Heaven Again...

Ranger has come to visit us for the last six years or so.  His dog parents are personal friends of ours, and they too will stay with us for some getaway time.  We make trips to Nashville, Indiana and socialize, eat fabulous meals and buying goodies and things for Christmas presents in their specialty shops.  It is always an enjoyable trip for all of us and especially their dog “Ranger.”  He is a spunky dog with lots of energy and loves to play Frisbee which is daily in their house and when they are here at the farm visiting he gets to swim too

Ranger is an offspring of Meggie, and he looks nothing like her except the pricked ears that, at times point straight up in the air.  When the parents of Ranger went on a trip, we agreed to dog-sit for them, and he was a hoot, getting into everything but was always wet and full of energy, keeping everyone on their toes.  The best part of that week was when they came back.  Rangers owners bought me a very nice burglary T-shirt as a souvenir that reads “You had me at woof.”   I love that shirt, and even though it’s been here for several years, it’s only worn on special occasions.  Never when I have something to eat, because I have ruined several shirts from stains, but not this one.

Ranger is very photogenic, and I have thousands of photos of him playing in the water and catching a Frisbee with our pack.  Ranger is a great dog and is very loved by all and came to visit yesterday.  He is a little calmer and more sure of himself and fits in right nicely, maybe a bit more than usual for some reason.

As we went to the family room last night, he galloped down the stairs to be with the pack and us and gets into his favorite seat.  He sprang up into the chair and curled in a ball but one where he could still watch TV just like someone else I knew.

As I settled into my usual spot on the recliner, Ranger got up and came to me and looked at me, and I patted my legs, up on my lap he came.  After making his nest, he laid down and he was in heaven and so was I.  I have talked to many people about their dog and the things they do or something they are not allowed to do.  At our house, each dog has permission to lay in a chair, sleep in the bed or lay in my lap.  Sometimes there is a waiting list, and if one jumps down, someone will always take their spot, always.

Last night was different, Ranger came to me with his big brown eyes and pricked ears, and I saw something in him I didn’t want to see but did.  I rubbed his head and said “come on big boy, ” and he did.  As I stroked his fur and rubbed his ears, I was taken back to when I would do the same thing to “my big boy.”  I was in heaven again, and sweet-sweet memories flooded my mind.  You see, Rander is the son of Clancy and out of the many pups he sired, Ranger is nearly an exact copy of him in many ways, no-one else comes close.

Clancy and Ranger
I sometimes feel I need to make an apology for writing about Clancy, but sometimes I don’t think I can stop.  Traveling in the world of Facebook, in solace, I see others that feel the same about their dog that passes, and I know why.  Not a day goes by that I don’t think of him or talk to him as I walk down our lane which is next to his grave.  When we took Clancy to assisted living homes, I remember an elderly lady that came to me after our performance and said: “let me tell you about my dogs.”  She spoke for an hour about the black and white Border Collies she had, and I loved every minute of it.  I hung on every word and even shed a tear when she did.  I don’t remember her name but I remember her dogs and her love for them, she was so happy to share, and I was so happy to receive.  Someday, maybe someone will listen to me when I’m in her shoes.

Thank you, Tom and Terri, Ranger is a dream in more ways than you know and last night as he was asleep on my lap and I was stroking his face and rubbing his ears, I was with "my big boy" again…  Ken

8 miles to Nashville...

On Monday of this week, we took one of our rescue dogs to Bloomington Indiana to be spayed as part of the things that we do to get them ready for their new home.  It’s pretty routine and usually pretty easy going and uneventful, but Monday was a little different.  We have transported dogs for the foundation for some time and have even transported our own dog's many miles and visited many states.  The only problem I have ever had in the past was when I was taking Doc for a ride to Seymour to run some errands.  Starting to return home, I discovered I was hungry, so I pulled into the golden arches, and I ordered some food.  Up to this point, Doc was not too interested in the things around him, but his ears immediately perked up as we stopped at the drive-through.  The attendant said, “boy, he’s a little spunky,” and my response was “Oh...he’ll be fine.”  “Hold on Doc, I’ll give you a bite” as I started to pull into traffic with a soft drink between my legs, French fries in a bag on my lap and a chicken sandwich in my right-hand driving with my left hand and knees trying not to get lettuce my lap.  Doc is food obsesses just like Dutchess, but I was in a hurry to get home.  As I pulled into traffic, Doc lunged into my lap again and attempted to get his nose into the bag.  There was nothing to do but give him a bite.  “Doc, sit” which he did, and he gobbled the French fry out of my hand but the problem, he nearly took my finger off.  OK, new plan…I threw the French fry to the back seat.  He leaped over the seat and found it and returned in a second.  “Ooh, that didn’t take long,” I then just threw the sandwich in the back seat, and up till last Monday, this was the worse.

