Christmas Morning

Well the time finally arrived and I knew it would and with a big bang. It wasn’t two seconds past midnight and as the clock struck 12 midnight, they all woke up and I heard them running for the office and it sounded like thoroughbreds on a racetrack. I was up and doing some business on the computer and I heard them coming.
They barked all the way in and sat in a circle around my chair. “What are you doing?” they said, “business” I said. “What do you want, I’m busy” I said, just toying with them because I really knew what they wanted.
“IT’S CHRISTMAS MORNING, SANTA'S BEEN HERE” They all said in turn. “It’s barely past midnight” I said…”Let’s go and see, Let’s go and see” they said. I know he’s been here, let’s go, let’s go let’s go. Nothing to do but get up and go in the family room and see if Santa’s been here. As we walked down the hall, all the dogs ran around me in circles and by the time we got to the room they were staggering like drunken sailors
“Oh My Goodness, He’s been here, YEA, YEA, YEA!" they all exclaimed, over and over again. "OK, let’s go in order."  I said.
“Clancy, what did you ask for?" I said, “A big bag of Rawhide” “Did you get it?” I ask, “You bet and more and now I have so many, I can share with everyone. I’m glad Santa didn’t remember I wanted to be selfish once.”  "He usually doesn't" I said.
"OK Molly, your turn, what did you get."  “I got so many, just look at all the tennis balls I got, there is a hundred I bet.” “What are you going to do with them?” I ask. “We're all going to play, and play bunches."  “You look disappointed, is there something wrong?”I ask. “No” she said,"it’s just, just…never mind, It’s OK."
“Meg, what did you get?” I ask. She had slipped on her bright green collar and looked like a princess with her red fur. “Do I look pretty?” she asked. “Just like my Princess," I said, " you look beautiful, but it’s not the collar.”
“Abbie, your turn.” I said. She looked and said, “I don’t understand” and she looked puzzled. "What is it?"  She showed me a photo of a large area of land. “I can’t do anything with this” she said. I told her that Santa had left me instructions of a place where she could run as fast and far as she wanted to. “I can’t get there” she said. “That’s part of the present” I said, “We can do this together, just you and me” “Can we take a tennis ball?” Molly spoke up and said “You can take one of my new ones!” “Thank you Mom, I love you.” said Abbie. Clancy said “you can take a rawhide to chew on during the ride.” “Thank you too Dad, I love you too.”
"Annie what did you get?” I ask. “Books and more books, now I can learn to do things that everyone else can do!” she said. All the dogs spoke up and each took their turn and told her that they would help her fit in and learn things. “Thanks, everyone, now I am one of you and not a misfit.” "No you’re not a misfit, you"re family…we love you, because you are family."
And that brings us to Dutchess. I had to ask, “Dutchess, what did you get?” “Holy Cra*, look at all these Frisbees!" "DUTCHESS, I’m surprised you got anything." I said, “Just look at all of these things, I can play for days and even carry two of them in my mouth. This is great! Just look, I love them!” She said, and then I saw something I usually don’t see. You see, Dutchess is a dog that’s wants everything, just for her. She bowed her head and picked up the green Frisbee and took it to Meg. “Here, this is for you, it will look good with your red fur."  “Thank you Dutchess.” said Meg.
Well it was over for another year, all the presents were open and paper was all over the house and as I was cleaning up, I thought about what had happened. You see Christmas is about love and family. It’s about helping each other become better and growing and reaching out and thinking of someone else but ourselves. But I think it’s mostly about love.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. This is Love…
This is our family, we all have our strengths and weaknesses, but we love and help each other and are just a whisper away if needed.
“Molly, Come here”! I said. I went to the family room and sat in my recliner. I patted my lap and said come on, “I owe you some lap time” She looked surprised because she didn’t think she got everything she asked for. I told her that Santa sent me a special email just for her. As she sprang into my lap, she circled once and then twice and settled down into a deep sleep. I patted her head and thought to myself. “Yes” we've got everything we wanted, we usually do, and we just don’t know it.  Give your dog a hug....

Merry Christmas from the dogs. Life is good...God is Love...God is good

The "Stare"

