Merry Christmas from the Farm…

It’s Christmas morning at the farm and all the dogs are gathered around the Christmas tree to reflect on 2014 and to bring in the New Year.
Upon hearing the news about having pups, “What are we going to do” Annie says.  “I love to play with our puppies and let them chase me and to think there won't be anymore.”  Dutchess and Molly who are half-sisters sat down together.  Dutchess looked at Molly and got a little teary eyed as she licked Molly’s ears and face and said.  “I will miss not seeing the little pups, it reminded me of the times “we” had pups and we were still young,” as she looked at Molly and hung her head.  Clancy ever so strong also bowed his head and looked remorseful.  “I know I never acted like it, but I am proud of my pups and the things they do.  I tried to be tough to show them what a strong dog is supposed to do, to teach them their trade.”  Meggie, the silent one spoke up.  

We've all had our hand in having little ones around here.   Dutchess, you and Molly have shown us both sides of our personality, Molly you are lover, Dutchess you are active and skillful.  You both were the “yin and yang” of the farm.  Annie, you are the kid and “play partner” to everyone and Gabby you are the roust-a-bout, always watching and Doc, you are everything Clancy is not, you're the lover and jumper-upper and will run 200 feet just to jump in someone’s arms just to get a hug and you always do.  Abby and Shepp, you are “our” kids, Abby by birth and Shepp by love, you are products of all of us in this room.”  Everyone understood I think, but there was a lot of head tilting as if to catch the reason from the air.  One dog, not to be mentioned by name said, “It’s not that I don't want to help with other dogs, I don't want to share, I like it the way it is, just us.”  I looked around the room and said, “Where would we all be now if we didn't share” pointing to Dutchess, Doc, Gabby, Abby, Shepp and Dahlia, “remember we took you in when you needed a home.”  To get love, sometimes you need to give love and you're in the best home ever.”  Heads bent and eyes watered but I think they understood we all need a second chance.
I spoke up again and said, “It’s not the end of the world, we see other dogs all the time when they come to visit, we play with all of them and even though it’s not the same as “our” little pups, we’re all from the same cut of cloth.   We are all related, some of us are black and white, some red and some are all kinds of colors,” as I looked at Annie and Gabby, “besides, we will still see dogs that need our help.  Just like you help our pups learn to walk, play, swim and the valuable lessons of life, you can still teach dogs that were not born here, and help them just like you did with your pups.  Remember Nya and Boone,” I said.  “Yeah we do, they were so much fun and we hated to see them go,” me too I said “but you helped them in more ways than you'll ever know and they weren't our pups, but because of you, they will have better homes.”
Then all of the dogs piped up and started telling each other what they will do and it was fun to listen to them tell their stories and how they would show them about life, Dutchess even said “I will teach them how to speak to play Frisbee.”  

Clancy said “I will teach them how to be strong when needed but gentle which is also desired.”  Doc said “I will teach them how to jump up on humans,” but I said “that might not be a good idea, even though you do it with such flair.”  Everyone had a lesson to teach and Annie even offered to teach them how to roll in poop.  

They were excited to support other dogs that needed help and especially the ones that need a second chance… because most of us do. 
You see, as the Christmas Season is upon us, it’s really about second chances, something we all need.  It is a gift that we don’t deserve but was given because of love many years ago, it’s only fitting that we give others a second chance too, whether it’s for people or pets.
“Some stories are told with Claymation, puppets, and cheesy musical numbers but don’t miss their deep and abiding meaning! These stories have lasted for decades, if not centuries, because their message connects with us on a deeply human level by inviting simple truths into our souls, truths like “beauty comes from brokenness,” “joy isn't about what we own, but who we are,” and “even the worst of us deserve a second chance.”
Christmas is a gift from God.

It is a gentle reminder of the plot to this whole story called Life: that we once were lost and are now found, once broken and now restored. The Gospel of the Second Chance brought by the helpless baby-king born in a barn is a gift for all of us”…  Mike Foster

Whilst we are a person or a dog, we need second chances… Ken

Merry Christmas from the Farm…Ken, Elaine and the dogs…

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Two Peas in a Pod…

Several years ago, before Clancy's Dream, Elaine and I stepped out into the unknown and out of our comfort zone.  I got a message that there was a Border Collie "free to a good home" on Craigslist;  

Border Collie-Purebred (Radcliff)
"Beautiful female Border Collie Free to a home, around 9 months old. Great with kids, but very active. Will require a farm home or a good piece of land. She does not do well with small breed dogs and not likely with cats either."

