Wonder What The Dogs Are Doing?

Well here we are going on vacation, without the dogs, we tried to take them, but Dutchess didn't want to wear her "Service Dog Vest" even through her service would be to "keep 'em coming" to me, I'm on vacation, but no little umbrellas please,.  When we go, It's a real dilemma to find someone that is reliable that we can trust with the dogs.  If you think it's hard to find a kennel or someone with one or two dogs, try it with 6 dogs.  Some people will run when you mention it and if you board them at a kennel, then they are stuck in a small pin for 2 weeks while we're gone.  I have had a few success stories and it has worked out great, but I have had some disasters too.  I once found women's clothing in my bed and a young man was staying here and I don't want to even think about it.  Once when we got home, there was a phone message from a neighbor asking "Did you know your dogs are running in the road"  I ran to the kennel just to check, they were all there, Whew...but it seemed that the dog's had a lot of free time in our absence, maybe the women's clothi...  never mind lets not go there...

As we were pulling away today, I turned to Elaine and said, "wonder what the dogs are doing".  We always look at each other and a sign of panic comes across our faces and then we snicker and say, "Oh, they're fine".  If you have ever left your dog or dogs, you do worry about them, because no one can watch or love them as much as you can.  Trust me, I feel your pain, I have been there.  Many times we have been on a cruise and we were sitting on the fantail of the ship with a glass of wine and one of us will look at the other and say "wonder what the dogs are doing"  and then we will try to guess and I'm sure we're never right.  There are so many things that will go through your mind.  You worry if they will eat, get hurt, get cranky with each other or "run in the road"  just don't let Dutchess see the women's clothing...she'll have them on...
When we watch someone else's dog, we try to post info to their email or on our facebook.  That's why you will see a lot of photos of a guest dog that is at our house.  Most people have smart phones and can connect and check in, just to make sure.  I don't mind because I enjoy taking the photos and being with the dogs and it makes the owners feel better.
Come back soon...
This year, we were so fortunate that we found someone that knew us, our dogs and the layout of the land.  Daniel and Chrystal Tingley are taking a vacation from their job and home and are staying at our house.  They brought Hope, Sofe and Gunny.  I watch their dogs sometimes and they are dreamboats, they behave so well.  Their dogs know my dogs  and everyone gets along fine. 
I know we will still ask each other, "wonder what the dogs are doing", but at least we can take comfort in knowing they won't be in the road, or wearing strange clothing.  Thanks Daniel and Chrystal, your the best...Give them a hug, we miss them....Ken & Elaine


When It’s Yours, It’s Different...

As some of you may know, Last week I had to take Dutchess in for what could have been a serious surgery. Of course anytime any dog goes under the knife it can be serious from the anesthesia, the surgery itself or the post-op conditions and of course, I over think each one. About 10 days ago, Dutchess crawled up in my lap and rolled over for me to rub her belly. She has had trouble with one teat and had a lump on it for several years. Well on this night, it was about 3 times its normal size and had an abscess, all of this happening in just a few days. Well as we all do, I go to the internet and Googled some info and I might as well have signed her death certificate. The internet is always a bad place to find medical conditions because it is always giving the worst conditions possible. I called my friend and Vet in Louisville and he said he wanted to see soon but the only trouble, was he was going out of town the next morning and would not be back before the following Tuesday. Waiting, something I don’t do very well and never will. So here we are, Dutchess jumping around like a jack rabbit and me in the dumps. When I worked for this same Vet, I saw many situations come in and assisted in most of them, but when it’s yours, it’s always different.

The wait for the day was long and hard. It was always on my mind and not far from my thoughts, always thinking the worst. Many people had talked of cancer and this is just something I didn’t want to face, nor did I want Dutchess to either. So off we were to the Vet and surgery in Louisville about 2 hours away. Traveling with Dutchess is always a treat because she wants to drive. She will try to sit with me and reach for stuff making it hard to watch for things I really need to watch for. Dutchess is one who always gets sick, so I prepared the car for this trip. It actually looked like a laundry truck with all the towels and sheets that covered everything. You see, I have learned my lesson traveling with the dogs before. Once, I was taking Meg to agility and I did prepare a little but just as we were pulling in the parking lot just 20 feet from our destitution, she puked not once but three times with the last one on the console of the car. She just looked at me with those sad eyes and how can you be upset. I even thought ahead by not feeding her that morning which didn’t work.

