It was the worst of times... but got better.

In August of 2012, I received a lengthy email about a Border Collie breeder in Northern Indiana, and after reading it, I wrote back and asked the writer to call me, I needed more information.  They mentioned they had made a stop to visit this breeder, looking for a Border Collie while traveling back home to Michigan. She was shocked and just needed to vent and a shoulder to cry on.  I was familiar with the breeder because I had received an abundance of calls, but nothing like this one. I felt after talking about this breeder, it was time to take a trip up north, and we did.

Chase, his owner, started it all when she called and needed help, Chase is a Sanders dog.
Karen Newhall, a BC owner, and friend of ours went with me to check it out.  As we pulled into the driveway, I turned to Karen and said, "I hope it's not as bad as we've been told," and she said, "Me too." We were wrong, very very wrong.  I will tell you, that trip affected me in ways that will haunt me for the rest of my life.  Sleep escapes me on more occasions than I like.  I just can’t seem to get the faces of those sweet dogs and the smell of that place out of my mind. To the dogs, we did everything we could do, your faces will live with me forever...

On January 30, 2017, nearly 5 years after our visit to that horrible place, the many court appearances, repeated testimony, and legal battles, Thurman "Randy" Sanders, Jr., 69 passed away. He spent his life fighting the legal system for what he believed.  The courts, Karen, myself and many others disagreed with his thoughts and ways.

Randy Sanders
He received nearly $85,000 in fines, and restitution, jail time, a lifetime ban on ever having/owning a dog.  The courts spoke, it was final and loud.  In comparison, Michael Vick a sports figure received only three years’ supervised probation during which he cannot buy, sell or own dogs. 

Boone, a Sanders dog, he captured my heart when we worked with him...
When I learned of his death, my mind immediately went back to the years that we spent fighting for the lives of those dogs. We wanted nothing but health, happiness and a forever home filled with love for those Border Collies.  Some had never set foot on grass, never set a foot outside that small prison of a kennel that Randy Sanders had put them in.  The worst part of it, some of them never will because they didn't make it.

Boone having a ball with his new owners...
When his death was published, many people were excited. According to them “they wished he would burn in hell” and some comments were even worse.  I saw his death and life somewhat different. At times, I had sleepless nights and thought of the scenes and the smells I will never get out of my mind.  I hated what he did to those precious dogs that I love so much and the train wrecks he made of the ones that he sold.  This pain will go on for an extensive time, both for the dogs and the dog's owners. Like a rock thrown into a calm lake, the ripples go on forever, both good and bad, and then they bounce off the shore and return.  What he did will reverberate in the Border Collie world for generations of dogs to come.
Echo, a Sanders dog was broke in so many ways.

Ruby a Sanders dog, so shy but finally came out of her shell.  Like Boone, she is missing part of her tail, it was pulled off.

What he also did was to wake up a community and change people’s lives and laws.  While it has certainly changed the lives of the other people that were involved with the case, it has also changed my life forever.  Through the many struggles, I have had to deal with, I know, I am who I am, because of my past.  This is true for your good and bad experiences both.

One vow I made to myself was to assist and rehabilitate any dog that was the product of Randy Sanders. I am doing this for love and will continue doing anything in my power to help.  A year or so after we started the process of the court proceedings, I got that opportunity.  I got a call from someone that lived a few states away, they owned a Sanders dog and needed help with him, so they came to see us.  When “Chase” arrived, he ran for hours never slowing or stopping.  About midweek, I wrote this email to his owner.  “I put Chase on the exam table, I needed to brush him because he was matted pretty bad.    At first, he didn't know if he liked it or not but soon settled in and he actually went to sleep.  I worked on him for about an hour and got all of the tangles out.   After I  had finished, he turned and started licking my face showing emotion for the first time.”  

 At that very moment, it came to me that "Chase” is the “very” dog that started it all with Sanders.  He is the actual instrument that shut down an institution that had lasted for 40 years and ruined so many dogs and the families that had to cope with these mistreated dogs and most of all, the greed of one man.  The lady who called me in 2012 is the owner of “Chase” that spurred Karen and me to go and investigate the puppy mill.  After I had pondered these thoughts, I got a little misty-eyed, Chase then rose from the table and crawled into my lap and put his front paws on my shoulders and licked my tears and sweat away on a hot August night trying to comfort me.

If ever God has talked through an animal, he did so through Chase.  I wrote to her “I also want you to know that all the effort, phone calls, money, and trips were well worth it.  I guess Chase wanted me to know that he was grateful, but I am thankful for you (Chase’s owner) and your husband for doing the right thing.”

