Their Story...

Image result for dog collars
A new Beautiful Collor just for you...

Several weeks ago, I walked into the dog kennel, and something caught my eye.  I am not a collector at all but Elaine is, and we have had this conversation frequently.  She won’t get rid of nearly anything, and it drives me crazy.  I’m the type that if I don’t use it in six months, I’ll throw it away and buy a new one if I ever need it again.  I don’t like clutter.  I wonder why I have these?

As I opened the door, I just happened to look to the right of me and in a corner and saw something that I’ve never thought about.  Hanging on several nails were collars that had come into our foundation from dogs that were surrendered to us for various reasons.

While I see the collars often, I usually just pass over them, but that day, I saw something different.  I walked over to the hooks that were all too full, and for some reason, I recalled the stories of them.  I touched them and knew each one carried a story and it was mostly ugly or sad

I first thought about the happy times and when they were bought for the dog.  I’m sure of the ones that were purchased by women.  They have flowers, fancy designs and some with a decorative script because they wanted it to look beautiful and I'm sure it did.

I can see in my mind's eye the time when the collars were purchased.  Picking through all of them just to get the “right” one.  It’s hard to choose the correct one, and it needs to fit the dog in more ways than one, color, style and even personality played a role in this. It's a very exciting time for the dog and the new dog parents because it is a new beginning for all of them.

 Unlike most men purchasing a card.  I remember once dropping Elaine off at a store, and she was buying a card for a friend.  I parked the car, looked around the store and wondered where she was.  I thought I would start my search in the card area.  There she was, still reading all the cards, just to get the right one.  I walked up and said, “everything alright?”  “I just want the right one,” she said.  “Let me show you how to buy a card.”  I picked the first one up and said, “here, this is great”  "Did you read it," she asks “No, I never do.”

After evaluating a new rescue dog, we replace all collars with a Clancy’s Dream Rescue collar.  If they get away or run off, they will be returned to us because it has our information in it.  Over the years, I would hang the old collars on a nail because we may need one for some reason.

Each collar has a story, a few are cute and fuzzy, but most have a sad ending and lives were shattered, and families were torn apart and the dog was in the middle, they always are.  Some of the collars were from families that had to rehome the dog because of health reasons, or family breakups.  Some of the owners could not handle the excitement and energy that the dog had.  Even a few were turned over because they no longer wanted the dog, and also sign it over to the county shelter, yes we have some of those, more than you know.  The dog is sometimes the disposable property.

Some dogs need to be rehomed and there is no other chose, I know because I have been there too and it's the worst day of your life and has lasting pain and we have those collars too.  When I touch and feel the collars on the wall, I imagine the fun times when everyone's life was good and the belly rubs and games that may have occurred where life was good.  I also feel that some collars had a chain or rope attached and it was something that was used to grab and some collars were a source of constant pain.

The bright side is the good of all of this.  All collars tell a story, you may not think it, but it does and will follow them wherever they go.  When the time comes, we remove our Clancy's Dream Rescue Collar that is given to them here at the farm but when they leave with their new owner and collar it is with a second chance and new start.

A fitting tribute of a collar, I saw this at Glen Highland Farm.
A story is always told by what we wear, both inside and out.  I guess I will hang on and collect all of the collars I have possessed.  I have considered taking them to our local shelter and donating them for other dogs.  In my own way, I don't want to give up the collar because it has "their" story embedded in them both good and bad and I will never give up on them, we are who we are because of our past.  I am also afraid that I may see the collar once more and I can't face that again so I guess I really am a collector.   Ken

A Broken Heart…

Because of the rescue work we are involved in with Clancy’s Dream, I get tagged many times during the day because of people forwarding information about Border Collies, and at times it’s pretty urgent because of kill shelters, and this has been a hectic week in the rescue world with happy endings.

One post I received was a plea for help because the Border Collie is not doing very well in a 3 X 5 enclosed kennel.  While this is very bad for any dog because they aren’t allowed to go outside for potty breaks or see the sky, it can be devastating for a Border Collie that is active, and it requires quick decisions and quick actions on our part.  I can’t imagine any dog confined to such a small space 24 hours a day for any length of time. 
Any love given will return 100 times over.
As I look down and see 9 of my dogs laying in every position on anything they want to be on, it pains me to think about it a Border Collie that is confined 24 hours.  I also received a story titled “Dog Dropped At Shelter Is So Sad His Family Doesn't Want Him Anymore,” and as you may know, it was a Border Collie. 