Monday morning was rainy and dark, and we left before sunrise because they want you there at eight o'clock and it takes an hour to get there.  We had a calm trip in the light rain until we got into light traffic.  Because everyone had their lights on, it immediately changed our trip. 

Knowing she is always calm during a car ride, she was unrestrained laying in the passenger seat.  As the cars started approaching us from the opposite direction, ears perked up, and the chase was on.  Running from the front of the car to the back was a very intense dog chasing the lights on the cars we met, and we were only eight miles from Nashville, Indiana, only a quarter of the way there.  Things got worse because of more traffic, and we were still on very rural roads.  Once we got to Nashville and headed to Bloomington, things really changed because it is a bustling road with lots of trucks and more lights with colossal engine noises to boot.  It was a calamity of errors, and all I could hope for is daylight but was in trouble because on the heavily clouded skies.  I’m sure if anyone could see us they would wonder what in the world was happening and truth be known, I’m sure she enjoyed it because it was fun for her and no different than Dutchess jumping from front to back looking for a drive thru restaurants and I'm sure she was worn out after she has an hour of intense exercise. We made it home fine, and the trip home was very calm because the sun was out and no lighted missiles were heading our way.

Somewhere in her past, someone played with a laser light with her.  I have seen this several times and can be devastating to a high energy dog.  According to the AKC, “The movement of a laser pointer triggers a dog's prey drive, which means they want to chase it. It's an unending game with no closure for the dog since they can't ever catch that beam of light, like they can when chasing a toy or food.

Many dogs continue looking for the light beam after the laser pointer has been put away; this is confusing for your dog because the prey has simply disappeared. This can create obsessive compulsive behaviors like frantically looking around for the light, staring at the last location they saw the light, and becoming reactive to flashes of light (such as your watch face catching the sunlight and reflecting on the wall, or the glare of your tablet screen on the floor). Dogs that exhibit behavioral issues are frustrated, confused, and anxious.”

The moral of this story is never play with a laser light with an animal and make sure the dog seatbelt is in the car.  We have 3 of them…  Ken

Oh Dutchess…

As I was feeding the dogs last night in the kennel and as they finished, I opened their kennel door to let them out.  Dutchess is nearly always last because there “might” be a smidgen of food or Salmon oil left behind.  Everyone eagerly goes out the door but Dutchess.  She will linger behind and check all the bowls in each stall.  Every single one gets a good licking, and we can be there for hours if she gets even a whiff of food.  “Dutchess,” I said in a stern voice because this is a daily routine and she knows what I want sadly walks away.  Her next trick is to stand next to the food container and sit.  She looks at me, then at the container and back at me and barks as if saying “I’m hungry”  Really, when has she never been hungry?

Just last week, I was on the phone and making breakfast too.  I had made poached eggs with cheese and a little-smoked paprika along with a piece of a breakfast roll.  I heard some grunting, and as I looked around knowing Dutchess was inside, so I was cautious.  Everything appeared fine, and I looked back at the sink.  “Hey” where is my bread but now I knew.  Dutchess was hunkered under the table attempting to get the whole thing in her mouth.  I rounded the corner and with her mouth down and full, her eyes up but looking at me, she knew I was on to her.  She slowly walked to the door with half of the roll out her mouth gobbling as fast as she could, she knew…

When she was training to become a therapy dog, she was picking it up pretty good until she became bored and wanted to do something else.  A trick I learned was to rub a pepperoni slice between my fingers and she will follow me to California and back just for a lick.  About half way through, we started training for the test.  The instructor said part of it was to let the dog take a treat from the qualifier.  STOP… Dutchess will gladly take a treat from you but be prepared to have your fingers washed, and she will scrape anything off your hand with her teeth.   If any dog touched the hand with any part of their teeth, they are disqualified.  After class I went to the instructor and said, we’re finished, she can’t do it and the instructor said that I can deny their request if I wanted to.

The big day came, and I was nervous because how will it look if I don’t do it.  It was not a good thing to do, and so I thought we would skip it.  As we walked into the testing area and to her glory was a table of food for the instructors and staff.  Her ears perked up, and she was in heaven.  She looked at me, and in her eyes, I knew we were in trouble.  “Can we move a little away from the food?” I said.  Knowing if we moved across the street it wouldn’t make a difference, but I had to try.

