Do you have a favorite season? If you think about that season, what is it that draws you into the Spring Rain, the warm, humid breezes of Summer, that crisp, frosty air of Fall or the romantic snow fall and warm fire of Winter? Life is like the seasons. We have the Spring of youth, the Summer of Adulthood, the Fall of being an empty nester or retirement and then the Winter of memories. Memories of all the seasons that came before.

I don’t know if one Season is highlighted over another. Oh sure, most folks would want to be youthful once again~but would you really? All those hard knock of life and lessons to be learned. Why do I muse about Seasons? Life once again has pulled back the cover to another season for us, here at Winters Wind. I would not call it the season of discontent by any means. It just another shift as we maneuver life’s path. Rob, my love and hubby was laid off this past August. For him it was a big change, a major storm in his Season. Funny, how life can throw us this curve and it reveals who we are at the soul. Over these past months we discussed so many options, prayed a lot and held fast to the anchor of our faith. After oh so many interviews, he had 3 offers…..none of them here! He finally landed on a job that at least was close, Chicago. Now the logistics of this arrangement hits! He lives in Chicago now 5 days a week. It’s his dream job. The one we prayed for and given!

My parents are 94, saw the Great Depression and my Dad served in the 82nd Army Airborne and freed the first city in France on D-Day. If your a history buff, the movie “The Longest Day” my Dad is the guy that fell into the green house in Ste. Marie Englise. He was Knighted by the President of France and Yes, I am very proud of my folks~best people ever. Here’s a link to the one of the articles : https://qctimes.com/news/local/clinton-man-to-receive-france-s-highest-honor/article_132d35ef-3ac3-5465-bdcd-5f67f1265f59.html

So as you can see, moving isn’t an option. Given this fact we decided to take a hard look at our life and where we are headed; as in getting older…..no one, at least not me wants to think about that :) After much seeking advise from trusted family and friends we have made the hard decision to revamp Winters Wind over the next few years.

A new season will emerge after the dust settles. What does the new vision of Winters Wind look like? We will be getting out of Parti’s by the end of 2019. Our emphasis will be on Standard Poodles in White, Black and Silver. This has been a really tough and heart wrenching decision for us. We love all our colors of poodles and they all bring something wonderful to the breed.

The plan is to continue our work in the Service dog world, showing and doing performance. Our Retired guys will always be in our family; Roux, Indigo and Luna. The next Season will be moving forward with: Izabella, Dream, Teagan, Seville, Mystic, Sterling and Misty. We will use Aragon, Drakkar, Zane and Mr. Darcy as our sires in the next few years.

I do believe there is something about building memories and moments. I want to spend the few years I have with my parents, as focused moments. Those memories will be my treasure box in the years after they have gone. I want to enjoy my life with dogs as well and can never envision a life without them!

I so look forward to the new families that will join Winters Wind and the families that are currently in our hearts. Thank you for blessing me with your love of our dogs and won’t the future be bright!

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Posted
AuthorKaren Winters

The year 2018 truly started with a "BANG"!  The banging of the barn door in a wind storm, during January, severed the top of middle finger of my right (dominate) hand.  I can tell you shock is such a strange thing.  I knew I had caught my finger in the door, it stung but when I looked at it or lack there of ...well let's just say an action plan was in order.   I was on the prairie alone on this day so being the decisive person I am; I grabbed some towels, wrapped my finger, elevated it over my head, jumped into the truck and headed to closest ER.  That is a 20 minute drive, called my husband from the truck; which of course created panic because I lost signal and he thought I was in the ditch somewhere.  I did get to the ER and the first doctor thought they would remove it to the knuckle, however the orthopedic surgeon, stitched what he could to close it, looked at me and said it would be deformed......I looked back and said "So ? I can still hold a leash!"  So ends January.