An excerpt from the story reads;
Hunter thought he had a forever home with people who would love him for a lifetime. Sadly, he was wrong.  Last week, the 6-year-old pup was surrendered to the Houston Humane Society in Texas. Hunter's former owners told staffers there that he wasn't getting along with their new puppy, so they'd decided they didn't want him anymore.  No one explained that to Hunter, of course, but it soon became clear that he'd gotten the message.
"When I walked up to the kennel, at first I didn’t even see a dog in there, until I looked in the corner. I saw him frozen in fear, trying to make himself invisible."  "I immediately sat on the floor, turned away from him, waiting for him to come to me. After a few minutes he cautiously approached me, Hunter then broke down.  “Ever wonder what a broken heart looks like? Well there you have it."
PUBLISHED ON 08/08/2018

Unfortunately, in the rescue world, you see many broken hearts from both sides, something you never get used to.  But there are happy endings when you make that right match and make the dog happy along with a new family, very happy to have a dog back in their life.

Just this week, we are taking 3 more Border Collies into Clancy’s Dream, and if it wasn’t for the support, both spiritually and monetarily, we couldn’t do it.  Just tonight, as I was brushing Bandit who came in today, he relaxed in my arms and probably for the first time in his life, he was brushed.  Border Collies and all dogs are not always given a chance and there will never be a perfect dog, just like their will never be a perfect person but we try and make it work, and in the end, life is better for all of us, even the dogs we can save. 

Please help in any you can, not necessarily with money.  I know people who help by volunteering at their local shelter just by visiting and routinely walking the dogs that never see daylight in the grass where they can then smell something more than the disinfectant that is used to clean the kennel.  While some may think this not noble, I assure you it’s everything to the dog.  Ken

Have you noticed?

Last week as I was writing the blog, it was intense and all-consuming.  Trying to finish and put the final touches and photos together I was frequently interrupted.  While I was focused on the subject, every few seconds my arm was nudged, and I brushed it off trying to concentrate on my work.  Another nudge and I quickly looked and even had a scowl on my face I'm sure.   “What do you want,” I ask and as I turned and saw the most beautiful face staring back at me.  She was smiling and appeared to want something. 

My scowl quickly turned to understanding, knowing what she wanted, so I scratched her ears, but in a few seconds, she wanted more.  Nudging my arm again, I stopped typing and went to the edge of my seat giving her more room.  I knew it wasn’t enough, so I got out of the chair and sat in the middle of the floor.  As I sat down, she curled up in my lap looking up at me as she loved me in her own way, now she had what she wanted.  Tenderly pawing my face, she was communicating to me that she just needs some attention.  Once I changed my direction, I could see it, it was right there in front of me, we both were in heaven, and we both got what we needed.  How many times did I blow one of my dogs off or push them away, not angrily but just being too busy to notice?  I’m afraid to even think about that.

Since then, I have made a conscious effort to watch them as they interact with each other and to their needs.  They are all so different it’s sometimes comical.  At times they will check in with me just to make sure everything is alright and always help with the things I do.  This would include helping me tie my shoes, drying my legs off right after a shower, and helping with cleaning my plate, all of these things are important to them, but the most important thing they want is to be loved.
I know I’m guilty of this but how many times in a day do we have the opportunity to show them the affection they want and not give it to them.  As I was observing them a little closer, I was amazed by their needs and wants.  

While they are in their own world, they are genuinely devoted to making me the center of their attention and life.  This is always not the case with every dog.  Some are just the reverse and could care less about the needs of their master and will go in the opposite direction.  I think this may occur for several reasons, first, the upbringing of the pup and how it was raised.  Secondly and something I see all of the time is we humans are part of their pack.  In their world, nearly everything is “pack” orientated, even if there are no other dogs, only people.  In a pack, someone needs to be in charge, and it doesn't need to be the dog.  I believe they are more secure knowing who is in control and can relax and sit back knowing their station in life and thus pay attention and care for the pack leader even if it is a human.