This has been a very slow week for me and the dogs. If it wasn’t raining, it was at least cloudy and nobody wanted to get out in the weather…. I didn’t think you would believe that, but I tried, “I” didn’t want to get out in the weather. The dogs could care less, in fact the wetter and muddier they get, the better. It never ceases to amaze me of the energy the dogs have, and as I have said before, they always want to do SOMETHING and there is only so much Frisbee we can play in the house. I have even become pretty good at tossing a tennis ball or Frisbee while I watch the news and don’t even need to look at where I toss it because I have done it so many times.
They have all gotten the routine down pat. I will let them in just to spend some time with them and then they start “the stare”. I can ignore it, ignore it, ignore it, for only so long and "the stare” will always win. I can say “bathroom”, no change in "the stare” and then I will say “Ball” and they bounce and buck like little broncos. They dance all the way to the special drawer where they know the “toys” are kept. Then they will all turn circles and then “stare” at the drawer. Well duh dad, open the drawer, now! Dutchess (of course) will jump up with her front feet on the open drawer and get the toy she wants. There are about 10 tennis balls in various conditions and one ratty Frisbee. Dutchess always picks the Frisbee. 
If dog tails could speak, they would say with every wag, thank you, thank you, thank you and then stand in front of the recliner with the toy in their mouth until I get back in the chair and then it’s “game on”. We have a rule; if they don’t put the ball or Frisbee in my lap I won’t throw it (it’s less work for me). Dutchess will put the Frisbee in my lap and in one second, reposition it closer and if I don’t get it in the time she wants, she will reposition it again and again. Then they all stand back just a few feet and “stare” until I throw the toy. This can go on forever.

I do hate it when it is rainy and wet. I feel bad when they get in the rain and get all dirty, but they don’t seem to mind. The bad thing, it prevents them from coming in the house when we are done. A few times, I have actually “accidently” thrown the ball near the lake and they have “accidently” jumped in. Presto, they’re all clean and then I just dry them off.
One thing about border collies is they seem to clean themselves. They can be so dirty and when I put them up for the night, presto again, they’re clean the next day when I let them out of their kennel. Where does the dirt go, it just amazes me.
Another thing I don’t understand is if I do bathe them and the water temperature is a little on the cold side they complain and want to get out of their bath, yet, let a ball get near the lake or when they want to get a “real” drink (which is getting all the way in the water to drink) they don’t seem to have any problem getting in and out of the water, no matter how cold it is. I have seen all of them get in the water when there was just a small opening in the ice on the frozen lake. I have seen Abbie get in the water when the air temperature was so cold it froze the water on her coat and it was stiff, but let the bath water be just a little on the lukewarm side and they want out.
With the holidays upon us, we always get some of our adult dogs to visit while their owners go away for the holiday. We will see some new visitors and see some of our old friends that are coming to stay. We enjoy it so and look forward to it and I’m sure there will be some amazing things to write about.
Remember, Next Week Will be Christmas Morning and the Dogs Won't let me forget...What Will Santa Bring?

The Gift of Love and Life

Some people call them “Puppies” and some call them a gift of Love, but that night I found it to be a gift of Love, Life, and a Miracle. We have been raising puppies for a number of years and usually, like most expecting fathers, I might be in the vicinity or maybe in the room, but this night I was the "go-to guy, the all-knowing answer man and the wet nurse all in one”.

Let me explain, one of the dogs…. OK, it was Molly, was near her delivery date. I knew the time was close because her body temperature was falling from the 102 degrees which is normal to 98.6, and she had not eaten for a day, so the time was near, within 24 hours or less. We had her in the house and on the bed to take her temperature. Little did we know how close it was and the time was 10:30 pm. Elaine and I went to the family room to discuss the plans. Elaine is out of vacation time at work and taking off any more time was impossible, so this was going to be my “first” time as a helper. I was just a little apprehensive because I was a city boy and didn’t know the first thing about giving birth or what to do.

“Yelp, Yelp” We heard a noise and looked at each other in bewilderment. “Yelp”, there it was again, and it wasn’t Molly. We looked at the door and at each other. As fast as we could get both of our bodies through the door, we ran to the bedroom. As you probably guessed, right in the middle of our bed was Molly enthusiastically licking a little bundle of joy. We sprang into action, me taking the bundle of Joy and Molly, and Elaine getting the sheets and blankets headed for the washer. “Whew”, what a mess.

Off we went to the nesting box where all the dogs give birth. Thank goodness I had it ready and waiting for her. She went right in but wanted her baby. As soon as I cleaned it up, Molly licked it again to stimulate it and to clean it even more. After a few minutes, she picked it up with her mouth and turned a few circles and sat it down again and repeated this many times. I was worried, but Molly was in charge and seemed to know what she was doing, and after all, what did I know. I had been reading up on this stuff and it said that you can expect the pups to be born about every 30 minutes or so. The first one was born at 10:50pm and it was nearly 1:45am and no more pups.  I was getting a little worried so I came into the house and Googled “dog giving birth”. The bad part about doing this, you see every problem every dog has ever had giving birth and you relate to that. It did say there can be a lull, but to make sure there is no blockage. “Blockage”? It went on to say, sometimes, two pups will try to exit the birth canal at the same time, so you need to check. “Check”? All I will say is you can’t check from the outside. Everything was fine and she gave birth 15 minutes later and I said a little prayer of thanks because we were getting ready to head for the Vet’s office at 2am.