The test started, and she looked like she was actually interested but maybe it was because she thought she was in for a big buffet after she was finished.  Then the question came “can I give your dog a treat?”  Knowing she was doing pretty good, and I didn’t have to honor their request, it came out of nowhere, I said “Sure”  Oh my God, what did I just say and now it was too late to say no.  I don’t know what came over me and we were going to fail on the last command.  Everything went into slow motion, the treat came from her pocket, and her hand extended and as it was beginning to lower to her… I screeched “please keep your hand closed until it’s under her chin and place it palm up.”  

We were at the finish line and about to fall down, and possibly get kicked out of town.  As her hand opened up, Dutchess looked at me, and I nodded an OK she turned and went for it.  Not in a thousand years would it happen.  Dutchess’s long tongue extended and in a flash, the treat was gone.  I nearly peed my pants, and I don’t know if it was from fear or joy.  She did it, and like a proud trainer who has just won the international championship in sheep herding, I patted her head and said: “that'll do.”  I couldn’t believe we passed and with flying colors.  Everybody was happy except Dutchess, The buffet wasn’t for her.  What a mess…  You may be excited to know that is is one gene that she passed to many of her pups, lucky you...Ken

Dear Clancy...

This morning was just like the morning that we lost Clancy James.  It was nearly a fall like day, the early sun was bright the humidity was low and like usually I walked the rounds on the farm in the early dawn, but this day he was not leading me, and I was alone.  I pass his grave every day and will always take a glance and say “Hi big boy.” but this morning his grave was my first stop.  I did sit in the Adirondack chair and noticed that the mound over his grave site is smaller as if he is going away, I cried like a child.  

After paying my respects and our daily chat, I walked the walk we often took many times.  He would keep guard and watch and see everything along the way, letting every dog know it was his farm and it was and always will be.  After walking the trails alone I finally came to the “spot” where he died, I had to go no matter how much it hurt. 

I bent down to the exact spot where he took his last breath, touched it and cried like a child again but on bended knees.  

I lost it and asked why, knowing there is no answer and there never will be.  Sitting in the wrought-iron swing under the wisteria, I pondered my thoughts.  I first thought of the exact day that he left and watched him stumble over and take his last breath.  I remembered how magnificent he was in everything, even jumping off the diving board which was the last thing he did.  It was odd, this morning because of the temperature change and cooler weather, a mist rose from the water, and it was beautiful with the sunlight shining through it.  Was he there? I don’t know, but he was in my heart as he always is.

Dear Clancy…
I knew this day was coming and I thought I was prepared for it, but I was wrong  It’s been a year since your death, and subconsciously I would watch the calendar knowing it was coming, wow how time flies.  I want you to know that I love you and you’ll always be by my side.  I will forever be grateful for your love, loyalty, and demeanor that you had and shared.  You have changed the lives of everyone you have ever touched, and your spirit will continue to.  I just wanted you to know, but I think you already do.  I love you.

By now, you must know that there is always a goodbye hovering in the shadows of a dog. We are never here for long, or for long enough. We were never meant to share all of your life, only to mark its passage. We come and we go. We come when we are needed. We leave when it is time. Death is necessary. It defines life.
I will see you again.
I will watch over you.
I do not morn or grieve, but I will miss standing beside you, bound together on our walks through life, even as I know that there is a long line of others waiting to take my place and stand with you.
Thank you. It was nothing but a gift.
And finally, I ask these things of you:
Remember me.
Celebrate me.
Grieve for me.
And then, when you can, let me go, freely and in peace.   Jon Katz

As I write this, a dog that was given up by his owner that had fallen on hard times is by my side.  He was just staying one night because he was being transferred to a Border Collie Rescue in New York that originally re-homed him and he was going back, and we were the layover.  I had stopped typing to wipe my face because of the tears, he knew something was wrong and wiggling his head under my armrest and laying his head on my leg was something I have seen before from my Clancy.  He repositioned himself and put his two paws on my chair arm and pressed his head into my chest, he knew I was hurting and was trying to help me, and he did.  I cradled his face and looked into his eyes and said “I love you Clancy”  he licked my tears and put his head into my chest…How do they know?  At two o'clock today, Elaine has decided that we will be sitting in the wrought iron swing under the wisteria at the time he left us.  I’m sure we will speak of him and the things he did and gave us, but I’m telling you, it will be hard…

We all have a Clancy, you just need to find him inside your dog, I promise he’s there… I saw it today from a dog I had never met before.  Thank you, Clancy, my big “Clancy Man.”  It's ten minutes till 2, that dreadful time.  We're off to the "spot".  It draws us.  Ken

It's Time

It’s time…Words you never want to hear and especially ever want to say.  When we got the first family dog, my kids were young, and they needed a companion, or so I thought.  After the newness had worn off, the dog belonged to me.  It was during a very difficult time in my life.  I was divorced, and my son Bradley lived with me.  We kept the home and continued to live there for many years, bringing Elaine and her kids into our clan after four years of single life.

