A True Story…

Well Christmas is over and all went well and everyone is settled into the rest of winter.  We are getting back to normal, and even the dogs are getting settled back into their regular routine.  All of my attention is stretched in several directions during this season and the dogs are without my constancy care but they will stay close to my side, evermore, wanting more lap time and play time.
The day after Christmas, I was putting the dogs up in the kennel for the night and while they were eating, I came back inside got ready for bed, watch a little TV, and ate a little snack with a glass of Chardonnay.  Just after Elaine went to bed leaving me in the TV room, I went back to the kennel and checked up on everyone and made sure everyone was content the final time.  Before we go any further, Elaine took Clancy, Molly and Abbie to bed with her upstairs from the TV room and I was going to stay up a little later just to wind down…and that's when the trouble started…
As I was checking on each dog and saying goodnight, Dutchess looked oh so pitiful and looked up at me with those sad eyes and I said goodnight and she just bowed her head and I knew I had crushed her.  I said “Want to go in”   OMG, such bright eyes and she stood up and turned in a circle and barked.  Off we went into the house and to the TV area to just wind down…another glass of Chardonnay and off we were to settling in, or so I thought…

She stood by the side of my recliner and just looked at and I knew what she wanted...“Want to play ball”? Is all I had to say and off she was to the special ball drawer next to the sink.  She jumped on the counter and tried to open the drawer and looked back at me and barked again saying “Hurry up, I’m ready to play”!  As soon as I got to the drawer, I took out a ball and gave it to her and she ran to the couch and laid the ball in my seat, waiting for me and off we were.  "Hurry up" she said  "we're going to play ball"   I did caution her that we needed to be quiet because if the other dogs heard us, they would want to play too and we would make a mess and she agreed to be quiet…

We played so hard, and did until she was finally finished and she laid down and panted heavily while she rested with the ball in-between her legs.  We had so much fun and Dutchess will always put her all into whatever she does and on this night, she knocked over a leather recliner by diving into it to get a ball and on a spin move, she fell into the Christmas tree and sent it to the ground where ornaments flew in every directions but it was after the last glass of Chardonnay, everything was just fine...  

She was so happy and after she cooled down, up on my lap she came and fell asleep for a few minutes until my TV show was over.  When I crawled into bed, up she came... turned around and laid down where she fell asleep right next to me and in all the years, this was one of the first time she did this…

I did sit the chair back up and at least put the Christmas tree back into the area it was in but most of the ornaments were placed on the couch, and when Elaine saw the disruption the next morning, she did ask “did you and Dutchess play Ball”?  “Yes” I said, and in the Christmas spirit, she said, “Looks like you had fun” and smiled…as she replaced the ornaments back on the tree...Merry Christmas Dutchess...

One of now favorite Christmas memories…


Christmas Morning at the Farm

Updated from December 25th, 2011
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.
“Hey what about us”…as Gabby and Doc jumped in.  “We’re new around here” and they are new to the Christmas tradition…but seem to fit right in.  Molly, Clancy and even old scrooge Dutchess shared some of their gifts this season and Abbie offered to let them run with her in the open fields that she got for a present.  You see we all got what we wanted but most importunely, we “got” each other.  For you see four of the dogs were a gift to the farm and we took them as our own and they are…We are a team and now Doc and Gabby are part of us…Gabby said “I was older when I came here and had to leave my home” Dutchess jumped in and said “I was too…Abbie and even Doc had homes and we came here too…did you see all the Frisbees I got…isn’t this place great”  Gabby said…”yes, it is, we all got a new homes now and I think it’s forever” and I jumped in and said it was…
Well it’s over for another year, all the presents were opened 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 to 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, and 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 any of us 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 get everything she asked for. I told her that Santa sent me a special note just for her. As she sprang into my lap, she circled once and then twice and settled down but before she fell to dreamland, she moved to the side so Gabby could have room too… as Doc curled at my feet. I patted everyone on their head and thought to myself. “Yes” we've got everything we wanted, we usually do, and we don’t always know it.  Give your dog a hug....

