Nutmeg and Cinnamon have passed over…..

Nutmeg and Cinnamon have passed over…..

We have had a few more losses here at Alba Ranch.  It seems like a lot lately but the reality is the entire pack was aging and all approximately the same age as well so it was a flood of them leaving one after the other as they have finished their lives over these last few years.  I knew that it was coming but that doesn’t make it any easier.

All 7 Scottish Border Collies

This post is not a poor me my babies are gone…even though seriously…poor me my babies are gone…I mean for reals….but a celebration of their lives with some photos of them growing up just to give you a glimpse of their life….all the years we have had with them.

You will see and know why we loved them from the photos.

 

 

 

 

 

Nutmeg as a pup

Nutmeg  (aka if her name is NOT Meg….what is it?)

May 26, 2004-March 19, 2018

 

Nutmeg was one of 8 pups from Pru…and we kept 3 of them.  She and her 2 sisters and her half sister Cinnamon, along with Auntie Tessa, Abbey and Pru were our 7 Scotland border collies that came over to the USA when we moved back.

Nutmeg was always my shy tri except at home.  At home she was a bully.  She ruled with a quite but iron paw.  And even Rowan, the 90 pound Anatolian, cowered in fear with just a silent lip curl from Nutmeg.  Respect…..

Nutmeg with her sisters, Sassy and Chloe passed out on top of her….always together

Nutmeg did not like little old ladies with brollies (umbrellas for you usa folks).  nope…not them at all.  She never did take to car rides.  She did not get sick in the car, or have accidents or bark and carry on, she would just sit bolt upright, panting in terror and never settle down.  When we drove from MI to CO, she did that for those two days.  And she tried to bolt out of the suburban and managed twice and took off with us chasing her after her in a parking lot, a field or whatever to get her before she hit the highway.  Needless to say, Nutmeg stayed to home a lot and that suited her just fine.

 

Nutmeg with Charlie

 

She could play football (soccer for the usa folks) like nobody’s fool.  And amazing air…oh my…she would do almost a complete flip and roll at about 4 ft high in the air for a ball.  Dive into the pond after a toy, into a puddle or a padding pond…no matter…if there was a ball…she was after it.

 

Nutmeg all grown up

She was a quiet dog and faded into the background a lot….but she was still my shy tri and I loved her until the end.  She was very still with us mentally but her body was failing when we let her go at just 2 months shy of her 14th birthday.  That is a good long life for a border collie.  Rest in peace my Nutmeggers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cinnamon the puff ball pup

Cinnamon (aka Cinnaminimoooooos)

June 3, 2004-March 19, 2018

Cinnamon was a pup from Abbey’s litter of six pups.  She had the same sire as the pups from Pru but Abbey for a mom.  She was their half sister born about 10 days after.

Charlie was taken with Cinnamon from the day he saw her.  I was not sure though.  When we were trying to decide which pups to keep, we took charlie back to work in Abredeen from Peterhead when we were living in Scotland.  I suggested he pick a pup he was considering and take that pup on the ride and see how he felt.  He chose to take Cinnamon and she promptly threw up on him…twice…so he said she had to stay being she threw up on him.

 

Cinnamon about to jump on Sass in the whiskey barrel

 

Cinnamon suffered with getting car sick for many, many years after that and it was only with a lot of work that we could get her finally OK with the car enough to NOT be sick through some nausea meds, and than began the work of getting her calm enough to even give it a go.  I mean if you got sick in the car every time you rode, you would refuse to go too.  We started with short drives like to the mail box or the end of the drive.  Or just sitting in the car and NOT going anywhere.  Even that was trying for her in the beginning as she has begun to associate the car with begin sick so much that to even be in it she would get sick.  It took a long time but she finally cracked it and than she was happy and willing to go anywhere.

