The Little Diggers…

It started several years ago, when some of the dogs would come back to the house from running and exploring the farm and I noticed a color chance on some of them. 

Rather than a black nose, a few of them would have a brown nose.  After examining them, it appeared to be dirt…
This is something that has just started here in the last year or so and seems to be worse at times.  My main little digger is Annie with Doc and Dahlia coming in for a close second.  After much thought and concern for my yard, mulch, vegetable garden and flower garden I tried to discover what was going on. 

There are times that I will “discover” their little habit and many times when we are on a walk I would see them in the yard digging and their head in the dirt and tail in the air.  But that is not the only time they mess with the dirt.  Just yesterday, I went out the back door and one of my favorite flower pots looked just a little different.  A large clay pot that had been beautiful was now in shambles. 

I really don’t know who is doing it because there are several dogs and guest dogs that will cuddle up for a comfortable place on some soft dirt.  

Little Oscar...
Yesterday after I saw the clay pot, I looked at each one of their feet and noses trying to determine who the culprit was but I was too late as everyone’s nose and paws were clean, I guess they outsmarted me again.

It seems to be a conspiracy on what they are doing here, they get together with friends and team up on me even bring Kacie, Lit Bit and Izzy into their fold, what is it with dirt... They sure love the clay pots...

"Kacie"... I'm sure she would never chase a mole... Look at that sweet face...
It’s just a hootenanny here but you just deal with it… as many of you know.  Ken

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Dad’s Day...

On a hot July day when I was 32 years old, my Dad and I were digging a 16-inch tree stump out of the ground from a tree that I had cut down the day before.  We were digging it out by hand with shovels and axes.   It was hard and he would work circles around me.  He was 70 years old and as I walked to the house to get a cool glass of water for us, I looked back at him , and in an instant, he became the smartest man in the world and I realized who he really was.  I remember that day like it was yesterday even though it was 40 years ago. 
Dad before he worked at  the Railroad
We purchased Clancy when he was 8 weeks old and he was our second choice.  The pup we first picked out was sold to someone right before we made the long journey.  We were not disappointed because we were excited to get a puppy but in the back of our mind, I thought about it and wondered... was this the right choice?

In Dad's forty-four years of railroad work, he “never” called in sick.  He was late for work once because we had gotten fourteen inches of snow but he walked to work, taking nearly four hours one way.  He worked 2nd shift all his life and any holidays he could get.  I was decent with sports and in my freshman year of high school, placed 2nd in the state.  He never made any of my games or performances, because of work…

Clancy grew fast and strong.  He was my first male Border Collie and I didn’t know what to expect but I know what I saw, and I liked it.  He was not marked like a traditional BC with a full collar, he was not the “standard.”  Our first choice was marked like a “standard” and I always wondered… was Clancy the right choice?

As a child, my mother was the disciplinarian in the house and boy did she do a good job, but I will tell you, I needed it, like the time I climbed up the china cabinet at my favorite Aunt house and pulled it over on top of me breaking ALL the dishes or the time when I was six, we were all sitting in church and I got inside Mom’s purse and retrieved a Tampon and turned around facing the rear of the church pretending to “smoke” it.  Unfortunately we sat in the front pew and mom turned around when she heard the laughs… Needless to say, I was in trouble again.  Dad never used a hand on anyone but his words commanded everything.

Clancy grew into a strong adult dog and needed a strong hand as most do.  I wanted him to be a self-controlled dog and we worked hard to get there.  He would obey me with any command and would come to me even when he knew he was in trouble.  He didn’t want to, but he did out of respect.  Clancy never got a lot of pampering from me because it would make him soft or so I thought.  He would not get in my lap but lay at my feet, knowing his station in life.

I was twenty-one years old before I told my dad I loved him and when I did, it was also the first time he told me.  He had been rushed to the hospital for what we thought was a heart attack and as I sat alone in the mustard yellow un-air-conditioned room, I thought it was now or never, I wanted to tell him but was afraid of what I would not hear. We thought he was dying but thank God, it was a heat stroke, he had been working outside too hard without any breaks… go figure… but that brief moment changed our lives forever.  Not a day went by that I didn’t see or talk to Dad and we always told each other “I love you.”  At times, I still see him walking and whisper to him.

As Clancy became the number one dog on the farm, I saw a wonderful change.  He was self-assured, confident, willing to help, and would take care of the needs of the farm.  I saw him protect us from critters and even stray dogs, protecting his turf, the girls, and our home and at times sending unwanted dogs to the Vet for repair.  He is a gentle giant of a dog both inside and out, afraid of nothing or anyone, and his eyes will pierce your soul and command any dog. 

My Dad passed away unexpectedly in front of me.  Earlier that very day, he told me he was ready to “go home”.  We were again cutting a tree down and I said “you can go home, I got it from here” He said he was “ready to go to heaven.” I laughed and told him I was too.  He went "Home" thirty minutes later.   Packed away, I have a branch from that very tree and the hat he was wearing in an airtight container and I will take it out at times, just to smell him again. 
Before that hot day in July when I was thirty-two, we didn’t have much of a relationship.  I respected him and always did what I was told.  Was he a great dad?  He was raised in an orphanage home and got out when he was fifteen and worked on his own during the depression.  As a dad myself, I learned many lessons from him, what to do, and what not to do, but I learned.  Dad knew everything and could fix anything, and as I stood over him while he took his last breath, I thought of all the knowledge he has would soon vanish, but what I didn’t know, I would pick it up and did. 

