In the middle again…

Well I don't know why I came here tonight.
I've got the feeling that something ain't right.
I'm so scared in case I fall off my chair
And I'm wondering how I'll get down the stairs.

Clowns to the left of me!
Jokers to the right!
Here I am stuck in the middle again.
Stealers Wheel - Stuck In The Middle With You Lyrics

Two times in my life I have been in the middle with dogs, and today I just realized it.

Many years ago, we raised Border Collies as most of you know.  It was so rewarding to see the pups born and to play with them in their early weeks but my favorite times were when they were 6 weeks old.  They form a bond with you, and I became their leader when they were weaned, one of the few times I was in charge of something, just ask Elaine… We had a heated and cooled kennel, and they lived a life of Riley.  

Sometimes I would sit down in the middle of them and let them craw on me and nip my fingers.  They would untie my shoelaces, and if you put them up to your face close to your nose, they would nurse the tip.  Life was GRAND and the puppy breath… nothing better, and every night at bedtime, I would sing to them…

Because of our website and word of mouth, we would get several calls a week from people wanting a Border Collies.  Having restricted litters, we didn’t have extras to sell because of a waiting list.  Whether they got a pup from us or not, I would always try to direct them to reputable breeders that I knew.  Before the end of the conversation, I usually heard the reason they wanted a BC.  Nearly 90 percent of the time it was because they had one and it had passed from a tragic event or old age.  It was always devastating to both of us to re-experience it again.  Usually, they would cry, and I wouldn’t talk much because I was choked up too.  I was in the middle and hated it…

Several weeks ago, I had been going back and forth via email about a family that had to give up their border collie of 5 years.  Not going into the reason, it was necessary, trust me.  When the week arrived for the transfer, I contacted the owner, and we talked the mechanics of the handover.  I notice her voice starting to break, and that was enough for me because mine did too.  I told her I understand because I have been there and we both broke down.  I gave her directions to the farm and said we would talk and walk around the farm, and discuss Clancy’s Dream and assure her that we will find the perfect home, and we will. 

Because of a family emergency and she was on the way from out of state I told her to put her dog in the kennel and someone would be there soon to take over.  When I arrived back, he was out playing with the other dogs and one of our Board members, and he was beautiful and perfect.  After settling in, I checked the bags and material that she left in the kennel that was his.  Exploring through all of it, I came across a small bag paper bag that was neatly folded over.  Inside was a single decorated dog cookie for him.  They had celebrated his birthday early because he would be gone, I gave it, and it broke my heart for both sides.  I have seen this scenario many times.   It breaks my hears, and I know I am a softie and wish there was an easy answer…

When we find homes for the dogs, regardless of you’re a short time foster, or they are with you for a few weeks you fall in love with them.  Just ask Elaine, out of the 10 dogs we have, seven of them were given to us.  When they leave, you miss them and wonder if the new owners will love them as much as you.  Many tears of joy have been shed when that match is made in Heaven.

You see, as a rescuer, you’re in the middle just like when we raised pups.  You see both sides and feel the pain and shed a tear from a tragedy and a success.  Maybe I’m just a softie, but I’m stuck in the middle again…   Ken

Clowns to the left of me!
Jokers to the right!
Here I am stuck in the middle again.