Sunday

Not Again...



Elaine has spent the weekend with her side of the family, and that means I can do anything I want, eat anything I want because I am king of the hill, sort of.  While I am in charge, that means I am also responsible too, but of course, I am never wrong in Elaine's eyes... HAHAHAHA Just the opposite...

After doing a load of laundry and straightening up the house, I was headed to the store to pick up a few things Elaine had on the list.  I like a list, and if something is on it, I buy it, and if not, I don't, makes it easier for me because I'm not an impulse buyer, Elaine is!

Elaine picking up bread and milk
Me using the list
Saturday was a sunny day, and as usual, we went for our morning walk, and while most of the dogs would run through the woods, Dutchess held back close to me, and we walked together, and it was very peaceful.  At one time, she was our most active dog and would outplay, out swim and out jump any other dog on the farm.  She is a wonder dog in more ways than one with me wondering what she will do next.

Putting my shoes on, getting my wallet, I grabbed the list and put the dogs in the kennel.  Each one always goes to their door and wait's their turn, but something is wrong, very wrong.  I am missing a dog.  I always count, but I'm one short, and it was Dutchess.  She must be outside the kennel.  "Dutchess, where you?"  She was nowhere to be found, which is concerning because she associates the kennel with a place to get food.  She has never, and I mean never misses a meal.  She must be in the house. 


I went back to the house and called her name, "Dutchess, where you?"  I walked to the upstairs, nothing, middle floor, nothing, and the 1st floor, nothing.  This is a little concerning.  The thing about Dutchess is if she can't find you, she will bark at the back door wanting in, no matter what.    Back to the porch, I go and walk all the way around it, no Dutchess.  I go back inside and go into each room and check every nook and cranny from the top of the house to the bottom, nothing.  I check the garage and mudroom, nothing.  Dutchess is never late or unresponsive.  After my third trip scouring the house, now I'm worried.

Knowing she is not in the house and rechecking the kennel, Dutchess is gone.  She has to be here, but where and as I change to my boots to walk the muddy trails in the woods, I think the worse.  Several things pop into my mind, and none of them are good.  Is she hurt? Did she take a nap, or has she lay down and pass away somewhere in the woods?  My mind is going in a thousand directions.  Elaine is not home, and she always finds stuff even if I need to call her, she knows, but this time, I'm on my own.  Just two days ago, Shepp's grave marker was delivered and placed, and will I need to get another? 

As I head out with my work boots on, I dread the sight I may find, and all of the emotions of the last few months are coming up with the losses I have had.  The thought in my head are bouncing like ping balls falling on a concrete floor.  I head into the woods to look for her, but before I make that final turn.


I'm right here
Dutchess is snacking on an appetizer of deer poop on a small patch of grass where the deer sometimes graze.  "Dutchess," I say "DUTCHESS" and nothing, she is busy feasting on her favorite food.  I go up and touch her, and she responds with a wagging tail and happy eyes.  In her old age, she has lost some of her hearing and can't hear everything.  Getting old sucks, even for dogs.  Happily, we trot to the kennel where she gets the main course.  No dog kisses tonight...

Saturday

Memories, The Way We Were...





Midnight, not a sound from the pavement
Has the moon lost her Memory?
She is smiling alone
In the lamplight, the withered leaves collect at my feet
And the wind begins to moan

In the last week of February 2016, a friend came to the farm that had captured some memories. He had contacted me via social media, and we had written back and forth a few times, and he wanted to try out his new camera, little did I know... 

Memory, all alone in the moonlight
I can smile at the old days
It was beautiful then
I remember the time I knew what happiness was
Let the Memory live again


It was a sunny day, and the dogs were in rare form while spinning, twisting, and barking, ready to show off and be the life of the party which they usually are. It was a fun-filled day, and with lots of action and for once, I was not behind the camera. I've told Elaine many times that when I'm gone, no one would ever think I ever went on vacation because I'm rarely in a photo, or maybe she doesn't think I'm very photogenic. Hopefully, it's not the latter.



Many times, I see on social media a "memory" photo will pop up, sometimes the photo is our dog that has crossed the Rainbow Bridge, and it's bittersweet and brings back lots of memories and happier times. It happens to me all the time because I have posted thousands of pictures, and in the last few years, four of my dogs and have crossed the bridge but they come to visit on Facebook. While I am grateful to see my dogs again, it comes with a price. The memory brings up emotions that have been buried in a small box in a little corner of my brain — it's like pulling off a scab from a wound that will never heal.


As most of us know, when we are reminded of this, it brings pain in our hearts. Not many days go by when you don't think of your past life with your best friend and companion and you want so much to see them again.  Often we see them out of the corner of our eye or in a field, but we do see them if only in our hearts.