I am sorry Mr. Sanders passed from this world alone and isolated, but I believe that we will all face our maker. I have prayed for his soul. I will not judge him, just what he did to my beloved breed.  I remember that day so well that changed my life.  “I want to be part of the solution, not the problem,” I said, and now it is my mission.   If I would never had met or known of Mr. Sanders or seen the sights I saw,  chances are I wouldn’t be where I am now in this world of broken dogs.  “You just have to visit” was the statement from everyone that I talked to who went to his farm and left crying…and I did go, and glad of it and I did cry…

In November, Clancy’s Dream re-homed six dogs in one month along with some surgeries, food, shots, and microchips and is well on its way helping Border Collies with more on the way.  There is a team of dedicated people who are on "Clancy's Dream Team" and it is Mr. Sanders who also played a part in this whether he wanted to or not.  Thank you, Mr. Sanders, for showing me the way and making the difference in my life and in the lives of the dogs we rescue through Clancy's Dream, who would have thought Clancy's Dream will live because of you.  Ken 

A special thanks to a very special person who also helped tirelessly on this and still does for the dogs that don't have a voice.  You are a special Lady.  

Thank you my "Clancy Man."

Clancy's Facebook Page

Copied, but very nice...

Unlike most days at RainBow Bridge, this day dawned cold and gray, damp as a swamp and as dismal as could be imagined. All the recent arrivals were confused and concerned. They had no idea what to think for they had never experienced a day like this before. But the animals who had spent some time waiting for their beloved people knew exactly what was happening and began to gather at the pathway leading to the Bridge to watch. They knew this was something special.

It wasn't too long before an elderly animal came into view, head hung heavy and low with tail dragging along the ground. The other animals on the pathway...the ones who had been at RainBow Bridge for a while...knew the story of this sad creature immediately. They had seen it happen far too many times. Although it was obvious the animal's heart was leaden and he was totally overcome with emotional pain and hurt, there was no sign of injury or any illness. Unlike the pets waiting at the Bridge, this dog had not been restored to his prime. He was full of neither health nor vigor. He approached slowly and painfully, watching all the pets who were by now watching him. He knew he was out of place here. This was no resting place for him. He felt instinctively that the sooner he could cross over, the happier he would be.

But alas, as he came closer to the Bridge, his way was barred by the appearance of an Angel who spoke softly to the old dog and apologized sorrowfully, telling him that he would not be able to pass. Only those animals who were with their special people could pass over the RainBow Bridge. And he had no special beloved people...not here at the Bridge nor on Earth below. With no place else to turn, the poor elderly dog looked toward the fields before the Bridge. There, in a separate area nearby, he spotted a group of other sad-eyed animals like himself...elderly and infirm.

Unlike the pets waiting for their special people, these animals weren't playing, but simply lying on the green grass, forlornly and miserably staring out at the pathway leading to the Bridge. The recent arrival knew he had no choice but to join them. And so, he took his place among them, just watching the pathway and waiting. One of the newest arrivals at the Bridge, who was waiting for his special people, could not understand what he had just witnessed and asked one of the pets who had been there for some time to explain it to him. "That poor dog was a rescue, sent to the pound when his owner grew tired of him. They way you see him now, with graying fur and sad, cloudy eyes, was exactly the way he was when he was put into the kennels.

He never, ever made it out and passed on only with the love and comfort that the kennel workers could give him as he left his miserable and unloved existence on Earth for good. Because he had no family or special person to give his love, he has nobody to escort him across the Bridge." The first animal thought about this for a minute and then asked, "So what will happen now?" As he was about to receive his answer, the clouds suddenly parted and the all-invasive gloom lifted. Coming toward the Bridge could be seen a single figure...a person who, on Earth, had seemed quite ordinary...a person who, just like the elderly dog, had just left Earth forever.
This figure turned toward a group of the sad animals and extended outstretched palms. The sweetest sounds they had ever heard echoed gently above them and all were bathed in a pure and golden light. Instantly, each was young and healthy again, just as they had been in the prime of life. From within the gathering of pets waiting for their special people, a group of animals emerged and moved toward the pathway.

As they came close to the passing figure, each bowed low and each received a tender pat on the head or a scratch behind the ears. Their eyes grew even brighter as the figure softly murmured each name. Then, the newly-restored pets fell into line behind the figure and quietly followed this person to the Bridge, where they all crossed together. The recent arrival who had been watching, was amazed. "What happened?" "That was a rescuer," came the answer. "That person spent a lifetime trying to help pets of all kinds. The ones you saw bowing in respect were those who found new homes because of such unselfish work. They will cross when their families arrive.

Those you saw restored were ones who never found homes. When a rescuer arrives, they are permitted to perform one, final act of rescue. They are allowed to escort those poor pets that couldn't place on Earth across the Rainbow Bridge. You see, all animals are special to them...just as they are special to all animals." "I think I like rescuers," said the recent arrival. "So does God," was the reply. --Author Unknown--