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


Nana's & PaPaw's House

As some of you know, we do board Border Collie dogs at times.  This started when we would want to see our pups again after they went home, so made it available for our pup owners to let the dogs stay here with their dog parents and we could play with them again while they were on vacation.  This started many years ago and has increased a little and it seems like we now get old friends to stay with us.  We have seen them grow up and now, we even see “just” a little gray in some selected spots and I never thought I’d see the day of the gray, but then I never thought I would see it on mine, and now it is a reality.
It always starts when they get out of the car and they run to me and some even roll on their back and lift their paws up to me and to play.  Many will run and jump a hard as they can, knocking me backwards while the owners will say…”this never happens at home”, but now they are at Nana’s and Papaw's” house and things are just a little different.  I will ask if they mind if we spoil them but usually, we just don’t ask, but they know.  Usually, they get to sleep in the house and jump on the furniture and lay in my lap.
This year, we have started to see something different.  I have notices that most every dog will gravitate to me and follow me around.  They lay by my feet when I am writing and make a point to lay in my lap when I'm sitting…for hours...  Xena, one dog who boarded earlier this month was just like this.  She stayed in the house the whole time, slept in the bed and was in my lap the whole time she was here…for hours and a lot of dogs will do this and I know it's because she will at home...and it was wonderful on cold days when be both took a little nap, warming us both.
About 9 months ago, Elaine sat on the couch (she usually is in a rocker) and I sat on the other couch (we have two in the family room) and she made room for a dog to sit with her and she wanted some attention from them.  We had three dogs inside and two jumped on the couch with her but kept looking at me and I had just one.  
After about 10 minutes, both dogs jumped off and came over to me, leaving her without any dogs.  “I just don’t understand this, why do they always go to you”? she said, I answered as best as I could…”That’s simple”  “What do you mean, what is it”?  “So simple” I said…”What is it”!!! “They just don’t like you” I snickered and she even laughed…”OK, but really what is it” she said.  “Look… I feed them, see them nearly 24 hours a day, play with them, walk with them and even sing to them and they look at me as the caretaker and leader”.  The one thing I also mentioned is that I make them mind and they do the things they ask.  Elaine is soft hearted and will baby talk them when she wants them to do something, I put on the “Big Boy” voice and they know I mean it and will do it out of respect, but this is what they want.  They want to follow a leader and if they don’t have one, someone will become the leader and that’s not always good, but that night I had three trying to get in my lap or at least in my arms.
I will tell you, it can be overwhelming at times and I just want my space too, especially if I'm trying to put on my shoes or type.  Elaine says it’s because I am the “man” meaning I am their leader, but not hers...never her she said, and that’s OK.  Every dog is different and that’s what makes it fun.
As Christmas comes up, remember what this time of year is really all about and share your love, especially with your dog…Ken

Merry Christmas Little Shepp and Max...and all of our little pups and dogs, you always bring joy to our life and you're always welcome to come and see us at Nana and PaPaw's house....

Note: all of the dogs in this post are guest dogs...except one, Doc with his son who came to visit.

An Open Letter…

Sometimes things get under my skin especially when I have a dog in the fight or if I think it's wrong…This is both...
Earlier this week, I had an acquaintance contact me about helping out with rescue dogs, and she was turned down because in a couple of years…she might breed her purebred dog.  The problem with this is she “might” and she was willing to help the life of a dog and possibly save its life or support the dog community through work or money NOW, and possible for some time and now "they" have cut any ties to her and the dogs actually lost out.  

I did post a question on the dog’s Facebook page concerning the same thing…and here are a few responses…On a personal note, I was going to rescue a dog at the local shelter, and after I did all the paperwork and the fee was more than a purebred, I said no…I just wanted a dog for the farm.   I walked away and looked in the paper and got “free to good home” my first Border Collie, Max.  How interesting would it be if every shelter/rescue worker had to fill out the form to adopt a dog, and how many would pass, and this is the same person who is making this decision…?

From a breeder;

So yes, one can do both, and be responsible for it, and then yes there are those that use the "rescue dog" to pull at people heart strings, to just obtain more money, which is really a shame, and some rescues/shelters, I do feel go a bit overboard with their rules, because that dog is missing out on a really great forever home.
She rescued a dog from a shelter that was destined to death and No BC rescue shelters in the 4 surrounding states would take him…and now he is happy because she took him and re-homed him and he it is one of many.

The rescues seem to only accept "perfect" applicants, and then get surprised when they have too many dogs. I’m not perfect by any means, but my 2 dogs have a great life. A rescue would never accept me, a single, working, city dweller, in a million years….

I agree totally. I get very tired of the "better than thou" attitude taken by so many of the rescue shelters. They practically want to know what time you are going to go to the potty yourself.....most make you fill out pages and pages of personal info......and IF you happen to tell them you might use anything else than a "Humane" collar or leash (according to their standards) or IF you mention the word "breeding" to them they tell you No, they cannot accept you. They are often missing the boat in their efforts to "rescue" a dog. 

