Sunday

A Journey I Didn’t Want…



 We all take journeys that we don’t want to make.  It may be a visit to a distant relative’s home, a wedding or even a dentist but it's necessary and something we need to do.  At times it may also be a mental journey such as waiting for an announcement, job or results from the Doctor.  Some mental journeys can overwhelm us with pain or worry until we know the outcome.

This past Tuesday, I made that journey along with a trip to Louisville with Abbie.  The road trip only lasted for part of the day, the mental journey will last my lifetime.  In the back of my mind, I knew this day would come, something I have even talked to Elaine about in the past, but was surprised of the situation and dog…


Abbie has inoperable cancer and is dying of lymphoma.  Everything was confirmed at the Oncologist’s office in Louisville from a complete exam along with many tests and it can affect any dog at any age.  Since my “hunch” something is “just not right”, my life has been, and is upside down at the very least.  As I knew this day would come, I always expected that their demise would be from old age or injury.  I would never have expected a dog in her prime, full of health and energy fall to such a devastating disease but I soon found out I was wrong, so very very wrong…

Very few people really know Abbie like I do.  She is a pup from Molly and Clancy who was returned to us twice.  The last time she came “home”, we loved her so much we kept her.  She melted out hearts and will lick your eyebrows right off you face.  She is my dog and my protector and will growl at anything but what no-one ever sees is the sweetness in her ways.  She will stand in front to me and reach up for me to pick her up and hold her, which I do while she hugs me with both paws and licks my face.  She always sleeps in my lap while we are watching TV and when sleeping in bed, she will keep any harm from our warm and safe place.


 During the entire trip in the car to and from Louisville, she sat and watched me with her big black eyes and would paw at my arm as a signal for me to touch her which I did.  Even at the Oncologist’s office, she jumped in my lap and peacefully slept as I stroked her face.  In my blog last week, I talked about my walk with Abbie in the early morning hours but what I left out was that I cried like a child most of the time.  She stayed by my side wondering what was wrong, trying to fix me in her own way, little did she know, I was trying to fix her but I can't.   I’ve cried with nearly everyone I have talked to about this, Doctors, family, friends and even a lady at Walmart that I have never met, she teared up too, touching my shoulder and saying “God bless you.”  



Don’t get me wrong, I love all them and would feel the same for anyone of my dogs but Abbie had a rough start and will have a very rough end.  She will be the only dog that I brought into this life here at the farm and I will also bury her at the farm.  Abbie is my complete circle, from beginning to end.   My job is to be with her and to make her as comfortable as she can be.  She may last six week or months, there are many factors that will play into this.  But when “the” time comes, my “most” important thing for her is to help make her transition as peaceful and loving as I can.  Something I wrote last year will come true for both of us.



"If a dog could tell us 10 things”     Insights spoken from a dog…

#10 “Please go with me on “that” difficult journey.  Never say: “I can’t watch, it’s too painful.” Everything is easier for me when you are with me, even death, this is when I need you the most… and then I know you love me as much as I love you. Your face will be the last thing I will ever see.”

A friend told me when she helped her dog cross the bridge, she did this, “I put my nose to hers and felt her last breath on my face as she went off to the Rainbow Bridge"...  and I will too…

The night after our trip to Louisville, we settled down for bed, Abbie jumped up to her spot, curled around in a circle, placed her chin on my shoulder and pawed me for attention.  As I stroked her body, I thought of how many more nights will I be able to do this… as we both fell asleep.

Please… Please… give your dog a hug tonight, tomorrow and always along with your love…

It’s not always roses here at the farm, sometimes it hurts very much.  I’ve always said this blog is “what happened this week”, and this was my week… The morning of the visit to Louisville, I ask God to take this burden from me and if it wasn’t to be, I ask him to help me with the pain… He has a big job coming…  Ken

The Needs We Have…



As I sat in the family room Friday night, I looked around and observed all of the dogs sleeping on their own dog bed.  Everyone has their own spot but a few of them would get up and walk to another bed that seemed more comfortable at that time.  If someone jumps down from my lap to get a drink of water of go “potty”, another dog in in their spot in just a flash.


In December of 2012, I wrote about my heart dog which is Molly.  She was out “first” and has always has a special place in my heart.  I have now come to the realization that “all” of my dogs are my heart dog, just different.  If you have been blessed with children, you will understand this.  As your child is born and grows, you love them with all of your heart, no matter what.  They are everything to you and you would you give your life for them.  When, and if another child is born, you feel the same way and would also love them with everything you have but it may appear different.  At a distance, someone might believe you are loving one more than the other because of attention or help that you might give them.  But as a parent, each child has different needs and may need something totally opposite from your other child.  Does this mean you love one more than the other, of course not, it means that you have sharpened your parenting skills to fit each child as we should do with each dog.

