I Can't Help It....

Elaine says I have too many. She also says it cost too much and she has to help me keep it all together. She says I am getting too old for all of them and I should think about cutting back, but I can't, I just can't. They make me feel alive and it gets me out of bed in the mornings, but it’s really a curse. I will lay in bed at night thinking about them and will try to talk myself out of if, knowing full well I will never stop until it's too late or it kills me. I can't help it, I just can't stop. Winter is the worst time for me. Maybe it's because I am cooped up with nothing to do and I get bored and my mind starts to wonder and I will daydream for hours on end. I have had sleepless night just thinking about it and what am I going to do. When I have the desire real bad, I can't sleep or I will get up at 4 AM just to think about it or decide what I will do next.
I didn’t always this problem and sometimes it’s worse than other times. I don’t know what triggers it but it’s very real.
Hello, my name is Kenny and I am addicted to projects……
OK, OK, I know it’s not really that bad but sometimes I think I am. Let me explain. We have acreage here at the farm and I am a master gardener and I love to plan and make projects to do things that are useful or just pretty. I will see a landscape project somewhere else and say “I can do that”, and usually do. I have even taken a photo of someone else’s project and will build it here. I try to explain it to Elaine because in my mind’s eye, I can actually see it completed. She will shake her head and say “I trust you”, I’m sure it will be nice and then roll her eyes. In the winter, I will make a list and put it on the refrigerator, just to look at it and mull over what I will need as far as materials. Once, even my brother came to visit and while we do live in the woods, with just a clearing for the house and lakes, he said “Are you going to clear all the trees for building projects?” I knew then I had a problem and started going through the 12 step program. I guess I get it from my father, he worked for the railroad and in his spare time, or during a vacation, he would hire a building crew and build a house.
My current project is to build a walking path on the property through the woods and around the lakes for the dogs. I, as expected have a DR Self-propelled Field and Brush Mowers that will cut anything down and make a great path, so I can go anywhere.
This particular project took much longer than usual because the dogs wanted to play most of the time or anytime I’m outside. After I cut the path, I had to use chain saws and weed trimmers and while the dogs having No fear, would find a ball and bring it to me, no matter what I was doing.
Now most people would pay no attention and go on, but they have not experienced so many sad faces and beside, they just will not listen or leave me alone. Abbie and Clancy are the worst. They will set a ball in front of me or the mower and force me to move it or run over it. Now most people would not play, but knowing I would crush their hearts, I would pick it up and throw it, and in just an instance it would be back for me to repeat again and we did.
Found this nest while making the path...
All in all we all had a good time and they got some good exercise and now I can say “another project done” On to the next……Actually, I built the path for Elaine and I to walk on along with the dogs. Happy trails till we meet again....Ken

We Call It A "Play Day"…

But it’s much much more. One thing we really enjoy is something we call “play day.” Sometimes one of our pups will come over to just play and interact with our dogs to socialize or stay the night, kinda like a sleepover for dogs. This is good for a variety of reasons, and I enjoy it because it gives my dogs someone new to play with, and it socializes them with other dogs too. It always changes the pecking order, and that’s good for everyone, especially knowing they can play together and get along.

The pup or adult dogs that come back to play also benefit because it socializes them too, and they have a lot of fun. They learn very fast to fit in and find their place in the pack. It amazes me to watch them as they get out of the car, and in just a few minutes, they fit right in, knowing who they can play with and who they need to give a little distance to. They always start slow, running at the back of the pack, and as the day wears on, they move up into the middle, and some even try to be the lead dog. But they have to earn it, and not too many have, but they do like to try. It builds their confidence, and we have a good time, no matter what the weather is.

Summer days with the sun are great because of the water they can get in, but rainy days and snow days are fun too. If someone comes for the first time, I suggest they bring a towel or something to clean them off with. When they are filthy, we give them a bath. If it’s a hot day, we (the adults) will sit on the porch in the cool shade while the dogs dry off and sleep in the shade on the porch.

There are plenty of activities to do here on the farm. There are ball and Frisbee, canoeing, dock diving, or just jumping and playing in the water most ll the time.

