Christmas time is always an extraordinary time of year here at the farm. While we all say that time is special, it's especially unique during the witching hours between midnight, and 6 am, and this Holiday season, it occurred again. It started here in 2011 on Christmas Eve night. I found out I seem to be able to communicate with our dogs in one way or another, but this is the one time I can really understand them.
In folklore, the witching hour is a time of night that is associated with supernatural events. Creatures and animals are thought to appear and to be at their most powerful pinnacle. Magic is believed to be most effective at this time and some Christians, for example, hold that the true witching hour, which they would instead call the devil’s hour is 3am, because it is said to be a blatant mockery of the hour of Christ’s death on the cross at 3pm.
As I have said many times, I like to walk the paths of Dogwood Ridge and especially at night. Sometimes, I even travel without a light because of the wonders you see that are different in the moonlight. Because of my conversation last year with Clancy, this year I traveled the paths nearly every night hoping to capture a sound or glimpse of our boy. Time was running out and the season was nearly over, and I hoped just to see him once again. Every day as I walk, I pass the sacred ground where my pets are buried and tonight would be no different.
As I walked through the tall oak trees, I was getting disappointed, this was the last night of the holiday season, and I was headed to the house, maybe I’ve always dreamed of this, and it’s not real. I hung my head and walked home with blurry eyes and a wet face. As I approached the house, I notice the lights were off but, we have a whole house generator that kicks in when the power goes off but it didn’t, and I made a note to get it looked at.
“Don’t come any closer, stay where you’re at” I heard
I remember that voice, was it a neighbor I thought?
As I took a few more steps, I heard it again and saw the silhouette of 4 dogs sitting on the back porch.
“Whiskey, Dutchess, Meggie is that you? Whose else is there.” I ask
“They are asleep, we’ve come to see you,” Clancy said.
Having lost two of my dogs this year, I was now facing Clancy, Molly, and Abbie but from behind, stepped another dog, and it was Nellie, daughter of Clancy who passed away this past October from cancer.
I looked around and even pinched myself checking to see if I was dreaming and ask, “as much as I enjoy seeing you, why have you come?”
“This is our home and always will be,” Clancy said.
Molly spoke up, “I was here first, even before Clancy.”
Abbie then said, “I was your first rescue dog, no one wanted me, but you took me in and loved me.”
And then Nellie spoke up, “I was born here with Abbie, not at the same time but we share a dad, you were the first and last to touch me and I was buried right up there,” looking toward our dog sanctuary.
“We know it’s been a tough year,” Clancy said. “Molly, Abbie and then Nellie came to be with me and to help with our work. It’s exhausting I know.” Molly spoke up and said, “I know you don’t understand the things of our world but believe that everything has a purpose, your world is different from ours.”
“Why did Nellie have to leave this world so early and so quick, one day she was fine, and the next day, she was sick leaving her human mother with a broken spirit, it doesn't seem fair.” Clancy spoke up and said, “it’s never fair, you will never know the purpose for a long time or maybe never, but it’s there. There was a need for Nellie. Just look at what has happened since her death. She became part of our cause to help and save our clan. This was started years ago right after I died, by You and the others that formed my Dream, this is your statement, Clancy’s Dream Brings Help and Hope to Border Collies and their Owners in times of Need through Rescue Efforts or Veterinary Care Assistance.
Don’t you see, there is a plan and now it has expanded because of this need. As good as Nellie was in life in doing everything she loved to do, it was her destiny to help in other ways too. What you don’t know, on that Christmas Day in 2008 when Nellie and her littermates were born the plan was changed. My pup you called “Midnight” was supposed to live, and Nellie was not to make it but because of higher powers and special needs, things changed.”
I hung my head and thought but spoke with tears, “I remember “Midnight Clear” he was beautiful, solid black pup with a white tip on his tail. I remember telling Elaine I loved him so and wanted to keep him. I did the best I could to save him, and for 3 days I coddled and loved him. The Veterinarian said there was nothing you can do. He died in my hands, and I had to give him up. I understand now why he had to leave.”
Clancy stood up and said, “It’s time to go, I wanted you to know why this has happened.” As the others stood I was hurt, excited and glad that I now know why things happen, I may not understand, but I know there is a reason. As I stood on the driveway, they each passed me. I wanted to touch them one more time but dare not, but I smelled their scent once again. With wonderment, I watched them leave, and from nowhere a little solid black Border Collie with a white tip on his tail stopped to look at me and said “Thank you,” and then he ran to his dad, Clancy. Before they vanished into the woods this miraculous night, Nellie stopped and turned and said, “Tell her I miss her too, it was wonderful and I loved that life, but the dream is bigger than all of us.” As I walked through the back door, the electricity suddenly came back on.
From a post I wrote on December 28, 2008, and now Nellie and Midnight Clear, brother and sister are together again.
"Midnight" passed away tonight. He was one of the 8 puppy's that Dutchess had on Christmas Morning. He was so unique as to his color. He was indeed all black but with the Border Collie white tip on his tail. He was born with a cleft pallet that we learned about tonight, there is a zero chance of survivability, and he was dying. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. The dogs walked with us to where we buried him and stood guard but watched from a distance. The cats, as they often do, walked all the way and made sure that he was treated with respect. I will miss him so. I know that this is just part of it, but it's the hard part. The odd thing, I dreamed that we lost one last night.
"The Nellie’s Effect” has been formally set up through Clancy’s Dream to be a driving force to help dogs with cancer and to assist their owner's through the treatment of this horrible disease. Nellie’s second cause is to reimburse the fees associated with a Border Collie becoming a registered Pet therapy dog through Pet Partners. Together Nellie and Clancy will spread their love and be able to help even more of our beloved breed.
Things happen for a reason... Ken