Many times I know I’m guilty of not giving them what they want or need.  Thinking back, I see the thousands of times they ask me for attention sometimes they get it, and at times, they don’t.  I have learned to acknowledge their needs and even if it’s a brief ear scratch, rub on the head or full body and butt scratch.  It only takes a minute, and it means the world to them.  When Dutchess came to me last week, I was surprised at the amount of love she gave me not because she needed to, she wanted to.  Isn’t this what we really want in a dog?   Ken

My Little Family...

Here at the farm, we were lucky enough to have a family living with us for nearly 13 years.  They were fun, loving, energetic and very comical.  We had wisdom in the father, love was taught by the mother and many antics from the daughter, and now our family is gone, and it has left a hole in our heart and affected our very souls and the dogs around us.

Molly March 24, 2006, 3 months old.
We lost Clancy the Father several years ago, Molly the Mother and Abbie the Daughter in the last few months.  You know the story with Clancy and Abbie but now is the story of Molly Mae.

Abbie and Molly
Several months ago, we took Molly in for some test and bloodwork, and she is terrified of car rides.  The x-rays revealed there was a mass around her spleen.  The bloodwork was okay, but there was the mass.  As I was leaving the receptionist had overheard our conversation with the Vet and said her dog has had the same thing, and they chose to operate and the pet only lasted 5 weeks.

Several weeks later, Molly decided to stop eating and had not left her dog bed for nearly two days.  She was very subdued and showed no interest in anything.  Her stomach was extended and she was in pain.
One of the most frequent questions I hear from people with a sick dog, when is it time?  The best advice I ever got was from a Vet, “you’ll know when it’s time,” and I did.

We were lucky enough to have a Vet come to the house to check on Molly, I knew the news was going to be bad, but you always hold out hope.  Molly hated car rides, and someone would have to ride in the back seat with her if she went anywhere and I didn’t want to put her through it again.  When I met the Vet at the gate, we walked to the house.

Happier times, January 29, 2009,  Max, Clancy, Meggie Dutchess and Molly in front.
When we reached the house, Molly was standing at the back door, I looked at the Vet, and before I could say anything, she said: “a rally does not mean they are better.”  After an examination, she confirmed that her chest was filled with blood and she was struggling, it was time.  We all walked to Clancy's grave where just a few weeks earlier, Abbie and I said our goodbyes.  As I spread the blanket down, I sat with my legs open where Molly curled up in-between my legs.  As soon as we were comfortable, Dutchess, Molly’s arch-rival came and sat next to us and in my heart, I believe they both knew, Dutchess was as close to us as she could be and at one time reached out to Molly with her paw.  After all, they are half-sisters born only two weeks apart.

Clancy and Molly
As the medication was administered, Molly and I were looking at each other, and as it went into her veins, I bowed my head and took her last breath as I did with Abbie, Molly was gone from this earth but pain-free.  My work was just beginning, and I ask the Vet to leave.  Her grave was dug, and I brushed her hair and took clippings to add with Clancy and Abbie to be buried with us, along with all our dogs.

After Molly was inturned, as usually I sat in one of our Adirondack chairs by our revered place and pondered our life together.  Meggie and Dutchess were part of the original 5 dogs we had at the farm.  There always seemed to be a bond between all of them, and they played and worked together and were very close.  As I was sitting, Meggie laid quietly and watched while Dutchess stayed by Molly’s grave. 

In the dog world, we will never understand what they think and why they do some of the stuff they do.  I believe they are far smarter than we will ever know.  With the dogs I see, I suppose I just get a small glimpse of their world, but someday we will know.   The little family of Dogwood Ridge is no more but are buried together under the tall trees, where the sun shines through an open canopy with wind chimes that sing where I often sit in the Adirondack Chairs and think about the best dogs in the world and often speak to Clancy Man, Molly Girl, and Addie Dabby Do…  Ken

“He’s here… HE’S HERE!” Abbie barked, and she grabbed her Frisbee and spun circles of excitement.  “He’s almost across the bridge, hurry!”  “In time child,” Clancy said, but as Clancy and Mollie walked toward the bridge with alert ears and bright eyes, they knew it wouldn’t be too long.

