It comes back...

After following some new on social media and reading the local news, all of my deepest nightmares came into my brain again.  I had heard about the incident and even said that I would go to a public forum about it.  The day of the meeting, Elaine, my wife called from her work and wanted to know what time I was leaving the house for the meeting.  I told her that I didn't know if I could go and she asked: “why?”   I thought for just a second and said: “I’m sure it will be taken care of, they don’t need me.”

This is why I go...
In an affiliate to the Board of Zoning in November, a couple’s requested to breed  100 dogs in a barn with only two members of the family taking care of them.  It would have 3 X 4-foot wire cages that housed the dogs.  On paper, it was a grand plan for them but I knew different.  As I sat in front of the midday news in my recliner, my mind drifted back to the pain that I had buried so deep in the corner of my mind.  After several years I had all but forgotten the puppy mill case I worked on for 3 years along with two ladies that have as much passion as I do. 

Anger rose from my gut, and I knew I needed to go, something clicked again, and I knew I need to do something, anything, no matter how much it came back.  I called one of my puppy mill partner and spoke about the situation and was even more determined to make an impact or at least know that I did everything I could do, they depend on us. "Evil prospers when good men do nothing" is what I have said in my lectures and now I had to take heed.  I pulled up some research and wrote my outline and was ready to go to a meeting I didn’t want to go to but I needed to, for the sake of the dogs.

I thought back to the days I sought to forget.  I could see the faces, hear the barks and smell the odors and even taste it, I wanted to vomit again.  Sleepless nights and hours of time were spent but it was successful, and we won, will we will again?  Hours would tell, and I started the car heading to the meeting.  The meeting was moved to a larger location because of the anticipated crowd, and when I walked in a little early, I thought their needs to be more people.  Lots of vacant chairs and I had my choice of seats.  I chose the front row.

Nearing the scheduled time, it started to fill up.  They had anticipated a crowd of about 200 people and had chairs for many.  When it was in full swing, there wasn't even standing room and everyone was ready.  I had my outline prepared and changed it several times.  I was forth to speak and wanted them to hear what I had to say, and it was short because we were on a time limit, but it was pointed.  Once at the microphone, I had to pause because I choked up, it all came back.

After over two hours of speeches from the audience, it was turned over to the couple who had petitioned the zoning board to rebut any and all comments that they felt that was unfair.  Not a rebuttal was said, and they said nothing.  NOTHING I thought, NOTHING, you’ve got to say something, anything.  The Board of Zoning was given a chance to ask questions.  At first, no one said a word, and I thought they didn’t care, but one Board Member started a line of questions. 

“How many dogs will you have?”         
“Up to a hundred,” he said.

“Will they get exercise?”            
“Sometimes they'll get out of their crate.” He said.

“Do you care for them?”              
"Yes, we love them.” He said.

“How long do you breed them?” 
“5 to 7 years.”  He said.

“What do you do with them when they can't breed?” 
“We try to find them homes or uh, uh, uh,”

“You euthanize them?”               

I again choked up, I grabbed the arm of the person next to me squeezing it and said "DID YOU HEAR THAT, thinking I was hearing things and he assured me I heard it right.  Dogs that have served their purpose are put down for no reason except to make space for a dog that can breed.  This was a family business, and a van load of their relatives and children attended the meeting.  Soft-spoken and polite and wouldn’t lie because they were under oath.  Hard working at whatever they do but this family chose to breed dogs.  Not many more questions were asked.  The board members ask each other "are they actually in violation" and I thought OMG, I’ve been here before, it’s going to pass…

Everyone in the crowd stood up, holding their sign “STOP THE PUPPY MILL” but I knew signs don’t vote.  A motion was made, and the vote was 4 to 1.  The puppy mill was stopped in Bartholomew County.

Or was it.  This very family has another breeding facility in another county in Indiana  It has the same amount of dogs, doing the same thing where “Evil prospers when good men do nothing.”  It’s got to stop…  Ken

Note:  According to the 2016 Puppy Mill chart you can see the areas that are flooded with puppy mills.  They exist because of weak laws and pet stores that purchase puppies to sell.  "Online and in stores, 99 percent of puppies come from puppy mills, no matter what the breeder or store says. Mother dogs remain locked in cages their whole lives and have half the life expectancy of the average dog. Twenty percent of their puppies don’t even make it to stores. They die in terrible conditions. And the ones who do get sold often have undisclosed health issues."  The Humane Society of the United States.

How dogs steal our heart...

Several days ago, I saw an article that was posted on one of my Facebook pages.  While I usually read every article, I do look at the source and content.  I don't always comment because of the time limitation and volume of things that come into the office to work on.  This article was written by Davie Grimm, and the article was titled “How Dogs Stole Our Heart.”   It was an interesting read and started me to think and comparing my life with my dogs and how they communicate.