There were many responses and even personal messages and it’s like we are the enemy.  I do rescue dogs and yes, I do breed them.   I will be the first to say, leave it to the people who know and will react to a problem and always look for the dogs well being.  No one should ever breed, and all dogs that are rescued, re-homed and even kept in the back yard should be spayed or neutered.

The question is…what do we do?  I am in favor of stricter laws that govern this, especially the breeders.  A possibility would be to team up the breeder and rescue/shelters together.  Let’s face it. Most, (not all) breeders are in it because they love dogs and want to share the joy of them, but in the eyes of the rescue/shelter people, they will not even talk to us.    Another solution would be, for every dog you sell, a portion would be destined for the relief of overpopulation and care.  Many things can be done, but we need to do something more, and that’s, the gist of this letter…

This is a perfect time to do something.  I realize not all people can foster a dog, but there is more.  You can support financially, clean/visit, donate goods, transport and even shelter, you just have to make up your mind what to do.  Glen Highland Farm, a Border Collie rescue in New York (501-C-3) even has info on Amazon, and you can buy a specific toy for a specific dog and here is a donation page on Amazon Glen Highland's Wishlist on Amazon
It automatically sends it to them, and there are many things under $10.

If breeders and shelter/rescue groups don’t stand together, we will fail and the problem will never be solved, please be responsible and do your part…remember it’s for the dog and when you hold their head in your hands and look very close into their eyes, you are looking at your own destiny.  If you are involved with shelters, please know that we want to help...


I will donate a monetary amount of every litter our dogs have to a rescue and continue to help transport, feed, donate goods and supplies to anyone who ask for help and I will seek ones that don’t.  I will, and have made a difference in the nearly 20 dogs we have re-homed...Ken
The Dog's Facebook Page 

63 Days

It happens every 6 months…either it’s a time you look forward to or it's a curse from Hades…
 If you haven't watched your calendar, you wouldn't notice that Meg, Annie AND Gabby have reached that exciting time again and you might remember that 6 months ago, we had little ones running around playing and getting into everything and I can only do this once a year and it’s NOT time... girls, did you hear me?
It started out as a typical day, girls inside, boys outside and then it was time to change, boys inside, girls outside, sounds so simple right…wrong.  So here I am, I have Doc on an orange leash and I am transferring him to a sizeable kennel so he will be happy.  We need to stop right there, Doc is NEVER happy when he is in, and a romantic female dog is outside, NEVER.  At any rate, he bolted from my grasp during a weak moment and off he ran toward the girls who were playing thirty feet away from us dragging a bright orange leash behind him.  Gabby is leading the way and Doc is following…It looked like an orange lightning bolt traveling down the driveway, giggling all the way…I just know it…

Most people don’t really consider the drive that a male dog has when it comes to his romances.  I will tell you, it is very strong and I really mean strong.  On one occasion, Clancy was behind a 5 foot fence and he wanted out to frolic with the girls.  After trying to get under the fence, he started biting it and repeatability bit into a chain link fence and broke the wire.  He continued to work at it until he could squeeze his body through the hole he had made in the middle of the fence and I have the hair that was left on the fence.  Sixty three days later we had 7 pups.  If you want to make the world’s strongest jail, put a male dog inside and female dog outside and watch how he escapes and keep it up until he can’t.  No human could ever get out…but a little known fact, it is the female that is the aggressor too, sometimes she is worse than the male is!  Why do you think we call Dutchess the “party girl”?
Gabby…come here…G A B B Y come here.... down the driveway they ran, my mind raced, what to do…what to do… my 18 year old mind said “Run” as I started running.  The lovebirds would run about 100 feet and get ahead and stop and prance and play and Gabby would act real interested…OMG…”NO” I yelled and off they went in another direction, Gabby and the orange lightning bolt right behind, both turning their head and looking at me and again, I knew they were giggling and saying, “how long do you think he can run like that” to each other.  

