Sunday

Back Home to Indiana

Our Departure Back to Indiana
After driving away from Glen Highland Farm in Morris, New York, Karen and I both looked out the window and stared at nothing…and we both temporarily lived in another world.
Karen is a friend of the family.  We met her nearly 6 years ago when she purchased a working border collie from us for her sheep farm and we soon discovered we had the same passion for the breed.  A few years ago, she phoned us and told us about “the most fabulous place for border collies” and turned us on to GHF.  We all dreamed about making a visit to the farm and seeing the dogs and the rehabilitation that goes on there.  When necessary, we have banded together to help rescue dogs, whether it’s getting a BC from an ad in the newspaper or on Facebook.  We both spring into action and do what we can for the dog(s), transporting, purchasing, posting or rehoming when necessary.  When we were asked to help with GHF and the “Lucky 5”, there was no question, we knew and wanted to go. A large vehicle was needed to transport the dogs and Elaine and I having just purchased a new Jeep Unlimited, which solved the large vehicle problem.  Packed to the gill, the new jeep, with barely 500 miles on it, took off on its’ first big road trip to New York, with Karen and I and the “Lucky 5” all crammed safely in.  What a way to break in the new Jeep and so much for the new car smell, but it was worth it and I would gladly go again if asked.    
After leaving the farm to return home and after what seemed like hours, Karen and I started talking about the visit and our experience at GHF.  About an hour before we left, Lillie Goodrich had invited us to take a tour of the farm.  We all piled into the Gator and off we went to see the farm.  Lillie was pulled aside for just a short time because of a pending adoption that needed finalizing.  While she was talking with them, off Karen and I went through the trails and camping areas.  We saw the dog friendly cottages on the property, nestled next to the woods and heard the campers a little further down the path.  Hearing the familiar sound of dogs playing, we found two families camping that have met at the farm for the last nine years to spend their vacations together with their common passion. 
 As we all know border collies are all about, water, balls and Frisbee's and are the main event, they were in their element.
After chatting with them for a short time, we continued our walk to another tent camping area beside a beautiful stream.  
Meeting up with Lillie, we met the new dog owners she was helping and their newly adopted Border Collie.  All were happy and another success story was accomplished. 
Getting back in the Gator we drove in another direction, we saw more camping areas with people and dogs having a ball and getting back to nature without any worries. It is truly heaven on earth here.  “If only I lived closer” I thought, what a way to spend my time helping GHF find loving homes for this remarkable breed.
Lillie asked, if there was anything we wanted to see?  After reading about the farm earlier, there was a certain area I wanted very much to see.  Like a kid blurting out a quick answer, I told her what I had wanted and she pointed to the direction we needed to go and Karen and I solemnly walked to a place most revered and sacred.  
Through tall trees and abundant ferns, we walked nearly 15 minutes to a very special place, passing waterfalls and wildlife, we were finally there.  Nothing can prepare you for this…
Immediately, we parted ways, I, went one way and Karen another. Usually we are very chatty but at this moment, nothing was said and the only sounds heard were the trickling of the waterfall and our sniffles.
No looks were passed between us because of the tears that were flowing as we each explored the beloved pets resting space and read the personal notes from the owners that was lost because of death.  Even now, it is one of the most monument moments that I have ever witnessed and I know I will have to walk this path again. 
“Any animal is welcome, cremated or in bodily form or in memorial.  Letters, poems, toys and personal memorabilia related to your animal are included at the site.  And, visitors are welcome at any time.
The Garden is a place of peace and grace. There is an ease to the solitude with only wind rustling the treetops and chimes ringing. Each animal is given a wind chime, engraved with their name and date of transition.  Their spirit sings on in the forest as a reminder of their time here.  No sound is sweeter.” GHF
As we slowly walked back to the Jeep, our last stop was to again meet Lillie and she took us to the Pond House Refuge.  It is a place where unadoptable dogs permanently live because they have no other place to go.
This is her residence where she lives with her husband John and nearly 20 border collies…   You see... the most important thing I learned about the Farm and Lillie, is not only do they talk about doing what it takes, they do it, without question.
There are many things that you can do at the farm and many things I have not mentioned because of space but I will tell you, this will not be my only trip…and it's the tip of the experience.
Why and how did Glen Highland Farm get started? I can think of no better way to let you know, than from the founder, Lillie Goodrich and the rescue dog that started it all…”Luke,” she said, “rescued us as we rescued him. And, THAT healing became the foundation for Glen Highland Farm.  Read his story here.