I contacted the owner within 10 minutes of getting the message because Craigslist can be deadly for a dog when it's placed there.  I told them I would be there in the morning, but my one condition was for him to take the ad off Craigslist so I could make sure we get her to a safe home, and he did.  When I spoke to Elaine and told her what I was doing, we both looked at each other and said simultaneous, "do we really want to do this?" I told her I have a bad feeling about this, and it was against my better judgment, but I moved to help.   I was on the road at 5 am to pick up a dog that I knew nothing about or what I would do when I got her.  She was in a cage, soaked in urine when I arrived, and the owner was very friendly even though he had a gun tucked in his back waistband.  As soon as we were on the road, I called a Veterinarian in Louisville and made arrangements to stop and get all the necessary shots, a good bath, and spay.  Nya was so scared because she didn't know what to expect, but when we finally got home, she settled in quickly, she just wanted to be touched and loved. 

Just a few days later, I received another message from several concerned people, one as far away as New Jersey about a male dog also on Craiglist.  We soon learned that he was starving for attention and came from a puppy mill.  He needed to be something more than a breeding machine for profit as most of his other Border Collies companions were just months ago.  In his first 9 months of life, he was unsure of everything, living in 4 different places, born in a puppy mill and never seeing or being on grass.  His first new home was because of a court order.  He was brought to me because he was relinquished and had been placed in an environment where he had to defend himself from Doberman Pinschers.  We were familiar with this dog and knew he was confiscated because of a court order shutting a puppy mill down.

"We have a 9-month-old male BC from a puppy mill that didn't work out.  This is one that was given away on Craigslist, would you guys be willing to find him a foster home?  He should be ready to go by the weekend."

In just a few days, we were guardians of two Border Collies that were on Craigslist and to think I was hesitant about one, but two?  What are we getting ourselves into, this is officially something that is new to us and to tell you the truth, I am just a little unconvinced of this at this point we can do any good.

We have worked with recusing Border Collies for several years, and it was always pretty, straightforward, but we would never rehabilitate "and" home a dog at the same time.  What have we gotten ourselves into?  In just a few days, we had both dogs, and they were "two peas in a pod," and they were dreamboats and fun to have around.  Boone and Nya would play and scamper around the farm, playing and chasing each other, and just in those short days, they changed for the better. 

Nya went home first and met her new brother, and Boone was pledged to a family with a Border Collie and went soon after. 

After both of them left, Elaine and I looked at each other and wondered what we were now going to do.  We became so attached to the dogs and, in a way, wanted them to stay, but I put my foot down (in a kind way) and said if we keep them, there is no more room for other rescues.  It was a sad day when they went home, and as usual, we said our goodbyes outside at the gate and took that long walk down the drive toward the house.  We had done this many times before when we sold a pup, and we honestly felt the same, a part of our heart was missing.  Something that we discovered is that although we were unsure of what we were getting into, these dogs brought so much joy to our family and fit right in, and we now know it was the right decision.  We do miss them and know they are in good hands and in loving homes.  Two days after Boone went home, I received "that" call again… "I am looking for help," and on the road, we were, and "Jack" came to the farm and soon found his forever home too. 

Boone, Nya, and Jack showed me the way in just a week, the same way my dogs have nudged me many times, but then again, I guess I wasn't listening.  There are many ways you can help dogs that are doomed, and I know you can be anxious, that first step in the hardest, trust me, I know.  The rewards are heartwarming and uplifting, and you may save a dog or two.  When we don't have any fosters available, we cannot help, no matter what the circumstances are...  Ken

For more information and if you want to help, 

Foster, What's it like

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The Hard Part

“The hard part about “this puppy thing”, I wonder if the new puppy owners will love them as much as I do.  I hope and pray they do.”  Ken

This quote is from a post many years ago on our newly developed web page from the first litter we ever had and I still wonder…

Molly's First Litter

I have thought about writing this blog for nearly 10 years, even today it’s hard to put everything into words and I get misty eyed thinking about it.
Many years ago we had two great dogs and loved them so much that we wanted other people to share in what we had, the joys of a great Border Collie.  We were green and unknowing as to what to do and never planned or thought it out much.  “How can this be difficult?” not knowing that breeding and selling the pups could be the only problems.   Because I am an “A” type person and my glass is always half empty, I always strive to better any situation, including the dogs and doing the right thing whether it’s my dogs or someone else’s that needs help.

