Sunday

Dutch

"Hi Kenny, I wanted to let you know that Dutch had to have his spleen removed, it had tumors in it, hemangiosarcoma cancer. It was hemorrhaging into his abdomen. They said the survival rate is an average of two months, he is moving slowly these days. Not sure we made a good decision for him, we just were not prepared to say goodbye the day we took him in. I thought you would want to know. He is a real trooper, still wants to go on walks even though he can't go far, and he is still hungry all the time."


Dutch was a puppy born from Clancy and Dutchess.  He was named after his Mom and was the apple of everyone’s eye and a spitting image of his Dad Clancy in every way.  Dutch was very special to us, and because he lived in the same town as us, we saw him often.  He would visit the farm for a play day and visit us and his Mom and Dad when his human parents would go on vacation.

Dutchess and Dutch
As time moves on, addresses chance, but the love for a dog is always there.  While we had great pups and loving homes, we now encounter a time when the families also face difficult decisions concerning the health of their beloved pets, something I never thought about.

Me holding Dutch
It is a very difficult time when you lose one of your own pets when "that" time comes, but when you hear about losing one of your pups, it all comes back again.  It was standard with us when a new owner would pick up their new Border Collie, I would schedule a time for pick up and told the new owners to expect my "come to Jesus" talk.  It took nearly an hour, and I told them what to expect with their new bundle of joy.  When the session was over, and as they would be getting ready to leave and as they were getting in the car, I told them, "it might be your dog, but it will ALWAYS be one of my pups," and they are.


Elaine and I tried to be good and responsible when it came to our pups.  We always contacted the owners, watched their dog when needed, had play days at the farm, and even had 3 puppy reunions that lasted an entire weekend.  We did it for the dogs because we loved and cared for them.  When they were young and had been weaned, I would go to the kennel every night and get on my knees and sing to them.  All of us would come to love this, and as I put my head close to them and started, they would lick my face, and it was Heaven, truly Heaven.  Their little faces would turn from side to side, and soon, they would go to sleep.  Little did I know how bonded I was with them.

I got this last night...

"Good afternoon, I can barely write this note to you because we are so sad and heartbroken, we had to put Dutch to sleep on Wednesday, his pain medication was just not keeping him comfortable, and we could not stand to see him that way, he's a tough guy though and never let out a Yelp or whimper, he was just happy to be with us. We can't express enough gratitude for you letting us take care of him for the last 12 years and eight months. It has been our honor. Thank you and Elaine for what you do for this great breed."

Run Free Dutch, run to your dad and sit by his side, and know that soon all of your friends and humans will meet you and I will sing to you again... Dad

If I had words to make a day for you
I sing you a morning golden and new
I would make this day
Last for all time

The Visit...


All of us will "go home" at some time, it's inevitable. I remember when I was small, we drove for what seemed like days to visit my Mom's family in the country for "Decoration Day," which today is also called Memorial Day.  It was an annual trip we took to decorate the graves of family members that had passed before us.  As kids, we had such a good time, and it was a whole weekend of fun, excitement, and things I had never seen or done before. There were 13 children in my Mom's family, of which my mother was the youngest. We were the city people of the family, everyone else lived near the homestead. Us kids would drink out of a well, ride cows and even ride on a drag on the back of a tractor through the fields and I would always get dirty throughout. 

When we would visit, we would stay at Aunt Maggie's house because it was the only home that had indoor plumbing, something that I took for granted at our own home. On Sunday, after decorating the graves, we would gather at the homestead for the giant potluck/pitch-in dinner.  I remember that if we needed to go to the bathroom, we had to go to the "barn" to do our business, which as a kid, I thought that was pretty cool. All in all, it was a great weekend, and I got to see my many cousins and play in the fields and get dirty. We always brought home fresh eggs and homemade butter, something my Dad said always reminded him of his youth when he was a boy.

Several weeks ago, and with the help of Google Earth, I went back home to the farm, my Mom grew up on, and sadly, everyone had passed-on some time ago. Not knowing the address except for RR2, I scowled the location from a satellite.  Low and behold, I found it, I saw the farm, and I was thrilled. Things had changed, but my mind flashed back to when I was 12 years old. I will always remember the well that we got the water from by dropping a rusty bucket down a hole and cranking it up for some cold, clean water and going to the bathroom in the barn. When I expanded my Google Earth search, I also visited the graveyard where we went to decorate the family graves. With technology today, I was at the very spot and could even rotate my view to see the graves of my family. There is no one left to have a reunion, and it's sad, and my visit was bittersweet, but I did enjoy it and the trip down memory lane.