 

Cinnamon, what a beauty

 

Cinnamon was a very head strong dog who was also a destructo dog.  There was barely a toy in the house that could not be destroyed by Cinnamon.  We had to have all the footballs…soccer balls…deflated but even that did not work as she would tear the leather off and rip the bladders out.  I have no idea why she had to rip things apart but there was that one day she had her first encounter with a chicken and well….you guessed it…30 seconds later the chicken was in three pieces and dead and Cinnamon never did get near a chicken again.  In her defence, the chicken had flown its coop area and flown over the fence into the dog pen so…..you know…fair game….at least in her mind.

 

Cinnamon out back

We tried Cinnamon with herding lessons but she really didn’t have any thoughts to herd.  She was like la de dah….running through the field..whats that…oh sheep..OK well…la de dah…running through the field….yup..not a sheep herder.

She would sit next to me on the couch whenever she had the chance and be so over joyed to be there that she would wiggle and drive me nuts…but she did so love being close to me.  I miss Cinnamon…she was in a fair bit of pain towards the end…and she had some tumours.  We had removed some a few years before right around the time that she lost Abbey and she never really recovered well from that.

 

Abbey and Cinnamon, side by side

She was such a mama’s girl that Abbey passing sort of took the stuffing from Cinnamon.  She even lost her will to destroy in those last couple of years.   The girls would all play and run and leap together and the four pups were the best of friends.  Rest in peace Cinnamon, you are missed.

 

The Scotland Border Collies were born in Scotland, flew to Michigan, drove to Colorado, drove back to Michigan and now are at rest in the woods near Lake Michigan.  Both Nutmeg and Cinnamon went together and they were even kenneled as pups together as well.  We felt it was fitting that they were buried together as well so their worn out fur bodies would be forever together.

 

 

Dogs of Alba

Dogs of Alba

It is the one year anniversary today of my Darling Abbey Gail passing away.  I miss her dreadfully and it still feels like it was last week.  I saw her yesterday during an energy treatment…she visited with BJ.  She is still as beautiful as every.

Abbey

All my border collies and a couple of my LGD are sick  right now.   So right now I am thinking all about the dogs.  I think I have figured out what it is but don’t know if the damage is too extensive in a few to the point that they may die.

I have been feeding Taste of the Wild Dog Food and every time I get their digestion calmed down and start to re introduce the food, they get violently sick again. I have tried to re introduce their food twice and will not try again. I didn’t go from feeding raw or a bland diet to just their kibble, I did a small bit first for two days and that was all it took last time. This time I did small bit two days and they seemed OK but on the third day I gave them only their TOTW dog food but in a smaller amount than normal and the hell started again. Mucous and bleeding from their bums. Throwing up and total loss of control. I am at a loss.

I have sick dogs for 3 weeks and they have been to the vet and I have called numerous times. I decided to try some holistic things and started with pumpkin which cleared the diarrhea up so fast it made my head spin.  I gave them that with yogurt and kefir to fix the bacteria in their gut. I can’t feed raw with 3 giant breed dogs AND the border collies as I don’t have enough freezers or money to fill them.

Last night about midnight, I did a search on the internet for Taste of the Wild Dog Food + sick dogs.  OMG.  The reviews that have popped up all over about how sick dogs that have been eating this food have been in March, April and May of 2017 is staggering.  Taste of the Wild Dog Food is made my Diamond Food Company.  They also make Kirkland dog food in Costco and Nature’s Domain, which is the grain free formulas also available at Costco.

I found one site Consumers Affairs that had a lot of details and information  about the reaction of the dogs to the Taste of the Wild Dog food.  The symptoms were scary as they were exact to what my dogs are going through.  Unfortunately the reviews that had the best details and information, were also the people that lost their dogs.  The dogs went from being healthy to in kidney and liver failure in 3-4 weeks and having to be either put down or dying in their owners arms.  My dogs have been sick for three weeks.  I have two in particular that have been bleeding and worse than others.  That is my Nutmeg and my Chloe.  I don’t know if they will survive.  I have called my vet office and they are checking to see if they want to repeat the blood work tests and compare them to the ones already done for Nutmeg and Chloe.  I don’t know if there is any course of action as the damage is already done.