I had the radio on and Hotel California by the Eagles was playing so I thought a fitting name for the second puppy would be “Cali”.  She sure was a welcome sight. Through the rest of the night until about 5:30 am, Molly gave birth to 4 girls and 3 boys. As I said, I had never been in the driver’s seat until now and it was a spiritual experience. As the pups are born, they are still attached to Molly.  She and I would race to get the little pup free and start the circle of life. Each one took it's first breath, in the palm of my hand with its first gasp. Molly would rub and lick for what seemed like an eternity, just making sure that everything was OK. After she was finished, I would check their mouth just to make sure none of them had a cleft pallet, something that is fatal. I would insert my little finger in the pup’s mouth to check the roof of its mouth and as soon as I did, they would start sucking on my finger wanting their first nourishment of life and as soon as they checked out, the pup was delivered to Molly to start nursing, and yes, everyone was fine.

After a long night and after she had finished providing the miracles, I bid her goodnight with a clean bed and a big old hug. Thanks girl, you did all the work and I probably was in the way, but you made me feel special and needed. Thank you for letting this city boy feel like he made a difference in your world, I’ll never know if I did, but in my heart, I hope so.

You can say what you want, but there are just some things that can’t be explained in life such as this. All the right things came together and everything is just perfect. Many people will say that this is “just” Mother Nature or evolution, but when you see it and live it, you know that there is a higher power that has put all the right things together just to make life and to make our world a little better. Thanks, Molly.   Give your dog a hug, I did tonight and to 7 more….Ken

That time of year…Again…..

As you know, it’s that time of year…. again. The first of the month of December…No, not the monthly check in the mail, not the car insurance payment due, not a check to the government, something very special and something we all have done or will do very soon.
It’s the annual time to write your letter to Santa. Don’t tell me you don’t believe in this, just ask my dogs and they will tell you otherwise. They watch the calendar and on December 1st, one minute after midnight, they gallop into the bedroon and announce…LETTERS TO SANTA TIME….YEA!!!

I will tell you, it’s a huge deal here to do this annual event. Everyone has big saucer eyes and pages torn from their favorite pet catalog magazine. With pencils and paper in their mouth, here they come as fast as they can. I try to calm them and tell them that it can wait until tomorrow, but they will have none of that, no none of that for them. They sit at my feet and look at page after page of dog toys and Frisbee’s. You’ll never guess who was looking at the Frisbees, No, you’ll never guess, really! Oh, okay, you’re right….”Dutchess” but how did you know…?

Clancy wants a big bag of rawhide bones. He says he wants them just for himself. I told him that it’s not nice to be selfish and that Santa would want him to share. He bowed his head and said you’re right. He said “I remember when Molly shared a big soup bone with me. I’m sorry” he says. Besides, Clancy you might want to keep the girls happy with your rawhide bones, “Right?”
Molly wants more tennis balls. “Not the ones that squeak” she said, “ just the plain ones.” But most of all, she wants more lap time with “the man”. I said Santa can’t bring that, but I will see what I can do.
Meg wants a bright green collar to go with her pretty red hair. “I’ll look so stunning” she says and she does look like a Princess when she goes to agility or to a show. She said “..after all, green matches my eyes.”

Abbie wants more land; I said “What?” She explained that she loves to run and run fast and just runs out of room. She will dart in and out of the trees and bushes, around fences and she wants something like a big flat area with a lake at the end so she can run straight into it. I said “I don’t know if Santa can bring that on the sleigh.” She said she would ask anyway. I said “Don’t be disappointed, you better ask for something else.”
Annie wants a few books on tricks. She said, “all the other dogs can do “things” that I can’t do.” I said “you can ask, but I bet it will come in time if you just watch the other dogs.” She’s still gonna ask anyway.

Last, but not least “Dutchess” She has filled up her page with just a few things, but a lot of writing. It started like this…

“Dear Santa, I have been a very good girl.” I stopped her right there and said, “Santa knows when you have been good or bad.” “Dear Santa, I have been a very good girl.” “Dutchess” I said. “Dear Santa, I have been a very good girl.” “Well at least you’re right on that.” I said. Then it went like this…
“I want 2 Frisbees…
I want treats and snacks
No, I want 3 Frisbees, NO, 5 of them
Can you bring me a dozen, a baker’s dozen, that means 13 of them, right?
Can you bring me a dozen donuts? That’s also means 13 of them, right?
NO, NO, NO, I want a hundred Frisbees, different colors and a hundred donuts.
NO, NO, NO I want a thousand of them, different colors with “my” picture on them.
Tell you what Santa, just fill up you sleigh with Frisbees and donuts and bring them all to me, okay, Santa?
I also want……..” “Dutchess!!!” I said.
Well, as you can see, all in all it went smooth and we got the letters in the envelopes with stamps in just the right spots, give or take a few sloppy licks. The return address was their paw print in ink, also just in the right place, cause Santa knows.
Remember with the Holiday Season Christmas Season fast approaching; remember what it’s all about. Give your dog a hug... and get those letters in the mail. Ken