As I walked that long road down the driveway at home last night, I stopped and sat at the grave of my dogs and the dogs of friends, I remembered the moments in my life when they were here and young.  Life can be harsh at times, but when you remember them, remember the good times you had and the love you shared together.

As for this Memorial Day, remember to honor the men and women of our armed services who gave everything for us but remember our past pets too and the funny, cute, and loving way they loved us. Take a minute to look into your present dog's eyes, stroke their fur, and assure them that they are everything to you because someday before we know it, it may be too late, trust me, I know... Ken

Mother's Day and More...

Yesterday, the second Saturday in May was National Dog Mom's Day, and a chorus of yips, barks, and yesterday, howls of praise for all the dog mommas was sent out!
Our dogs are our family members, whether they came into our lives unexpectedly or as carefully planned additions. We adopt them as puppies, adolescents, or fully mature animals with a bit of baggage, and yet, we find common ground, a connection, and bond like families do. They know our moods, and we know theirs. We care for them, shelter them, and share an immeasurable loyalty with them.
National Dog Mom's Day recognizes the bond women share with their fur kids. When they humor us, charm us, or even when they are naughty, they are like any other child to us.


Today, we celebrate Mother's day, how fitting because sometimes I was like was pretty bad, just like my dogs at times.   Mothers day was always special in my young years. My sister always picked a beautiful bouquet of flowers from our yard for Mouther, and I usually got her a bunch of dandelions, but she always seemed to love them.  


Last year I was told what we were doing for the event. Elaine told me she wants to go out for breakfast, and I said, "You know they stop serving breakfast at 11 o'clock, and that means that you need to get up before then." "Waffle House is OK with me," so we went there. Elaine does like to sleep in, but last year, she made that sacrifice to get up and head out early. 


While you get ready to celebrate Mother's Day this year whether, it's in person or thought, remember the good times and speak lovingly of the person who cared for you and always wanted the best for you. I know I will.

Dutchess is ready to pack up in the car and head out to Waffle House for a Pecan Waffle and a tall glass of milk, and she even rolled in poop so she would smell good for everyone. She likes the booth best because she can lay down when she gets full, but this year, things are a little different, but I'm sure she will get something from the table... Ken

Letters from Ernie, the follow-up...

In 2009 "Shadow," a Border Collie born here at the farm, came back to us from his first home where he had lived for a year. I will never forget that call I got that day. "Hello, I have a problem. I got two Border Collie from you, and it's not working out. They run all the time, and they chase my neighbor's cattle, and the neighbor told me he was going to shoot the dogs if I don't keep them off his farm." That very day, "Shadow" and his brother came home, back to the farm.  A few weeks later, I got a call from a family who wanted a Border Collie and was interested in "Shadow" and he found his forever home...  His new name was Ernest Dextor Archer or Ernie to his friends. Ernie wrote every Christmas telling how he was doing, and I always enjoyed the letters especially from a dog's point of view.

Several weeks ago, I got an unexpected letter from Ernie, telling me he was sick.  This week, I got another letter, this time it was from Addie, his sister.


Daddy Kenny and Mommy Elaine (Ernie told me I could write to you, I hope it is ok!)

Bubby Ernie, my dog brother, asked me to write you yesterday to tell you he was "going home," even though I thought he was already home!
He has been having a bad day about every week or so, then he would be great, and we would even run a little in the yard. Mommy thought he was going to heaven about 3 weeks ago, and even called in sick to be with him, and she slept on the floor by him. He surprised us all that next day and got up easily, and seemed to be ok! Mom felt bad for calling in, but just enjoyed the day with him.
Ernie and Addie, best friends

Saturday, I was outside, barking at Max, our doggie neighbor, and Daddy said Ernie just bolted outside, and ran to where Max and I were at the fence. For some reason, yesterday morning, Ernie only would eat or drink if Daddy held the bowl up. I later heard Daddy tell Mommy, when she got home from work, that he wondered if the cancer was putting pressure on his neck, and bending down to eat/drink made it worse. (If you ask me, Ernie was just milking it, trying to get extra attention!)