Dutchess's First Litter

Our first female was bred on February 14th, Valentine’s Day.  I remember saying, “it’s got to be love” and it was.  We helped deliver every pup that was born with the exception of one litter that Dutchess had while we were at work and when I came home, she and the pups were sleeping peacefully and all was right with the world, especially here at the farm.   I worked hard to learn and do the right thing, always wanting the best for my dogs and pups, making sure they went to good responsible and loving homes.  From the very first litter we had, we always had two hard and fast rules, #1, “Don’t over feed the dog” #2.  “If it doesn’t work out, the dog comes back home to us.” And some did.   We always had a “come to Jesus” talk with every owner about every pup that went home concerning their responsibility and I meant every word that I said.  Some listened, some didn’t.  I didn’t always understand why, because it’s so simple, to make a puppy into a good dog if you really want to…

Our First...
As many have read or heard, we will no longer raise pups.  Gabby and Meggie were spayed this week and Annie will be spayed next week.  Doc’s neutering will soon follow. 
I had anticipated this day but believed it was a long way off. Reality hit when we got involved in a puppy mill a few years ago.  The other significant factor came when Karen Newhall and I transported 5 dogs from that same puppy mill to Glen Highland Farm.  We saw the never ending work that took place just to fix “one” broken Border Collie and at times it couldn’t be done… my heart broke.   Was this my wake-up call?  Did this affect me more than I thought it would?  You bet it did.  I want to help and not hinder the breed because I love them. However, I will miss the little squeaks, yelps, and barks and oh I love the puppy breath and smell.  Over the years, we have met so many wonderful people, some continue to be cherished friends and we get together often.  I have talked with people about dogs from all over the world most of whom I have never met.  I have even cried with them when they told me their tragic story about their best friend passing away.   They wanted me to know because they felt I would understand how they felt and I did.  People have even told me that their dog “saved them” and I believe that to be true, because mine has saved me too, in so many ways.

In the Beginning
I started this blog when we were selling pups from an ad in the newspaper.  Everyone wanted to see the pups when they called and wanted me to send an individual photo to them.  My plan was to post them on a website, so I only had to do it once, and it worked, but it worked too well.  Presently, we’ve had nearly five hundred thousand hits and it’s growing all the time, but at times too much.  We’ve spoken to thousands of people that wanted a dog, wanted to sell a dog, wanted to rehabilitate a dog, and wanted help with a breeder.  Google even tries to sell me a front page location on their search engine, which we already have because of our volume, if they would only look, they would realize that that is not necessary.
The long and short of it is, we love the breed, and it was never about money because there is none.
It was about watching the miracle of life.  It was helping people who had a need and the joy of watching a little handful of fur turn into the most loyal and smartest dog in the world.  I have seen hundreds of people pick up their pup and the excitement is overwhelming for both of us.  Little did they know the pain that was left behind as they drove off down the drive way.  Elaine and I shed a tear for each of our pups as they left us, not knowing if we would ever see that pup again. The walk back to the house was always way too long and in our minds, we could still smell the puppy’s breath. 
Remember, from birth until they leave for their new home, we were their birthing assistant, caretaker, nurse, comforter, teacher and the person who picks each pup up and cradles them in our arms thousands of times.  Many nights before bed, I would sing to them while they would sit perfectly still, turning their head from side to side watching and listing to every word.  We used to have a rocking chair in the kennel and at times either Elaine or I would rock the puppies to sleep, cherishing every moment they were still with us. The last pup from a litter that went home was always the worse.  I would go to their kennel area afterward and change it back for an adult dog, but I will tell you the very last litter was so very hard.  Each one that went home meant it was closer to that final pup leaving and the knowledge that we’ll never do this again.  There were many wonderful moments that I will never forget but there are ones that I would like to forget because of a tragedy, but that’s reality and sometimes it just plain sucks.
To my knowledge, we have lost nearly ten dogs to car hits and after each family notifies us, I would always go back to the litter photos and remember them in my own way.   We have always tried to keep in contact with each family, either by email, reunions and even the boarding.  We do this, just to make sure they are alright, plus it allows us to watch “our” pups grow.
Time moves on and life changes.  It was a hard decision made not to breed again, but it’s the right decision.  I’ve always said, “The right decision is usually the hardest ones” and I believe it.  I will miss all of them so much, but I do have memories, videos and nearly 80 gigabits of photos just of the dogs and pups.