Clancy sired many wonderful pups, he is what he is because of his lineage, family, and work ethics.  His make-up was almost predetermined, little did I know when we got our "second choice."  When he was about 2 years old, I researched his pedigree and was surprised, but it never mattered, he was our Clancy.

Clancy's Great Grandfather, Del-Mar Turk
Some might say that the best Dad is always there and I’m sure that may be true but it wasn’t in the cards that were dealt to me.  But what I learned from dad was not taught at a ball game or at a swing set.   It was learned from watching him keep his word, teaching Sunday School, doing for others, doing what it took to make things right, and watching him literally get on his knees to give “thanks” before bed.   

Clancy wasn’t our first choice at the time but I’m glad it worked out the way it did, but I will tell you, I wouldn’t change a thing… Clancy was a great dad, he may not have pampered the pups with licks and attention but he was their rock and protector not only of his pups but any dog or pup that was from the farm.  I Remember walking to the kennel and looked back at Clancy and in an instance realized he is the best dog in the world and wish I could see Clancy and Dad again, maybe they're waiting for me.  It’s funny how things work out the way they do and I’m glad it did…  Happy Father’s Day, 

Dad, Clancy… I love you!  Ken…

Following are some of Clancy's Great Grandfathers accomplishments over the last 9 years that he competed:

1997 British Columbia Open Cow Dog of the year.
1998 British Columbia Open Super Dog (Must stand in the top 30% in both sheep and cattle trials. Turk is the only dog in British Columbia to win the Super Dog Award since these standards were established)
1999 Calgary Stampede Stock Dog $hoot-Out finalist.
2000 CBCA Canadian National Finals 2nd Runner-up.
2001 Calgary Stampede Stock Dog $hoot-Out finalist.
2001 CBCA Canadian National Finals, 5th. Place.
2001 British Columbia Open Sheep Dog of the year.
2002 Calgary Stampede Stock Dog $hoot-Out $10,000.00 Grand Champion.
2002 British Columbia Open Sheep Dog of the year.
2002 Farm Fair International Stock Dog Trial 3rd. Place. 
2002 Wild West Cattle Dog Grand Champion at the North American Sheep Dog Championship, Tejon Ranch, Lebec, CA.
2003 Winner of the San Pasqual Sheep Dog Trial at Murietta, CA and 3rd overall in the three trial Hospitality series at 10 years of age.
Has placed in the top ten at the Western Canadian Championships for the last 5 years.
2003 Winner of the Del'mar Driving Championship at the Western Canadian Championship.
2003 CBCA Canadian National Finals 7th Place.
2003 Reserve British Columbia Open Sheep Dog at 10 1/2 years of age.
Has won the Perpetual Trophy for Best BC Dog and Handler at the CBCA Nationals the last 4 years.
Has won the Perpetual Trophy for Best BC Dog and Handler at the Western Canadian Championship the last 3 years.
Winner of numerous sheep and cattle dog trials both in Canada and the United States.

Drop it...Starting Young

If I have said any phrase of words in my life more, I would have to say it was “Drop it, Drop it! Or DROP IT!!!” speaking to one of my dogs when they were holding something in their mouth.  

Starting Young...
Most all dogs will pick up things that could include sticks, rocks, bones or anything that strikes their fancy at that particular moment and according to Google there are some pretty good reasons.

Presenting a gift

While these are good reasons, apparently they never talked to a Border Collie because they have their own ideas.  Just last night, I was on the driveway and one of my dogs (Dutchess) came to me with a tennis ball in her mouth.  All the dogs were standing around looking at her and looking at me wanting me to do something, “Drop it!” I said, It's not play time because there was a big storm coming in and I was trying to get everything ready, putting stuff away and she did and all of them are pretty good about it.  I took the ball and put it up and in just a few seconds, she had another one, and again I said, “Drop it” and put that one up too.  You may wonder where they get the balls from and that’s a simple answer.  Dutchess can open most anything and knows where to look.

We have thousands of them and when we go out to play, I will take at least 4 or 5 with us and a few of them will carry one in their mouth.  They get excited and see another ball zoom by and they will drop that one and go after the other, leaving them all around the farm for a later find.  I’m sure someway there is a big stump with tennis balls stacked behind it. 
When we do play, I will always chuck the ball far away, wait for them to return and then go again.  Well… this came to a stop, Abby, Molly and Annie like to hold the ball in their mouth but will run after the another ball too.