Mommy noticed that Ernie didn't greet her at the door after work, but he seemed happy and wagging his tail at her. Later, she saw him struggle to get up, which is how it is at times for him, but this was worse, and he fell right back down! Mommy was so sad! She used a towel around his lower back to try to get him out to potty, but he just couldn't stand by himself.
I heard Mommy tell Daddy, when she saw him in the exact same place yesterday morning in his bed, she knew it was time. You are right! Time to feed us, hello!

Mommy called in to work, and she was sobbing like I have never heard her do. Daddy is sooo sad! (He always called him Ernie Boy.)

Mommy made a few calls, but I couldn't hear what she was saying, but she was still crying on and off. She FINALLY fed us, but literally, hand fed Ernie. When I saw that, I stopped eating, and then she started hand feeding me as well! Hey, this is kind of nice!

Around 10:00, she came back with some ice cream. I knew, as soon as I saw that, one of us is going to heaven! (It was a vanilla Frosty, cause she told Daddy she didn't have enough time to go all the way to DQ!)

"The" Ice Cream...
Ernie lapped it up, even though he left his head laying on the bed. I ate mine in record flat time, and Mommy gave me a little of hers! It's always bittersweet when we get ice cream, because not always, but sometimes, Mommy comes home without one of us! I hope it's not me!
Ernie and Addie saying goodbye

Mommy told me to "tell bubby goodbye," and I went over to him in his bed, and kissed him! Mommy got a great picture that she said she will always treasure!

Daddy put me up in the bedroom, and I was like, "whew," it's not me. 

Mommy and Daddy came back about an hour or so later, she was sobbing, Daddy crying, and I just looked and looked, but no Bubby!

Mommy told me we will see Ernie again, and that made me happy! I can't wait until Ernie, and I can go running with Mommy again!

I did hear Daddy tell Mommy last night..." when you first brought him home, I wasn't sure, he was a lot bigger then our other dogs, but he ended up being the best dog ever!"

I will not take that personal, because, hey, I know I have some issues, and I agree Ernie was the bestest bubby ever!

Slobbers,
Addie Lynn Archer

PS: I heard Mommy and Daddy talking about sprinkling something "at the farm," not sure what that means, but I do love me some sprinkles on my ice cream!


I will miss the letters from Ernie and especially his point of view of the world.  He has a rough start but found a loving home and a wonderful life.  When I got the notice he had passed, I was speechless and broke down.  How can you love a dog so much?  Some people will never see or understand that but some of us do and I feel sorry for the ones who don't.


The x-ray that found the buckshot where Ernie was shot.

Run free Ernie, you were greatly loved by many.  Some of Ernie's Ashes will be sprinkled at the farm and he will be with his father, Clancy.  Until we meet again...   Ken

Read Ernie's letters he sent to me.

Monday

It's all about the dogs...

On November 28, 2013, I watched a video that someone sent to me, and while I don't usually look at things I'm not familiar with, I watched this one for some unknown reason. In 20 seconds into the video, I was balling my eyes out. Large crocodile tears were running down my face. My heart hurt in more ways than I could imagine, and it changed my life. When I watched the video, I was amazed at the love, help, and determination, and it was apparent there was more, much more to come. Sad tears became happy tears. "Lucas" was only eight weeks old, and he couldn't walk, but many miracles occurred in his short life and mine too.


 It was about a Border Collie scooped up from Craigslist with a birth defect and needed help. Glen Highland Farm in New York picked up the slack and took the dog in, and many months later, operations were done, much therapy was given, and Lucas ran again and was living a life full of joy, and he was loved by many. 

Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly
And the dreams that you dare to
Oh why, oh why can't I? 

Little did I know the impact it would have on me and the journey I and many others would make three years later when Clancy died. Because Lucas needed help with his seven surgeries, I made a donation, and while it was only $10.00, the effect of love and compassion reverberated throughout my soul, and I never forgot it. Ten months later, Karen Newhall and I were at Glen Highland Farm transporting the Lucky 5 to them because we knew they were the best.

I learned many things from GHF, but what I will always remember, never give up, never give in, and know your mission. When Clancy's Dream started, we reached out to Lillie Goodrich and GHF for advice and guidance, and of course, she helped, and we still communicate and assist each other when we can, all because of a video.