My fondest moments with the pups were always singing to them before bed and sitting in the middle of the floor while they climbed all over me, untying my shoestrings, biting my fingers and licking my face.  Some would even suckle my nose looking for food and thinking it was their mom, this was heaven as it should be.  Someday when I cross that bridge… Hopefully I will experience this again…

"Hey, who’s this”?  A Border Collie speaks as someone new arrives at Rainbow Bridge.  A small crowd of Border Collies, that know each other, gather around the new arrival.  There is jumping, barking and running in circles with lots of licks and kisses for the stranger.  "We know you" and for some reason, they did.  Something was familiar, they seemed to know the stranger, but weren’t sure, until he sat down in the middle of the meadow, the dogs gathering around the stranger, discovered that the "one" thing they all had in common with each other was a piece of the strangers heart and “I” was a stranger no more when I started to sing…
Someday we'll all be together again...until that day…take care little ones…I Love You, Dad

Note: This weekly blog has been written every Sunday since June 2010.  It is called “What Happened this Week” and every post is about the dogs and puppies and the things they do during the week, it’s happy, or sad, but always the truth.  I’ve tried to share the good, the bad and even my mistakes.  It’s not written with flair or the best punctuation, but it’s from my heart.  Thanks for reading…  Ken
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Destiny or Divine Again?

Last year, two or our pups from different litters were sold to a “perfect farm home with a good piece of land” and everything was wonderful until September of this year.  Some may remember the updates from the owners;

Some delinquents were out shooting guns and causing a raucous.  It spooked our “Chauncey”, who is terrified of gunfire and fireworks.  She literally mangled her kennel and took off.  We searched all day and evening yesterday looking for her.  This morning at 8 am we received a call from our neighbor.  At the very least, she will lose her leg.

After several good days when Chauncey first came home from the Vet’s office, things turned very wrong, very fast…

“Chauncey” has put up a good fight, but we just can’t put her through anymore.  We are saying goodbye to her in a little while.

I cried for them and Chauncey, you will never know the pain until you go through this, it is everyone’s worst nightmare.  Not only is this some of the most devastating news for the owners, it’s also devastating to the other dog that was left behind.  He had never been alone without his companion and playmate, they went home together from the farm to start their new life or so they thought…
Several dog placements came up and I talked to the owners over several months, but it was just not the right time.  Sometime later I got some information from a friend in another state…
From Craigslist;
“Free to good home, beautiful female Border collie named Nya, around 9 months old. Great with kids, very active. Will require a farm home or a good piece of land.”  I immediately called the owner and went after the dog the next morning.  Even before bringing her home we stopped at the Vet’s office for a bath, shots and spay all of which she needed.
 I had many inquiries but the first one was from Chauncey’s owner.  After several emails and messages “Nya”, now “Ellie” found a wonderful home, with a wonderful dog that lost his playmate “on a farm home and a good piece of land”… Two lives were made complete again along with the owners.
The peculiar thing about this, although a horrible situation happened, two dogs from very different paths and states were united and found each other which also reminds me of another situation I wrote about several years ago.

Read Destiny or Divine here...

"Makes you think this was predestined to be. I'm just glad I could be a small part of it.  Destiny or Divine?”  These are the words I said in July 2011 on another pairing of a man and a dog that was unbelievable
For whatever reason, sometimes things happen and we just don’t understand why the outcome happened and probably never will but I will tell you it is so gratifying to help people put their lives together after a nightmare had occurred
I have always said “you never can replace a cherished dog when that time comes, you can just enhance the love and experience it again, only different”
Jetter from Destiny or Divine...
If I have learned anything about life and dogs, there are reasons things happen, I have seen it a hundred times and each time it’s gets better.  If you ever get a chance to help put a life back together while saving a dog…It doesn't get any better… While I have seen this many times here on the farm, Chauncey death affected me and Ellie was such a unique young dog.

I am asked many times “how do you do it, how do you let them go?” and my answer is always the same, “because there is always one more to help” trust me there is…  Good luck “Army” and “Ellie”, although your life has had many bumps and bruises, now enjoy it together “on a farm home and a good piece of land”   Ken

You Wanna?