Last week, I was tagged by the friend that had taken the photos with a link to them that was made in 2016. My heart skipped a beat when I saw them, and my mind went back to that day, and how much fun we had, my heart was happy but heavy. They were all with me again, Clancy, Molly, and Abbie, and our little family was together again. I could scratch their ears, rub their fur and even smell their scent. They were home again, and life was happy, but it was short.  


Some may say our dogs don't even know who we are, beyond the hand that feeds them, but I disagree. They have changed our lives in many ways and the life of others. The song The Way We Were, may say it all.


Memories may be beautiful and yet
What's too painful to remember
We simply choose to forget
So it's the laughter
We will remember
Whenever we remember...
The way we were...



It was a wonderful trip down Memory Lane, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Thank you, Joe, you'll never know how much it meant to me to touch, rub and smell them again, if only in my mind.  That afternoon I sat under the tall trees, where the sun shines through an open canopy.  With wind chimes that sing with the breeze, in the Adirondack Chairs and thought about the best dogs in the world and the Way We Were...  Ken

I can smile at the old days
It was beautiful then
I remember the time I knew what happiness was
Let the Memory live again...

Rest in Peace   "Hope"  5/17/2011 - 11-20/2019

The Red Collar...




There comes a time when you break free of the shackles that bind you.  Usually, it is your own doing if you have made a wrong decision or choice, and you have fought back to the freedom from the pain or anguish it has caused you.  If you don't know how to fight, or when you're fighting with all the wrong weapons, you may lose strength, lose faith, and confidence, not knowing how to fight back.  You ask yourself, "why did this happen" or say, "what have I done." You usually know the answer to your own question and accept the fact, "it's my own fault." Hopefully, you climb back and take the road to freedom, putting your past and bad decisions behind you and live a peaceful life.  For a Border Collie who has lost all freedom or hope, there is no choice or freedom, sometimes...


 Since the early conception of Clancy's Dream, we have seen many dogs that have lost strength, lose faith and confidence, and at times, just give up but we stepped in and gave them a new life.  We're sure that some take that walk down that long corridor to their eternal rest where no-one could care less or help, but there is hope! 


When we go to assist a dog at a shelter, we always take an essential piece of equipment that is simple but means so much.  After everything checks out, papers are signed and handshakes made, we place a collar around the neck of the dog that guarantees hope and safety, little do they know the meaning. 

He now belongs to us and will come into our fold, and it's a day filled with hope, promise, joy, and trust.  It has become a tradition of Clancy's Dream to place a bright red collar on a new rescue dog and declare they are Free at Last, and they are.   



Sometimes we never know where they came from or why they came to us, but they have.  Many times, after picking a Border Collie up, I have buried my head in my hands and wondered, how does this happen while the dog is in the back seat is smiling or licking my ear.


 When the vehicle is shifted into drive, we start our journey; it now becomes the most important journey in the life of "our" dog.   They are currently on what is called "The Freedom Ride."  Unlike the last journey they took in a car where they were dropped and abandoned at the shelter or side of the road to die; this ride is different in so many ways.  



Some Border Collies may have been left by people who do not know or care what happened, but this time, things are different.  To those who have left them, know that money flows freely, prayers are said, donations are given, calls are made, and there is an Army of people pulling for the dog you gave up on.  Many people will help and volunteer in any they can, spending hundreds of hours on the road while traveling great distances. Some spend countless hours searching for a way to solve a problem, and they do because all have stepped up to make sure the dog you left is forever safe.



When the red Rescue Collar is slipped around the neck of the dog, the life of the dog changes, along with the life of the person who slips it on.  The volunteers who have done this knew that time had no meaning, money flowed freely, prayers were answered, donations were given, and calls were made, and thousands of people pulled for the dog that was saved.  This is a magical moment for the dog but it's a magical moment for the rescuer too.


The red Rescue Collar means little to most, but to the Border Collie who was saved and to the person who traveled with them on the Freedom Ride, it means everything but most importantly, hope and freedom.  The bright side and 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 was given to them, but when they leave with their new owner and new collar, it's with a second chance and fresh start. When they go to their new home, I know there will be happy faces and happy smiles of dogs that have a second lease on life.  

Life is just a whisper, and when my few seconds are up, I hope I made a difference, but in my next dimension of time, I want to sit in that field of grass and be with every dog I have ever touched and Clancy again.  Ken

There are many types of Freedon rides, thanks to all who care.


And in one day, Everything Changed because of you...







Time is Irrelevant... Maybe



It's now is getting dark earlier, but I realized that we are winding down this summer, and it's kinda sad. We just turned our clocks backward for daylight saving time, and in a way, it's unfortunate that the season is changing. I love the spring and summer except for the hot, humid weather, but it's worth putting up with for the long pretty days and dry weather. The only good part of winter that if I like is I can take longer naps and don't feel that I have "be on the move" the whole time. 