As a dog parent, we may do the same thing.  As a multiple dog parent, I see this every day.  Some of my dogs are very needy, needing much time from me and to be able to touch me at will.  Some can be standoffish taking care of their own business.  Dutchess will run and jump on me or anyone, needing be the center of attention. 


 Molly even though she is Dutchess’s half-sister will very rarely come to me except for a pat on her head.   Many times during the evening, Molly will watch me from her dog bed and maybe get up, walk to the side of my chair and stand.  I try to coax her up on the couch, but after a head rub, she’s off back to her dog bed, satisfied.  Each dog is wanting and needing different things but you soon learn their needs, acting accordingly. 

Molly and Clancy
At times, I will take each dog for their own walk.  We might walk through the woods, play Frisbee, sit on the dock or may even talk.  It’s an experience that I will cherish forever and see a different dog than when they are with the pack.  I wish there were ten of me so I could give them “all” of me because they always give “all” of themselves.

Just Yesterday morning I couldn’t sleep and got out of bed.  I called Abbie and off we went walking through the woods at 4 am.  There was little or no moon but the wind was slightly blowing through the tree and it was dreamlike.  She led the way to her favorite spot at the 2nd lake, mostly because of it’s one of her play areas.  This time, she walked onto the dock and waited for me.  I sat down on a step, Addie curled up into my lap and licked my face.

Abbie
We sat there and listened to the wind but what make it even more enchanting, the wind was moving through the wind chimes on the dock serenading us.  As we sat holding each other, I dreamed of younger times and of uncomplicated days, not tiring or growing weary.   I raced through a lifetime of wonderful memories but tonight my thoughts were of Abbie.  To her, we may have been dreaming for a short time but to me, it was a lifetime… and I assure you, I will never forget that moment.  As a dog parent, we look to fill their needs, but this time Abbie sensed what I needed, and filled my needs… more than she’ll ever know…  Ken
  
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A little help and comfort…


With all the things that have been going in the world, it’s hard to keep a calm and healthy mind and not dwell on the things going on all over the world. 


As we all know, this past Friday, Paris, France was attacked by terrorist and the bad part is this was not the first and I don’t think it will be the last time we see a horrifying event unfold right in front of us though the media.  There are no words or any way that we can know how someone feels or understands and I wouldn’t even try. 


After I watched the events of the attack on TV, I prepared for bed.  My night was very restless and it was hard to sleep because in my mind, it played over and over.  During the night, I remember turning over to the other side of the bed and for just a second I felt lost but I reached out unconsciously feeling one of my dogs that always sleeps near the pillow.  She acknowledged me by licking my hand and letting me know she was there and everything was OK and even moved closer.  It did comfort me and for some reason, I felt safe…

Many times in my life, I have depended on my dogs to guide me and at times they make me feel that things are OK.  Numerous times they have put me in a good mood, making me laugh or helping me see things differently just by the quirky things they do and my life is better. 

If you own a Border Collie, they have a unusual way to lead and teach us about things we never thought about.  A story I found years ago has always made me think they were special, and they are…

“Shepherds in the old days would often stay with the flock through the twilight prime-time hunting period of the local predators and it was usually dark when they called it a day.

With the flock bedded down and watched over by a sheep guard, the shepherds stumbled back to their campsite, which changed location every few days as the sheep denuded the area and had to be moved.

After a hard day’s work, the herding dogs were also ready for a rest-having better night vision than the shepherd, and a much better sense of smell, they had no trouble at all in finding their way to the camp. All the shepherd had to do was follow along. The problem, of course, was seeing the dog.

Border Collies carry their tail low and use it for balance when they are working. However, when they are not concentrating on work, and are happy and contented, like after a day’s work it is not unusual to see them with a “gay” tail, the tail carried higher than back level, almost like a flag.

If the tip of the tail is white, held high, and is flapping around, it is easy to see in the open areas where sheep are usually pastured, even at night; the white tip picks up the ambient light and the bobbling “lantern” leads the shepherd to his bed.”

When things look troubled and you feel restless, look to the experts.  I have found so much solace in those soulful eyes, pure heart and loving face.

We don’t always need advice.  Sometimes, all we need is a hand to hold, an ear to listen, and a heart that understands. Sometimes, all we need is a dog.


Never forget that they will always be there and never question your moods or motives and will accept you for what or who you are and in the past year, I have depended a little more on them for comfort.  We are their world and I have noticed that they have become mine...   Ken

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A New House...

There is always a project going on here at the farm.  The bad thing, everything else suffers because my mind compels me to finish it, leaving other things undone and this Saturday I finished it...

Doc has been on Holiday for a few months and he is scheduled to arrive back home soon.  e loves the outdoors He logesHe loves the outdoors  mkkkk,lllxs

Doc Holliday
He loves the outdoors and will stay outside, even at night.  Since we have had him he never liked to be pinned up without his freedom.  This has been a problem at times because when he needed to be kenneled, he would bark excessively the entire time and that was a long night for both of us.  

