rent a cabin along with two of our dogs.  Clancy and Abby will ride shotgun in the Jeep and off we go to a real beach with real sand and waves. 
As you might imagine, it’s a real chore to get all the cards to fall into place and as you know with any plans, something always falls through and falls apart but this time, it looks like we are on our way for a real vacation. 
Friends of ours will stay with our dogs here at the house and take care of everything while we are having a fun time.  Dutchess wanted to go but I just can’t trust her to stay out of the donut shop, licks kids ice cream cones and jump on the table at every restaurant, barking for more food.  



This is Clancy’s first road trip except for a day trip but Abby is an old pro.  She and Meggie went with us many years ago and in the room they jumped from bed to bed with a Frisbee in their mouth.


All in all, it will be fun and well deserved… lets see... what do we need to take with us;
Frisbees
Rawhide chews
Dog Food
Water bowl
Dog brush
Toys, more Frisbee's

According to them, nothing more is needed and I will tell you, Dutchess is pissed...  Ken
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Saturday

Orange Crocks...

“Hello” I said to the caller, “Hey…there is a small fawn inside our fence and one of the dogs is chasing it.” Elaine exclaimed while she was pulling away from the driveway going to work.  I had only been awake for just a few minutes and was making myself a cup of coffee.  Going into survival mode,  I grabbed my 38 chief special revolver that is hidden at the back door for emergencies and slipped on the only shoes that were anywhere near me, my famous orange Crocks and headed out to the far end of the property where I could hear a dog going through the woods barking after something but this time, I knew what it was.  


In one hand, I held my 38 snub-nose revolver but pointing it in the air and the other hand was holding up my loose fitting sleeping pants and ran toward the distance barking.  In my mind, I could see a vicious dog tearing into a poor innocent fawn or a mother deer tearing into a dog that was protecting her young and the latter is the most probable.  The good part, there were only two dogs outside at the time, Clancy and a friend’s dog that was staying with us for the night and was going home that morning. 

The grass was wet because of the heavy dew on the ground and I was running with one hand pointed up holding the gun, the other hand holding my pants and my feet shuffling and scooting to keep my shoes on because my feet were wet.  Note to readers; running with Crocks that are wet inside, slick on the bottom, wet grass with no arms that can balance you can be dangerous. 


Once I reached the lake, and knowing it would be shorter to go down the levy of the dam rather than around, I headed down the slope.  About 20 feet into my decline, I knew I was in trouble as I hadn’t slowed down at all, in fact I was speeding up and unable to stop.  My little feet were high stepping as fast as I could manage especially with one arm in the air with my coveted 38 and one hand holding up my pants…  Note to readers; do not run fast down a hill on wet grass with orange Crocks with no hands for balance, it can be dangerous. 

By the grace of the Crock or dog gods, I made it down the 50 foot embankment without falling down.  I still had to run up another hill and nearly five hundred feet to get close to the dog and fawn.  The barking was continuing and my mind was running wild as to who was in trouble and didn’t realize it was probably me.

I saw the spotted fawn and the guest dog.  It appeared that there was no problem but the dog was curious and no mamma deer was anywhere to be seen… Whew…  The guest dog turned toward the house and started running which I assumed he was wanting to get breakfast.  The fawn was scared and nearly came up to me looking for help, we were close to one of the twelve foot gates on the farm that exited out of the property.  Case closed… open the gate and walk back to the kennel putting the guest dog up and the fawn would surly walks back to mamma deer when it has a chance. 

So off to the house I went, my gun arm by my side, my other arm holding my pants up and dew in my crocks.  Out of breath I walked down one levy and back up the one I had just flown down.  The guest dog was standing at the kennel door but when I was about 10 feet from the dog, his instinct kicked in and off he went as fast as he had ever run.  I don’t know if it was “get the fawn” or “I’m out of here” and I suspect it was the latter. 

Hodad
I looked down at the ground at my wet orange Crocks… then toward the heavens and said   “SHI……. Sugar”… and off I went back toward the open gate and I just knew that I would never find a running dog in the four thousand undeveloped acres of the Hoosier Nation Forrest.  I took about ten steps, kicked off my orange Crocks, threw the gun on the ground and started running like a man except I was still holding up my pants up.  I again ran down the hill, up the hill and over the levy toward the gate.  Again by the fate of the dog gods, the guest dog turned away from the open gate for some reason and sprinted off in another direction.  The gate is over a small knoll and I could not see it but I’m sure the dog didn’t either.  I kicked in everything I had, running the last 50 yards like a high school kid, topped the hill and slammed the 5” high gate shut, hopping the dog was still inside.
I walked back to the house not seeing the dog but hopping he was inside the gate.  I had to take a few breaks just to catch my breath and when I got near the house, sitting on the back porch wagging his tail was a very happy well exercised dog…

Moral of this story;
Don’t run in wet Crocks down a hill with no hands...
Don’t leave a gate open when you want to keep something inside...
Don’t expect a curious dog to mind...
And why would I take a 38 Chief Special revolver with me.  I’ve tried to answer that myself.  I might as well have taken a picnic basket, a book or crossword puzzle… Maybe I should have had that first cup of coffee… and pants that would stay up…

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