Monthly Archives: March 2021

Snapshot into a Life with Multiple Dogs

Kitchen Doors
The doors that safeguard our kitchen.

Living with multiple dogs requires a certain way of life that many are not suited for. I appear to thrive on it. I certainly find the sacrifices that are necessary to be well worth it.

For instance, we have doors on our kitchen. My husband made these doors for us so our lives would be a little bit easier. And I am grateful every day.

We cannot leave food out on the countertop or on the stove without it being in danger of being taken by a few of our dogs. The cats are not totally innocent in this either. They have been known to knock loaves of bread on the floor for the dogs to eat. And the cats like to lick some of the things they find there. Butter is a favorite. And I don’t know about you but I don’t care to eat butter that has been licked by a cat. Or by a human either for that matter, but we don’t have that problem.

So, whenever there is a cake or pie, or any food, cooling in the kitchen, or the remains of dinner is still on the stove while we are eating, the doors are closed. You may have noticed the elastic bungee cord on the left hand door panel. This is because our animals will nudge the doors open if they are not bungeed shut. Our animals have us well trained.

If there is food out and you leave the kitchen even for a few seconds, you must close these doors. I walked from the kitchen to the hall pantry and back, which took me less than 30 seconds one day. Zekie, my no mistake dog, made me pay. The Day of the Bread Thief. Where once there were three baguettes rising, there were suddenly only two. The link above tells the excitement of that day.

You may also notice the bare board covering the baseboard to the left of the doors. That covers the remnants of the day/s Zekie had separation anxiety episodes before we had the super tough Impact Dog Crate for him. Story told here Salvation. In those days he eventually escaped every crate we put him in.

On one of the shelves you can see our apothecary jar full of dog biscuits. These are a necessity. Any of our dogs will immediately incarcerate themselves in a crate for half a Milk Bone! Don’t feel sorry for them. Several of our dogs will go in their crates by choice to have some time to themselves. The crate door is open, but no one can sneak up on them without their knowledge.

The calendar on the wall holds not only family birthdays and appointments, but the dates the dogs were given their heartworm prevention medicine and any flea or tick treatments. It also serves as a record of wormings, antibiotics, and other noteworthy things.

This simple picture provides such a snapshot into our daily lives. Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words.

Meet Our Pack!

Dog napping in a sunbeam
Baxter napping in a sunbeam.

 

This post features each of our animals here at Sanctuary Acres. We currently have six dogs and two cats. They were all feeling sleepy earlier this week when the weather was cold. I took the opportunity to capture their restful moods in these photographs.

Baxter is 12 years old now. He was a drop off that someone left when he was a young pup of about three months. He has spent his entire life here. This is notable because we don’t often get many of our dogs as puppies. He grew up to be a wonderful dog with amazing frisbee skills. He is also very obedient and an easy dog to have around. He has taught the ropes to many a foster dog. His calm nature teaches them that it will be ok.

Napping sheltie
Shelby having a rest.

 

Shelby just turned 11 years old. She came here as a foster dog through Northeast Ohio Shetland Sheepdog Rescue (NEOSSR). She arrived when she was 18 months old. The folks who dropped her off said she was hyper and too much dog. Shelby is anything but hyper. She just happened to be in her teenage years when her previous owners left her here. She has grown into an obedient, serious, hard working girl. She is a certified therapy dog who I can count on for nursing home visits, walks with kids, staffing public events, and assisting with training or testing future therapy dogs. She is my right hand “man” and working partner.

Shetland Sheepdog napping
Claire chilling out.

Claire is 6 years old. She is our newest addition, joining our pack in January of 2020 as a foster dog. She became a permanent member in July when I realized that I was too attached for her to leave. She is a bit of an airhead and not as serious or intense as our other dogs. She is, however, a clown and keeps us laughing and wondering what she will come up with next. She is also eternally happy. She makes us smile every day.

Napping dog
Zekie taking it easy.

Zekie came to us as a foster sheltie. He is not very sheltie-like in looks or temperament. He is a sweet and loving boy. Due to his extreme separation anxiety and leash reactivity, we decided that he was not adoptable (except by crazy people-us!), so he became a member of our pack in 2016. He is fairly obedient, but you have to keep him busy all the time. His mind doesn’t stop and he can come up with lots of things to get into. This dog has an amazing, and sometimes frightening, command of the English language. One day he was running from the pasture to the house with the frisbee and dropped it half way there. I told him to pick that up and take it back to the pasture before he went in the house. He did. That’s just one example of the things he understands.

