I heard those words as I sat in the next to the last row at the memorial and funeral of Michael Sorrell our very first foster with Clancy's Dream. I listened to his friends and family tell stories about his life. Some were sad, and some were funny, but all were glowing and spoke of his successes in parenthood, family, relationships, and jobs, but there was more. Michael was a great man, and his life and achievements showed it. The music was pleasant and soothing to my ear and soul and took me right back to my childhood when I played piano for my father in church to gain my allowance.
|Michael during a Transport for Clancy's Dream|
I learned a great deal about Michael listening to the family and watching people tell their story. Michael was a great man, make no mistake about that and I was humbled by the things he had done with his life. Michael was a dog lover from way back, and he cared deeply about dogs and taking care of them. One of his special dogs was Silver, whom he loved very much and who knows, maybe that's why Michael was led to us.
Michael was our first official foster with Clancy’s Dream. He had contacted us because he wanted to help us with the dogs. No-one knew him and apparently, he found us and wanted to make a difference, and I never asked how he found us, but it must have been fate as sometimes things work in mysterious ways. Michael was a few years younger than me and it was quite a shock that he was suddenly gone.
|Michael at the Vet with a rescue.|
Melody Reese, a Board Member with Clancy’s Dream and I attended the funeral for Michael because it was the right thing to do and we cared a great deal for him. While I am not a fan of funerals and will avoid them at all cost, even mine, I wanted to go. As we walked into the Community Mortuary and Memorial Center, the first thing, I saw was a display with a Clancy’s Dream shirt that Michael wore along with photographs of him with the dogs he saved and fostered that he cared for so much.
|Toby, Michael's first foster before we got him.|
I remember the first time I met Michael when he came down to the farm to pick up Toby. Toby was a dog that had lived on a chain his entire life and knew nothing else existed but his circle of dirt and mud. Toby was groomed and sent to Michael, and the magic started, and Toby’s life transformed. Michael had a gift with dogs, and he would be an essential part of their new life. As much as Michael would have loved to have been a foster failure, he said, “If I keep one, then I can’t help anymore.” Michael put the dogs and Clancy’s Dream before himself and his comforts. Mike always got teary and choked up when each dog left for their forever home, and he worried about each one and would always ask about them and would even visit them. Michael never said no to a foster, or he couldn't help us. He did what it took to take care of the dogs, even transporting them at 7 am across town.
In memory of Michael, Clancy’s Dream has created a special fund to honor him. Michael’s Angel Fund, which was mirrored with the Archangel Michael, who is the patron saint of the sick and suffering which we often see in the dogs we take in. Just this Thursday, we found a Border Collie that tested positive for Heartworms and needs help, and he is living in a shelter and needs us. Michael was a true friend to Clancy’s Dream Border Collie Rescue and all the dogs lucky enough to hop into his truck. His memory will live on.
|Toby in Mike's truck headed home.|
In a small way, I envy Michael because whether we like it or not, this life ends and a new one starts. In my mind’s eye, I have always envisioned heaven as a place where we can be with our dogs, and as much as I pine over mine, I know he did too and now he can visit Silver and all of his past dogs and run with them through the tall grass where no one ever grows tired. I spoke of my Clancy when he first visited the farm, and he knew my pain. Hopefully, Michael will meet him and my Molly, Abbie and even Nellie, Buck, Balti and Oreo because we will forever be connected, he was part of us.
As Melody and I walked out of the funeral home, we talked about dogs needing to come into our fold, "what will we do now, we need fosters." but I knew something always works out when we have a crises because someone is watching over us, and always will and now Michael will too.
Far Far Away, Molly said “Who is this crossing?” while Abbie, Nellie, and Balti walked up, along with a new guy named Buck and a dog named Silver that they just met. Oreo shouted, “He is a rescuer, just like the one who saved me, I can see his heart, it’s pure!” “I can smell the farm, I smell our old home” the others shouted as they met Michael who just crossed the bridge where Silver met him first. Clancy in his somber but strong voice said, “everything happens for a reason.” knowing someday we will all be together.
Rest in Peace Mike, give them all a hug from all of us, we miss them so. Ken