February the month of "love" wasn't very lovely.  Rob, my sweet hubby, was diagnosed at the Mayo with cancer.  So they scheduled surgery for Valentine's Day.  It is strange when your told you have cancer, your brain or at least mine, sort of goes into war strategy mode.  However, it's another whole thing when it is the love of your life, best friend and partner.  I felt pain.  A pain in my heart, no deeper.  I stopped the "what if's" immediately; knowing he would need me to be his helper, warrior and shoulder. 

Surgery went well, 11 hours of prayer, then finally the news!  He's in recovery!  He spend several weeks re-cooperating.  Family and friends came out to the prairie to help with the dogs, brought meals, cleaned the house and sat with us.  The news then came that they had gotten it all and he didn't have to do chemo or radiation was a blessed relief!

March we made several trips to the Mayo for follow up visits and waited for spring to arrive on the barren prairie.  Seems the old saying, "In like a Lion and out Like a Lamb" isn't true!  Who knew!  Rather Old Man Winter hung on with bitter cold and snow.  Rob was on lifting restriction, which meant I had to do snow duty......that's fine but my finger was still healing, and I have no feeling in it....so it would get cold and I didn't realize it!  Socks on my hand inside my mittens worked great, new use for all those loner socks that come out of the dryer!  One day while at the farm store, from the back of the store was the sound of chirping!  I could just feel the soft down in my hand.  Grabbing my cart, I wheeled the aisles until if found the heat lamps, the chirping and CHICKS!!!  Now I wanted chicks so bad I could taste it....oh that sounds awful!  I mean just that it was the year......I was getting chickens.  There was one small problem..........we had not gotten the coop built yet.  Hmmmm, minor detail right!  So I head home, the cab of the truck filled with the sounds of baby chicks, who needed radio when you have nature!  The chicks now need a place to stay....okay this could be an issue.  I did have a plan and my hubby, ever patient with his wife, listened to my thoughts of how we can house the babies while we build a coop!  Whelping box!  So the chicks move into our house, yes...inside our house, to the room reserved for older pups.  I assured him it wouldn't be for long......

April, how we longed for a peak of green, a tulip head breaking through the earth or a Robin.  April fool was not a day but rather a few weeks of strange weather, cold and a wondering if Spring had forgotten to come!  Do you ever wonder what "the April Fool" looks like?  Me!  With this dopey look as I stare out the frosted windows for any sign of Spring coming down our lane.  Easter Egg hunts were inside and not as magical as the lawn dotted in pastel colors.  We learned our Rob's daughter and granddaughter were planning a summer trip to our prairie homestead!  This is huge as they live in Spain, we facetime weekly and Dahlia has loved watching the dogs, puppies and kittens.  Now she could touch them and trust me at 3 years old that is huge!  Being ever the Grandma for adventure, I decide Dahlia needed her own pet here.  I loved the Velveteen Rabbit story as a child and to this day...........yes, Dahlia needed a bunny!  So Cadbury joined our ever growing furry, feathery family!  By this time the chicks weren't really chicks and they were out growing the whelping box, it was too cold yet for bunny to be outside.  Solution:  Cadbury joined the chicks and now the room was feathers and fur!

May, it happened.............no not spring, but summer!  We skipped our Spring and it's magical moments to the warmth of summer rains, turning the brown grass into green almost over night.  It came so quickly that I didn't even get my garden in!  So rather then miss my summer vine tomatoes, did pots of herbs and tomatoes.  I did get my famous and favorite flowers seeds in....Sunflowers!  The bigger question was..................what to do with Cadbury and the "girls".  I am sure he was wondering about who lived on the other side of that wall, making all that racket and the feathers!  Oh my, the girls were molting as they went from chick to pullet!  I had a problem!                                              Then it happened.....the klutz fairy strikes again!  I am playing with the dogs in the pasture.  Throwing balls, the dogs frolic, leap and entertain me.  I love watching the dogs do ballet; wham!  I am falling, face forward onto the ground.  I had caught my foot in a hole.  Of Course the first thing any every does is to see if anyone saw this ungraceful move!  Nope, all alone, the dogs swarming me like sharks in the water.  Then it hits, the pain...............like a fire in the knee.  I push myself up and try to stand, well that's not working to well,  Walking is out of the question too.  I am not near the house, no one is around, so....yes the hobble walk to the house begins.  My knee swelled like a balloon.  By the time the dogs escorted me to the veranda, I was ready to crawl vs hobble.  Ice, yup that would help.  So I get an ice pack, elevate the leg and sit there, thinking "now what"?  Rob determines a trip to the Orthopedic ER was needed.  For once I didn't argue the point.  So after x rays and an MRI, oh yes and fluid removed from the knee (oh yes that's a party!) the doctor says what you don't want to hear.  Fractured Tibia and torn meniscus.  It's going to be a long summer.................

