With all the snow and cold weather, we are about three weeks behind in our spring chores around the farm.  At one time, we had a few good days but it started raining and rained nearly eight inches in just a few days, so we are really behind in the things that need to be done and this drives me crazy.  Why can’t it rain in August or at least spread it around a little.
The one thing that I didn’t plan for is the dogs are behind on exercise too.  They have been cooped up for as long as I have and you can only play “fetch” in the house or “chair ball” so much and they really never get a good workout and as we know, the Christmas tree can only take so much before it falls apart from Dutchess knocking it over.  When it’s muddy and raining even though they wouldn’t mind, I do, and it’s always a quick decision who is “not” coming in on those kind of days when they have played in the mud.  So the fact is, we’re all behind and I am forever doing another project which complicates everything so when this week started, the weather was great and off I went with high hopes of getting some of the much needed tasks started and completed, or so I thought…
Plowing…Just walk toward the tractor, Gator, 4-wheeler, rototiller, chipper and they will go crazy and run and bark at me, the wheels and at each other and they are in Heaven.  Just for laughs, I will look at them and go Varoom…Varoom, Varoom and they will start.  Just today, I was going to the big lake and needed the Gator to haul stuff.  Nellie, Ruby (weekend guests) and Clancy got in the Gator with me and we looked like the Clampetts moving to Beverly Hills.

That's me driving and Elaine is sitting directly behind me...
This week has been especially busy because of the window of good weather and things that needs to be planted.  A friend of the family had given us a bag of Cannas and they need to get into the ground before the rain started again so off we went around the lakes to naturalize…and feed the hummingbirds.  

Everything started well and as the long flower tubers were used up, a lot of the smaller ones had the shape of a dark ball.  Well you know what balls do to them and they were in high gear and impatient to play.  I would dig a hole and plant a few and they would run off and scamper together and I wondered what they were doing?  Little did I know, they were grabbing a "round" brown Cannas rhizome and acting like it was a ball.  Annie and Abbie would hand it off to each other and then they would come back to me and lay it by my feet for me to throw, which I did not.  We’re not short of balls and have many stored up for “ball emergency.” 
I would guess that there are just as many thoughout the farm where they left them for the times I would not bring one with me.  While I’m busy doing a chore, Dutchess or Clancy will always find one and lay it next to me and at times, if I’m really busy and put the ball up where they can't reach it, they have been known to find six or so in a row and bring them to me to throw…If only they find the Cannas that they scattered…Little Buggers…So today, playtime is in order…we all needed it...

A Bump in the Road...

If you have followed our Facebook page, you know we had a bump in the road and at times we get bumped around more than our share and while it seems unfair, we always learn and do better the next time. Hopefully, we will learn again and there will be positive outcomes in the future.   

As many know, Doc tested positive for Heartworms, although expensive, timely, life-threatening and it’s hard to keep him quiet, (remember he’s a BC), I have learned from it and will share that info soon.  Sometimes it seems that hard-luck falls all around me but I am so blessed by the lessons I learn and share.  I’ve often said, “Just about the time I’m up on all dog issues will be the time that I’m too old for dogs”.

But why do we do the things we do with our dogs.  I can tell you, our life has changed because of them and when a new pup goes home, one of the first things I tell the new owners is “Your life will change”  and it does, sometimes not as it is originally planned, but it changes and you see your life shape in different ways. 

I have followed a family who got a Border Collie and unfortunately had to have both hips operated on.  While I know it was a huge ordeal, it was done with no questions asked.  Many sacrifices were made and as I watch the progress “Bodie” has made I rejoice in the success and know he has a wonderful family and future life.  I do know the owners have met many wonderful people through social media, most they will never know in person, but friends were made, the pain was shared and love blossomed, because of a dog.

According to Bodie's owner, "even though it's so tough for him, he never hesitates to go right back in his crate. He still keeps amazing me, this young puppy is so amazing with all he has been thru. I love this guy so much".  Just the short time he is allowed to get out of his crate until he fully heals, he gives total devotion and love to his owner.