While there are many things to do at the farm, make NO mistake what their purpose is and that is to help and heal Border Collies, putting them in wonderful forever homes, but this is not all.  

Next Week…What can be done now?

Arriving at GHF, Part II


After arriving, I put the Jeep in park and I could sense the stillness in the air.  I could hear the familiar bark of our beloved breed and in just an instant, we were met by a staff member and a border collie at his side.  “Are you here for an adoption?”, “We've brought 5 rescue dogs to you” I said, and in a flash a radio check was made and we were told to pull in the gate and to back up to the “Rescue Barn”, "You are expected" he said.
On the Barn Door
We met a few of the workers and was introduced to Lillie Goodrich, the founder of GHF. As we made small talk, the Jeep was swarmed with caring workers who unloaded the dogs one by one and in less than 5 minutes they were being checked and bathed. 

As we watched the transformation, unbeknownst to me, the Jeep was cleaned from head to toe, our crates were washed out and everything was arranged back to normal; and the “Lucky 5” had a chance at being normal dogs in a much desired normal environment very quickly.
As I watched and witnessed the work, a staff member ask “Can you help me with a “once over” body check”?  “Of course”, I said, touching each dog and feeling them with loving hands for one of the few times in their life.  
Vacant eyes sought refuge, lots of skittishness, fear and un-trust, but the “Lucky 5” were now in the arms of affectionate, caring people, ready to give them a life filled with love and attention.  
Every dog was checked and washed and their assignments were made.
We did speak to Lillie who was directing the operation and we made some plans for the day but not before everything was lined out…
That night, we were to stay over because of our long journey.  Lillie said “You will sleep in the bunkhouse” pointing to me, “and Karen, you will sleep in the reception house.  I hope you like dogs, because you will be with several, this is their house.” We were thrilled as we both sleep with our dogs, and it would help with the loneliness of missing our own border collies.
As the afternoon passed, we got to see firsthand a working farm that transforms a dog with problems and issues to an affectionate, loving and devoted dog that would fit in most any home.  It was wonderful to watch the current border collies play and socialize with everyone as they lived without any cares.
After dinner, we sat around in an informal circle with some of the staff members that live on site and we were joined by Lillie.  In just this short informal gathering, I learned what a true “rescue” was and how well they do the things that need to be done, to correct a challenging dog and how I have failed in some areas.  Lillie is one of the most talented people that I have ever met with a rewarding background and a very keen sense about dogs.  After everyone left, I turned to Karen and said “Wow, Lillie is one of us.” and she is, and much more…
Sleep came early because of being up for nearly 30 hours. I walked to the bunkhouse to be with Quincey, my K9 companion for the night and very shortly we both were fast asleep.  I was dreaming about moving to New York and Quincey was chasing rabbits…Karen was with Simon & Jaz.
Quincey
I got up at 6 am and walked the farm to see a small part of heaven, the sun was coming up and the fog was laying low but make no mistake it is heaven for dogs and dog lovers.