June, Rob was doing great with his healing, however building a coop with just the 2 of us...........hmmmm not going to happen.  So the light bulb of and idea arouse.  A BARN, well COOP raising!  We purchased a kit for a shed and then invited family and friends to help us raise the roost....roof!  It took 2 weeks of people helping, eating together, laughing at our mistakes and celebrating our successes!  The moment arrived.........drum roll.... the chickens were carried out, one by one to their new home.  I think they were slightly traumatized by the size of the place, after living for weeks in the whelping box.  The memory of this time with friends and family will always be a precious gift.                Cadbury, needed to move out now as well.  I also was told he was lonely.  Hmmm, really?  So my dear friend, Dawn, brought me a birthday gift......you guessed it, another bunny.  Company for Cadbury.  I named her Fou Fou (yes after the children's song), she is blue and white.........a multi colored bunny.  Only problem is:  FouFou is a female and Cadbury is a male................yup, problem!  So two separate condo's were purchased.  They live side by side, babies is not an option so a spay and neuter are in their future. 

I am off crutches....well two anyway and using one.  So my help has been limited to pointing, painting and applauding all who came to help make it possible!

July, has been peaceful.  Grandchildren came, played with dogs, rabbits and fed chicks.  As of yet there are no eggs, but I am ever hopeful and each day excitedly head out to the coop.  Looking in each nesting box for eggs.  I didn't share my chickens will lay (well I hope) blue, green and brown eggs!  What fun this will be for the kids at breakfast, as we crack Easter eggs for an omelet! Well, it's my dream as of yet!              The month isn't over yet...............so what adventures lay ahead?  Stay tuned and check back......life on the Prairie is never dull!

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Posted
AuthorKaren Winters

This is How to Find the Perfect Home for You and Your Dog

 

Choosing a new home is exciting, and it is important that you make sure your potential new home will be a good fit for each family member, including your dog. Choosing a home that has enough room for him and is in a dog-friendly neighborhood is a must so that you and your dog are happy and comfortable from move-in day and beyond.

 

1. Find a Pet-Friendly Realtor

 

Most people rely on realtors to find the right home for their families. Choose a pet-friendly real estate agent who knows about the pet ordinances in your prospective new city in addition to the homeowner’s or condo association’s rules for your potential new home. Pet Friendly Realtors  will consider your requested pet amenities when searching for a new home and will understand the importance of finding a neighborhood that welcomes dogs and allows homeowners to erect fences or dog runs to keep their dogs safe.

 

2. Does the Home Have Enough Space for Your Dog?

 

People often make sure that homes have plenty of bedrooms and bathrooms to accommodate their family, but you also need to make sure that your prospective new home has plenty of space for your dog, too. Smaller homes or condos are not ideal for large-breed dogs like Great Danes or high-energy dogs like Border Collies and Dachshunds.

 

If you do have a high-energy dog, you also need to make sure that your new home has a large yard or is situated close to a dog-friendly park. Walking one of these energetic dogs a few times a day will not give him the amount of mental and physical stimulation he needs, and he may resort to chewing or getting into other kinds of mischief in a new home that does not give him room to run and play.