“Patches” was a black and white party color Cocker Spaniel, small, cute and loveable.  I never really knew how much I loved her until it was “that time.”  When Bradley would visit his mother, and I was left alone, Patches would sit with me on the couch in the living room and in the dark we would share a bottle of Chardonnay or should I say, she would watch me. 

As I pondered life, Patches would lay her head in my lap and comfort me.  This always happened several ways whether it was her large eyes, her head in my lap or just the presence of something that loved me more than herself.  I will never forget Patches and the beauty and loyalty she had.  When Elaine and I married, Patches was not her favorite thing.  Patches was a lot like Dutchess, but one-way in particular was her interest in the garbage can.  On more than one occasion, Patches would get into the trash and look for something to eat.  Sound familiar?  I was at work and got a call from Elaine, and she said, “Patches needs to go, I’m tired of cleaning up after her.”  I was distressed and told my cousin about the conversation that day, and she said only one thing.  “you can always get another wife.”  Elaine was not amused but soon found out the love that a dog can give you.  Soon after, Elaine and Patches became best friends for ever and ever, and Elaine was the last thing she ever saw...

After retirement, we both work for a veterinarian, she was the office manager, and I was the guy in the back.  It was a great job, and I would encourage anyone to have that experience with animals.  I learned so much, and the Vet was a teaching Vet that taught me many things and the love of animals.

Cocker Spaniels have chronic ear problems, and Patches was no different.  We were able to stay on top of it, but it became too much to handle when she was a senior dog, and I heard the words, “there's nothing more we can do.”  It was time.  During lunch, we brought Patches up to the exam room as we have many times before but this time was different.  We had her at the Vet for some more care that day and made the decision because we could do nothing more.   We stroked her face and told her we loved her and when the time came, I couldn’t be there…

Working at the Vet’s office for nearly 5 years, I’ve seen many animals put to sleep.  It was never painful for the animal, sometimes for the owners and sometimes not.  Some people stayed, some left, and I never understood until it was Patches’s time.  I walked out of the exam room telling Elaine I couldn’t be there.  After it was over, I walked back into the room and again stroked her sweet face.  I carried her back to the back room, and we situated her body in a new blanket along with a St Francess of Assie medallion around her neck and neatly wrapped her up.  We had just bought the farm and soon after, she was brought here and buried under a beautiful tree near our entrance,  She was the first to live at our/her home.

Several years ago, I wrote ten insights from a dog’s point of view, and number 10 was because of Patches.

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 will 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…

I let my Patches down after all she gave me.  You see, it was a mistake I can never take back and will always feel the guilt.  Just this last week, several people called asking the question, “when is it time?”  I wouldn’t answer but gave them some personal experience, one part which was “Go into the room with them.” 

“The Dogs of Dogwood Ridge”
Our beloved pets are buried here.  Please honor them and us
By keeping this site sacred.  We would be honored if you chose
To bury your loving pets along with ours…

Buddy and Donna Teague lost their sweet Annie this week and had to make “that” decision.  She was 17 and ½ and lived with them from 3 weeks old until she passed and she was part of their life and very loved.  They were with her when she was put to eternal rest and it was them who she saw last.  They decided that it would be fitting for Annie to come to the farm and be with Clancy and Patches along with a granite plaque to honor her.  I was pleased and her ashes will be placed with our other dogs, and when they come up to see us from Georgia we can give her a special place and be by the sides of our dogs, and we can sit together in the Adirondack Chairs and talk about the best dogs in the world...
Rest in Peace Annie, you will be missed, Run free sweet girl, run free…  Ken

 “By now, you must know that there is always a goodbye hovering in the shadows of a dog.” Jon Katz

100% sure...

Several weeks ago, Clancy’s Dream was contacted about helping a dog for rehoming.  It was a very unique situation, and my heart hurt for the family who had to make an agonizing decision.   From their email in part;

My husband and I have a beautiful, intelligent and extremely affectionate one-year-old chocolate male border collie. He is a fantastic dog. We've had him for 9 weeks, and we adore him. We've taught him lots of tricks and were planning to use him as a hiking/adventure buddy. However, we are going through some big life changes.  Because of this, we think it would be better to find another home for him. He loves learning and is very smart plus has the infamous border collie energy so we are trying to find him an excellent home where he can get the mental and physical stimulation he deserves.