We started at 7:10 at the rescue barn and no-one went in until everyone arrived and everything was in full swing in just a few moments.  Bedding was washed, food was given, floors were swept and mopped and then the “Lucky 5” were carried to living green grass for probably the first time in their life and "actually" got to walk on it and begin their journey to new adventures.  
Apprehensive at first, they would look for a corner to run and cowl in and then move again to another.  They did loosen up a little after a while and Lillie stated that their rehab would take about one year.
It was amazing to see trained personnel work and do things that I didn’t even know about, but they do know dogs and how to read them very well.  
Lillie giving instructions
One thing that they also do, is to take each group of dogs to a groomed pasture and walk and play with them.  They would run and scamper and forever frolic in the sunlight, and to think, this is part of the responsibility of the handler, amazing...  Everyone was in heaven, even me.
There is so much that is done at GHF for all the dogs and they even have an onsite home for senior dogs that may need extra care and attention, including an area for dogs that need medical attention.  Quincey is an example of this, he was being treated for Heartworms and needed extra rest and slow walks because of the treatment, which he is getting.  One thing that I saw, GHF spares no expense at the needs of animal care.  It is truly a place where a border collie can get every type of care that is needed to place it in a forever home, no matter how longs it takes or cost. Before we left late that morning, we took a tour with Lillie in a Gator, exploring the camping area (tent and cottages), the creek, Flynn’s Folly, Bullfrog Pond, the Connor House and my favorite place the Garden of Resting Spirits, more on this later.

After we started the Jeep to head home, just as we were when we came in, we were again without words and their are none to express the gratitude that we have for a dream that has come true beyond our highest expectations.  Ken

Note: During this series, their are many things that happen with people and dogs and at the end if it I will tell you why, firsthand...
Glen Highland Farm
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The Journey Starts…

Where to start...   I've pondered this story since its conception three years ago from one of the worst possible situations to absolutely the best situation.  For several years, we have done everything to save/rescue border collies because of our love for the breed and the uniqueness of the dogs. Wrong placement in a home can be fatal to the breed and if you have never had a BC, take caution and research them before you get one, they are not for the faint of heart.
But...this story begins here, saving a soul...
A Year or two ago, I had volunteered to help Glen Highland Farm (GHF) in upstate New York with help or assistance in transporting a dog if needed.  Several weeks ago, I was contacted for some transportation and I ask Karen Newhall if she wanted to go on a road trip which she agreed.  GHF is a Border Collie rescue that focuses on rehabilitation and love, not quick re-homing of a BC.  They will spend as much time as needed to get the BC rehabilitated and will be sure that the Border Collie is properly placed, sometime taking years and if the dog is not place-able, they will live on the farm forever in loving care with the Founder of Glen Highland Farm.


On September 5th at 10 pm, Karen and I began a journey of "hope". We were to pick up five dogs in Lafayette, Indiana at the Wildcat Valley Animal Clinic run by Dr. Heather Baker and drive to GHF.  They were 5 dogs of nearly 40 border collies that were given up after a 3 year court battle and were now known as the "Lucky 5".  
Dr. Baker with one of the Lucky 5

Dr. Baker
Arriving shortly after midnight, we met up with Dr. Baker, who was waiting for us and had the Lucky 5 dogs ready to go that we were to transport.  After meeting and talking briefly with Dr. Baker, we soon found out that she too is an animal lover. She informed us that her practice is prepared to handle any large or small animal crisis in a loving way and saw this firsthand.  We met the staff and even a pot belly pig that was housed in the bathroom for the night.  Surprisingly, we found him to be quite joyful and pleasant to be around.  Once the five dogs were packed up and ready for travel on our 1500 mile, round trip journey, we had the opportunity to meet the other dogs that were rescued out of the same facility. They were still there, but on their way to other rescue groups.  

In the back of the Jeep, and the last cage they'll ever be in...