There are always chasing each other through the woods and playing “fight.” We have never had a problem or a real skirmish with anyone because there is no threat. Everybody is always on their best behavior and off-leash.

Some might think it would be a hassle or problem for me to do this, but I will tell you, I love it. It gives me a chance to see my pups again and it’s a break up my day. Many people will come over with their dog, sometimes making a day of it and bringing the whole family and some will only come for an hour or so. I have had people who just needed a break or come over when their dog has been cooped up because of the weather. They call and schedule a day.

Of course, there is no charge; I do it because I love my pups and the breed, and I like to watch them play. We have even hosted people who saw us on the internet and just wanted to drop by. We welcome them and their border collie.

As I went back into my photo archives, I saw so many I wanted to include, but there is just not enough space here. I may add a link, only devoted to “play days” later on. I saw so many beautiful dogs and wonderful times, and it brought back so many wonderful memories looking at the photos.  So pack your picnic basket, grab your favorite Frisbee or ball, and let's have some fun...

I Remember...

I remember October 2010 when Molly had 10 healthy pups and we were amazed. They were so beautiful and colorful.
I remember when one went home on Christmas Eve of 2010
I remember a new family was so excited
I remember when I got “that” phone call a year later
I remember “We need to bring him back”
I remember how scared he was when he got here
I remember when he growled at me
I remember how hard I worked and got his trust
I remember how he would follow me every where
I remember when he licked my face and got in my lap
I remember when I got a phone call; I’m looking for a dog at least a year old
I remember how scared “I” was
I remember how excited the new owner was
I remember telling the new owner, "This is going to be hard for me"
I remember her telling me, "We'll take care of him"
I remember how lonely it was driving home from Cincinnati last week
I remember the pain and miss him
Bodie, I will always remember you……
Bodie was a dog that captured my heart. He was a beautiful pup that jumped, played and was full of life. He did come back home to us in December because of financial reasons and it was with many regrets from his owner, they loved him very much.  There was nothing to do but welcome him into our pack, but he was a little shy and reserved. The first day, he growled at me as I was taking his collar off and we had my “Come to Jesus” talk and from that point on, he knew, “I” not “He” was the boss of these parts and we never had a problem except once when I was brushing his tail and he growled again. I pushed his head down and said “Bodie, hush” and that was it. Never again. We make a practice of not keeping a dog that is returned to us for several reasons, (except Abbie). The biggest reason is we don’t have the kennel space. I would gladly keep them all if I could. I wanted to evaluate him and make sure he would fit in, so, I took my time with him and worked hard. Bodie did have a few problems; however none of them were very serious and I think he is just a pup in a 14 month old dog. He thought he was the boss and wanted to show it. The more he stayed here, the more he fit in. He got along great with all the dogs and loved to come in the house. We taught him some basic things and he loved to play. He is an expert at playing ball and is completely house broken. He’s a great bed buddy and loves to sleep right next to anyone but loved to sit between Elaine and I, watching TV and eating popcorn, but Bodie prefers the Kettle Korn.
I took Bodie to Cincinnati to meet his new owner on Tuesday which was a half way point for both of us. They live on nearly 400 acres two hours east of Cincinnati and have everything any dog could possibility want or need. He jumped into the front seat and off they went. My drive back after transferring him, was very bitter sweet and I missed him so, as we had become great friends. I remember Elaine and I talking about what we wanted for him and what we thought Bodie needed in a forever home and in our mind, we made our list. The night before he left while he was asleep in my lap, Elaine spoke up and said. “You remember what we wanted for Bodie” and when we thought back, he was going to exactly what we had wanted for him, I guess the fate gods worked again.

