We got about 4″ of snow last night! I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen so much snow! It’s so pretty! At first Fern was leery about going outside so I went out with them. We had a ball! Both dogs ran and ran. I went back inside and put on my boots and we went for a long walk. Then I fired up the ATV and we went for a ride through the fields. It is so pretty! Unfortunately, the snow turned to rain so it’s a slushy mess out there now. It isn’t going to be so pretty when it freezes tonight.

As I write this (I’m working from home) Fern is outside running around with an old deer bone in her mouth. She throws it up in the air, catches it and runs around in circles. I expect Gel is sitting on the front steps waiting for me to either come out and play or let him in. I have the kerosene heater going and there’s a pile of cats sleeping around the parameter of it, several more on the couch next to me. I’m glad I have the option of working from home if the weather is bad. Growing up in Massachusetts, I learned how to drive in the snow, but up north, they take better care of the roads than they do here and most of the people up north know how to drive in the snow. People down south tend to drive fast no matter what the road conditions. Also, we didn’t get a lot of ice up north, it was primarily snow. We get mostly ice here. There’s more snow and ice scheduled for Friday night into Saturday morning. Luckily I do not have plans to go anywhere Saturday.

I have relaxed for the most part about the dogs having too much time to do things on their own. I monitor them pretty closely, but I’m not obsessing about it as I was before. Gel isn’t too “in to” Fern so she can only bond with him so much. Gel is much more interested in doing things with me. I make it a point to work with both of them every day. They are both well-bred Border Collies and as such, will retain their desire to work for and with me.

Last year, I bought a seven month old puppy off a local breeder. This was after my experiences with Kessie, who is an ultra-soft individual. I have difficulty working with ultra-soft dogs. I knew she was breeding for tougher personalities so I thought it would be a good fit. The warning bells were going off when I saw the dogs, but I’m afraid I wasn’t listening to them too carefully. That puppy was so darned dog-bonded it would have been a huge amount of work to get him to the point where I would be important enough to him so that he’d be willing to work for me. When other dogs were around, that’s all he cared about. He was even more interested in other dogs than he was stock. Eventually I placed him in an active pet home as an only dog. He’s doing quite well in that situation. It’s all about balance. They need time to play with other dogs, but it is important that you give them daily one-on-one attention so they don’t become completely dog-bonded. Too many breeders have the tendency to breed more dogs than what they can easily sell or keep more than they can work. The dogs that don’t get sold end up out in the dog lot with other dogs, getting little individual attention.

With some Border Collies, once they turn on to stock, it doesn’t matter how they were brought up. They have an all-consuming desire to work stock and will do all that it takes to be there. Kessie is like that. If I could put up with her on a daily basis, I might have a pretty nice trial dog in her. I’m simply not willing to do that. If I can’t happily live with a dog, I’ll place it with someone who can. I’ve been very careful about placing these dogs and check in on them every so often. If the dog didn’t work out, I’d take it back and rehome it. Life is too short for me and the dog to be in a situation where we are both unhappy. The relationship I have with a dog is extremely important to me.

Until later …