Don't Ever...

Don’t ever teach your dog to bark.  Many years ago, when Dutchess was very young, I taught her some tricks.  Not too many just enough to get her into trouble, and it does most of the time.  Last Thursday night, I was sitting at my computer reading the news when I heard that familiar sound.  Woof… woof… woof… came the sound from the back door and I knew exactly who it was. 

Please give me a snack...
Every bark was the same, but when no one responded in a timely fashion or as quick as she wanted, it would go up an octave or two.  Not knowing I could see her and watching and at times she would lay down and bark, not giving it as much energy.   It one of those barks that you think will stop, it’s not too loud, and inevitably it will end you think, but it doesn't because she wants in.

Annie has the Frisbee...
When Dutchess was young, she wanted everything (and she still does), and I mean everything.  She would shove everyone out of the way when it came to snack time, not in a mean way but she felt she was entitled to it all.  Usually, it was never a problem because she did it with a smile on her face, and everyone would say, “that’s just Dutchess.”

I'm pissed...
When I taught her tricks, she was very good at paying attention as long as there was a reward after the fact.  I taught her to sit, down, shake right hand and even shake left hand.  She was great, but she saw things a little different than I did.  As time passed, and she was in a hurry to get into something the treat, I notice that when I would tell her to sit, she would keep going through the routine.  She would “sit” but immediately lay down and then sit again raising her right paw and then her left.  Barking after each trick the whole time, I assumed she wanted 5 treats because she did 5 tricks all at once without being asked, she just cut out the commands because to her, it’s not the tricks, it’s the treats.

Can we come in?
The barking has expanded to other areas in her daily routine.  When she is out, and we have a ball or Frisbee, she’s fine if no-one gets it from her.  If they do and they hole it without playing, she’ll look at me and will bark.  It not a lot of barking but it’s as if she is saying, “I want THAT, give it to me.”

Giving her a voice is something that Elaine warned me about.  While it is cute as a button, it has stepped up her communication skills drastically, and I really think she knows what she is saying, Dutchess is the smartest dog I have ever met.  While she is short on skills, where I see her excel, is that she can communicate and tell you what she wants by the bark, the intensity, and importance of her request, it’s also the way she will look at you, making eye contact and re-focusing on the desire or object. 

I'm cold now...
If Dutchess had been with someone who worked intensely with her, there would have been no boundaries where she could have gone.  She knows what she wants but also knows how to get it, and in my heart, if she had thumbs to turn the key, she could drive herself to the story for more treats.  She is quite the character but don't ever teach your dog to bark unless you’re prepared to be entertained and actually talked to…  Ken

The Package...

Several weeks ago, I received a package to my outhouse at the end of our drive next to the road.  It really is our parcel delivery box but I thought I would shake the neighbors up a little, and it did, quite the conversation piece.  With a fenced and gated driveway, it’s in an excellent spot for deliveries or just to hang out.  Someone sent a package to the farm last week, and it was for the dogs.  It wasn’t cumbersome, and when the dogs saw it, they were excited too.  They usually get their food delivered, and they thought chow time was right around the corner, but this time, it’s wasn't. 

As I sat the package in the kitchen counter, everyone gathered around, and Dutchess got on the table because she wanted to be first to taste her new treats.  While she was a little disappointed at first, she discovered it was her second favorite thing.  Someone sent the dogs on the farm Ten Indoor Chuckit Balls, and it was like Christmas again but in July. 

Bite marks from taking the tag off
I took two balls out of the package and off to the lake we went, even letting JoJo carry one while we walked.  She seemed fascinated with it and loved the way they felt because of the size and texture.   Now stop right now…  Something I don’t understand is why they carry some objects in their mouth.  They will pick up balls with dirt on them, sand, nasty things and even poop and why in the world would they do this?  At least with balls, they won’t eat it, usually.