 

In addition to checking the home’s square footage, assess its layout and determine whether it will make your pet comfortable. Some dogs are happy when they can see out windows while the family is away, so you should consider a home with windows near floor level. If you have an older dog who has difficulty climbing stairs or avoiding accidents in the house, make sure there is adequate space for him and his crate on the first floor and that the flooring can withstand his accidents.

 

3. Is the Neighborhood Dog-Friendly?

 

When you have a short list of potential homes, visit the neighborhoods with your dog. Are there clear, spacious walking areas removed from high-traffic areas? How many walking paths welcome dogs near your prospective home? Is there a dog-friendly park nearby? When you walk him through the neighborhood, do loose dogs come running to you and cause a problem? Are neighbors happy to see you walking your dog, or do they tell you to stay off their lawn?

 

Getting a feel for the neighborhood with your dog is one of the best ways to determine whether an area will be a good fit for your family. You won’t know whether you and your dog will be comfortable there until you give it a test run.

 

4. Acclimating Your Dog to Your New Home

 

After you find the perfect home for you and your dog, acclimate him to make the transition as smooth as possible. Everyone will be stressed, and your dog may be overwhelmed and unsure if you don’t help him through the process. Visiting the neighborhood is a good first step. You also should gradually pack for the move and make sure you keep his favorite toy and dish handy on moving day.

 

Pet-proof the house as much as possible before move-in day to ensure his health and safety while you are preoccupied with the chaos of the move. Place his bed, toys, and water and food dishes in his area as soon as possible to signal he is home and give him a familiar place to stay comfortable. Remain patient with him until he is comfortable, and don’t overwhelm him with a parade of new neighbors until he settles in for a few days.

 

With some forethought, you can find the perfect home for you and your dog. Start by working with a pet-friendly realtor. Then, make sure potential homes have enough space for your dog and are in dog-friendly neighborhoods. When you’re ready to move in, acclimate your dog and make the transition smooth for him.

 

 

Posted
AuthorKaren Winters

I had an unusual situation happen last month; that I feel warrants a post.  Here at Winters Wind we are organic as we can be.  Being a cancer patient and having animals I naturally lean toward a holistic lifestyle for myself, family and my dogs.  I had a puppy here from a litter that my male had sired; due to the death of the breeders husband she asked me to raise them for her.  I wanted to help and so raised these puppies and found them homes.  Leo was here for extra training and twelve weeks old, he was full of life and happiness.  He was getting ready to go home in one week.  

We live in a rural farming area and surrounded by fields of corn and soy beans; large steel irrigation arms dot the landscape.  The sound of whish, whish, whish fills the air along with water being thrown high over the silken corn stalks.  Most children, myself included desire to run under one of cold streams of water on a hot summer day.  This day was like most others quiet; dogs sleeping in the shade, the buzzing of a beetle or a fly, too hot to do much.  So the droning sound over the fields was out of place; the sound getting louder but no plane in sight.  Suddenly a small bright yellow plane, skimmed over the tops of the corn and lifted slightly as it cleared our fence and trees.  Crop Duster!!!! 

We scurried as so many army ants; yelling as I go to my son "Crop Duster!  Get the dogs in!"   We work in tandem, opening gates and running with the dogs into shelter to be clear of any over spray.  I can smell the odor of chemicals as I run.  Quickly closing windows and turning on the air conditioning, like a type of gas mask.  The sound of the plane going over our home; is like being in a war zone.  It just clears our roof as it makes it's assault on the insects that are invading the fields.  Twenty minutes go by and finally it is quiet once again.  The yellow hornet has left and I sit and wait to see if it will return.  After waiting another 20 minutes I venture outside; the air is heavy with the scent of the spray.  We remain indoors the rest of the afternoon.  Only allowing the dogs a potty break, near the house.