For the last few winter seasons, we had an Igloo house for him to sleep in and I even installed a dog door into the garage where he could get into a heated room but he still preferred the back porch.  In preparation for his arrival, the dogs and I have decided to build him a NEW dog house that will sit on the covered back porch near the back door.  Much thought has gone into this new project and at one time I thought about purchasing one but I thought "we" could do a better job, with Dutchess's help.
 
Dutchess has been using the plainer...
Plans were prepared, shopping trips were made and we were off to construct a “better dog house”   As you can see, the whole garage was used for this venture.  Working part-time for Sears in the past has some advantages and I have nearly every tool that they made but my worst attribute is that when I get a tool out to use, it stays out until the project is over, making a messy workplace.  Even our Jeep had to weather the rain, something “Nellie Belle” is not accustom to.
 
What a mess...
Much thought went into this project because I want him to stay warm, comfortable and happy.  It needed to be insulated, weatherproof and easily accessible but near the back door.  Its three foot by four foot and a large dog bed where two dogs will fit nicely inside if he wanted company.

Meggie and Dutchess trying it out...
It had one and one half inches of foam insulation inside every wall including the top and bottom along with a magnetic dog door which he is used to.   On top of the walls and ceiling it is covered with laminate flooring and trimmed out with trim that I made from wood here at the farm.  I painted and caulked the inside to insure that the wood was sealed and would stop any cold breeze.  Because of its size and knowing I can’t get inside, the roof is easily removable if I needed to change the bedding or clean it out.  It was a huge project and I am thankful it’s over.

Of course I had lots of help along the way…

Dutchess helping me with the two wheeler to move it...
It was a big heavy job for a dog house, I'm sure Doc will love it but I know the others do...



It has plenty of room inside and plans for a heater if needed.  I even put an area on top for a second dog bed for those lazy "dog" days when you just wanted to take a cat nap without going inside.  I'm sure Doc will be happy to return and to find a new "home" just for him.  He is such a sweetheart and lover-boy... see you soon, welcome home Mr. Holliday...   Dad...


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They just admitted Wyatt…

"They Just admitted Wyatt"... News I didn’t want to hear from his owners…  As I write this, Wyatt, one of our adult pups is having a rash of unknown medical problem and the answers seem to be a mystery for now.  Much thought, prayers and concern has been lifted and medical experts have been summonsed again.
 
Wyatt at the Vet's office
It can be said that if you are a “human” parent, you will always be the parent, no matter what!  You watch in anticipation as your child grows but even before they are born you wonder and worry what kind of child they will be and hope for a smooth birth.  Is it a boy, girl, tall, short, brown eyes or blue?  As a parent, there will always be questions and concerns, but the “one” fact that will always ring true is that you worry about them, always…

As a dog parent you go through the same thing whenever you get word that there is a problem.  As the breeder, when I hear their is a problem with one of our adult pups, I sit on pins and needles waiting for the test results and even butt in giveing my advice on what test should be run and tell them “make sure to take their temperature and watch for infection”  I just wanted the best for them but I also know they are in good hands. 

Once, I was told by an owner of one on our pups that their dog was really sick and was at the Vet's office, I only had the name of the town where the dog lived and the owner’s info.  After calling nearly every Vet’s offices in the town, I finally got the right one and I remember the receptionist telling me they can't give any information out.  I wouldn't take "No" for an answer and after telling her that I was the breeder and maybe because of the quiver in my voice, she felt sorry for me.   I found out that our pup just died.  I cried like a child because I loved our dog. 

I try to do want what is best for my pups and dogs no matter how old they are, and at times probably have been a little sharp with an owner if I see something that I didn’t like with one of our pups.  If I have, please forgive me, it’s nothing personal or a reflection on you, it’s a parent wanting what is best for their dog child.  Remember “It might be your dog, but it will always be my pup”   I held every single one of them as the first breath of life was taken into their little body and suffer with you when things are not right and they all are special to me.

If you have ever had a medical situation with your pet, you worry about your dog!  Don’t ever think you are alone, you’re not.  Several times I have posted something about one of my own dogs and a problem they are having.  I received so much comfort and understanding, I actually felt relief because I know people truly care and it helped. 

Annie, Wyatt's Mom
 
Doc... Wyatt's Dad

If I have learned one thing that runs true, we all share a common bond, and it’s a love we can’t understand at times but it is a bond with our dogs and each other.  Whatever you believe, send good vibes, prayers and sweet thoughts because I have been in those shoes when things were not going right, they meant the world to me and I knew I was not alone!  No-one is an island and we all care and love each one of our furry pets and support each other. 


I pray for Wyatt, and think of him often through these troubled times, I know he may be without his human parents at the clinic today, but know for sure, he has thousands of thoughts and prayers flooding the heavens, just for him…  See you soon and bring a Frisbee when you get well and visit, Dutchess would love it... Ken

Give your dog a hug today...

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