Well this old man kept up,   for at least 10 seconds.  Through the woods I could see the orange lightning bolt slicing through the trees.  We were about 6 acres away, I was ninety six years old and it sounded like I was a steam engine puffing so much.  I was out of breath, weak legged, angry, annoyed and all the words that went with it and I knew I was going to die.  I can just see it now…”Retired Detective died from unknown reasons” in the local paper and Elaine would sell the new pups all the while wondering what I was doing on the other side of the big lake by myself, but that was not going to happen…I pulled up my sock on my shoeless right foot, because my shoe was in the woods somewhere on the path and was off again to catch the orange lightning bolt that was still running and stopping for a little kiss.  As I ran, I really did wonder what the neighbors thought of the shoeless wild man running madly through the woods screaming at nothing but a dog with an orange leash.  Little did they know the real story. 
After what seemed like 4 days we had worked our way all over the farm and ended up back at the house.  In my mind, I was grateful that if I did die, I would be home and they could find me.
I was done…No more was left, It is finished…I went in the walkout door and walked up the step to the first floor, one shoe on, one off, reached on top of the cabinet and pulled it out.  I was lucky, I always saw Gabby running and the orange lightning bolt right in-front, but it was over, only several steps were left in my legs.  I walked on the porch and pointed it in the air, toward the sun and “let it go” The sound of thunder roared from its mouth, belching a 2 foot stream of fire.  The S&W 357 said its peace.  Not a sound was heard anywhere, nor did the wind even blow, but what I did hear, was the sound of a dog running and as it got closer, the lightning bolt ran to the kennel and went in…Luckily, Doc is a little apprehensive about gunshots…and as I turned the latch shut, I patted him on the head and took off his orange lightning bolt, nothing more to say, just Mother Nature at work…


I did find my shoe and then my sock and when a neighbor asked if I knew anything about a “wild” man, I just snickered and asked…”Where did you hear that?”
In Sixty Three days, we'll know for sure…

Moral of the Story

No matter where you start, you may return back to the same place if you don't change your ways… Ken


Reggie...It Can Happen...

If you have been following the dog’s Facebook page, you may have noticed a story about a military serviceman that was deployed to war.  He had to leave his beloved dog “Reggie” at home with instructions, if something bad happened...  The story is a very good read, but it is a story.  
The Story of "Reggie"
Many attempts were made to authenticate it, but they could not, but I am sure that many servicemen and women have had to leave their pet and I'm also sure some servicemen lost their life due to the war and their pet was left without them and a home.
This caused me to thinking, have you ever ask yourself “what would happen to my dog if something happened to me?” and have you ever given any thought to your pet/pets at that time of need.  Most of us have not, but I will tell you, something bad things can happen, I know, I've been there.
Several years ago, I was contacted by someone who wanted a pup.  Karen was only 62 years old and I never gave any thought to her age, and yes, I have turned people down because of their age and I may ask the question to an elderly prospective buyers, “What will happen to the dog if you pass away”, while this seems harsh, my only concern is the entire life of the pup and not wanting it to go to a shelter or something worse. 
From an email I received from Karen.
"I just got home from the pet store.  Tess has a new toy........Yes, we are ready to pick, would Friday be OK with you.  Anytime Friday is OK for Ross and me.  Let me know what works for you.  I am so excited"  Karen!!
One cold January day, “Tess” went home to her new home and everyone was so excited.
I remember the day so well,  Karen would come every weekend and see her pup before it went home and we became friends.  Karen passed away just 3 months after the pup was picked up, March 16th, her unexpected death was a shock to all of us.  Tess was now in Florida with Karen's daughter and she was flown back to us here at the farm.  She was rehomed to a wonderful family near Indianapolis. 
I'm just glad we were able to get involved and we were able to re-home the dog to the perfect family, and all is well.
We never know when something can happen, but as dog owners, we need to at least think about it.  Usually things will stay the same and the dog will stay in the same house and things are OK, but in the event it’s not, what will happen.  I can't imagine any of my dog’s being separated or not being taken care of like they should be.  In my heart I know things will be OK, but I do wonder…No one will ever love my dogs like me and I know you feel the same way.
It’s easy to make arrangement for your dogs if needed or because of a bad occurrence and it might be as easy as asking a family member or a friend and at least you have planned, and remember, you can always call us at the farm.  It does dwell on some dog owners mind and I have been ask by two families to take care of the family dog, just in case... and I will.
Something I have always wanted people to know is that it is a full lifetime commitment to own a dog, for you, the dog and both.  They count on us for everything they need and want, and it’s up to us to remember their total needs.  This is part of our "going home" talk with the pup...As much as Dutchess lets me know things, there is some things that I need to take care of myself... Ken


The "Hot" Word...