My mind immediately went back to the time I ‘had” to re-home Shepp and remember the events and day so well.  This is the email that I sent to my dog owners when the decision was made here years ago;

It is with great sadness that I write this email..... Beyond our control, we need to find "Shepard James" or "Shepp" to most of you, a forever home. After much thought and trying every way to make this work, it just won't.  I am not looking for just a home, I am looking for a forever home to love him. If you know me, you also know I am passionate about dogs, and I am even more passionate about my personal dogs.
There has been a lot of thought and discussion at home about this, and it is not an easy decision. The hard decisions never are...I love him too much not to let him live his life in peace.  They always say that if you love something, you'll let it go.  Sheppie, as much as it hurts.   I want you to be everything you deserve, and I know you will.  You'll always have part of my heart.  Run Free little fellow, Run Free...

I remember that day so well.  When the new owner for Shepp came to pick him up, as he was walking to our house, I had to waive him off because I was crying so hard.  Later I watched my “Sheppie” leave, the worst day of my life had just occurred.  The people who are making that same decision and following it through today have agonized over this for months, just like I did.  Because I have been in their shoes and know what is going through and the hurt in their heart, as God is my witness, Clancy’s Dream will do everything in its power to make sure that their dog is well loved and cared for.

The couple was driving a little over three hours to meet us last night but just before they got here, I received their call.  “We are going to give it a few weeks and try to make it work, and I hope you’re not disappointed,”  I said, “I would be disappointed if you weren't 100% sure, of course not.”  Today we are going to talk, and they are committed to making the right choice, what ever it is, it’s about the dog.

It takes work to be a great dog parent, sacrificing your time, money and space.  Clancy’s Dream is not here to just rehome dogs, it’s here to bring help and hope to Border Collies in need, which included their family.  
Good Luck to the dog parents and know that your family was the last thing I thought about last night and the first thing I thought about this morning.  We’re always here to help, in any way we can…  Ken

Note:  Sheppie came back to us 5 years later and is still living with us, things sometimes have a way of working out…

Summer is upon us...

With the warn humid weather upon us, we all need to take caution.  Back in 2011, we found how something that I never thought would happen can be so serious.  Several days ago, it was hot and steamy with a high humidity in the air.  Doc found his solace by finding a cool spot right in found the running fan.

Doc was really Hot...
In 2011, it started out with a little yard work with the dogs and I.   I was riding the 4 wheeler hauling stuff around the farm.  As usual, the dogs thought I was just doing it for them and they would run back and forth wherever I was.  It was a sunny day but not particularly hot or humid, about 82 degrees.  I rode over to the lake and I was so proud that Molly was getting into the water, "All The Way In" which she never does.   She even laid down in the water just to get her body all the way under the water.  I thought this was a little odd so I watched her a little closer.  She would attempt to move and walk but couldn't.  Now I was concerned......  She looked at me and I knew she was in trouble.  I thought I was going in the water to get her because she was so unsteady.   She was panting and breathing very heavy and looked disoriented and her eyes rolled back into her head.  Molly was having a "Heat Stroke".  I have read about this many times and knew the signs. This was serious, very serious.

The most common clinical signs of heat stroke are:
loss of balance
excessive panting
roaring breathing sounds
gums that turn bright red, then purple or blue
excessive salivation
a decrease in mental awareness
collapse and death

Take the dog’s temperature. One of the best ways to assess whether the dog’s internal temperature is elevated is to take his temperature rectally. A dog’s temperature is normally between 99.5 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. A dog is overheated if his temperature is 103 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. A temperature of 109 °F (42.8 °C) is usually fatal.  I've asked several people if they would take the temperature of their dog and they were so squeamish, but this could save their life.  Get a thermometer and keep it apart of you human one and use it if in doubt.

I knew immediate attention was required, I just didn't know where she was on the list above list.  She had all the symptoms but the last one and that one didn't seem too far off.  I carried her into the house and laid her down and placed her on the floor and put a fan on her.  She would attempt to move but couldn't.  I got down on the floor with her and stroked her face, just to comfort her and to keep her still.  It seemed that she could not get "cool" fast enough.  

I knew that you didn't want to cool her any faster by using cold water, as it can actually be counterproductive. Cooling too quickly and especially allowing her body temperature to become too low can cause other life-threatening medical conditions, so I just had to wait it out, which we did together.  Little by little she started to get better and would respond to me.  She got up and tried to get in her favorite chair and couldn't.  I lifted her up, and there we stayed for the rest of the day, me holding her paw and rubbing her head.   She seemed better now and seems to be getting back to normal.  If this does occur, and it can so quickly, seek professional help if you are unsure of what you are doing.  We were lucky.  Molly usually doesn't play as hard as the others, I'm just glad we caught it in time.....and she had the gumption to get in the water even if it was uncomfortable and I'm sure this saved her life.  