There is nothing like a long nap in front of the TV with several dogs in my lap and a warm fire. Every season has its perks, but spring is best for me. Spring and summer are always busy and packed full of adventures of play and fun and especially work, which never stops, and I'm sure my dogs suffer a bit and miss "our" time.

I'm sure the dogs will appreciate more time with "the man" and in truth, I will to, I just don't want to deal with the mud from the fall rains.  Frozen ground is good, but lots of rain and mud is brutal to everyone and then the nap time with dad is out until they are cleaned up, something they never think about when they are running and playing.  I wish they would think about that.


Cold winters seem to bring the best out, I put on my sub-zero coat and insulated boots, and off we go on long walks several times a day around the lake and down the long trails. In the evenings, Dutchess will park herself in front of the TV just to watch the local weatherman, and when the word "snow" comes on, a loud bark follows from her with eager ears and a spring in her step. I will tell you, around here, snow is excellent. The deeper, the better, and as long as it lasts, there is joy in the air.


The one thing I will never understand during the time changes is what time is it really.  Unfortunately, during this last time change, I was traveling to St Louis.  Not only was I wondering what time it was, but I also traveled to another time zone.  Was it 8am EST "slow" time or 9am "fast" time?  Were we on EST or CST, and at times, I didn't know what time it was even if I looked. My watch said one time, my car had another time, and my phone had a third time. At one point, I could have run through the street with my hair on fire.



So here we are wrapping down another year, I just wonder what it will bring. Hopefully, no mud, no work and lots of time to relax before we start over again, but I'm sure there will always be lots of work and the time change. Ken

Sunday

And Everything Changed...


And one day everything changed... Yes, it does in many ways, sometimes good and sometimes bad. It's Friday morning, and I am at the 2019 National Border Collie Nationals in St Louis, and I drift back to a few days when I unpacked our goods at the conference.  Everything was fine until I rolled out the banner that had Clancy's photo on it, and I immediately went back to July 30, 2016, and "that" day, when we lost our boy.  I looked around to see if anyone could see me because of the tears that were present.  We all have had those days when one day everything is fine, and the next everything is wrong. 



One day a family decides to get a new dog. It's discussed in a family meeting, and everyone agrees to do their part in bringing a new member into the love and circle of the family, and a new dog has a new home.  As the pup grows up, he becomes the center of attention because he loves them so and they love him too.  Life is different, and things couldn't be any better.  He would go hiking with them and loved the campfires at night where he would lay by the fire, and he knew he was special, and he was.  The first day he came into the home, he had "that" feeling, but he knew everything changed.

I got that post, "Jackson - NM border collie, 5 years old, 62 lbs. Found as a stray on 8/29. Jackson has been at our shelter for a LONG time. Jackson came in very matted with burrs in his coat. Jackson has little time left before he is euthanized. He is a very smart dog and wants badly to be safe and loved." 


The next day, Jackson arrived safe and sound in the arms of Clancy's Dream. He walked around, smelling trees, never running or playing. Jackson has all but shut down and given up hope. That night he refused food and was content in his kennel and wouldn't leave. Jackson had to be coaxed out with a lead but sauntered back inside the house where he laid back on his dog bed. The spark did ignite again, and he came around. Jackson is the spitting image of Clancy, pricked ears, same markings, large head and piercing brown eyes, and even a half collar. As I sat in the kennel with him, I wept as I stroked his head.  A few weeks later, he was adopted, but one day everything changed.

When I arrived at the shelter, it was busy, and people were going and coming at a quick pace. Walking into the "dog" room, as usual, I heard the barking before I went through the door and even smelled the urine, feces, and antiseptic before I went in. 


A little dog was crouched in the corner with her eyes covered, hiding from the world and everything around her.  I went into the 3 X 5 kennel and sat on the floor with my back to the gate, I patted the floor, and she wanted to come to me but was scared.  When she did, I cried, she licked my hand as to thank me, and I thanked you for not giving up. I ask God how does this happen but was answered; it didn't this time she was saved. To many, it is just another night, but to this dog, little did she know that the night before, sleeping on the bare cold concrete floor, was a special night. Twas the night before she was rescued, where one day, everything changed.

As I traveled home from the convention after the last night, I pondered the trip and the effect it had on me.  Meeting many people and telling our story and making contacts was a great success.  You never know what a day or two can make.  While driving home, I drifted back to that day that Clancy passed and lived those few moments again.  At first feeling sorry for myself, I was reminded that one day, either good or bad, could change the outcome of many things to come.  


On the third night of the event, I was contacted during dinner about a litter of Border Collies turned over to a shelter where they tested positive for Parvo.  No one wanted them because of the deadly disease.  In one day, we had them placed in quarantine at a vet clinic, which will treat and monitor the dogs 24 hours a day.  So far, the outcome is guarded, but positive and in one day, everything changed.

July 30, 2016, was a day I will never forget, and everything changed, but for many...  Ken