I have talked about this before with much vigor and it’s even a “Hot” topic with Border Collie owners.   It’s something that each of us have experienced many times, but put yourself in my shoes and follow me around the farm.
I have a lot of things that need to be done especially around the fall of the year, and the only time that is worse is the springtime when everything is getting started and there are many chores to do and now, even the daylight time is getting shorter.
It always starts the same, I wake up and plan my day depending on the weather and how cold it is.  It has been a lot cooler this year and we already had some snow on the ground which has even pressed my time just a little closer.  After breakfast and after I have dressed, I go out and feed the dogs, they are SO excited because they want to get out as fast as they can so they can run and play.  This is always a challenge, but it always starts the same.
After they hastily eat, it’s time to open their kennel door for the mad dash.  If one dog is first to get out, then they wait and bark inside the kennel for someone else so you can race together.  This will happen for about 4 dogs and as the 5th dog is let out, it’s time for all of them to run through the door at the same time, which is impossible, but they try, and yes, they really do try to fit all 5 dogs through the small door.  What a bottleneck but as it clears, the rest come running and try to catch up which they do.  Of course the whole time everyone is barking and yelping and I even had someone here when this happened and they ask…”Do they do this every time”  and I answered, “of course, they do”.   But that’s not the Hot” topic.
"Do you know what I'm thinking?"
“Ball” is the “Hot” word.  Nearly everyone that I talk to will say the same thing, “My Border Collie” is obsessed with a ball and I will always answer the same way, “Mine too”, but give it some thought, I have 8 that are obsessed with a ball. And it’s hard to get things done because of it.  So follow me through the day as they jump and skip, wanting to play.  

Maybe because we start early...
If I'm really busy, I will ignore them (can't be done) but they always “bring” me things to play with.  As we walk or work, mysteriously a tennis ball will show up at my feet and 8 Border Collie faces look at the ball, and then at me, and then back at the ball, wanting me to pick it up and I sometimes walk by the ball but again, it’s by my feet and so on.   The're very persistent...
Clancy learned this from Tucker
At times, they will go and find as many as 6 or 8 balls after I hide the first one that they discovered in the weeds or leaves, trying until one works and I will get tired and just throw it, if only they could bring me a dollar.  Just today, Abbie brought me “part” of a ball.  It had one side out, but in her mind, it’s a ball, something that should be thrown. 
If all fails, she will bring me a stick.  As I said I know your dog is obsessed with a ball but 8?  
Even Molly....
God bless them, I feel so sorry and will pick up the ball and throw it and off we go, trying to work and throwing…The cycle continues but I wouldn't have it any other way...It's a Border Collie thing...Ken

The "Test"

If you have been reading anything on Facebook or saw it mentioned on this blog, you know we are getting a couple of our dogs certified as therapy dogs.  Clancy the “dog of dogs” and Dutchess the famous “party” girl. 
Web Definition
A therapy dog is a dog trained to provide affection and comfort to people in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools, hospices, disaster areas, and to people with learning difficulties. Therapy dogs come in all sizes and breeds. ...
As most of you know, I was blessed to have a visit with a therapy dog while in the hospital a few months ago.  I had already started my therapy dog training just a few weeks earlier and it was such a comfort to be able to hold and hug a beautiful four legged creature during my hospital stay.
It was actually Elaine’s decision to become a therapy dog handler years ago when she witnessed a therapy dog visit the nursing home her mother was temporarily in.   She saw how the patients’ eyes just lit up and a smile immediately shone on their faces and how some even laughed and spoke baby talk to the dog. It made such an impression on her, she began to dream about the possibilities of how she could do this with one of our dogs.  The more she thought about it, the more she realized she had the perfect dog…Clancy…, she knew he was the one…
Clancy has met hundreds of people and dogs here at the farm and even out at festivals in the area or trips to town.  He has played with kids, kittens, dogs and has had every puppy that has been born here at the farm craw all over him.  He just takes it and usually closes his eyes and tries to relax or sleeps, such a tender soul.  When Clancy was our stud dog, we always allowed him in the house for our meet and greet with the prospective buyers and as always, once he entered the house, he climbed upon the sofa and gave kisses or went to sleep in the visitors lap.  Many readers can attest to this very fact the first time they came to our house to meet us and our dogs.
 The stage was set… and after classes and a lot of training of the dogs and Elaine and I were ready to take the evaluation and test.  This was a piece of cake because we knew if anyone failed their part, it would be Elaine or I, Clancy was great, Dutchess was along for the ride.  One of the training instructors even told us after she gave Clancy a big hug and a kiss at one of our classes, “You…will make a wonderful therapy dog” as she looked into his eyes and he licked the tip of her nose.
Elaine was first, the evaluations are away from the public for a variety of reasons and we waited outside the room.  “No sweat” I said, he’s doing fine and when the test was nearly done, it was stopped, one of the evaluators came out to us and said Clancy had failed.  I don’t know why she came out except to warn us of Elaine’s appearance and emotions.  When Elaine did come out, she asked for the car keys and she and Clancy went to the car so she could pull herself together and as she turned, I saw her wipe a tear from her eye.  To say the least, I was shocked.  Clancy knew everything and would make a great partner, but what happened?
My exam was next and to say the least, I was concerned and worried.  I didn't know what to expect and had to admit that if Clancy couldn't pass, was their any hope for Dutchess and me.  There were nearly 8 to 10 people in the room that were there to evaluate Dutchess and me.  Sometimes more than one or the whole group participated in the teting.  When dogs test, they are taken through many pretend "situations" that could be experenced in a nusing home or hospitl envirenment just to make sure they are fit to serve in this capisity.
Before the class started, knowing I was Elaine’s husband, they shared with me what happened in the test with Clancy and Elaine.  They said the test was nearly complete when  a “neutral” dog was brought to within a couple of feet of Clancy so they could witness his reaction to the dog, of course hoping there would not be one…but it didn’t quite happen the way we all wanted it to.  Clancy took the Border Collie stance and as they were circling Elaine with the neutral dog, Clancy backed up to Elaine, touching her leg and as they circled, he circled too, not making a move or changing expression, except to circle and protect Elaine from what he took as an aggressive act toward her from the “neutral” dog.  The evaluator immediately stopped the test. This was taken as unacceptable behavior on Clancy’s part and they quite firmly stated to Elaine that he would never be able to serve as a therapy dog with their organization.
Elaine is still a certified dog handler and our new goal is to train one of our other dogs to be her partner so she can go with me and Dutchess, who incidentally came within one point of getting the highest rating.  Go figure…

