At 7:00am I get up…or more correctly, either the ex-mill Shelties Sienna and Jet[photopress:Jet_and_Sienna_w_caption_best__Medium_.jpg,thumb,pp_image] or the 5 1/2 month old puppies Dakota and Gypsy, [photopress:Dakota_hanging_on_gate__Medium_.jpg,thumb,pp_image]bark, to let me know it’s time to wake up! Oh no…I think…not yet., please… But nobody’s listening to that little voice inside me. The noise level is only going to get worse if I don’t get going. I stumble out of our waterbed, try not to step on ex-mill Sheltie, Simone [photopress:Great_face_shot.jpg,thumb,pp_image](who is finally bonding with Jim after living with us for what…several years now?) laying right next to my side of the bed, try not to step on Sly sleeping in front of the treadmill and make my way into the bathroom. I pull my jeans on as quickly as I can, get socks, shoes, and top on and exit the bathroom. I turn on the light at the top of the stairs and open the gate that will let me and the dogs go downstairs. I’m hoping that some of them…not the unreliably house-trained ones, will start heading down the stairs. Then, I go back into the bedroom over to Jim’s side of the bed, tap blind and deaf Tommy [photopress:Tommy_on_the_ramp__Medium_.jpg,thumb,pp_image]on his head to let him know I’m up and it’s time for us to go downstairs. Tommy looks up towards me and begins stretching and standing up. I open up a crate door and release Star who usually bounds away and jumps onto the bed and starts wriggling around next to Jim. I open the crate nearest to Tommy and release Tucker. I tap Tommy again to let him know that the coast is clear of dogs and he can walk forward, towards the bedroom door. Starting today, I also open the crate next to Stars and release Abby [photopress:Abby__s_arrival_in_Sheltie_Rescue__Medium_.jpg,thumb,pp_image]who’s so joyful she practically flies around the bedroom. She hasn’t been sleeping inside a house nevermind in the bedroom of the pack. She’s enjoying this! I proceed towards the door and stop short to let Travis [photopress:Travis_with_ecollar__Medium_.jpg,thumb,pp_image]out of his crate. That really ups the mayhem already building because, not only is Travis only 7 months old, but he’s wearing a plastic e-collar around his head to prevent him from licking his sutures from his recent neuter. That big collar bumps into everyone and everything. Then I go back towards my side of the bed to let Jackson [photopress:Jackson_in_the_Car.JPG,thumb,pp_image]out of his crate…joyous at being released and being able to be next to me, touchy-feely Jackson often jumps up against my leg even as we go down the stairs and sometimes lightly grabs my pants leg. As we hit the main floor I turn to see where Tzar is. I’m checking to see if he’s already down the stairs or just starting down. Tzar needs the hallway light illuminating the stairs in order for him to descend the stairs with confidence. If Tzar’s far enough down the stairs I turn off the hallway light so that it’s not shining into our bedroom and disturbing Jim. Me and my pack proceed down the main floor hallway to a baby gate that I open up. On the other side of the gate we’re greeted by KayLee [photopress:KayLee_with_ecollar__Medium_.jpg,thumb,pp_image]and Strawberry. KayLee, who is a mix of some kind of Shepherd and something else, is also wearing an e-collar but it’s even bigger than Travis’ e-collar. We can barely move through the hallway. We’re a jumble of me, dogs, and e-collars. Just beyond the baby gate, in the bathroom, barking up a storm in case I might somehow overlook them, are ex-mill dogs Sienna[photopress:Sienna_close_up_on_face_without_warming_colors__Medium_.jpg,thumb,pp_image] and Jet. I open up the baby gate to the bathroom and release Sienna and Jet. Then the upstairs group and downstairs group become one big pack. We all head for the door to the backyard and it’s anything but quiet. Barking in a crate next to the door is Misty, who I release into the pool of dogs expressing their joy at waking up and going outside. Tucker has an automated bark with no OFF button that gets activated whenever we go outside. I loop a leash on her to get control over her barking and reach down and grab Jackson’s collar. Jackson has the bad habit of running out of the back door, turning around, and barking loudly at every dog coming out of the door behind him with a special focus on our senior, personal Sheltie, Sly, of whom Jackson is very frightened. With Jackson’s collar in hand and Tucker’s leash in my other hand, I stand inside the door letting all the other dogs outside and then my little group of three (me, Tucker, and Jackson) teeter our way out the door and down two steps into the yard. With Tucker and Jackson under control and into the backyard in a calm manner…I release them and return to the doorway to see who else hasn’t yet made it out of the house. Usually a special effort is needed to encourage Chewy, [photopress:Super_stud_Chewy__Medium_.jpg,thumb,pp_image](who’s blind in one eye) Tommy, and Tzar to go outside. Travis [photopress:Travis_with_ecollar__Medium__1.jpg,thumb,pp_image]needs extra help to get outside too…he apparently was left outside alone and lonely for his people. Now he’s afraid that even with everyone outside, it’s a trick or it’ll still be a sad and lonely place to be. We’re re-training him to feel differently about it. Now…I go into the dog’s food room to release Mom Cassie, Dad Sherlock, [photopress:Sherlock_on_left_and_Gypsy_w_caption__Medium_.jpg,thumb,pp_image]and their kids, Dakota[photopress:Dakota__s_mess_in_the_backyard__Medium_.jpg,thumb,pp_image] and Gypsy, from their crates. Then I lead them through the baby gate from the food room (which used to be our dining room), to the back door…they generally need some encouragement to leave the food room – a favorite room for all the dogs because this is where most of them eat their breakfast and dinner! Finally, it looks like I have everyone outside…yeah!!! I start looking to see which of the six un-house-trained Shelties we have might be going potty so I can work on their training. I walk around with the pooper scooper, cleaning up and talking to the dogs, urging them to Go Potty and praising anyone repeatedly who I see is going potty. I’m also on the look-out for any diarrhea so I can either medicate or alter the diet of the Sheltie with this problem. I try to keep us all outside for awhile. The morning is not yet too hot to be outside so it’s a good opportunity to linger, enjoy the outdoors, do some potty training, and give everyone a chance to sniff around. When it’s time to go back inside the house, I let everyone in except Cassie, Sherlock, Dakota, and Gypsy. They get some play time outside for the next hour or so. There’s a little pool outside with water in it — most of the dogs just drink the water but every now and then some of the dogs walk into the pool. Dakota and Gypsy don’t mind being in the water at all. Alex loves to walk up to the spray of water coming out of a hose. After all the other dogs are inside and settled so that I’ve separated any that don’t get along, we do before breakfast medications. Tzar, about 13 years of age, is currently on Sucralfate for suspected stomach ulcers. We crush his tablet in a pestle and add some water and some flavoring and ofter the little bowl to him – fending off other dogs who crowd around. Good little boy Tzar drinks his Sucralfate. I note the time. An hour from whatever time it is (usually it’s about 7:30am) we’ll get everyone into their places for breakfast.