Instilled in me was the lengths that GHF would go to to save Border Collies, which was passed to me and the staff of Clancy's Dream. Many times, Border Collies with medical issues are put down almost immediately if/when they reach a shelter or pound because no one wants them. We have taken in blind, Heartworm positive, pregnant, injured, and deaf dogs. There is always that small urgency of fear that comes into my mind, but in every case, when we get that call, the dog is fostered and rehomed immediately. It's because of the love and compassion people have, who make any organization work.

While this has been a whirlwind trip, it's all worth it because of the happy faces and loving heart that is always inside every dog, sometimes it takes time.  Nearly 3 years after I watched the video of Lucas, my life and the lives of Border Collies changed for the better when Clancy Passed away.  Life can be cruel and is, but we are who we are because of our past and you have a choice.  Many years ago I wrote this; "Life is not about what I have done, what I should have done, what I could have done, it's about what I can do and what I will do."  When I donated those $10 dollars, I did something and although, it was just a smidgen of what was needed to help Lucas, I took a step and because of that, it set in motion great things for the dogs we love.  At the end of the video, the donors are mentioned and on the last page is my name and I was so proud, but in reality, I did something.  Please watch the story of Lucas.  Ken


I contacted Lillie Goodrich about the lucky five. All are adopted but  
THE BIG STORY OF LITTLE ANA

After landing at GHF, it was clear she was quite the fence jumper so needed constant supervision as she learned the ropes of life with humans.
A semi-feral BC, she had never received the kindness or connection that normal BC's long for and flourish in so off to foster care in Vermont with our most skilled person.
Ana blossomed step by step over TWO years there however one fateful day the sound of a lumber truck sent her scampering under a fence…gone in winter for 4 1/2 months.
A night camera, wildlife net and continual diligence all hours of the day and night by the foster family found her. So, back to GHF as a Resident in a special built enclosure to keep her safe.
It worked and Ana was set to reside forever in rescue. She stayed back at GHF for TWO years.
Then a funny thing happened when the fosterer came to say goodbyes with our impending move from NY to VA in 2019…one look at Ana and she asked to take her HOME. Now at age 11, Ana is more content than anyone expected, sliding right back into the family's home with a pack of GHF BC's…Ana had a BIG journey but thankfully, landed right where she belonged.

Ana's inspires us to carry on…EVERY DOG COUNTS…NO MATTER THEIR AGE OR NO MATTER HOW LONG IT TAKES…

A notice About Glen Highland Farm
Dear Friends of the Farm,

Almost 20 years ago, we launched Glen Highland Farm to meet the exploding numbers of young Border Collies landing in bad situations. We created a facility on 175 acres with a team that tackled every challenge, determined to succeed and right the wrongs for this special over-popularized breed, creating the largest BC rescue in the country. To date and thanks to your support, GHF has helped over 3,000 innocent dogs make their way to new lives. 

We now invite you to come
with us in a NEW CHAPTER for GHF.

As aging Border Collies emerged in record numbers, we opened The Senior Sanctuary seven years ago and more recently, tailored our full focus to rescuing only dogs age 10 and up: this age of dog needs lots of time and oversight and with our medical expertise, we are the perfect answer to help them where shelters and other rescues cannot easily handle long-term care.

Our hearts break watching them struggle to understand what they have done wrong and why their person is gone. But, we see their hearts HEAL by reigniting that special spark so deeply inside every Border Collie… to work, to focus, to DO… wanting to be active. THIS is what makes an aging BC want to go on! Our goal is to make that possible whether they are waiting to be adopted or live their life out at GHF.

However, upstate NY winters are brutal for almost half the year no matter how hard we try to make winter easier on the older dogs. Dogs stumbling, sliding and falling on ice hidden under inches of snow; white-out blizzards with whipping winds frightening the dogs; five minute outs in -20 temps morning and night with dogs lifting feet to avoid pain as paw covers won’t stay on; accidentally pulled muscles and injured backs as dogs attempt to right themselves in the snow; dogs unable to move due to severe pain made worse by bitter cold. With severe orthopedic issues, winter injuries can sadly lead to life and death decisions earlier than needed. Even Caretakers and Volunteers rely on ice crampons to maneuver outside without injury. And winters are getting worse, year after year.