Last night I was sitting on the couch and we were just finishing dinner and as usual, the dogs wanted part of our food.  I will give them a snack during our snack time but when it comes to my main meal, it’s all mine so there is no sharing.  I even tell the dogs “this is my supper, don’t eat mine and I won’t eat yours” and they seem to understand.  After we were done, I looked at Shepp, “you wanna go eat?” I said, and his ears popped up and his big brown eyes opened wide, his mouth opened a little and he was all smiles while he cocked his head from side to side.  I said it again, “you wanna go eat?” and then Finn looked up and her ears went up too because she also understood.  
Don’t tell me they don’t understand, I know they do I thought.  Shepp and Finn went to the door and Little Boo went too, he knew something was up.  Before I got up and opened the door, I said it again and again and they were all excited and started barking, they were hungry and they let me know.  I’ve seen a lot of dogs but I never thought I would see ones that can understand things you say and at times Border Collies know, Elaine and I will spell the word out so the dog doesn’t get excited and even then, sometimes they do, scary... 
A border collie called Chaser has been taught the names of 1022 items more words than any other animal. She can also categorize them according to function and shape, something children learn to do around the age of 3 year old.  Over three years, they taught the Chaser the names of 1022 toys by introducing them to her one by one, getting her to fetch the toy and then repeating the name to reinforce the association. They regularly tested Chaser on her vocabulary by putting random groups of 20 toys in another room and having her fetch them by name.  Chaser, now 10, never got less than 18 out of 20 right, in 838 separate tests over three years and to think, I get excited when I say a few words and they do what I want or sit down. 
Chaser the Border Collie
It always starts out the same, a new dog or boarder comes in and they are a little unsure of what I want them to do when I give the commands but they will watch what mine are doing and usually follow suit.  In a few days, after watching, they fit right in and go with the flow with my commands.  Do they just follow or do they really understand?  It’s my opinion that we put the confines on what they know by “not” working with them more than we do and I too am guilty of this.  Nearly every dog will usually know, sit, shake and a few other words and commands but have you ever thought of the quandary we would be in if they knew more words than the few we teach them?  It would be heaven because they could be my helper or learn a task.  Several times in the past, we have had dogs that loved to play with sticks and although we don’t play with them for safety and health reasons, they will bring us a stick and then another and another and so on.  Elaine once said that “if this keeps up, we’ll have all the sticks picked up” and she was right because they are driven and smarter than we know.

While I am sure that they know “let’s go eat”, “let’s go outside” or “let’s potty”, this is only the starting point of the thousands of things that they could do and learn.  I can only imagine the trouble that Dutchess could get into if she knew 1022 different words.  When I say something and look into their eyes I know they know what I am talking about.  Even when I look at something they want such as a door, gate or Frisbee they will watch me look, look at me with their perked up ears and in my heart, I know they are reading my mind, and to think we only thought they knew “sit”.  Ken
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Wiggle, Wiggle, Wiggle...

Wiggle wiggle wiggle, twist, jump and spin.  I’m sure all of us have seen this many times if you have had a young BC or young dog.  We are watching “Lola”, Gabby’s last pup until she goes home in a day or two and to say it has been an adventure, is an understatement.   I have seen the above descriptions many times because she has stayed in the house with us getting her training and rearing.  I too remember our own young dogs having the zoomies going from one side of the house to the other.  There is nothing like “full on” puppy energy and Lola sure has it.
Many people have ask, “When do they slowdown, because I wish they would”  I first ask them, “Do you give them things to do and keep them busy?”  After talking about their activity for a few minutes, and my opinion and advice is given, all is set.  I do remember the puppy stage so well and just by chance, have been plunged into it again.  Wiggle, twist, jump and spin are in the vocabulary of a young BC and Oh how have I forgot them running down the driveway, me running after them and their ears set back from the wind running to the end of the world.  “When do they slow down, I wish she would?” I ask myself forgetting my own advice but I soon remember.  If there is any consolation, they do slow down, but with some melancholy.
As I have watched some of my own dogs grow into senior dogs over the years, I thought I would love the “slower” time.  Now don’t get me wrong, I do love some quiet time, but I also see a little gray, slower gaits and aches and pains and rather than jumping on the couch, they slowly climb, and it makes me sad because we are closer to that inescapable bridge.