Nellie Getting wet after a day or work
Make sure you have access to water and shade if you play outside, don't play too long, shorter sessions.  Sometimes they will tell you that they are hot and tired, stop, listen and watch.  They know better than we do at times. 

Nellie drying off...

 Have a safe summer and stay cool.  Ken

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His clan goes home…

Dear Ken,

We had been trying to find time to bring the dogs down to see you, but at our end or yours it was not working.
Then the notice came: we had a two-week window to organize flights and shipping.
We could not get down to you in that window and then did not want to tell you because with all of your other things going on we did not want you to worry about how the flight was going, etc.

So: the deed is done. Clancy’s daughter and his grandson are now repatriated to the land of their grandfathers. Catherine & Richard

Xena and Jack
Xena, Clancy’s daughter, and Jack, Clancy’s grandson has moved home to his beginnings…  I know this day was coming and it is with sad reservations on my end.  Jack and Xena were part of our life here on the farm and part of our Indiana Heritage, I always told myself, but I knew different, Clancy was a foreigner here in the United States but made the best of it, doing the things that were instilled in his lineage from over 10 generations.

Little did we know that Clancy’s pups would be moving back “home” near Worcestershire a county in the West Midlands of England.  The place where it all started.  It truly is their home because for the last 10 generations this was where “home” of his family was started.

I will miss Xena and Jack for many reasons.  I am a little jealous that they are able to walk the trails of their relatives and the likes of  Ben, the Scottish British Champion '83/'84, International British Champion '84, Craig, International Sheep Champion -76/-77, International Supreme Champion -77, Welsh National Champion -77.  Roy, International Supreme Champion -1953, International British Champion -1957 and much more, retaking his championship line to 1927 and beyond, all in Scottland and Britain.

Malvern Hills, county of Worcestershire, Western England
Clancy was a newcomer here in the United States having only his parents and Grandparents living here, and the rest is back to the other side of the pond.  Just like his past siblings, like them, he made a difference too, not winning any championships but winning the hearts of everyone he touched and the dogs his spirit will save.

Xena and Jack will be living in the Midlands, near Wales and just over 200 miles from the birthplace of his Great Grandfather and near to all of the generations of the Great Border Collies of his clan.  I am so proud of Xena and Jack to be able to walk the lanes of the Greats.  Good luck lads… 

“Hey… who are you bloke? You remind me of me past.”  “I am Clancy, Great Grandson of Delmar Turk but lived in the States.”  “Crikey, happy to meet you, let me introduce you to my mates, Here’s Ben, Roy, and even my chum Craig and all the others of our clan.”  As Clancy looked in the fields of green Scotish lowlands, he saw the many wildflowers with the fragrant of thyme and the buzzing of bees. He also saw the great many Border Collies that were his past.  Now the likes of Xena and Jack daughter and grandson of  “Clancy the Noble and Righteous.” will walk the earthly paths of the land of the magnificents.  Until we meet again…  I will miss you my bonny lads… Dad

Does your dog do this?

It has become a routine here at the farm.  When we eat any meal off a plate, the dogs will gather around and wait their turn, except Dutchess, she will sit but she will bark every 10 seconds or so, and this was the case last night.  They know their reward and wait patiently until we're done.  We've tried to coordinate it together, and after getting finished, it's party time.  It's not what you think, there is no mad rush to "get" to the treats.  One by one they get their turn to lick the plate.  It's so funny, each one is different and has their own technique.  Some will gently lick, and others will try to lick as fast as they can, and I bet you know who that is.  I am ashamed to say this because some, including my Mother, think this is the most disgusting thing in the world.
It always happens here on the farm, as I get ready to relax and get into the hot tub, the dogs seem to know where I'm going, maybe it’s because I have very little on and I am going outside.  Everyone runs for their spot around the tub and Abbie always jumps on the corner of it and sit’s pretty.  It’s usually uneventful except when someone wants to get in…

As I sit, I have always thought about “Why do the dogs want to lick me” because they were doing it even as I was sitting in the warm water, Doc had jumped up behind my back putting his paws on the side and licks my ear.  Not wanting to be outdone, when I changed positions, both Abbie and Dutchess were licking my face, Dutchess on one side of my brow and Abbie on the other and I can tell you, Abbie is soft and Dutchess will lick your eyebrows off, but why do they do this.  I always thought they wanted water or the salt if you’re sweating, but I have found out that’s not always the case…
According to the Pedigree website.  Why is a dog licking?  Right from birth that is how the mother communicates with her new puppies, how she stimulates them to start breathing and how she cleans them when they are born, so it's very important to the survival of puppies.  In the wild and in domestic dogs, you'll find they will lick around the mother's mouth as newborns and puppies still retain that instinct.  It's also sort of a submissive gesture — the more subordinate members of a pack will lick the more dominant members and that's important in maintaining pack harmony. 

