The first day of Fall snuck up on me fast as I am sure it did others. There is still so many projects I need to complete before winter.
I have been working on several new shows for Animal House T.V. and have been involved in a study with my partner dog Ferris.
The study, being conducted by The Center for Shelter Dogs at the Animal Rescue League of Boston, is trying to determine if a dog will react to a fake dog in the same manner it will to a real dog. Ferris is the “real” dog in the study. I am merely the handler. Though the study is on-going, the results are pretty interesting to say the least.
I marvel at Ferris as he works along side me teaching animal CPR, Animal Handling, and now working on this study. One of my main jobs is to
watch Ferris and determine when he really can’t do anymore. That may sound easy enough, but as long as Ferris is with me he will continue to work well past the point he should stop. Ferris and I are very close and he will do anything I am doing and stay as close to me as possible even when there doesn’t seem like there is room on the couch, he finds it..
As I write this, Ferris is on the couch right behind me sleeping, that is until I get up, then he will get up. Ferris lives here with my wife and I in Stoughton on a parcel of land we bought because of all the land it had. We didn’t buy the land to develop or build on, but to keep it as it is, for the dogs. We have a number of dogs here at any given time and I often laugh when people ask, how many dogs do you have? Because I always have to stop and think, how many do we have this week?
We, of course, have what we call our resident dogs and that consists of Ferris, Herbie my wife’s dog who is a retired Search and Rescue dog, and Mister a dog that came to us as a foster in desperate need of medical attention. In addition we have Stewie a cute, tiny, terrier looking mix no bigger than my foot. Stewie is three months old. We are fostering Stewie, but I have a feeling
he may become a new resident dog. We also have Logan, a dog that is waiting for space at a shelter so he can be adopted.
At any given time we can have any number of dogs, and at one point the number climbed to almost nine. We had four rat terriers taken from a hoarding case. All four were adopted and two of which work as therapy dogs. All the dogs that come here are promised two things: Noone will ever hurt them here, and they stay here until we find them a new home, no matter how long it takes.
Most of the foster dogs live in a separate sheltered and enclosed part of the property, and have it pretty good! All the dogs get to play together and can walk and run all over the tracts of land we have and take a swim in the stream that runs through it.
Ferris, as does the other resident dogs, have to share their house and my time with the other dogs. Ferris really could care less for the other dogs because he has me. I am his preferred company. Everything else he tolerates.
Today, as I was working outside on those last minute summer house projects I am still not done with, I was feeling stressed and a little overwhelmed with all I had to do. I still have a lot of work to do to get the dog enclosure ready for winter, as well as, mow the five acres we have and keep it nice for us and the dogs. I still need to do some repair work on the dog agility field we have and I guess the fence I wanted to erect is going to have to wait.
As all of this was running through my mind I looked over at my faithful friend Ferris. He was enjoying sniffing through the tall grass that I haven’t mowed yet, jumping into the stream, and having a blast rolling around in the leaves I haven’t raked. Ferris was showing me that sometimes you just have to say forget it and enjoy what’s around you, while you can, before winter comes and you end up dreaming about doing it once Spring arrives.
I stopped what I was doing and grabbed a pocket full of Ferris’ favorite treats and we went and played in the agility field. Ferris didn’t seem to mind that the jump was broken, he lept over it like it was perfect.
Ferris works very hard with me, we like to work with children and elderly and visit nursing homes, schools and libraries whenever we are asked. What I forgot and what Ferris reminds me is that all the work needs to be balanced with a day ,more often than not, of Forget it, lets play!