My heart aches so much for Elaine and Clancy, because I know what he is. I know how awesome he is with people and what Elaine feels in her heart.  I have sat a hundred times across from a couple sitting on our couch who wanted a puppy and wanted it to be just like Clancy. Some have even wanted to purchase him, but I always tell them “Sorry, he’s not for sale” as he lays his head in their lap giving them his love and affection.  Clancy will always be our therapy dog and the only down side to that is most of his love and attention will stay here at the farm and not shared with a deserving person whose life he can cheer up, but all in all, we’ll take his love except for when he comes inside to visit and to share the couch with a couple looking for a puppy.  

Just a thought…

As most of you know, I don’t write the blog until the last minute for Sunday morning.  It is now Saturday night and nearly 9:20 PM and I have just sat down to write about the dogs and “what happened this week”.  I sometimes ponder about what I will write about because it was a slow week or I will have enough stories for a month from that same week.  As I sit at the keyboard, I thought back to when I put the dogs in their kennel tonight.  
Just this very night as I said “Let’s go eat”, everyone mechanically goes to their own kennel door and stands and waits for me to open the gate if it’s closed, but if it’s open they will proceed into their own kennel and wait for me.  Tonight, Doc was first and as I looked into his eyes, he seemed so content and I took both hands and stroked his face and while I was doing it, he closed his eyes and seemed to drift into a dream world.  He seemed so content, and so was I.  It was a dream for both of us. 
Molly was next and when I opened her door, as always she wilted to the floor on her bed and as her eyes followed me, just the very tip of her tail wags and anticipates when I will rub her head, which I do. 
Meg just flops down and waits for her food.  She is the smallest dog that makes so much commotion of any dog I have ever seen when she lies down but will watch me for instructions.
The twins, Annie and Gabby are about the same to each other, except, Gabby is the very last to go in, and always needs a little extra coaxing because she wants every last minute to stay out and play, she never gives it up willingly and always walks to the kennel with her head down to the ground, but she lets me know she is not happy.
Abbie goes right in and always looks weathered because she played so much and is usually limping or has scratches here and there, but those eyes will pierce your soul and you can't help rubbing her head and like her mother as just the very tip of her tail will start to wiggle for me.
Clancy and Dutchess don't have to go in because early Sunday morning, we are heading up to Indianapolis for some dog work and they are going inside, just so we can keep an “eye” on them and they don’t get dirty or into mischief.  As I sit and watch everyone eat tonight, each one has their own routine and after they eat, they will usually make a “nest” and settle in for the night. 
Tonight, we have two guest border collies too, Keely is from Molly and Clancy and looks a little bigger than Abbie and they even look like twins.  Tuki a guest we are watching and trying to get a little socializing in before her sheep training.  Even both of them know the routine and will submit to the rules and are such a pleasure to be around because they are good dogs and only want to share their love, which they do.
Now... the hard part.  Who gets to come in tonight?  Sometime the decision is easy.  Who is wet or dirty and who came in last night is sometimes a deciding factor, but tonight everyone is dry and clean.  Once, when Elaine had to make the decision, all 8 of them came in and there was no room for me to sleep and I just gave them my part of the bed.   She just didn't want to make a decision, but tonight it is Abbie, my little misfit confidante, it was the eyes that decided and the very small wiggle of her tail, nothing else.
There are many times I wish I only had one dog because I don’t like making decisions and there are times I wish I had a hundred dogs and a room and bed big enough for all of them.  If you only have one or two, count your blessings, most chairs and beds are big enough for all of you but in my case it’s a little different and I must share.
As I say goodnight tonight, I look at all the sad faces, sing them a song and close the door, but they never know I peek in the window just to see them once again and only wish there was room…
Even now and at times I will lie down on the driveway and let all of them have their turn kissing, licking and showering me with the only love they know and I will be in heaven. With every litter of pups we have ever had, this was our routine and if you're an owner of one of ours, just lie down and see what you are missing.
Someday soon, and as time marches on, I will lay in the "big meadow" and all of my dogs will meet me and there will be room and time enough for the fun and love we have to share before we cross together…Hopefully, God will have Frisbees.   Ken