Bodie is a wonderful dog, he was a little slow relaxing and getting close to us, but when he did, he was very gentle, sweet and loving. He captured my heart and I his. I do miss him and wonder what he is doing throughout the day. The hard part about raising pups for me, I like keeping up with them as adults, I see the good as well as the bad things that happen in their life. I try very hard to keep in contact with all of our dog owners via emails or phone calls. I love the good things that happen in their life whether it’s awards or a competition they are in or just a lap to sleep in, but I hate to get “that” email “Ken, We are just devastated, the worst thing happened today…..” I know I can never feel their pain, but I have shed many tears over my little ones and I always flash back to those little faces in the kennel cocking their head from one side and then to the other as I sing to them or I watch them run as fast as they can and tumble as they turn a corner, getting up and going for more.  
Bodie has a chance to be the luckiest dog in the world. I hope he warms up to his new owners and will love them as he loved me. There are a lot of people pulling for him and want nothing other than him to be happy and content. As always, if it doesn’t work out, there is a place in my lap and Kettle Korn in the cabinet, you’ll just have to share Bodie. You’re the first thing I think about when I rise and my last thought when I retire. Good Luck Bodie, There’s always tomorrow, never look back… have a bright future and many many years of running until your too tired to run anymore and then falling asleep with someone who loves you as much as I do… Dad

Sharing Your Bed, Do You?

Molly and Abbie

With six dogs, we always take turns with each of the dogs on who gets to stay in the house, not only during the evening to watch TV and eat snacks, but also to sleep in the “man’s” bed with the man and his “mate”. We like to do this for several reasons. The first one is to see each dog away from the pack and to give them individual time with us to do the things they want to do which is usually a small game of recliner chair Frisbee or toss the ball. As I have said many times before, mine are all different in many aspects and mannerisms. They seem to sense and know whose turn it is to come inside for a fun filled evening with the “man”. After feeding them in their kennel at night, it’s time to choose who comes in and you always get the “sad eyes” and “pouty faces” of the ones who are left, but the dogs that have been chosen will stop and give raspberries to the ones in the kennel, as if saying Ha-Ha it’s me, it’s me and not you….
After watching a few of their favorite shows while sitting in my lap, it’s time for bed. One last trip outside and back inside in a flash. This is where they all change and show their true colors and bed habits.
Let’s start from the youngest to the oldest.

Annie is a gem. She will lie so still at either the foot of the bed or at your head giving you plenty of room. You won’t even know she’s in the bed and she won’t move all night and is a little angel, one of the only times. She hasn’t learned any bad sleep habits yet, but she’s still young.

Abbie, she is a real character. First, she will beat you to the bed and lay on the pillow and will be put out if she has to move. If for any reason you get up during the night, she will again, move to the pillow where it is warm and snuggle right in. During the night, she will put her back to you and you can cuddle her like a teddy bear. She will lie as still as she can, but when she hears the first noise or feel any movement, game on! She is licking your face and giving you a good ear cleaning.

Meggie loves to lie back to back. It’s so wonderful during cool weather because she will stretch out and keep you warm from head to toe. She will press her back into you and nearly move you across the bed.

Dutchess is a real treat. She will want to play until the last minute and even bring a ball to bed, just in-case you might want to toss a few during the night with her. She is the hardest to sleep with because she has so much energy and never wants to stop.

Molly will want to lay her head near your face, which brings her paws up there too. She will paw at your arm trying to get you to pet her head and the more she paws at you, the more she thinks you will pet her back, even more.

Clancy is the largest of all the dogs. He will climb up on the bed and bury his nose into your armpit or under your neck. He always gives a big sigh and is gone for the night. He will lie in the same position for hours and even snores just a little.

All in all, the dogs are excellent bed buddies. They never need to go out and everyone will keep still except Dutchess, who will get up in the middle of the night and play, even if it’s by herself. I am usually a light sleeper, but I will again tell you, when they lick your face, the back of your neck, your ear or shove their tongue to your brain through your nose, it wakes me up! The other thing, most of our dogs have very rough paw pads because they are have been toughened up running so much on the rocks and rough terrain. It is a shock when they put their paws on your back and give you a good “scratchin”. We usually have at least two dogs in at any one time. Last night it was Molly and Clancy. If you rub or pet one, the other will move into position for their rub and pet too. As I awoke this morning and after giving them a good ear scratchin, they settled back in for a little more rest. When I went to get up, I went the other side of the bed to get out, over Elaine, THEY just seemed at peace and I didn’t want to disturb THEM. As for the “Man’s” Mate, that is another story for another time…
My mother would not allow any dog on the bed, I guess I don’t mind because they are part of my life and part of me. I love them so….