Greyhound resting
Cassius resting.

Cassius is our retired racing greyhound. We adopted him from Greyhound Adoption of Ohio. He is our fourth greyhound. He is the opposite of the shelties. Large, lazy and laid back, with little grooming required. He adds a nice balance to our crew. Oh, and did I mention, he’s a momma’s boy. He loves nothing better than to lean against me when I am trying to cook, or to lay up against me on the couch with his head in my lap. He’s a 70+ pound love bug. He loves riding in the car nearly as much as he loves me.

Sheltie in front of the fireplace
Nikki in front of the fireplace.

Nikki turned 13 last fall. Not only is she our oldest dog, she is also our smallest weighing in at 20 lbs. Don’t let her small size fool you. She is a tough little thing with a big bark. She came to us when her owner became ill and was no longer able to care for her. Nikki was four years old then, so she has been here a long time. She was very good at her commands-sit, down, and stay. She can’t hear them any more, but if I work her in tandem with Shelby, Nikki will follow her lead and perform the commands. She is a favorite at the nursing home because she has that cuteness factor down pat.

Orange cat
Orange Kitty.

Orange Kitty will turn five this year. He has been with us since he was just under a year old. He is a very sweet cat. Our other animals are fortunate that Orange Kitty is mild mannered. Thank goodness, because he is also VERY large. We put him on a diet and he is now slimmed down but still weighs 17 lbs. He has the loudest purr I have ever heard. You can hear him from other rooms of the house.

Black and white cat napping
Morty having a cat nap.

Morty will be 10 this year. I still think of him as a kitten because he is tiny. He only weighs 8 lbs. but he and Orange Kitty are fast friends. They often sleep together and groom each other. Once in a while, play gets too rough and Orange Kitty will chase Morty and there will be a bit of hissing and spitting. Shelby does not allow this sort of behavior and will run to stand between them and break it up. And it works. No one messes with Shelby.

All of our animals get along quite well. There is no serious fighting, and very little grumbling. Sometimes a dirty look will be cast but that’s generally as far as it goes. As I look around now, I see all the animals sleeping and know all is right in their world.

The Challenge of Burning Wood with Dogs

Wood box by fireplace
Wood box by the fireplace.

Living with a lot of dogs gives you experiences you never dreamed of. We have six dogs. And we live in an old house that was built in the year 1830. Since we have old, leaky walls and windows, we supplement our heat by burning wood. Most of the wood is harvested from our property. As old trees come down, my husband splits and stacks them for firewood.

For years, we have had a wood rack beside the wood burning stove and a large wood box on the porch. Wood is brought from the wood crib behind the garage, where it is stored to dry and season after splitting. We move it from there to the wood box on the porch by wheel barrow, tractor cart, or sometimes just by filling a recycling tub and dragging it to the porch. The porch wood box holds enough for 4 or 5 days of burning. This keeps wood close to house so we don’t have to go outside in the cold and snow every time we need more wood.

We had the small wood rack, and now the small wood box, beside the fireplace so we don’t have to open the door to the porch every time we want to put a few more logs on the fire. Why did we switch from the small, indoor wood rack to the indoor wood box? One word. Dogs.

Four of our six dogs have suddenly decided that they like to chew wood chips and pieces of bark. A lot. This lead to us constantly yelling “no wood” or “drop it”, because we don’t want our dogs ingesting excesses of wood. A few bits, no problem, but they were starting to chew wood all day long. Boredom, I guess, although this has not been a problem in past years. So my husband built the new wood box and we have peace again. As much peace as you ever have with six dogs. Things have been much quieter. And we are not spending time every day sweeping up wood bits that have been strewn across the floor and around the house. Good job hubby, good job!

Sheltie in front of the fireplace
Nikki in front of the fireplace.

Nikki loves the fireplace. It feels good on her 13 year old bones. She and Shelby are our two dogs who do not chew wood. Nikki can be found in front of the fireplace most of the winter months. Even when there is not a fire going, she is often to be found here. She looks like she is encouraging us to start a fire to warm her up. She loves it there so much that often, she will not move when we open the door to add more wood or work on the fire. We either have to work around or move her. I guess that is one of the benefits of being the senior dog in the pack.