I can say for sure that this is true.  With the pups that have been born here, it always a lick fest.  Even to this day, Annie and Meggie will lick Molly wanting her attention and will submit to her while they are doing the licking, and yes, Molly is the dominate female.   

According to the Pedigree. From about six weeks of age, some pups lick their mom's face and lips when they want her to regurgitate food for them. This behavior is a remnant of their wild ancestry—it was easier for the mother to carry food in her stomach rather than dragging it back to the den in her mouth.  As puppies grow older, they lick to groom themselves and their pack mates. It also becomes a way of welcoming others back into the pack and increasing the bonds between pack members.  Adult dogs lick as a sign of deference or submissiveness to a dominant pack member. The dog doing the licking usually lowers its body to make itself smaller, and looks up, adding to the effect of subordinate behavior. The dog receiving the face licks shows its dominance by standing tall to accept the gesture, but doesn't return the favor.

As I think about this, I remember a time when I thought it was a horrible thing.  I remember seeing a dog lick a person's hand and I thought it was gross, and I was reminded of this statement as a dog was licking my leg while I was wearing shorts.  I only remember it felt so good and I was disappointed when he quit and how things have now changed.
When your dog’s tries to lick your face, you might have a better idea of what he's trying to communicate.  He may simply be letting you know that he's glad to see you.  Or he may be hungry and asking for a snack.
But can his enthusiastic licks also represent a sign of affection?  Here's one way to look at it.  A dog's behavior can be encouraged with positive reinforcement.  So if a dog licks his owner's face—either out of instinct, anxiety, or just because his owner's face tastes salty—and that action is greeted with positive attention, such as hugs and human kisses, he'll want to repeat the behavior. While it's probably not a "kiss," you can bet it's a sign that your dog thinks you're pretty great.  Once I was working on the farm and was hit on the leg with a large piece of wood, and while holding up a thick board in the air trying to nail it in place, Clancy started licking the wound, and I just knew it would hurt, but when he got to the injury, it felt better and cleaner.  Now, I don't advocate this and might not allow it again, but is there more here?

So what is a lick…?

Or do the want to get in the Hot-tub?

Or all the above.  I can’t think of any other animal that leads itself to another person or animal with a cold nose and a wet tongue flopping from side to side ready to clean out your ears, nose or heal your wound…and, I wouldn’t have it any other way…   

And just think, we thought it was just a lick…Ken

Myra, I am so sorry...

“Dogs, lives are short, too short, but you know that going in. You know the pain is coming, you're going to lose a dog, and there's going to be great anguish, so you live fully in the moment with her, never fail to share her joy or delight in her innocence, because you can't support the illusion that a dog can be your lifelong companion. There's such beauty in the hard honesty of that, in accepting and giving love while always aware that it comes with an unbearable price. Maybe loving dogs is a way we do penance for all the other illusions we allow ourselves and the mistakes we make because of those illusions.”  - Dean Koontz

Dean Koontz and Trixie
Several nights ago, A friend of mine lent me a book,  A Big Little Life by Dean Koontz, a very famous writer.  It is about his first dog that changed his life in many ways.  So far the story is lovely and appears to be a non-stop read except to write this Blog.  Dean Koontz and I certainly have something in common, the love of a dog and the pain associated with it.  Both are unavoidable, and the first is unexpected, and the last is inevitable.
From a Facebook post that was forwarded to me on June 9: 

MIRA UPDATE: “Yesterday, we took in a female border collie whom a witness allegedly saw being beaten by an individual in McCreary County, Ky.  She was taken to Knox-Whitely Animal Shelter. After being sedated and transported – with a vet tech on board – to BluePearl in Louisville, she received immediate medical attention. We learned today that Mira, which we named her, had also been poisoned with antifreeze. Because of the severity of Mira's condition, we had to make the heartbreaking decision to wrap her in love and prayers as she took her last breath.”  The

Even writing this tears my heart out.  What pains me so much, is that Mira left this world and her last memory was being beaten to death and forced to drink antifreeze along with vile anger that someone had to harm her.  Many of us have held our loved one until the end of their loving life hoping that the last breath never came but it did and we all grieved, but Myra was alone and hurt.  When Dean Koontz and his wife knew it was "time" to cross for Trixie he wrote, “So there on her favorite couch, on the covered terrace, where she could breathe in all the good rich smells of grass and trees and roses, we opened for her the unseen gate, so she could walk again not on her now weak legs but on the still strong legs of her spirit, walk beyond that gate, an innocent into the realm of innocence, home forever.”