I have been researching and found some companies that do HUMAN GRADE food in a human grade facility made in the USA and it is dehydrated food. You add warm water and stir and give them it 3 minutes later. They have both regular formulas and grain free. The regular ones that have grain are cheaper so I might be able to afford it if I stop eating myself!! The grains they use are barley and oats. There is NEVER wheat, soy, corn or any GMO in it. I am going to try it.   The Honest Kitchen is the food.  Take a look at it yourself and see if you like it.

 

Update on the dogs as of May 19:

I have been talking to the vet at Diamond and she has had no issues with the batches of dog food I have had. If it is the dog food, I am the only one with those issues with those production batches. I gave her codes on like 11 bags. She recommended Metronidazole for them before I even told her that one had a confirmed positive test for Giardia. but we did 5 days in a row of heavy Panacur/safeguard granules for that per my vets instructions. After just one does of that panacur/safeguard I went from 1 dog with bloody diarrhea to 6 dogs with diarrhea although not all had blood in their poo. I called vet immediately and they insisted I keep on it. Five days of hell went on and still no slowing of the the poo. I was also advised to start cooking rice and boiled hamburger for them and did that from after that first dose. I have been doing that interspersed with chicken and sometimes a bit of oatmeal instead of rice right now….been doing that for 3.5 weeks. They are still sick.

Every time I get them mostly firm when I use a bit of pumpkin, I slowly start to reintroduce TOTW and they get sick all over again after either 2 or 3 doses of the food. I have tried this two times. The first time they were still having the bland diet along with a sprinkle of the TOTW and by two days into trying to blend in the TOTW they were right back into explosive poo. The second time we did sprinkle of TOTW for two days and by the third day were at only TOTW but in a much smaller dose. Still same thing, huge mucous and diarrhea and blood with some vomiting but not as much of the vomit. When there was vomiting it was full of mucous as well. I have given them yogurt and kefir most days to help them out with the good bacteria their gut. So now I am not sure if it is the food or not. I won’t be running out to get any new bags if you are wondering. 

Vet at Diamond said that the bland diet with the rice gives a false sense of them being firmed up because the rice absorbs the excess water in the poo. That is logical.  Perhaps??  Pumpkin does as well and so does the oatmeal to an extent. Vet at Diamond thinks that they still have Giardia as the med prescribed for it does not work for that. Checked with a vet up in Ludington that I have used occasionally and they also said same med as the vet from Diamond. The other vet up in Ludington also said that Panacur/safeguard does NOT fix Giardia. I researched what meds to use for this and panacur/safeguard is NOT one for Giardia. My dogs have been through hell for nothing as well as are still contagious to me.  I have used a small forest of paper towel and so many vinyl exam gloves.  My hands are raw and cracked from washing them so much.  The house stinks like bleach from bleach power washing the floors and the food dishes and dog toys.  I have almost no dog beds or blankets left as have had to throw so many away.  I don’t know how much more any of us can take.

The vet from Diamond plans on paying for the vet visit for Chloe and Morag.  Those are the two she wanted seen today as they were both up all night with diarrhea.  She also said she would cover their meds.  She is considering covering the meds for the other 4 as well.  However, I feel that our vet should do the exam for these two and give us the meds for all of them no matter as the original med prescribed was incorrect.  I am going armed with receipts to show that I did buy the med for all the dogs as I got it for five form the feed store and 1 from the vet.  and that she should cover these vet visits as well.  Either way, I am not paying as I don’t have anything to pay with.  I am also going armed with receipts for over $200 alone for chicken, rice, oatmeal, hamburger, paper towel and trash bags to show her what this has cost us.  Unfortunately I don’t ahve receipts for the $45+ of laundry where i had to bleach wash all the rugs including 3 large sheep skins that are supposed to be dry cleaned only.  I am sure that bleach wash and dry shortened the life of those skin rugs considerably.  So we are off to the vet for now.  will have to see if this will work or not.

Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Kids Born

Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Kids Born

 

 

We have had some new Nigerian Dwarf Dairy goat kids born 11 days ago.  This is from our new doe, Meg’s Mini Rachelle, and our new buck, Amasanti BB California Gold (aka Fred).

Amasanti BB California Gold (aka Fred)

I in particular was looking forward to this breeding with great anticipation because Rachelle is a Swiss marked Nigerian and I have never had one of those before.  Fred is a Gold and I haven’t had that one before either.  I have had a cream, possibly a gold but never in a buck.  Fred is from a buck recently imported from California and Rachelle is also from lines totally new to my herd. I researched the lines and have brought in some pretty goats but only after making sure they are from very milk producing lines.

Meg’s Mini Rachelle

I bought several new bucks this year and a few does as well.  The bucks specifically are from proven milk lines and should be of the quality that my does are.  In the past, I believe my bucks were more neutral when it came to milk production and now I have bucks that are as high or higher in milk production than my already high producing does.  I am hoping that it will breed my does, who are already high producers, up even farther.

My goal is to have my does and their daughters all be half gallon or 4 lb a day milkers or better….always.  I don’t want average milk production or low production that so many Nigerian breeders seem to think is standard.  I am not focused on only pretty faces or eye colors.  I have pretty faces and fabulous eyes but not at any expense in the milk pail.  Dashing colors and sparkling eyes do NOT put milk in the pail.  Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats are just that….DAIRY GOATS!

Rachelle’s Triplets

I have been a closed herd since moving back from Colorado to Michigan.  We did our testing and with the herd negative on their tests, it is now time to close the herd back up.

I have a few photos of these lovely little darlings.  We were lucky and right there when mama went into labor because she went EARLY! and she had triplets and if we had gone into the house even for that hour or so before coming back out to do evening chores, I have no doubts that we would have lost two of the kids.  She popped number 2 and 3 our in about 30 seconds total at once after having had kid 1 about 15 minutes prior.  She was a bit dazed, I would have been also with two kids popping out in 30 seconds, so she couldn’t react quick enough to get the sacks off their heads.  That left me with towels in hand to help her.  I was her labor and delivery nurse.  Kid 2 was the only doe in the lot.  1 and 3 are gorgeous bucks.

Kid 1 is a black and tan Swiss marked boy.  He was the smallest of them all.  I think he might have only been a pound and so tiny.  But he was strong and up and nursing about 3 minutes after she had his sack off before he was even dry.  And 11 days after, he is one of the bounciest of the three!

Willow meeting the boys for the first time

Kid 2 is the doe.  She appeared white.  But a couple of days ago, I realized she is not all white.  She is a Cou Blanc!!  I am so excited.  I have one Cou Blanc in my herd currently, but Sweet Pea is 13 years old and has never thrown a Cou Blanc herself.  This little darling is white head, white neck and white shoulder area and color on the rump.  I can see the distinct line mid back where a buck skin pattern would break except her color placements are the opposite of a buckskin.  Where a traditional Cou Blanc has white on front and black on rump, this little gal has white on front and pale gold on rump.  So I am guessing that Gold is her color family and Cou Blanc is her pattern.  She has the little gold strips in the same spots on her nose and face as Sweet Pea has her black strips.  The only thing that Sweet Pea has that this little one does not have is any gold strips visible yet on her legs.  Her legs currently just appear all white.  Oh and she doesn’t have Sweet Pea’s wattles.

So after three hours of unplanned goat midwifery, we returned to our normal lives….minus the hours lost playing with the new kids over the last 11 days.  but…..Aren’t they all just so cute?

 

Kizy, a LGD, Livestock Guardian Dog

Kizy, a LGD, Livestock Guardian Dog

 

 

Kizy ( ?- July 15, 2016)

 

We got Kizy, our Great Pyr, in 2009 while out in Colorado.  She was $50 off a Craig list ad.  We were her third and final home.  She has been a joy to have for years.