It didn’t take long for Dutchess to get sick even though I had not fed her for nearly 24 hours. It wasn’t much, but just enough to keep with traditions in the puke-mobile. She was restless and kept going from one side of the car to the other, but we made it.

Once at the Vet, she greeted everyone with jumps and licks and grabbed a new toy from their counter that are sold to pet owners to take home for their pet. She tossed it in the air and brought it to me to throw back to her, which we did. Sorry to the people who bought a used toy, but know it had the Dutchess seal of approval and she liked it.

After a short time, it was time to get started. Because this is where I had worked before we moved out of state, I was allowed to stay with her during the surgery and assist. This is where I feel comfortable and wanted to be and I’m sure Dutchess would have wanted me there too. After the Ketaset (ketamine hydrochloride) injection, it’s off to sleepy land and we’re off. It’s funny to see her jump and bounce around and right after the injection, she senses something is just not right and she comes to me. I get on the floor with her and go with her to that vast underworld, she puts her head in my lap and her eyes are trying to focus on me.  I was right there as she goes on her journey.  She was washed and scrubbed and the area shaved and disinfected.  Surgery packed opened and instruments in the ready with scalpel loaded. We’re off, I have seen this scenario a thousand times… but when it’s yours, it’s always different.  Everything went well… Prayers answered.
After the surgery, I carried her back to a pre-op observation area, I covered her up and went to lunch. She was in good hands and needed time to wake up. I returned in about two hours and checked on her and she was still very groggy but when she saw me, her tail went in circles even though she could not get up. After rubbing her face she went back to sleep for a few minutes, I'm right here... 
Dutchess was ready to come home and so was I, it had been a long day and one I was glad was over. She is recovering well and is in fact recovering too well. To her, she never had the surgery and wants to play all the time, it’s me who puts on the brakes.
 This is Dutchess wearing her "T-Shirt"  It's works much better than a lampshade or a collar and she likes to play "Dress-up".

It’s hard for anyone who has not gone through the worry to know how it affects you, but it does. You don’t want your pet to hurt or be in pain. Dutchess is a trooper, but when she was down and out, my heart broke. I have assisted in many surgeries, but when it’s yours, it’s always different. Ken

Slowing Down...Maybe

This has been a busy week, but it is getting a little better in as much, I am done with the chicken house, and my son’s deck.

 Just a few touch ups to make, and then it’s time to get the chickens, if only I knew what kind to get.

 Next week will also be a little busy and we even have a surgery scheduled for one of our dogs that just came up a few days ago. I am like a few of my dog friends and over think things and always think the worst, but I do worry about the dogs and their health and such. Let’s just hope for the best, hopefully I will know something soon. We have been lucky with the dogs and not had many problems except for Meg. She ran into a steel fence and impaled herself a year or so ago and could not get off, and she laid on the ground with the steel rod in her chest until I could help her. The bad part, I was right there to see the whole thing and I knew it was bad. Of course, it was 4:30 pm and the Vet closes at 5 pm and its 45 minutes away. I did call and said I was bringing her in and it was an emergence, and they waited for me. After all the prodding and fixing up, she was good to go home. I thought she took her last breath on the way in, when she gasp and her head fell to the seat, I thought it was her last, but it wasn’t. That’s a horrible feeling and one that you’ll not get over soon.
My heart breaks when my dogs or a guest dog gets hurt or tear up their pads running and trying to keep up with the farm dogs. The thing is, they always put their heart into whatever they do, it’s just in their spirit, something you’re not going to change…but some people try and that’s where the problems start, as we all know border collies are their own breed and think their own way.
As we slow down from the summer season, we can take a break and enjoy things getting back to normal, if there is such a thing. You might call it organized chaos but in a good way and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Everyone but Annie, she's chasing the cats
I have been in a funk since I talked to my Vet friend and scheduled the surgery. It’s just hard to accept what the worst outcome could be, something I don’t want to think about, but it’s always there floating in and out of my thoughts. I hate to wait, but I must. Good luck girl, my trust is spiritual. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers, we’ll be traveling to a Vet in another state for the surgery. Sorry for the downer post, but this morning, my heart is just not into happy thoughts.   Ken