As hard as we try, there’s always more to do in rescue even as hard as we work, sometimes more.  It overwhelming and unbearable and it’s beyond my reasoning at times, and I do mean this.  I have seen so much of the ugly side of people that I did not want to see, but did.  The only solace is the man who harmed Mira was seen by someone and called the police, but nothing happened.  Because of the outcry of people who shouted for justice, he was later arrested on June 10, and he is facing a charge of animal torture causing serious physical injury and death, because some stepped in.  As in the Randy Sanders case in Indiana, who ruined Border Collies for over 40 years, until people stepped it did not stop.  This is not for everyone, but you can still help in other ways.  In the two cases above it was only stopped by people who fought for the lives of dogs, never seeing the dogs in the pain they are in but cared from a distance. Trust me, nothing can and will prepare you for that sight.

"This world is infinitely layered and Mysterious.  Every day of our lives, we see far more than we can comprehend, and because of our failure to comprehend disquiets us, we lie to ourselves about what we see."  Dean Koontz

I am so sorry to write this and as most of you know I wear my pain and hurt on my shirt sleeve for everyone to see and life is not always good in my world at the farm.  As I write this final script for this Blog, five of my dogs are laying under my desk because of a storm that is passing through.  They look to me to save them and I will, we all should, because there are many more...  Ken

5 Kinds, Maybe 6...

As we all know, Border Collies will think and do more than we know or want.  Just when you have them figured out, they will out-think you, out-smart you and be one step in front of you.  I will tell you, there are degrees of "smarts" in them and some have a "1" on the "10" scale, and some have a "10" score.
Poor Doc, he is the most loving dog that there ever was and will love you to death, licking on you, trying to climb in your lap and making a nuisance of his affection, but I don't mind unless I'm trying to tie my shoes.  He will love you until he knocks you down, literally…

There are basically 5 types of dog personalities according to Linda Cole.
The Confident Dog, Clancy, He was a natural born leader of his pack. He’s a team player and more than ready to take charge of a situation. A confident dog can also be dominant. Training methods with this personality type could cause him to become more willful. This dog feels secure in his surroundings and has a self-assuredness that shows in his body language.  We if you knew Clancy, this fits him to a tee.

The Independent Dog,  Shepp, The independent personality is perfectly happy being away from the crowd. He needs to be given space, and trying to force him to do something he doesn’t want to do will backfire. You can easily lose this dog’s trust and respect if you expose him to heavy handed treatment.

The Laid Back, Happy Dog  Doc, He is always ready to greet everyone he meets, whether he knows them or not. He gets along well with other dogs and cats. Dogs with a happy personality that haven’t been taught basic commands, like sit or down, are apt to get into trouble for jumping up on people when they greet them. This dog can become overly excited, especially around children, and a large dog could scare them.

The Shy/Timid Dog, Meggie, she needs an owner who can give calm, consistent and patient understanding, with a sensitivity to his needs and feelings. A shy dog doesn’t like being in uncomfortable situations or around sudden or loud noises. Yelling and harsh training methods or discipline can cause this type of personality to shut down, and you risk losing his trust. Heavy-handed treatment can push this dog to become more insecure, fearful or aggressive. It’s important to give a shy/timid dog plenty of opportunities to succeed to help boost his self-confidence, and daily exercise to stimulate his mind.

The Adaptable Dog, Annie.  She is eager to please, and the easiest of the five personalities to train. Not as outgoing as the happy personality, this dog gets along well with other dogs, cats, and people. She’s perfectly happy to follow the commands of us, who she sees as his leader. This is an easy to control dog – cooperative, gentle and affectionate – that makes a great family pet. The adaptable personality would be a good candidate as a therapy dog.

Pain in the Butt Dog, this was not mentioned.  Who else but Dutchess could fill this spot  Funny how she doesn't fit in the 5 personalities, but you have to admit, she needs her own.  There is, nor will ever be another Dutchess.  She is literally one of a kind, and I don’t know if that’s good or bad… 

If you own a dog, you know so well that it can change your life depending on the type of dog you have from the above list.  When we first get ours, usually, we don't know their personality or what type of household we may get.  Our "Pain in the Butt" dog, Dutchess has certainly changed our household.  From knocking over the Christmas tree to getting on the table and the list can go on and on and does.  She is the smartest dog I have ever known and Thank God there is only one of her, and I love them all to death...
What kind of personallity does your dog have?