The one that hurts me the most is Dutchess, while she is still spunky and very playful I can tell she is getting a little slower with some of the things she does.  She has always been the dog that instigated all the activity here on the farm and still does, but now she picks things that works for her.  She will run with the best and youngest of them, but when she lays down, her body and joints are not as quick to return and even though she will get up for more play, she is just a little slower but with some effort she is ready to start again and go full speed.
As I know so well, I to know the effects of a little age and I too will pick my battles and activity just like Dutchess, Molly and Clancy but we do have to face some aches and pains and consequences.  Several times I have noticed that some of our dogs will take a few more naps and seem to be more relaxed than they use to be.  Molly has always wanted to be near me and get her head scratched but Dutchess has always been too busy to subsume to such nonsense, but that time seems to be changing.  Clancy will now pick his battles not needing to win all of them.
In just the last three months, Dutchess had made a point to come inside the house and find a place to lay down, but her most sought-after place is when I settle into the recliner and park her butt next to my feet.  She will look at me with her soulful eyes and as soon as I say “come up”, she will climb into my lap where she will sleep for hours in-between my legs as I rub her head and she dreams of younger days, occasionally licking my hand with gratitude. When it comes time for me to leave because I need to get up for a few minutes, I will ask her to get down, but as soon as I come back to the chair, she’s right back to her “spot” and off she goes to dreamland again… Little does she know, her “spot” is shared with each on of the dogs and I covet each visit.  As I rub her face, as I do with each one, I too think of the younger times that we all have shared with each other and the life bridges we have crossed.  We’ve seen the good and bad in each other, but we also know we are family and friends and there is a love and respect for each other.  

As I rub their faces and stroke their fur, I too remember the days when they all had the zoomies, wiggling, running, twisting and barking.  I do know that they have “slowed down” and there is not a better place than in my lap as we both drift off to dreamland.

Rest well Dutchess, Molly and Clancy, but to my readers, remember what you wish for…  Ken

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What Do You Do?...

I have spoken about this several times and it’s only gets worse.  This Saturday morning, I was awaken at just a little after 5 am.  I don’t know how/why it happens but it does and when it does to you, it a surprise at first but par for the course thereafter.  My life use to be simple with nothing to do but decide what we wanted to watch on TV and what kind of snack you get before bedtime and now even this has changed. 
If you’re a Border Collie owner, you know exactly what I mean.  This Saturday morning right after 5 am, Dutchess moved even closer (on top) of me in the bed because she was cold, and when she moved, Abby decided it was face washing time and even Annie got into the picture by getting on the other side of Dutchess and laying on my hand.  So here I was Dutchess laying against my back, Abby licking my face and Annie laying on my hand, I was trapped.  
Abby waiting to wash...
I was so tired and just wanted to sleep and desperately tried, but to no avail.  Things really went downhill when Abby licked me so much, not only was my face wet, I had to turn the pillow over to get a dry spot and it was still 5:10 am.  Enough is enough…I got up and moved to the recliner where I could lean back and get a little cat nap before time to get up.  After stretching out and closing my eyes, Molly sitting next to me decided she wanted to paw my arm for attention, which she did about every 10 minutes or when I would drift off and my hand fell off her head.  Funny how things change when you get a dog…
One thing that is so funny is when Dutchess is fast asleep and you need to move her around the bed so you can at least have part of the bed, she will “talk” to you in dog “talk” telling you how upset she is.  There is no doubt that she is not pleased with the move but needs her beauty sleep but at times I wondered if it was worth it.  I guess the fact is, it’s worth it to them if I got up and moved yesterday morning.

When we do settle down for TV time at night, after an hour or two, I usually get a hankering for a small snack.   I will go to the snack cabinet and pick something out not only for me, but also something that the dogs will like because every time I sit with a snack, I get one bite, then Dutchess, then Abby, then Clancy and so on.  After nine snacks have been handed out, I finally get one again.  I just hope they don’t figure out that I break theirs in half.  Dutchess will give me the evil eye if I go out of order and I usually find myself at the grocery store asking “will the dogs like this”, and usually the answer is yes but peanuts are not one of Abby’s favorites and I’m waiting for a snack list from them.  If it’s a little past our snack time, Dutchess will get up…look at me…bark…walk to the snack cabinet…bark and you know it’s time for a snack, so don’t run out, they’ll be sure to let you know…

Mine sure have some idiosyncrasies and I always find myself thinking “what would the dogs want” I’m just glad they can’t drive…but do they want to?  I’ve always wondered what some other BC’s parents do and if I’m the crazy one… Ken
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"The Circle of Life"