As we got to the lake, I tossed one in, and they loved it, and most of them went out into the water, and they were a huge success and JoJo jumped off the dock for one, which was a first.  After much play, it was time to go back to the house.  Everyone was wet and tired, and I put the box with the new balls up until the next day.  While they are great, they are called an “indoor” toy, but they work great outside too and are great in the water.
JoJo jumping off the dock

Every day, there are chores to do and things that need to get done.  The dogs always want to play and will bring me items such as balls, sticks or anything they can find that may bring them some satisfaction if it’s thrown.  This day was no different.  While I said “no” to playing they didn’t want that answer, so they walked off, and I thought they would find something else to do. And they did. 

Plastic wrappers
I turned the corner and on the driveway, and to my surprise, (not really) the dogs were having a ball, literally.  Someone and I suspect it was JoJo, got the closed box from the counter and took it to the driveway where she had more room and opened it.  She and the others found the balls that were wrapped in plastic and opened all of them.  All of this is done without tearing up the box that they came in.  I can only assume she wanted the Chuckit balls that were inside.

Several days later and knowing they enjoyed them so much, we went back to the lake.  Everybody enjoyed the fun, Some would bark and run up and down the bank, some would jump off the dock, but all in all, it was a grand day with a new toy.  So far they have held up well and seemed to take the punishment the dogs give them.  My only problem is JoJo has not mastered the command, “drop it.” and she will run off into the woods or who knows where, but usually brings it back, usually.  Thanks, Dave for sending the balls, they were a huge success, and of course, they loved them.  No balls were damaged in this event.  Ken  

Grooming 101

Earlier in the week, I was petting Gabby and felt a clump of hair.  No problemo, I’ll get the brush and get that pesky think out.   I then thought that I would brush a few of them that needed it.  I did brush them several weeks ago, so I'm sure this will be quick.  

I got my tools, and as usual, I sat right in the middle of the driveway.  Before I sat down, I grabbed a floor fan and sat it about 10 feet from me to blow any loose hair into the driveway.  Good plan I thought.

The Fan...
The downside, it was pushing nearly 95 degrees outside, and the humidity was pretty high, but no problem, I’ve got the fan, and I am in the shade.  As I sat down and called one of the dogs, they must have thought it was “loving on Daddy time,” and I was inundated with furry critters all around me.  I put one between my legs and started brushing and getting mats out.  Hum… this mat is a little worse than I thought this might take a few minutes.  "Who is in front of the fan?"

As I worked on their coat, I seemed to be getting a little warm.  I looked around and right in front of the fan was two dogs cooling themselves.  “Dutchess  Meggy move, it’s getting hot,” I said.  Slowly but begrudgingly, they moved, and it was much better.  The fur was flying because I had a dethatching rake and it was getting the undercoat, and the fan was blowing it around.  "Please move."

“JoJo, it’s not your time, and besides, you need minimal brushing, but your nails need some work.”  She was happy and moved on and found something else to do.  The more I did, the hotter I got, and now I was sweating.  “Dutchess, move your butt, it’s hot, Gabby you too!”  Did they talk about this and are they are getting back at me I thought, surely not.  "Please get out from the front of the fan."

This really is JoJo wanting to be brushed...
Everybody was a little frisky and they thought I was sitting in the driveway for their entertainment.  JoJo found a toy somewhere, and that became the center of attention.  The only problem was in my area which was still the center of attention.  When she brought the toy, everything changed.  Now it’s play time they all assumed.

Keeps bring this toy...
JoJo was relentless with the toy.  Just last week, she learned to jump off the dock getting the ball and now she thinks it's better than dinnertime.  The all watched and were ready for someone to tose the toy, but we were busy.  She would lay it down, and the other would try to get it.  Needless, it was a distraction for the dog in my lap.
After what seemed like days in the hot weather trying to keep the dog from hogging the fan, I was done with two dogs, with 6 more to go.  "Please get out from in front of the fan."

Nail time...
Things I learned,

Dogs know what a fan is, trust me.
Put all the toys up.
Don’t brush a dog in hot weather.
Fur sticks to wet clothes and wet faces.
Hire a professional.

I've seen this a lot, but this is two of my dogs... 6 to go.
All in all, it wasn’t too bad, they loved the fan, attention, and toy all together was a little too much for grooming, they made a game of it.  Me on the other hand, it was hot, sticky with fur on my clothes and face which always tickled and couldn’t get off.  I took a shower, cooled off and then it was off to play, should of just jumpted in the water...  Ken