Time with them...

As I was getting ready to go outside, the dogs watch me put on my shoes, and as I touch the door, they are off to our play area wanting to play.  Usually, I get my chores done first, and we have play time when I’m caught up, but this day, I grabbed a couple of balls and a Frisbee and off we went.  They all ran through the woods like their tail was on fire except Dutchess.  She spied the Frisbee in my hand and wouldn’t leave me alone, so I just gave it to her and off she ran as happy as can be with a Frisbee in her mouth helping out.  

They were wired up, and it showed.  Everyone was going after a ball or Frisbee, and in just a few minutes, all three balls were lost, and two Frisbee's were nowhere to be found.  They get excited and carry it, and when another object flies, they will drop the one they have and go after the other, unable to find it again.  All in all, we only got about twenty minutes in and had nothing to do when everything was temporarily gone but I'm sure they will find them and bring them to me.  The older dogs were a little tired, but Abbie was still raring to go.  She gave me her sad eyes, and I said “another time, ” and she turned and ran toward the house with the others but I felt like a heel.  The next morning, Abbie sat as close to me as she could, while we were on the porch and literally wined like she was speaking, wanting something, but what?   
Every one of our dogs is excellent at playing ball of Frisbee but when you get them all together, it can be mayhem trying to keep up and there is just no simple solution, or so I thought.

The next morning, as usual, everyone is up (except Elaine) between 6 and 6:30 and the dogs go for their morning constitution, and we kennel them and feed them about 8 AM, and they are usually ready for breakfast.  They are great about going to the kennel after the command and even stand at their own kennel door, waiting until you open it.   Everyone was let in but Abbie.  After everyone was secure, I grabbed a Frisbee tucking it under my shirt and said “Abbie, come on girl” but softly.  Once outside the kennel door, I gave her the Frisbee and off to the lake we went, her tail on fire and a Frisbee in her mouth.  It was a pure joy watching her spin and twist, doing the things she loves to do.  There was no hurry, except the speed of the Frisbee and no one to chase after her and she didn’t have to look over shoulder for fear of someone beating her.  Back and forth and back and forth she ran until she let me know she was finished and back to the house we went.  

She stayed out to catch her breath and dry off and then had breakfast in her kennel, it was “her” special time.  That night Abbie followed me to bed when it was time.  As usual, she got in her spot near my head and laid down but this night, she scooted just a little closer putting her head on my pillow, licked my face.  I reached over and petted her saying “that'll do, ” and it did.  Fast to sleep she went, chasing Frisbee's… 

Our new routine is when we feed them in the morning, one dog doesn’t get kenneled, and it’s their time to do what they want while one dog gets brushed right after eating, everyone needs they alone time too...

They do talk to us if we would only listen and it took me a long time to understand this…  

Some of this I wrote several years ago and it holds so true.  Just this Sunday morning right before uploading this, I took Abbie and Dutchess out for a round of Frisbee.  Abbie knew what we were doing and when we got to the cabinet with all the toys, Dutchess caught on and grabbed a brand new Frisbee and off we went.  Afterwards, and while I was feeding them I took Shepp out and he was by himself and was in heaven.  Ken


“Walter, ”  was a funny little guy who has spent the last five years here at the farm and been a companion to Elaine.   He was the first and last thing she usually saw before she went to bed and in the morning and every day they would talk, with her doing most of the talking.  He would watch her as she talks just like me too.  I was never jealous of Walter because he was her friend and kept her company when I wasn’t around.  He had his meals when we did and gobbled it up, while she cleaned up the kitchen, he would be close to her.  Elaine even taught him tricks and patted him on the head which know dogs like too.

Last week, Walter got sick.  This was not the first time she nursed him through some difficulties.  She would treat him with antibiotics, and he always came through.  He fell ill again and just didn’t feel good, and while the antibiotics only seemed to fix him for a day or two, higher powers were sought through Google, and extra things were done.  Special food and water but Walter passed away Thursday night.

The first of this week, I was notified that the marker I had ordered several weeks ago for our pet graveyard was being made.  A larger black granite stone was ordered and had come in, and the engraving had started.  Soon it will be delivered and placed at the entrance of our revered ground for all to see and for the future residents of Dogwood Ridge.  When we decided where to bury Clancy, it was a location we had to decide on and make fast because of the urgency.   It turned out to be a perfect spot for several reasons.

The new marker
Why do we feel so lost when our pet dies?  According to personal experience and experts,  friends have guiltily confided to me that they grieved more desperately over the loss of their dog than over the loss of their relatives, I know I did.  Research has confirmed that for most people, the loss of a dog is in almost every way comparable to the loss of a human loved one. Unfortunately, there’s little in our cultural playbook, no grief rituals, no obituary in the local newspaper, no religious service to help us get through the loss of our pet.  Friends are afraid to say anything, and to some, it’s not a big deal because it was only a pet.  We are even uncomfortable which can make us feel more than a bit embarrassed to show grief over our loss.

Since Clancy had passed away over a year ago, his peaceful site has been a comfort to all, and it even explains to other who we are.  Just last night, we interviewed someone for one of our fosters, and they are to get their new Buddy today.  As we walked the long drive back to their car after our interview, I stopped and pointed to Clancy’s grave and said, “that’s where Clancy is.”  Everyone is always grateful but honored to see who started an incredible program knowing they and there new loveable dog will benefit from him and our loss. 

If you have ever been here at the farm, you saw Walter on the counter, he was Elaine’s goldfish.  He was placed in a tiny box and buried right on top of Clancy.  They were friends as he would watch Walter swim in circles and Clancy would love to sit and follow him with his eyes.  Some think this is silly, but when you have an overwhelming loss, you hold on to anything and everything.  Ken

Fall starts soon...

It's now is getting dark early but I realized that we are winding down this summer and it’s kinda sad.  We will soon turn our clocks backward for daylight saving time and in a way, it’s sad that the season is changing.  I love spring and summer except for the hot humid weather but it’s worth putting up with for the long pretty days and dry weather.  The only good part of winter that I like, I can take longer naps and don’t feel that I have “be on the move” the whole time.  There is nothing like a long nap in front of the TV with several dogs in my lap and a fire.  Every season has its perks but spring is best for me.  Spring and summer are always busy and packed full of adventures of play and fun and especially work which never stops and I'm sure my dogs suffer a bit and miss "our" time. 

I’m sure the dogs will appreciate more time with “big daddy” and in truth, I will to, I just don’t want to deal with the mud from the fall rains.  Frozen ground is good but lots of rain and mud is brutal to everyone and then the nap time with dad is out until they are clean, something they never think about, just running and playing for the moment and as much as they think, I wish they would think about that.

Cold winters seem to bring the best out, I put on my sub zero coat and insulated boots and off we go on long walks several times a day around the lake and down the long trails.  In the evenings, Dutchess will park herself in front of the TV just to watch the local weatherman and when the word “snow” comes on, a loud bark follows from her with eager ears and a spring in her step.  I will tell you, around here snow is great.  The deeper the better and as long as it last, there is joy is in the air.

The one thing I won't miss at ALL is as we travel through the woods, there is a certain kind of spider that will spin its web across a trail that seems to go on for 10's of feet and it's always at face lever.  At night it's nothing to be hit be at least eight or ten of them o our walks.  I have started carrying a stick in front of me just to knock the ones down that I don't see.  They are never at dog level.  I often wonder if they are trying to catch a person?

So here we wrapping down another year, I just wonder what it will bring.  Hopefully no mud, no work and lots of time to relax before we start over again but I'm sure there will always be lots of work.  Ken