So, to give our Rescues the best possible life...
GHF will continue our journey, moving all the dogs to Virginia for a gentler climate that favors them year-round: 15 flat acres and warming sun that allows them to be the best of who they are - energetic, focused and busy Border Collies for their remaining years! 

We invite you to continue with us in this new chapter and help us help the Senior Border Collies… innocent in the human drama that leads to their abandonment... they have no chance, without all of us! 

Thank you for your caring and giving heart, supporting GHF to be the best it can be for this breed!

Lillie Goodrich & John Andersen

Hold on, to me as we go
As we roll down this unfamiliar road
And although this wave is stringing us along
Just know you're not alone
'Cause I'm going to make this place your home

Settle down, it'll all be clear
Don't pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found

Just know you're not alone
'Cause I'm going to make this place your home

Settle down, it'll all be clear
Don't pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found

Just know you're not alone
'Cause I'm going to make this place your home
Phillip Phillips

Sunday

Back Again, just for a second...


Abbie Dabby Doo was my dog, and what I mean... she was MY dog.  She would tolerate other people; except she would nip the people she didn't like.  The first time I saw her do it was when the UPS man came to our house, which was a regular occurrence.  We were standing and talking on the driveway, Abbie came to be by my side, and as the UPS man and I were talking,   "Did she just nip you?" I ask, "Yeah; she does it all the time, not a problem, I wear steel-toed shoes, something about shoes."  Abbie was my little protector.


I remember when my Dad passed away and how I missed our daily talks.  He would walk every day and would often stop as he passed our house even if it was a few minutes.  Nothing significant, but to say hello and he loved us.  He was a great man and always cared about his family, especially his grandkids.  When he passed away, I missed those times and the few seconds we shared every day.  Nowadays, I would give anything to see him walking up to the house with his "old man" hat on and a smile on his face, even if it's only for a few seconds.

When Abbie died, I missed my Dabbie Doo, who licked my face and eyebrows and slept on my pillow with me.  It was always so comforting to turn over in the middle of the night, and she would lick my face, and we would go back to sleep holding each other.  Time moves on, and things change, and life as we knew it is gone, and I indeed found this out when Clancy died too.


Just a little over a year ago, Whiskey came into my life.  I got a call that she needed a home, and it needed it pretty quick.  The owners lived far away and couldn't get her to us, and no one else was available to help that weekend.  We made arrangements to drop Whiskey off at a Veterinarian's office to get her shots and spayed, and I was to pick her up the next day.  I took her sight unseen, and I knew it was a chance, but something told me it was right.  When I got her in the car, she was so grateful, she licked my face.
 
This is the first-day Whiskey came to my house
Once home, I sat on the picnic bench, and Whiskey sat behind me and licked my face and eyes.  "Abbie stop," and then I realized it wasn't Abbie, but it was touching and brought back so many memories.  I thought little about it, but things started coming together.  One day I was walking down our lane, and I had shut the gate to keep the dogs inside the fence.  As I had walked about 20 feet, Whiskey appeared at my side.  "You need to stay with the dogs; you can't go."  I turned and placed her inside the fence because I thought I had left her out.  Before I could get the gate shut, Whiskey jumped at the exact place Abbie always jumped the fence, she wanted to be with me.  No other dog that we have ever had jumped that fence.  Clancy would jump through the gate but never the fence.

While magic happens on the farm at times, I have to wonder about this.  Both Abbie and Whiskey lick my face and eyebrows, jump the fence at the exact location and sleep on my pillow every night.  They both always lay in my lap at night while I'm in my recliner.  Is there more to life than we can understand?  While I will never really know the things that happen around us in the rescue world, I do know there is a force that has come upon us to do the impossible work when there is no chance it will work out...  Many times, when things come together for a rescue dog, someone will say, "you know, Clancy had his paw in this." In our hearts, we do believe it because there is no other explanation other than his spirit may be responsible.

Abbie and Clancy
As I lowered the body of Clancy and then Abbie into their grave, little did I know I would see their spirits and love again through the action that we see every day.  Abbie, through Whiskey with the licks on my face who comforts me in the middle of the night. Clancy, who I see every day through the dogs that are sent to his dream.  Life is a mystery, and there are things that we can't understand, but maybe we're not meant to.  Just for a few seconds, I see my beloved past pets again and someday I'm hopeful to see that older man with his "old man" hat walking toward me with a smile on his face...  You must believe, just look.    Ken