We Are So Blessed

And we are, in so many ways because of the dogs and the pups and the people we have met because of the dogs. Let me explain. Usually, when someone inquires about the dogs, we will invite them over even before the pup is born just so we can discuss our needs and wants for our pups to the new owners. We will invite them to sit in the family room and most of the time, we will have our dogs in too, just to let them the people get close and personal and to know what they are getting into.
If Clancy clime up on the couch with them and goes to sleep, that’s a pretty good sign they will get a pup, he’s a pretty good judge of character and usually hits the mark.  After their pup is born, most families will come and visit their little pup every week or so and we encourage this if possible because it helps them to socialize the dog.  During this time, we will usually meet their kids, parents and grandchildren if they bring them.  I have seen their kids grow up, watched their kids get married and been involved in some small part of their lives at times.
At times we have had some of our dog owners over for lunch or dinner and have great conversations sitting on the dock watching the dogs run and play.  One couple even became engaged on their pup’s first birthday. She arrived home from work and usually the first to greet her is a happy pup! Well this time there was no pup but her Bo with a card and flowers.  After a moment of confusion she asked where the dog was, the back room door opened and out ran the happiest Border Collie with a white box around his neck.  Her Bo got down on one knee, with the dog by his side and history was made! Some people will bring treats or gifts for my dogs and one young man knows I like Rice Krispie Treats and has brought several batches, I do hide them from Elaine. Sorry Elaine…but know even Dutchess doesn’t get any, there mine…
We are also blessed because when we board our pups, we get to see them again.  Some, several times a year.  Everyone has a hoot of a time, and we get to see our human friends again too.  Just this Friday, we had a dog come for a visit and his parents were going to Hawaii for their wedding anniversary. Yesterday, as they flew out, I got a photo from the plane saying they were on their way. “Ranger” their dog sent back licks and kisses, God speed Tom and Terry, congratulations.
One of the neat things we get to see, is their little pup grow up to a beautiful border collie.  I told Dutchess if she doesn’t get off the table today, I’m going to switch her and keep one of the boarding dogs, and I meant it… They change so much and I covet each one that comes back. Everyone has done such a great job with their dog, some a little better, but all are doing great. This week is the busiest we have ever had for dogs staying with us. It’s not a problem for them, but I want all my ducks and dogs in a row and border collies are hard to keep up with. I can’t imagine someone stopping back to get their dog and I say “sorry, your dog’s not hear” I always keep an extra eye on the guest and never leave them alone outside, but all in all they stay right on the porch and with me if they’re not playing ball or getting in the water or on my lap.  They are so amusing to watch. Just imagine trying to walk anywhere, all wanting attention and jumping trying to give you kisses.  Sometimes I just sit down and let them have their way with me. I’m surprised I have any eyebrows left. Just last night, while watching TV from the couch, I had one in my lap, one on the right and left and two at my feet.
 There is one down side to this and that’s when I get that horrible email. It always starts out the same “Ken, I am so sorry, our dog was killed today”.  It's the hardest email they have ever written and it's something I never want to hear, but have, at least five times and a pain shoots through my heart. I’ve often thought, do I want to know? and the answer is always “Yes”.  They are my pups too and will always be, and I want to know.  If possible I will send a puppy photo back to the owners that I have kept, and always try to comfort, but there is just no words to say.  In their letter, they usually mention of their tears as they write me, but I never mention mine as I write back, but they are always there.
You see we are really all a family and we are people who can help and depend on each other during the best of times and at the worst of times. Families are important and some people go through life and never know they have one, but I will tell you, I do, and there are many branches on my family tree and most have four legs the rest two.  We are truly blessed… Ken

Note;  The dogs in todays post are just a few guest dogs born from my dogs.  There is not enough room to have photos of all that stay...