I don’t know why they do this but maybe it’s because they will always have one in the “ready,” position just in case they need it.  They will run appearing that they are going to fetch the ball but even if they beat the others, they just turn and run back to the launch area and wait.  Usually, most dogs will “drop it” but on occasions, a few dogs that come over for a play day will get the ball and run in circles driving my dogs crazy.  Mine will just watch the confusion, not understanding, but Clancy and Dutchess will both look at me and I will utter “Get it” and they will follow the dog holding the ball and while one is getting their attention, my other will pluck the ball right from its mouth before they know, and the game will resume and everybody is happy.

To the amazement of everyone… Some Border Collies could care less about a ball or Frisbee.  “What” you say, at least that’s true around here.  Gabby and Doc could care less about catching something.  They will always run as hard as they can with the others after a ball but will following one particular dog, keeping a very short distance.  They will become their shadow and will not even look at the ball.  I have attempted to interest them by throwing a ball or Frisbee and I don’t think they ever saw it.  A few times, I called their name, getting their attention and the ball would fall right in front of them or even hit them… no response but they still have a good time.
I know my dogs understand what I say, it just depends if they want to understand,  Most time they do but they can be a little hard headed but can talk too.  The times they speak the loudest is when they use their eyes or tongue and then they speak.  When they look in your eyes searching for a connection and find it or lick your hand or face just to express their love, they have spoken more words that we could ever fathom... If you just look back at them and accept what they give.   Ken

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Remembering Again...

If you ever loved an animal, there are three days in your life you will always remember...

The first is a day, blessed with happiness when you bring home your new friend. You may have spent weeks deciding on a breed. You may have asked numerous opinions of many friends, or done long research in finding a breeder. Or, perhaps in a fleeting moment, you may have just chosen that silly looking mutt in a shelter--simply because something in their eyes reached your heart. But when you bring that chosen pet home and watch her explore, and claim her special place in your hall or front room--and when you feel her brush against you for the first time--it instills a feeling of pure love you will carry with you through the many years to come.

The second day will occur eight, nine or ten years later.  It will be a day like any other. Routine and unexceptional. But, for a surprising instant, you will look at your long-time friend and see age where you once saw youth. You will see slow, deliberate steps where you once saw energy.  And you will see sleep where you once saw activity. So you will begin to adjust your friend's diet--and you may add a pill or two to her food.  And you may feel a growing fear deep within yourself, which bodes of a coming emptiness. And you will feel this uneasy feeling, on and off, until the third day finally arrives.

And on this third day--if your friend and God have not decided for you, you will be faced with making a decision of your own--on behalf of your lifelong friend, and with the guidance of your own deepest Spirit. But whichever way your friend eventually leaves you---you will feel as alone as a single star in the dark night. If you are wise, you will let the tears flow as freely and as often as they must. And if you are typical, you will find that not many in your circle of family or friends will be able to understand your grief or be able to comfort you, this will be the hardest day of your life.

But if you are true to the love of the companion you cherished through the many joy-filled years, you may find that a soul--a bit smaller in size than your own---seems to walk with you, at times, during the lonely days to come. And at moments when you least expect anything out of the ordinary to happen, you may feel something brush against your leg--very very lightly. And looking down at the place where your dear, perhaps dearest, a friend used to lay---you will remember those three significant days.

The memory will most likely be painful, and leave an ache in your heart---As time passes the ache will come and go as it has a life of its own. You will both reject it and embrace it, and it may confuse you. If you reject it, it will depress you. If you embrace it, it will deepen you. Either way, it will still be an ache. But there will be, I assure you, a fourth day when---along with the memory of your companion---and piercing through the heaviness in your heart---there will come a realization that belongs only to you. It will be as unique and strong as our relationship with each animal we have loved and lost.   Martin Scot Kosins

As I approach day two with some of my older dogs, I flash back to "day one," and I don’t want to see the now aches and pains along with some new gray hair in places that use to be black or red and can’t hardly think about the next step.

A letter from your dog;
By now, you must know that there is always a goodbye hovering in the shadows of a dog. We are never here for long, or for long enough. We were never meant to share all of your life, only to mark its passage. We come, and we go. We come when we are needed. We leave when it is time. Death is necessary. It defines life.

I hope, in your grief and loneliness, that you will consider how sad it would have been had we did not have this time together, not had the chance to give each other so much.
I do not morn or grieve, but I will miss standing beside you, bound together on our walks through life, even as I know that there is a long line of others waiting to take my place and stand with you.

Thank you. It was nothing but a gift.
And finally, I ask these things of you:
Remember me.
Celebrate me.
Grieve for me.
And then, when you can, let me go, freely and in peace.
When you are ready, do me the great honor of bringing another dog into your life, so you can give and receive this gift again....
Jon Katz

Much has happened since I wrote this over two years ago and it even seems more real to me now.  I hope you had a good Memorial Day, remember it is about remembering all the people that meant and did so much for so many and what they gave, at times even their life.  We can also remember our past pets too, we meant EVERYTHING to them…and they lived their life.... just to Love Us… 

As I dot the last word, I promise you I'm going to sit in the driveway and let them lick me, pounce and even bark with joy with me and I may even bark back with joy because time has a way of slipping up on us... I love them so... Just a year ago, we lost one of our favorite dogs that came to stay with us at times, Roxie, I think of her often...
The story of Roxie...


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