A small, full blooded Border Collie was brought to our door step this Friday that needed a place to stay, learn about life and know that people are good, but his “Circle of Life” was very small and he didn't really know what his purpose was.  At our first meeting, he was a little unsure of me, but very curious.   He was doing very well on a leash but would pull away when someone approached.  
Even Atticus Helped...
After watching my dogs run and scamper in the games they play with each other, he really seemed to want to join in the activities.  I was a little nervous to un-clip him from his leash but was assured by some friends that they would help me round him up if needed.  While I was apprehensive, off came the leash and in an instance, he was gone… running like never before and I had to wonder if this was his first time.  He ran charging straight to one of my pets and I was anxious because there was talk of aggression in his young past.  Once there, it was heaven…he played and pawed at my dogs and off they went into "zoomie" land.  In big circles they ran up the hills and back down chasing each other with tails wagging, tongues flopping and ears sensing every sound there was.  They were in a world of their own, one the new dog may have never experienced and I got choked up and shed a tear of joy for him.  I carried a pocked full of kibble and would treat him every time he got near.  The first treat, he was unsure, but very soon after, thing changed and he was making eye contact and seeking me out for snacks.  He soon learned, I’m not the old man who would pick him up by his tail which is evident, he was happy and so was I, his “Circle of Life” was changing...

We soon learned that he was starving for attention and so needed it.  He sought to be near “humans” that would reward him with love and take him for what he is, something more than a breeding machine for profit as most of his other BC’s companions were just months ago.  In his first 9 months of life, he was unsure of everything, living in 4 different places, born in a puppy mill and never seeing grass and his first move was because of a court order.  He was brought to me because he was relinquished and had been placed in an environment where he had to defend himself from Doberman Pinschers.  This was his “Circle of Life” and it wasn't very good.

After the evening started to slow down and it was feeding time, he was hungry but didn't want the fun to stop and would only take little bites of food and come to me.  He didn't like the kennel and at one point, I sat inside it with him, feeding him from my hand and while he ate, he would look at me and then the food over and over.  His “Circle of Life” had changed, “humans” can be good, but kennels are still bad…  We had a campfire that night and sat around talking with friends while the dogs were laying near our feet enjoying the warmth of the fire.  As sleep approached, “what are we going to do” I asked, looking at him laying next to me feet, “where is he going to sleep, he hates to be kenneled?"  Because of his early environment, a kennel is prison, a place of no escape, no grass to run on, no friends to play with.  A place where “humans” are bad, but now that he met one that can share something he may never have had, he liked it and wanted more and didn't want to let go of what he found.

As we put the dogs up, one young very special little Border Collie got to come into “the man’s” house.  After teaching him that the bed is good, he found his spot right next to my leg and nestled next to me without moving…”humans” can be good.  His “Circle of Life” has changed and so has mine… Ken

Note:   After sufficient time and when his training is complete, he will go to his new home, ready for a full life of love and attention but it will be the right home, I will make sure...  There will be no charge, I owe it to him and all the dogs I help because they help me... Run Free "little one" and enjoy, you deserve it...
Thank you Dr saved another... Thank you "Lillie" you taught me...

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Changing of the Season…

It's now is getting dark early but I realized that we are winding down this summer and it’s kinda sad.  We will soon turn our clocks backwards for daylight saving time and in a way, it’s sad that the season is changing.  I love spring and summer except the hot humid weather but it’s worth putting up with for the long pretty days and dry weather.  The only good part of winter that I like, I can take longer naps and don’t feel that I have “be on the move” the whole time.  There is nothing like a long nap in front of the TV with several dogs in my lap.  Every season has its perks but spring is best for me.  This particular fall/winter is bittersweet for several reasons and the number one reason is a chapter is closing that won’t open again.  As many have read, this is our last breeding season for Border Collie pups and just happens, all of the puppies go to their new home this coming week.  It’s something I really don’t want to think about, but this door will shut, but it may be fitting because we are in a seasonal change too.
As I said, a new chapter in my “book of life” has opened and with the fresh winter season, and new adventures will come our way and fun will be had by all.  There will be more focus on my dogs and less on guest boarding or rehabilitation of other dogs here on the farm because of the cold weather but will soon return next spring.  Spring and summer are always busy and packed full of adventures of play and fun and especially work and I'm sure my dogs suffer a bit and miss "our" time. 

