"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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The Wrap-up…What do we do Now?

As I finish this short series about helping the “Lucky 5” dogs that Karen Newhall and I took to Glen Highland Farm in New York many years ago, I realize that I have closed a door, and I have begun a new journey.  If I have learned anything, it is that you can’t turn a blind eye to a problem, even though we would love to, but it won’t go away, and it will usually get worse.  Because of a puppy mill, I have spent thousands of hours on the phone, written hundreds of letters, driven thousands of miles, and spent thousands of dollars, and this is just a drop in the bucket of “What do we do now”?
This trip literally changed my life.  In a haunting way, it will never leave my mind’s eye.  I say this because of the trauma I have suffered when I saw the inhumane, brutal, and ruthless way people treat their animals.  To this very day, I can taste it, smell it, touch it, hear it, and the burning memory of that puppy mill will be forever locked in my mind.
We coined the dogs that went up to GHF the “Lucky 5,” which sounds rosy, and it is for them, for the rest of their life, but not for the thousands of border collies that never make it and are abandoned or euthanized because of wrong placement or bad owners.  I saw things that I will never forget when I made visits to that puppy mill.  The last thing I think about at night is the faces of the many dogs we left behind in a kennel, and I see “my” Dutchess, Clancy, Molly, and all of my dogs, not at my home running, playing ball, or sleeping in bed with us, I see them in the same kennel where we rescued the “Lucky 5” dogs from.  By the grace of God, fortune, or destiny, my dogs came to me first.  Out of the nine Border Collies we have, six were given to us from people who were looking for a “good home,” and what if my very pets had gone to a shelter, “breeding farm,” or worse, put to death!  Can you imagine any of my or your dog on an eight-inch chain, unable to move and living in their own feces for months “Just to fatten them up” for breeding?...yes, this haunts me, and yes, I see the faces of my loving dogs in this inhuman kennel nearly every night, but, there is hope, but what should “we” do?
First, Help to stop puppy mills, support your local shelter, get involved there life depends on YOU!. 

This has been a very emotional time in my life, but as I closed one door, one large door opens up, and it’s big.  I have never asked for anything from my readers or friends, but I am asking now.  I know this is hard to deal with, but there is an answer, and it’s your help… Please help me, give the Border Collie breed a loving chance, and by the grace of God, fate, or destiny, your dog at your side is with you in a warm and beautiful place and not in a puppy mill.  Please help and get involved…

Karen Newhall and I worked so hard for what is right on something that was so wrong, and I feel that not only did we help rescue a total of 36 dogs, we rescued ourselves…  Just a short time after I got back home to Indiana, I received a thank you note from GHF, speaking about the “Lucky 5” it read in part, “Thank you, Their world has changed forever”  it was from Lillie Goodrich, the founder… and my response was... "Mine has too"…  Ken