Doc’s treatment is expensive but there was never a question of what to do, I wrote a blank check and words were never said or ask.  There was never a doubt, but why do we do this?  We can do so much more with the money, but we will step up to the plate and at least take a swing and aim for the fence making sacrifices along the way, we are their caretaker.  It might be a bump, but we do it and the bump may hurt, but so much is learned.  One might say that the Creator has placed us, the descendants of Mankind, to be the "caretaker" of "God's garden" and all the animals therein (Genesis 2:19-20).  This morning, Doc will go to Easter service with us because I know he will sleep in the car and I know he will keep still, and as most of us know, we will do anything. 

A notable sixteenth-century Jewish leader, says that a dog is a creature of love. Hence, the Hebrew name for a dog is “kulo lev" or "all heart."  Adam and Eve were instructed by God to give all the animals of the world their Hebrew names (Genesis 2:19-20). When they made this personal connection with the beasts of the world, the names they chose were accurate so as to capture the heart of each animal into a name that truly revealed its soul.  The Hebrew name for a dog was precisely chosen to be indicative of the loving soul of this marvelous creature.  The name “Dog” spelled backward is God, how fitting, they give their all.

The Greek word used for “worship,” means to kiss like a dog licking his master's hand and it’s fitting that when my dogs lick my head or face, I know they love with all their heart, did we ever feel more loved?  They worship us with all they have and that’s all we ever want.

On this Easter morning whether you attend church or stay home remember that your dog would give their life for us, as it happened to the Son of God 2000 years ago.  It might be a bump in the road, but there is a reason and the rewards for “us” are mind-boggling and hard to fathom.

Happy Easter…
If I ever wonder how much God loves me, I look at my dogs and see total devotion and love…

It’s that time again…

As you may have perceived, Annie had pups several months ago and they started going home this week.  The next to the last pup went home on Thursday which meant that the last pup came into our house to stay with us.  Some might say it is so sad to be the last, but I will tell you, they are the “Boss” of the house.  Little Quattro came inside with avenges and made his mark in our hearts. 
He made himself right at home and settled in with the big dogs and got his spot on the couch right between Elaine and me and sometimes on the dogs.
Asleep on Meggie
The good part, it’s like getting a puppy all over again and you see the cuteness and how adorable they are and when they settle down, it’s like an angle sleeping in your arms and we want another one at times.
Some might say we are just watching him until he goes home, but the pups get so much because of the other dogs and the things they do with us and the dogs.  Just Friday evening, Little “Q”, Clancy, Molly and us, went for a walk around the lake, all in tow.  Little “Q” drank from the lake, carried sticks, found an old tennis ball and pranced around like a big kid.  When we got to the dock, we went down the long walk over the water, but Little “Q”, unsure of the feat, stayed behind which is a natural thing to do because it’s new.  Clancy saw this and went back and coaxed him along and both of them took the long walk, but Little “Q” was just a little slower but he made it all by himself.  Elaine and I even gave him his first experience with swimming, not once but twice in the lake.  All in all, this is some of the most important things that one can do with a new pup, not this particular activity, but learned activity.
His life opened up because of all the new things around the farm and in the house.  He met some “guest” dogs that were here for a day or two.
Roxie and Finn with Little "Q"

He watched me blow leaves, saw wood and heard many things that were new.  When he was inside, he learned where long stares go, vacuum cleaners and dishwashers were and their sounds, and he learned that they were not bad, just different, and this is what makes a great start.  When they come in, we don’t change a thing, they just become part of our life, and the day a new pup leaves our driveway, everything is new to them and usually by "dog" nature, they will protect themselves if they are not sure either by barking, biting or by running. It’s not always that they are scared, they are protecting themselves and I’ve seen it a thousand times but's it’s our job to show and teach them.  The consequences are big, no matter which way it goes. 

Little "Q" and Finn
When they step into the new life with their new parents, the new parents will determine what the pup will do or be, not us…  Always remember it’s not the amount of tricks they do, it’s the attitude they have and the more well rounded they are, the better they act and communicate.  If they never do a trick, but will get along with all people, children and dogs, you’ve done a great job, but remember if they are well-rounded, they can do anything and go anywhere and the sky is the limit. 

Just two weeks ago, we went on a shepherding trip and after it was over, we all went out to eat including the instructor and all nine of our border collies.  I looked around, I saw well behaved dogs because these people take their dogs everywhere and do things together making the dogs part of their life.  It's amazing to see and be part of of a system that works so well.