I’m sure the dogs will appreciate more time with “the man” and in truth I will to, I just don’t want to deal with the mud.  Frozen ground is good but lots of rain and mud is brutal to everyone and then the nap time with dad is out until they are clean, something they never think about, just running and playing for the moment.
Cold winters seems to bring the best out, I put on my subzero coat and insulated boots and off we go on long walks several times a day around the lake and down the long trails.  In the evenings, Dutchess will park herself in front of the TV just to watch the local weatherman and when the word “snow” comes on, a loud bark follows from her with eager ears and a spring in her step.  I will tell you, around here snow is great.  The deeper the better and as long as it last, there is joy is in the air.

 If things are going to change, then bring it on, lets face it with open arms because it is going to happen and we should do our best to make the most out of it.  Change can be good...
To everything there is a season,

A time for every purpose under the sun.
A time to be born and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill and a time to heal ...
A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance ...
A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to lose and a time to seek;
A time to rend and a time to sew;
A time to keep silent and a time to speak;
A time to love and a time to hate;
A time for war and a time for peace.

As change is inevitable, life will move on, but it will be hard not to look back...especially when I hand over our "last" pup this week and watch that car travel out of sight...  Ken
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Does it ever stop?  I've seen it a thousand times and they do it everywhere they go, no matter what they are doing.  If I’m inside the house and they are in a dead sleep on the porch and I walk anywhere near the sliding backdoor,  off they go down the driveway.  As fast as they can go, thundering toward the gate at the end of the lane.  If they are really excited, they don’t even look for me, they just thunder off to "somewhere land" not knowing where they are going, just somewhere.  They know there are balls and Frisbee's to be played with, and a lake they can swim in if they can get there in a hurry.  They are so crestfallen when I open the door to get something and walk right back inside that they pout.  “Bark, Bark and more Bark” Dutchess says “hey, what about us, let's play” with that evil eye she has.  All in all, they run everywhere they go, trust me.
Now I really don’t care if they run, I just want them to be careful when they do.  We have had many vet trips for sutures and x-rays and nearly every one of our dogs and neighbor dogs have made that same Vet trip.  Sometimes they will run into each other, nip at each other and even run into anything or everything.  “Over the river and through the woods to grandmothers house” is a wonderful verse to a lovely song, but with Border Collies, the through the woods part scares the bejeebers out of me.  I've seen them run through overgrowth and around trees missing them by only a smidgen of space with me, gritting my teeth the whole time, wanting to turn my head and look elsewhere.  Just a few weeks ago, I was brushing Abbie and discovered that she had a cut on her right side.  
After a good exam, I felt that it is something that we can manage and watch at home.  I had some antibiotics from another dog injury which would help with infection so we were well on our way to the “home health care” plan.  I sprinkled on some antibiotic powder along with an antibiotic pill and now we were on our way to recovery or so I thought...  In just about 2 minutes, Abbie had licked the powder off and continued to lick her boo boo with great pleasure.  As it comes to pass in most dog’s life, especially Border Collies, they face the dreaded doom…”THE CONE OF SHAME” or as some call it, "The No Fly food cover".
Being an experienced BC owner, I went to the top shelf in the kennel and got the last cone we had.  This was Abbie’s first time in the cone but after a rough start, she had mastered the “run and bang” theory very well, hitting everything in sight, and not stopping.  
Cone # 1...Help me...I can't lick my butt... 
Of all the past “cone of shame” wearers, she was the most active.  Abbie would assume it was flexible and would run as normal.  While I tried to limit her activity, you know it’s impossible with a BC, so off we were on a joy ride of sorts.  After nearly knocking the back door off its hinges, tires off of the car and whizzing past me knocking me to the ground, the “Cone of Shame” had seen better days in just one day. 
Cone #2, one day old... notice all the hits to solid objects...
Needing to replace the “Cone” as we BC experts call it, I made a trip to our local and friendly Vet’s office where I am always welcomed with open arms and wallet where a new one was purchased and off we were on "our" joy ride again… and in just a few days, Abbie was running and her cone was flapping like a bird trying to take off and because of her speed, she even whistled as she ran through the woods.  I discovered that the manufacturer may want to upgrade the material or make a special Border Collie “Cone” made from of indestructible material but in the meantime, the Vets office has ordered me a few more...  Ken

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