Going in for the trip
We were told that all of the rescued dogs that came to Dr. Baker had been given the necessary shots, medications and were spayed or neutered by Dr. Baker. They all enjoyed a good cleaning, the first bath any of them had ever had.  All their records were in a folder with donated Heartworm medication ready for them to take to their new home.  Everything was done with the best of care and each dog's needs were donated by Dr. Baker. Dr. Baker stepped up and did what was necessary, something many people talk about doing, but few rarely follow through.
Getting instructions
At 2 am we hit the road, finally on our way.  We had not planned on stopping for food so Karen packed sandwich meat and bread. Snacks and drinks were also provided by a true friend from Lafayette who has assisted us many times via phone and emails for support and we finally met for the first time and they too carried a great love for animals. We were headed east or so we thought… but 10 minutes into the trip, we need to stop to clean out a cage, one of 4 times during this trip and had to stop for more towels, wet wipes and disinfectant, but then we were off to border collie nirvana.   If only the Lucky 5 knew it…

The night was somewhat uneventful and of course as the sun started to rise, sleep occupied my brain. It was a long trip, but the cage cleaning kept us active. Not one dog barked the whole trip, they were good as gold but I believe they were fearful from no socialization or contact with humans and they were out of their usual element. As the hours passed and we were getting closer, we became chatty, one question was asked, “What do you think it will be like?”.  I was a little nervous because I always hope for the best, but expect the worst, it’s just my nature…

As we turned down the final road and saw their sign, my heart started pounding, we were there...

Note...
I have watched GHF for several years and keep up with them on their Website and Facebook page. Since learning and knowing about them, we made the trip but “Why Glen Highland Farm?  Please read the link below and in their own words, you will get a feel of what I am about to tell you from a firsthand view...and meet Lillie Goodrich the founder and as we heard about “Luke” the dog that started it all, my life started to change before me…


A placard on the front fence...
As there is so much I need to share, but this will have to be in parts…

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Friday

It Had to be Done...

This week, several life chapters have opened and several have closed and each one brings so many emotions to ones state of mind.  This post will be a little earlier and shorter and if you read it this weekend, know that Karen Newhall and I are on a mission to close a chapter that was started over 3 years ago and we will travel nearly 1800 miles to do what we need to do and close a huge chapter…More very soon…

But as I said, chapters do open and close with everyone and they certainly do in my life too.  As most of you know, we presently have puppies with most going home in about 5 weeks to their new owners.  Just a few days ago, I received an email telling me the fate of one of our pups that left the farm last year.  It was involved in a very serious accident and I will tell you, this is an email I hate to get but I am so grateful people trust me and let me know because I do truly care about my pups that venture into this world.  Things happen with no fault of our own at times and I have had it happen here and it’s a feeling that is easily carried on your shoulder.  
Over the years, we have lost several pups to accidents and when I get that notice, it's devastating.  I will tell you, I have cried with every notice and always drift back to the time when they left.   I am so glad that that I am alone when I read it, those chapters close and new ones may open. 

Many times I have said “there are dog owners and dog lovers” but I know you can change from one to the other but I don’t know why, I am the lover but I always wasn't however when that little face looks into your eyes and that little paw reaches for you, extending into your heart, thing change…trust me.

Just recently, I was informed of three families that faced a tragedy with their dog.  In all of the cases, everything possible was done and things did changed for the better, but not without struggles and inconveniences to all involved, including the dog because “it had to be done”.

There is that little spark that kicks in and common sense is not always present but in most cases, the end justifies the means and in your heart, you know it’s the right thing to do.  As we travel to Glen Highland Farm tonight, I’m sure that the struggles we had will surface in our conversation and the burning images of past visits to a puppy mill will also surface too, but there is a great satisfaction knowing we did the right thing for the things we love…Run Free everyone Run Free…Now you can...  Ken

I went out to help some dogs today
To give them a really good life
To take them away from the life that they led
And free them from trouble and strife

I thought I would do them a favor
And be a good person to them
And go do my bit for the country
I didn't go out on a whim

But what do you think really did happen?
The day that I did my good deed,
I discovered a love that I’d dreamed of
And fulfilled in myself a strong need.

I helped the dogs that I care for,
I see things that I needed to see.
Those lovely dog that I rescued
Really ended up rescuing me...

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Sunday

How Many Kisses?