Heaven is the place of final and complete happiness that God has prepared for us...and if animals are necessary to make us happy, then you can be sure God will have them there.  "Reverend Billy Graham

The Misfit Dog

I remember it so well, “We will never keep another dog” and it was because had so many at the time…three.  “We can't keep her, and that’s final” Remember men, if you say this, I promise you, you will eat these words…and I did...

When our little Abby was sold, she was sold to a family that had three kids and  they were not in control, and now they were taking on a puppy.  It took 4 hours to pick a dog out and as they drove down the driveway, I turned to Elaine and “I just have a bad feeling about this” and walked inside.  About 6 months later we got that call.  “Can we bring Abby back, she is so destructive, she bites the kids tore up our couch, ate the side of our cabinets and is doing everything wrong”  I thought is this one of ours and said sure, it’s our policy, we always take one back.  Abby was the first to come home. 
Elaine and I was very apprehensive about her coming back and if she is this bad and I really don't know where to start.  Abby was dropped off in a hurry and now she is back home.  We both watched her for the bad behavior and was nearly wearing protective clothing.

We watched and watched and watched and “nothing”, she came up to me and wanted some loving and we went into the house where we were ready for her to tear the side out of the cabinet.  She jumped up on the couch and went to sleep, just like she belonged here…

We worked with her for about 2 weeks, not really knowing what to do because she has done nothing wrong.  No barking, chewing, anger or any destructive behavior.  She was perfect.  Once we determined she was fine, I posted on the web, “Free to good home, loving Border Collie”.  We never re-sale one of our dogs because we just want them to have a good home.  Right off the bat, we got the call for her.  Everything was perfect and she went home.  It was the perfect couple and 6 months later I got the call.  Some devastating events had happened and she couldn't stay.  They loved Abby very much and when she was dropped off, it was a very tearful moment for all of us.   Abby looked at me and the first thing on order was a bath and after that she jumped on the couch and went to sleep.  Abby was home again…
“Can we keep her”?  Elaine said “We will never keep another dog”  “We can't keep her and that’s final” I said!  Abby came to my lap as I was sitting on the couch and I didn't want to go back on my word and anyway, it was bedtime and Abby came too.  She snuggled right by my side all night just wanting to be loved.
When I got up the next morning, “I said we will never have more than 4 dogs” Abbie was home, she belonged here and she was here to stay.  Elaine gave me "that" look and smiled knowing I had changed my mind.
Abby & Meggie on a road trip
Abby was now part of our family and an asset to the farm and she even  became the official “House Dog”.  Yes these words are not the first ones I have eaten and probability won’t be the last.
Abby always reminds me that it’s not the place where the dog is raised, it’s the people and support family that makes them who they are and how they will turn out.
I can't imagine not having Abby and she is the most active dog we have and most loving too.  She give you everything that's in her mind and body.  Even after she has hurt her rear paw from running she will then run on three legs and even keep up with the pack.  If only I had that spirit and drive.   One thing nice about is that she is a Shuck Border Collie, bred and born here from Clancy and Molly.  I feel lucky and privileged to have her and if you want to know, we now have 8 border collies....


Once a Dog Parent... Part 2

In July, I wrote about being a dog parent and the trials and troubles you may go through.  