In the article, it said, “The study—the first to show this hormonal bonding effect between humans and another species—may help explain how dogs became our companions thousands of years ago.”  Bonding, really?  I feel I am closer to my dogs that some relatives I have.  I can at least understand my dogs more than family most of the time.  They are simple is their wants and needs and let’s take Dutchess for example… 

Let’s go out… Bark
Let’s eat… Bark
Let’s play… Bark
I want inside… Bark

And so on, you get the picture.  This is my fault and it started by when I taught on command.  I thought it was cute for her to do it and in the beginning, I would ask her to bark and treat her.  If I only knew.  But they literally connect with you with their eyes, Dutchess just does it with her mouth…

“Dogs are already renowned for their ability to interact with humans. It’s not just the walks and the Frisbee catching; canines seem to understand us in a way that no other animal does. Point at an object, for example, and a dog will look at where you’re pointing—an intuitive reading of our intentions (“I’m trying to show you something.”)  People and dogs also look into each other’s eyes while interacting—a sign of understanding and affection that dogs.”

I have seen this over the years with most of mine.  Meggie and Abbie are geniuses at this.  Both of them will sit and stare at me for the longest time. Meggie will raise her paw as if reaching out to me over and over until I pay attention to her until I pet her.  What she really wants is to get into my lap which usually happened.  Abbie will just and sit next to my chair and look intently at me and her black eyes will suck your soul into her heart.
On a test in the study that was done with this; “Dogs and their owners also gazed into each other’s eyes, some for a total of a couple of minutes, some for just a few seconds. After the time was up, the team took urine samples again.
Mutual gazing had a profound effect on both the dogs and their owners. Of the duos that had spent the greatest amount of time looking into each other’s eyes, both male and female dogs experienced a 130% rise in oxytocin levels, and both male and female owners a 300% increase.”

I know the stare of my dogs can melt my heart and make me fill like a million dollars when nothing else will do.  They are fantastic and loving in so many ways, some of us will never comprehend or understand, but they do talk with their eyes and usually say a lot…   Ken

It’s Snowing – It’s SNOWING…

Are you ready for it?  For the last week, it’s been raining, and that stinks when you have active dogs.  Mine are good as gold inside, but I always worry about bathroom breaks and I don’t want a mess.  Luckily they can hold it forever, but it’s like pulling teeth to get them to go outside when it’s pouring down rain like cats and dogs, and neither do I.  But for the last several days, it's been snowing, Yea...

Snow has always been a big thing here at the farm with the dogs, they love it, and it never seems too cold for them.  They even get in the lake if there is no ice on top just to get a drink and I’ve seen water freeze that isn’t shaken off, but they could care less. 
Last year was such a bummer because we only got just a dusting of snow, no measurable amount and they all had grimaced with sad eyes on their faces, but Dutchess was the worse.

Do you have another Jolly Ball?
Eight to 12 inches is best for a good workout and for playing, but anything deeper is just too much, even for me.  The deepest we ever had was about eight years ago, and we had 23 full inches and it was hard to walk in, even a few feet and snowshoes were in order.

The toy of the day is not a tennis ball or Frisbee but a Jolly Ball.  It’s easy to carry and easy to see in the deep snow.  As the snow fell, the dogs watched out the window and doors and twirled and pawed at the door wanting to go out.  Dutchess, as always would bark telling me it’s getting deeper.

On social networks I follow, I have seen a question asked several times before.  What are the little snowballs in their fir and where do they come from?  I've seen it before, and it's kinda cute, but they need to be brushed out or thawed out, but it's never been a problem here.

The kids love the snow as most of our dogs do.  It's lots of fun and great exercise, and when they run, they always get a good work out.  My only problem is I keep them away from the lakes just to make sure we don't have another problem.  Dutchess always wants Hot Chocolate when we come in, go figure...   Ken

Baby, it’s cold outside…

Last year, it was a pretty mild winter here.  It got cold but not enough for the ground to really freeze or to kill the bugs that were hiding in every nook and cranny.  This year is different… We have been in a deep-freeze for nearly two weeks with the temperature staying in the below zero range for at least a week at night, and it looks like we will have a good “bud killing.”  With my tick allergy, I glad because they were everywhere last summer.  The dogs do enjoy the cold weather...

But… what do you do with 9 dogs that are trapped in the house?  I have seen them go to the door and once their nose is outside, they turn around and head back in.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m “ok” with them inside, but I don’t want any accidents, and we are fortunate we don’t.  I don’t know how they hold it, but they do, but we eventually have to go out…

But I want back in...
Some of the dogs actually want to stay out.  Abbie, when she is out, will linger and look at me when I call.  Yesterday, I had to go to town, and I stood at the door and called her, and I thought about leaving her to enjoy the sunshine, but when I looked at the temperature, it was only 1 degree, and I fetched a lead and brought her in.  When she does stay out, I will put a dog bed on the driveway because she will lay on the cold concrete, go figure.

I would much rather have cold weather than wet weather, because of you manage the cold, it’s not as dirty as the cold, but when they get filthy, it’s hard to deal with.  It’s so comical at times when they are scampering through the snow and ice.  They will instinctively take care of themselves bu things they so.  I’ve seen them stand for a few minutes and then when their feet get cold, they will rotate which foot they hold up and go back and forth keeping two of their paws off the ground.

We’ve have dog booties that help at times if they stay on but all in all, they really do well in the cold weather and especially the snow.  In fact, the more snow, the better, they have a ball.  Dutchess has suggested that we get a hot cup of Cocoa when we come in because she says it helps her but I really don’t believe her.