Our dogs are so expressive and with their kisses, they are so different and do things in such a different way.  Take Abby for example, she will lay next to the bed when I am asleep and when she hears my eyelids open, like a jack-in-the-box she springs into the “soon to be” war zone and will place one paw on one side of my head and the other on the other and with her Brillo pad tongue washing my face even if it doesn’t need it and at times nearly taking my breath and getting my pillow wet, but to her, she is giving me much needed attention that I’m sure is needed according to her. 
Tools of the Trade
  But how many kisses a day is enough?  One, Two, tens or even hundreds?  I can safely say that someone upstairs feels that I need thousands because that’s what I get.  I would venture to say that nearly every aspect with my dogs is somehow filled with wet, sloppy, messy, cluttered kisses.  As I stop and think about it, they are like a forever fountain of dog slobber that is painted with a very long warm paint brush always on the move.  Not only is it wet and slimy, it can reach from one ear to the other, going straight through my head, not to mention cleaning my nose and mouth hole along the way when it is least expected.  Don’t take this wrong, it’s something that I don’t advocate, it just happens in the most unusual times and when I least expect it, which is often for affection or just a cleanup.  At times they will put on their “Red Cross Dog Hat” and clean and treat any booboo, cut or pain making the recipient relaxed and pain free like no other medication can.  It’s nothing for Clancy to lick a cut or bug bite when he feels the need to take care of me and I can honestly tell you, it does make me feel better and in a weird way, I like it.
I'm Ready...
There are many ways you can get kisses, tying your shoes, sitting on the couch, fixing a pain, waking you up, going to sleep and anytime you’re down, they seem to be there with the right amount of sugar.  Probably the most aggressive time I get the attention is when I walk out on the porch with my shoes in my hand and sit on the back step trying to tie my shoes because I am in the right position.  Every dog will RUN to greet me with their tongues primed, bouncing from side to side ready to give thanks that we are going somewhere or to play and how can you turn them down? 
I would assume I get licks for every event of the way, waking up, going outside, coming in, eating every meal and every function and if you have trouble with this just having one or two dogs, try nine but the absolute worse time for this when you’re trying to have some private time in the "necessary room" and the door is left ajar and in just a flash, presto you’ve been loved by multiple tongues at the most private time of your life.
It sounds like I’m complaining about the attention or trouble with all the events or even trying to get sympathy, but if you want to feel sorry for someone, feel sorry for the person who had a dog that never gets his daily quota of kisses… How many is too many?  It’s never enough…Ken

Curious Annie...

Since Annie's first pups were born last year, she has been curious about the newborn pups and very attentive to our new moms that were born last week and she’s now known as “Curious Annie”, but I won’t let her eat bananas like Curious George.