The following morning we go about our day as usual.  Dogs and Pups go out to play after breakfast.  Before the heat of the day invades us; they come in and nap.  More play time will come after the cool of late afternoon arrives.  We let the crew out again around 4 PM to play and enjoy the last of the day's sunshine.  Around 5, my son comes running into the house yelling their is something wrong with Leo!  I bolted to the pasture where the pups had been playing.  Leo was shaking, barely able to stand and his head was twitching in an odd sort of way.  I scooped him up, took him inside and began to asses the situation.  

Thinking he may have gotten overheated I began to cool him off in the tub; the odd twitching continued.  Took his temperature it was normal, but he was beginning to have convulsions.  I loaded Leo into the truck, called my vet as I backed out of the drive.  

By the time we arrived at the vet's, Leo was in full blown convolutions and having tremors.  I love my vets; its a clinic of 4 women who still make house calls!  I knew Leo would need to be admitted.  After his evaluation they felt he had gotten into chemicals, but I don't have any chemicals he could get into!  Leo, kept trying to wag his tail, and licking anyone he could, while twitching.  It was heart breaking and I thought he would die.  I called his owner to let her know what was happening.  She is a lovely lady, who lost her last standard poodle to seizures and was devastated to hear the  news.  I promised to keep her updated.

Leo was at the clinic for 4 days; he was put on all types of medications, flushed with IV fluids, and still stayed the same.  The vets said they had done all they could do; so I brought Leo home.  He was on seizure medications and steroids.  I called his "Mom" and we chatted at length.  She had spoken to her vet and felt that she could not take Leo.  She just could not go through that again.  I understood and said Leo could have a home here with us.  

Leo, was a heart ache to watch.  He was so happy, and wanted to play with the other dogs. Taking him out to potty, was so hard; he kept falling and joyfully getting back up.  I was afraid he would break his neck.  It wasn't long before I realized he needed the one on one attention of a special caring family.  I posted his story on a FB page for special needs standard poodles.  The right person responded; she was an acupuncturist who specialized in  neurological issues!  She feel in love with Leo's story and photo. So after talking and getting vet references; arraignments were made for her to come and get Leo.  

The ensuing time while waiting for her to come were spent getting Leo ready.  Everyday he made progress!  Less tremors, the convulsions were getting milder so he stumbled and fell less.  In 5 days we all marveled at his joyful progress and can do attitude.  I was sending videos and in phone contact with her during this miraculous time.  She was surprised and so pleased at his progress.  He was now able to play with the older pups; as in the days before the yellow hornet descended breathing fire on our prairie.  

The day finally came for Leo's new family to come.  He and I spend our last time bathing and grooming.  My husband suggested a final walk down the lane to the butterfly tree.  The evening was waning, and the glow of the sun setting turned our walk rosy.  As we reached the tree; a white SUV came down the road toward us.  I knew somehow is was Leo's new family.  The car stopped, a willowy young woman stepped out of the passenger door.  "Is this Leo?"  She asked as she looked with awe at this handsome little man, standing so tall.  "Yes" I responded.  She knelt down, embraced him and Leo in turn snuggled into her; I think he knew this was his new forever Mom.  I asked her if she wanted to take the leash and walk back to house with Leo.  The three of us took that slow stroll, chatting about his miraculous come back, her awe of him and how excited she was to have him be part of their family.

When it was time for them to leave.  We snuggled our sweet Leo, the puppy that could; kissed him and knew in our hearts that the story was just beginning for Leo.

I touch base weekly on Leo and his family.  Leo goes to her clinic and greets the patients!  He has made a recovery that is nothing short of a miracle.  Leo is also going to train to be a diabetic alert dog for his "Dad"! 

Leo's story has a happy ending..........it may not have.  The moral of this story is:  When the lawn green man puts out that sign that says safe in 24 hours for pets and children or the neighbor sprays round up on the property edge ...... BE AWARE it can take up to 48 hours for chemicals to clear off the grass; especially with no rain or sprinklers.  Keep your pets chemical free as possible.

I am contacting our local farmers to make me aware when they are having their crops dusted, to prevent this from ever happening again on our prairie oasis.

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Posted
AuthorKaren Winters