Once a Dog Parent  July 2013

For several days life was touchy and things did not look so good.  Both made multiple trips to the Vet and to a Vet Emergency facility.  
Two of my dogs were in real trouble, I was devastated and because both of them were special pups and adult dogs, it hit me pretty hard, all within several hours and it was such a letdown after a great weekend.  As they left, I knew both dogs were a little under the weather, but we attributed it to all the running and playing.  Little did we know in just a few hours both of them which were many states apart would be in trouble, and both for several days. 

 You see, it might be your dog, but it will always be my pup.   I sat on pins and needles waiting for the test results and even gave my advice on what test should be run and told them “make sure to take their temperature and watch for infection”!  I just wanted the best for them but I also knew they were in good hands, and they were. 

Today is a follow up and how things can change in 3 months.  We had a semi reunion here with two families and as fate would have it, it was with the same two dogs that were injured on the same day in June here on the farm from playing and running.  The owners have other dogs that are ours and we had a grand time because everyone was healed, and back to normal.  Now don’t think it was an overnight thing, Tucker had to wear a “Cone” for at least 3 months and Hope had to take it easy for some time too, but both are back to normal and today was their day to shine and they did.  Most of my dogs get hurt in one way or the other, just ask my Vet, they can attest to that, but just like your kids, you always worry even if it's a pup you have sold.

Today started like any other and even a little rain that started this morning didn't hurt a thing, but the sun soon came out and it was game on.

You will always wonder about your “kids”, as a breeder you hate to hear bad news, but the good news is always refreshing and makes you know that things are right, and today, everything was right.  Here are a few photos of today's activities.
Nearly 20 dogs


Both Hope and Tucker are good as new, but you will always worry about all of them.  I love to hear how all my little pups are doing.  Some I hear from often and some I have never heard from since they walked out our door, something that I truly miss, but I always think of every last of one.
 If you are an owner, I understand you may be busy, but remember, you have a piece of my heart with you in your dog.  As I have always said, "it may be your dog, but it will always be my pup"  Ken

The song I sung to them every night before I tuck them in...

If I had words to make a day for you
I'd sing you a song golden and true
I would make this day last for all time
Give you a night in deep moonshine

Theme from "Babe"


Just an Update

Things are going great this week, Clancy has not licked his stitches at all and he is doing well and ready to play, they will come out very soon and hopefully he'll be good as new.  We have had to keep him in the house a little more, but he is getting a lot of attention if that is possible.  I am still sad that his line will be gone and I even looked into freezing some of his sperm to keep it going, but it was cost prohibited it and it was nearly 200 miles away for each trip.  There will never be another, but I guess we can say that about any of our dogs, they are all special.

There is lots of work to be done around here, we have installed a furnace for the kennel that will keep up and will keep the temperature the same because of a thermostat, new dog doors and ceiling insulation.  I will be glad of getting rid of the heat lamps and have a more controlled environment and it will be cheaper too.  Nothing too good for the dogs... 

There is work to be done on the calendars and getting ready for that, please remember, make up your mind if you want one so I’ll have enough to send out.  Remember, it will cost about $15.00 and that includes shipping.  There will be more on the particulars as time gets closer.  I hope to have that ready to mail out by December 1st.

Clancy and Dutchess are getting ready for their evaluation for Pet Partners and the therapy work that goes along with it.  As you know, Dutchess can change from a clown one minute to a Frisbee maniac in just a moment so I don’t know who will show up.  It is very strict and there is no room for mistakes, wish me the best, and the elevation will be the first week of November.  It is something all of us should look into because of the satisfaction that goes along with it for both of us.  We are going to a practice session tomorrow.

As far as me getting better, things are fine, better every day and making progress.  I was so lucky that I have had no problems except an inner ear problem and hopefully that will go away soon, if not, it’s something I can deal with and get used to.
We have a busy year this year and hopefully a bust one next year, it gives me purpose and I enjoy doing things around the house.  The rescue work as done fantastic and from my website and Facebook, we have placed 100% of the dogs that were featured by me.  Hopefully, that will keep up and make lots of dogs and people happy.
We are getting lots of calls on dogs and puppies, some with problems and some looking for a home.  Remember, if you have any problem, concern or just want to tell a story, please let me know and if I don’t know the answer, I will find out.  Always feel free to ask for help or let me know if you have a question.

Elaine is at the Covered Bridge Festival with her best girl friend and I am home with the dogs.  Tonight we’ll watch what we want on TV, eat what we want and when we want.

Stay safe and give your dog a hug…I’ll have 8 dogs in the bed tonight. Ken