It started last week when Meggie was having her pups and we were all in the family room with the soon to be mother and the whelping box.  As Elaine was sitting on the floor with Meg, Annie was right behind her stretching her head and neck over Elaine’s shoulder and kept trying to inch closer and closer just to get a look, and she did, her eyes as big as saucers.  She would often go around Elaine to attempt to sniff or just get a closer look or maybe even a welcome lick to the newborn pups but she was always called off by Meg with a small but very subtle snarl with her upper lip.  No other action was needed from Meg, and Annie got the picture and went back behind Elaine but continued to look over her shoulder taking in all she could.
Even at a young age, Annie was curious, going after her first ball...
Curious Annie continued to watch the pups. She always wants to be in the thick of things and she always is.  We keep her inside because of her condition and we always want to know where she is, just for our piece of mind. 
At the beginning of this week, we were getting ready for bed and it was “potty” time for the new moms and Annie, I was sitting in the recliner and saw the whole thing.  Meg, Gabby and Annie trotted to the back door when Elaine called them and they all eagerly went out for “business”  and after Annie left with the others, she returned to the nesting box and ever so gently, picked up a puppy with her mouth and off she went toward the back door, headed for outside.  Before they made it, Elaine also ever so gently suggested to Curious Annie that the pup doesn’t need to go potty and back to the nesting box the little fellow went, but Curious Annie was happy and got to touch her little buddy that she often watched.
Always being Curious...
Just yesterday, we had visitors looking at their new pup and while Meggie was resting on the couch, I was sitting on the floor with the pups, Curious Annie saw an opportunity to get a close look again.  Curious Annie stepped in the whelping box and Annie and I looked at Meg on the couch, no reaction, she continued to step in and started to sniff and started licking the pups, no reaction from Meg.  Everyone seemed to enjoy it and Curious Annie was in Heaven as were the pups with all the attention.  What happened next surprised all of us in the room.  Curious Annie laid on her side and presented herself to the always hungry little ones and in a flash, a few scampered to the meal and Curious Annie was now an official surrogate mom.  Meg didn’t seem to mind, but I called Annie out of the whelping area much to her dismay, but she had once more experienced the joys of being a mother.
One thing that I have learned from my experiences with dogs and pups, you just can't comprehend or even imagine the miracles that are performed every day…
Annie with her first litter last year...
Annie is being groomed by her sisters because she is getting ready for her journey into motherhood, for you see, her delivery day is just a few days ahead and we're waiting for her to have her own bundle of joys....  Ken
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"I Have Two Moms"

The pup was the fifth born and it took nearly an hour and a half to move into the birth canal which in itself is not unusual.  It weighed 7.4 ounces which was small compared to the 13 & 14 ounces that the others weighed at birth.  It was a large litter which would contribute to some of that.  Research says some pups have weighed less than half of that and still have very successful and long live.
Usually mom’s milk doesn’t come in until birth but this can vary a little and but nursing stimulates more milk.  According to Dr. Laura, “If all puppies are nursing, this stimulates the release of Oxytocin and then milk production is at its best as long as the puppies are still nursing. There are some dogs that do not have sufficient milk available for their puppies and in this case, you will have to alternate the puppies so that they all get the amount of milk that they need”.  This presented a problem, the pup known as “lit Bit” needed milk and needed it now.  After talking to the Vet, it was suggested that “moms milk” would be best if possible in every case and that is the direction we would take. 
Taking all the other pups off of mom for a private feeding helped “lit Bit”, but we had to do it every hour.  While we regularly checked the weight, it was starting to drop, mom was just slow to get all of the nutrients that were needed and especially for one special pup.  From 7.4 to 7 ounces then 6.8 and 6.4 was drastic and this wasn’t helping but when we reached 6.0 a miracle occurred here on the farm.  Our other female went into labor and her milk was already in before the birthing occurred and right after the last pup was born, “Lit Bit” may get a new mom with all the nutrients that are needed but we still have a large concern and decision…

According to the Daily Puppy,
Mother dogs aren't always able to produce enough milk, and if yours senses that she can't feed her litter, she may reject some or all of them. 
What to do now?  Will both moms reject “lit Bit” and then we are into hand feeding around the clock or would one or both moms reject the whole litter and then we would be feeding all 16 pups?  As fate and faith have it, “lit Bit” got a new mom and after they were placed on the teat, it went right to work.  After a lick on the head and a sniff from the new mom, “Lit Bit” was going to town.  After a good feeding, “Lit Bit” was placed back into “old mom’s” cradle and she also welcomed it in, but after he lick on the head and belly.

So after a night of no sleep and several very trying days of stress “lit Bit” was steady gaining .10’s of ounces and was a very active little pup.  Many people will assume “lit Bit” is a runt, however, I have seen a runt from a litter long ago and this may not be true.  It was a pup that was born from Dutchess and Clancy and he was named after mom.  Dutchess’s pup started nearly the same was and we also had to do special feedings but today, “Dutch” is as big or bigger than Clancy and just as beautiful.

I am truly sorry that I was a little late on the post, however “Lit Bit” is doing well and gaining weight and lucky enough to have two two moms…
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