Once in a while we will watch a dog or two for a friend or neighbor. It helps our dogs socialize and also helps the guest dog meet new dogs in a unfamiliar environment. It helps with socialization for all of the dogs and can come with consequences, some which drives me crazy.
Their first day or two they are here, everything is new and exhilarating because they can run free in ten acres of woods and jump into two lakes that are fenced and some of them certainly take advantage of it. I guess I’m an old “mother hen” because I want to know where they are at all times because I am a worrier.
At times, I couldn’t fine my dogs for what seemed like an eternity and walked this farm several times looking in what I thought was every nook and crevice with no luck only to find “Molly” in the mud room sleeping and when I found her, she was glad to see me, but not as much as I was to see her.
I don’t mind any dog exploring including my own, but just like my Mom use to say, “I want to know where you’re at” and “I” want to know where the dogs are too. This can be exhausting at times because they are out of our house or kennel from 6:30 am to about 11:30 pm. They sleep well with my dogs on the bed, porch or kennel and it seems to work well and the guest dog become ours during their stay.
|Xena and Jack after a round of play|
I do try to take precautions with them such as using “our” name-tag and collar with our contact information and if they are an explorer I have bells that they wear on their collar. I know it sounds silly but just like a clock chiming is peaceful, a dog bell collar is also a sweet sound and can comfort me.
|Jackson with his bell|
This works well if the dog is moving but can be unnerving if you can’t find the dog or hear the bell in the woods. This starts my mind wondering and then I’m on a mission to look for the poor lost soul. Several weeks ago, I couldn’t find a guest dog after playtime with all of them. All the dogs were worn out and were asleep on the covered porch under a ceiling fan. I was surprised that the guest dog was nowhere to be found. I called and called but to no avail and I could not see or hear them. I looked in the kennel, walked the farm twice, looked in the house and garage and things got serious in my mind. I took off my orange Crocks, put on my tennis shoes and off we were.
|Doc and I ready to start our search|
I starting the Gator to go out farther and when I was on the other side of the big lake, here they came, galloping my way as happy as they can be. As angry and scared as anyone can be, it all vanishes when you see them because you know they are safe. Back to the house we went and when I saw Elaine, she quickly mentioned “I found them”, “really” I said, “they came to me on the Gator.” Elaine corrected me and said that as soon as I started it, they came out from under the porch, apparently from a deep sleep because of the play time… so… the next time I looked for them, I learned to go to the Gator, sit in it and start it. From anywhere on the farm they came just like we do when hearing a dinner bell…
If we ever have a lot of guest dogs, I’m going to put different musical bells on them and teach them a song and we’ll be a hit in the neighborhood… Ken
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