I am finally on vacation. I actually finished work on Wednesday night, but had so many things to do on Thursday that I didn’t have a minute to rest. Then Friday we had the big storm. Other than taking the dogs out (see pictures below!) I did nothing all day other than visit a neighbour for the afternoon. I had a long list of things I wanted to accomplish, but just couldn’t get around to it. Instead, I spent Saturday cleaning my house from top to bottom, then loading the car and driving to my parents. I arrived after dark, unloaded, at some food, and crashed.

Today it is cold, with snow and a lot of wind. It is 1pm and I still haven’t found the energy to put on my snow gear and take out the dogs. Fortunately my parents have a big yard, now filled with snow for the dogs to leap and frolic about in. I watched them play for a few minutes, and quickly concluded that I still need to keep Mira separate from Ross. She’s in standing heat right now, on day 13 of her cycle. She has been standing since about day 9. That’s really early and I suspect I am late with my count. Ross is neutered, but he knows what to do if he gets the chance. Mira is quite the seductive flirt, so they have to be kept apart.

So I brought Mira in, and let her hang out with me while the other three ran about (my dad’s dog included). They only ran for a few minutes, however, before Hannah was sitting at the back door, staring wistfully into the kitchen. I ignored her, but soon she started shivering. She doesn’t have much coat and gets cold quickly. Heck, it’s solidly below freezing out there, so I can’t blame her!

I brought Hannah in, and quickly discovered (as she tried to give me a kiss) that she had obviously been on ‘poop duty’ in the yard. GROSSS!!!! I absolutely HATE that she does that. I think she likes my dad’s dog’s kibble poo, but regardless, the habit is beyond disgusting. So clearly she can’t be left out in the yard either.

By the time I had Hannah in her crate (in case she pukes up the poo, which she commonly does), Ross was barking incessantly to be let in. He doesn’t like being out with out his pack, so in he came.

Here I am at last with a house with a big, fully fenced yard, yet all three of my dogs are inside in their crates. So much for needing a yard!

This has always been the case for me, however. My dogs are not used to being outside without me, mostly because as pups they would get into trouble if left unattended. So they are either with me, or in crates. As they mature, they can be out in the house without supervision, but never in the yard. There’s just too much stimulation out there, and too many ways they can get into trouble. I love having a yard, but my dogs are only out in it unsupervised for a few minutes at any given time. I either then join them, or they come back in and hang out inside.

It always amazes me how many people feel they need to have a yard before they can have a dog. I have never had a yard, yet I’ve had border collies for nearly 20 years now. What I would like is property, i.e. land on which I can hike them, and train them on sheep and agility. But I am sure that even when I do have my own space, the dogs will continue to stay with me, and not be outside unsupervised (unless I were to build a kennel set-up, which is quite different from just leaving your dog in a yard).

My goal for 2009 is to have my dogs spend more time outside, which means I need to spend more time outside. In the past, I have done my best to get us out for a solid 2 hours per day, all year around. I have failed horribly at that this past couple of months, what with my extreme fatigue and crazy schedule. But that’s going to change from here on in. Getting my health back on track is my priority #1 for the new year, and the best way for me to do so is to get out with my dogs.