It was a very bittersweet day yesterday and I will miss them so much.  It's hard to imagine how much you get attached to them, but you do.  I've had a thousand people ask "how do you do it", well it's gets harder each time.  In my dreams, with the very last litter, I would like to keep all of them, but I doubt that happens.

Heaven is the place of final and complete happiness, God has prepared for us - and if animals are necessary to make us happy, then you can be sure God will have them there." Rev. Billy Graham
Maybe all of them will meet me...   Give your dog a hug today from me... Ken

Thank you Annie...

The Road Trip...

On Tuesday of this week, I had to make a trip to Kentucky to pick up some dog supplies from a friend.  I wanted an early start because of the road construction on Interstate 65 and I left at 5:30 am just to beat the traffic so I could return because I had a lot to do at home.  As I walked to the car this early morning, Doc met me and gave me a goodbye kiss and walked me to the car.  Usually, Clancy will meet me, but he was still asleep in the house.  When I got to the car, I opened the door and Doc jumped in and went to the passenger’s side and laid down.  He does travel very well so I shut the car door and off we went, “just us guys”.  He loves to be in the car and even will ride the “four wheelers” with me and run’s to the “Gater” if he sees I’m getting in it, so off we were on another adventure to Kentucky this time in the car.

On the way down, he went to the front seat, back seat, and then to the floorboard and he would start over again but was never a problem and very quiet.  We listened to the radio and played “Name That Tune” which he won and we had a grand time.  After picking up the supplies and starting to return home, I discovered I was hungry so when I was about 30 miles away from home, I stopped at a local fast food joint for some munchies.  I was hungry because I had been going without any breakfast and I never gave it any thought but Doc was hungry too and I soon found out how hungry…
We pulled into the golden arches and I ordered some food.  Up to this point, Doc was not too interested in the things around him but his ears immediately perked up as we stopped at the drive-in.  As I spoke into the ordering area, (Waaaw-waw-waw. Waaaw-waw) he just looked out the front window but I saw his front feet prance in place and as we got closer to the pick-up window and the lady approached us with the sack of goodies, he was in my lap with his head out the driver’s window.  I still had to make change and put my wallet away but he wanted everything that was in the bag and before pulling away, the attendant said, “boy, he’s a little spunky” and my response was “Oh...he’ll be fine”.  They say a dog’s nose is 10,000 times stronger than ours and I never gave it any thought but I now do, believe me, it is true.
“Hold om Doc, I’ll give you a bite” as I started to pull into traffic with a soft drink between my legs, French fries in a bag on my lap and a chicken sandwich in my right hand driving with my left hand and knees trying not to get lettuce my lap.  Now I will tell you, I knew it would be better to pull over and eat but I had everything under control, except Doc…He is food obsesses just like Dutchess and I was in a hurry to get home.  As I pulled into traffic, Doc lunged into my lap again and attempted to get his nose into the bag.  What sleeping dragon have I created by this food stop?  I literally laughed at his attempts, but then there was nothing to do but give him a bite.  “Doc, sit” which he did and he gobbled the French fry out of my hand but the problem, he nearly took my finger off.  OK, new plan…I threw the French fry to the back seat.  He leaped over the seat and found it and returned in a second.  “Ooh, that didn’t take long,” I said…”Doc, sit” I threw the FF to the front floorboard and he had to hunt for it, so here I was, throwing French fries around the car while he was chasing them and the whole time, I had a soft drink between my legs, a chicken sandwich in one hand and a dog jumping around the car after French fries and the whole time, we were weaving from lane to lane with the car.  But it’s didn’t stop there…the sandwich was next.  I will tell you that I did attempt to take a bite of chicken sandwich in between throws, but because it was dressed, some dropped to my lap.  I would take a bite and Doc would take a bite weather I wanted him to or not as we traveled down a 4 lane highway in and out of lanes and traffic.
The moral of this story…

Stopping for food is a bad thing with a hungry dog.  Pull over and eat your food, trust me, this is better. And I assure you, when people see you with a long-haired blond with a long nose licking your face and hands and going to your lap, this can be taken in several ways and I don’t want to explain it to anyone…again.

All in all, we did have a wonderful trip and Doc got fed.  I ate when I got home…