Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The day it began

Friday, February 17th, 2006.

Ok, technically we opened for "daycare-lite" on the 16th, and truely technically we've had 2 dogs with us every day for about the past month. But, Friday the 17th was the first time we had paying customer's dogs co-mingling. And that is the day the good story happened, so we'll call that the day it all began.

Friday our three dogs showed up as expected. Ruby and DJango are old pros by now and run right into the kennel. Every day that their owner drops them off she gets a little tour of everything that has changed since the day before. And there still are significant changes every day!

Shadow is our new guest. She came for the first time on Thursday. Boarder collie mix, she is a nervous wreck. She wimpers and cries in her cage if she gets a hint of dogs or people moving around. Runs like a maniac and cries when she is out in the play area and Ruby and DJango in their cages. Most concerning is that Shadow and Ruby really get into it when either approaches the other across a gate. So Thursday we didn't attempt to introduce them.

Friday, though, Ginger had spoken to Shadow's owner and got more background on her. Like she'd been 'excused' from obedience class for inappropriate behavior around the other dogs. Yeah - that is what we need! We were about to reject her, but resolved to try again a second day. All morning was more of the same, she was driving us crazy. Finally we decided to introduce her to Ruby alone - Ruby on leash but not Shadow since her owner says she gets more aggressive on leash. It went well all things considered. Shadow is entirely over exhuberant, so Ruby had to give her a serious correction (read: some fluff was flying) but after that first bit they agreed to steer clear of each other.

So we tossed Ruby outside and brought DJango, the 3 month old pup, in. DJango and Shadow took to each other right away. Puppy exhuberance meet boarder collie exhuberance. They wrestled, chased, mounted each other (we started correcting for that pretty quickly). They were continuing to get more and more wound up, though, so we put Shadow out and let Ruby back in. This was all in the midst of our super freeze of a week - it never got above 15 or so for several days - so we couldn't leave the dogs out for too long at a time.

Finally we put DJango in his kennel and brought Shadow back in and all seemed well. Ginger, meanwhile, took off to see the doctor about a new pain in her heel that pretty much has grounded her to sitting this week.

David and I resumed cleaning of the section of floor that still had to be sealed, and the dogs continued to ignore each other. But - Shadow finally calmed down. Things were down right boring!

Dave wasn't sure how to check out Shadow's owner, so about 4:30 he and I put the dogs away and went to go type in the day's "Report Card" comments to the database, and then generate the invoices so that they would be ready while I went down to feed the horses.

Then the phone rang. "Hi" a teenaged voice said to me. "I'm from the Berthoud Flower Pot and I have some deliveries for you." Wow! How exciting! "But I'm stuck in your driveway." UG, how utterly not exciting.

We hadn't received all that much snow that week - 6 inches maybe. But the driveway varied between totally swept clean to covered with drifts 14 inches deep. The girl had hit one of those and slid off the side. I went down to receive our deliveries, but upon getting there it was clear she wasn't going to be able to get herself back down the driveway either. So we started thinking about towing her out with the truck. Which is when she locked her keys in the car with it running.

(The flowers, by the way, are very nice and were sent by a couple of Chamber members congratulating us on opening. We're really getting into this Chamber of Commerce - great group of people!)

I took her back to the office and explained to Dave the situation. The girl called her mother to find her spare key somewhere in her desk and come get her. It was about here that we learned that her mom is the sister of our (friendly) neighbor who built our house! The girl said she'd been stuck in the driveway many a time.

So Dave suited up and seemed to think he knew a way to deal with the car. I stayed in the office, and sure enough customer #1 came in shortly. She said they were still in the drive and hadn't gotten the car out yet. At least she'd slid to the side so it was possible to drive by her. A little while later, customer #2 came. She seemed a little put out - she said she had had to wait until the drive way cleared up enough for her to get through. It wasn't until I talked to David later that I realized they had 5 cars backed up at once! The stuck one, the truck, the girl's mother with the spare key, our customer #1 who was trying to leave - and THIS was when customer #2 had arrived. LOL.

The girl's mother called me back later to say how much she appreciated Dave's help with getting the car out, but things were so crazy she hadn't stopped at the time to thank him! Guess that was a wise decision.

By this time it was 5:30, nearly dark and, of course, bitterly, bitterly cold. We went down and fed the horses together, then retreated into the house to relate the whole story to Ginger who'd just returned. Whew - we were glad the day was over.



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