Kizy in Colorado

This huge puff ball of fur could have dragged me all over creation, but she was one of the most gentle dogs I have ever seen.  I attached my lead around my waist and put the other end on her collar and she would walk at my side with the lead limp.  She has always done that with me.

Don’t get me wrong…she was also stubborn as a mule!!  I remember one day when she was sitting on our two seat settee in the cabin in Colorado, and she was taking up the ENTIRE settee…I told her to get down.  She refused.  I tried to push her down and she sat up and growled at me.  I told her not to growl at me and pushed her again.  She took my entire arm in her mouth and closed with pressure.  She didn’t bite but she was telling me that she wasn’t moving.  I, on the other hand, told her that she WAS moving, threw her down, yelled at her and tossed her butt out of the cabin.  I didn’t speak to her for 2 solid weeks straight.  I acted as if she didn’t even exist.  She was crushed…..we talked at the end of the two weeks and it never happened again.  Even up to the day that we had to lay her to rest, if I spoke of that day, she hung her head because she remembered well.  But just to be clear, I did catch her on the new settee about a week or two before she passed.  She saw me coming and hopped down as fast as possible as if to say you didn’t see me do that.  So stubborn……

 

Kizy wearing mom’s dreadlock hat

After moving to MI, I fell a couple of times from the kitchen down the two steps into the living room.  The last time that happened, it was a complete fall, flat on my back, two steps down on the concrete.  I was in so much pain I had my eyes shut, and was yelling.  Charlie wanted to help me up but I said don’t move me.  I had to let that pain subside a bit before I could even open my eyes, let alone move.  When I was able to open my eyes, imagine my surprise to see Kizy’s concerned face about 1.5 inches from the end of my nose!!  I wrapped my arms around her and pulled myself up off the floor with her help.  I adore my border collies, but I could not have done that with one of them.

Kizy adored children.  Even small afraid ones.  Those were her favorites, and she was very gentle with them.  The cats also fascinated her, the smaller the cat the more interest.  It was her innate protection for anything small.  That is part of being a LGD, Livestock Guardian Dog.  She guarded our stock in CO even though she wasn’t bonded with stock like a LGD from birth.  She guarded in the pens that surrounded the small livestock pens.  She was a bit more bonded with humans than stock but since they were MY stock she guarded them with joy.

When Bj passed on in Colorado, I was heart broken and sitting in the barn yard.  Kizy came to me and I wrapped myself around her and her fur and just sobbed.  That happened a few years prior when Chaz’s Father passed and a few years before that when Chaz’s Mother passed.  Each of these passings was super hard on me and sobbing in the barnyard wrapped around Kizy hugging her was one of the few things that helped.  Every time one of those important people had passed, it worked out that Chaz was offshore.  So Kizy was my furry Chaz to help me through it all.

Kizy on the settee

After moving to MI, she retired to the house.  Our pens were not set up in a fashion that she could roam around them, and she was getting old.  We reckon she was about 3-3.5 years when we got her so at her passing last Friday, I do believe she was 10.5-11 years old.  She had greatly gone down hill in the last six months with her hind quarters not getting proper brain stimuli and this was causing her great pain and making it difficult for her to control her feet to stand or walk.  It was hard letting her go because even to the end she was worried about who would guard me.  We lost Rowan about a month ago and he was another LGD that has always fixated on guarding me.  She knows that Broch is the only LGD in the house left that guards me and he is only a year younger than her.  But I assured her that Broch would protect me as well as our border collie Cinnamon, who has stepped up and taken her mother Abbey’s place as pack leader and lead guard border collie.  Kizy saw the spot that was to be her final fur resting place and I asked her if she wanted me to plant flowers on her head like I did Abbey or on her heart like I did Rowan, and she laughed and said I could do what I wanted because she would just dig them up anyways.  Defiant and stubborn to the end!  You will be missed my darling puff ball….sniff.