Back Home to Indiana

After driving away from Glen Highland Farm in Morris, New York, Karen and I, both looked out the window and stared at nothing…and we both temporarily lived in another world.
Karen is a friend of the family.  We met her nearly 6 years ago when she purchased a working border collie from us for her sheep farm, and we soon discovered we had the same passion for the breed.  A few years ago, she phoned us and told us about “the most fabulous place for border collies” and turned us on to GHF.  We all dreamed about making a visit to the farm and seeing the dogs and the rehabilitation that goes on there.  When necessary, we have banded together to help rescue dogs, whether it’s getting a BC from an ad in the newspaper or on Facebook.  We both spring into action and do what we can for the dog(s), transporting, purchasing, posting, or rehoming when necessary.  When we were asked to help with GHF and the “Lucky 5”, there was no question; we knew and wanted to go. A large vehicle was needed to transport the dogs, and Elaine and I have just purchased a new Jeep Unlimited, which solved the large vehicle problem.  Packed to the gill, the new Jeep, with barely 500 miles on it, took off on its’ first big road trip to New York, with Karen and I and the “Lucky 5” all crammed safely in.  What a way to break in the new Jeep and so much for the new car smell, but it was worth it, and I would gladly go again if asked.    
After leaving the farm to return home and after what seemed like hours, Karen and I started talking about the visit and our experience at GHF.  About an hour before we left, Lillie Goodrich had invited us to take a tour of the farm.  We all piled into the Gator, and off we went to see the farm.  Lillie was pulled aside for just a short time because of a pending adoption that needed finalizing.  While she was talking with them, Karen and I went through the trails and camping areas.  We saw the dog-friendly cottages on the property, nestled next to the woods, and heard the campers a little further down the path.  Hearing the familiar sound of dogs playing, we found two families camping that has met at the farm for the last nine years to spend their vacations together with their shared passion. 

As we all know, border collies are all about water, balls, and Frisbee's and are the main event; they were in their element.
After chatting with them for a short time, we continued our walk to another tent camping area beside a beautiful stream.  

Meeting up with Lillie, we met the new dog owners she helped and their newly adopted Border Collie.  All were happy, and another success story was accomplished. 
Getting back in the Gator, we drove in another direction; we saw more camping areas with people and dogs having a ball and getting back to nature without any worries. It is truly heaven on earth here.  “If only I lived closer,” I thought; what a way to spend my time helping GHF find loving homes for this remarkable breed.

Lillie asked if there was anything we wanted to see?  After reading about the farm from the website, there was a particular area I wanted very much to see.  Like a kid blurting out a quick answer, I told her what I wanted, and she pointed to the direction we needed to go, and Karen and I solemnly walked to a place most revered and sacred.  

Through tall trees and abundant ferns, we walked nearly 15 minutes to an extraordinary place, passing streams and wildlife; we were finally there.  Nothing can prepare you for this…

Immediately, we parted ways; I went one way and Karen another. Usually, we are very chatty, but at this moment, nothing was said, and the only sounds heard were the trickling of the stream and our sniffles.

No looks were passed between us because of the tears flowing as we each explored the beloved pets' resting space and read the personal notes from the owners.  Even now, it is one of the most monumental moments that I have ever witnessed, and I know I will have to walk this path again someday. 

“Any animal is welcome, cremated or in bodily form or in memorial.  Letters, poems, toys, and personal memorabilia related to your animal are included at the site.  And, visitors are welcome at any time.
The Garden is a place of peace and grace. There is an ease to the solitude with the only wind rustling the treetops and chimes ringing. Each animal is given a wind chime, engraved with its name and date of transition.  Their spirit sings on in the forest as a reminder of their time here.  No sound is sweeter.” 

As we slowly walked back to the Jeep, our last stop was to again meet Lillie, and she took us to the Pond House Refuge.  It is a place where unadoptable dogs permanently live because they have no other place to go.
This is her residence where she lives with her husband John and nearly 20 border collies…   The most important thing I learned about the Farm and Lillie is not only doing they talk about doing what it takes, but they also do it without question.
You can do many things at the farm and many things I have not mentioned because of space, but I will tell you, this will not be my only trip…and it's the tip of the experience.
Why and how did Glen Highland Farm get started? I can think of no better way to let you know than from the founder, Lillie Goodrich, and the rescue dog that started it all…” Luke,” she said, “rescued us as we rescued him. And, THAT healing became the foundation for Glen Highland Farm.  

While there are many things to do at the farm, make NO mistake about their purpose: to help and heal Border Collies, putting them in wonderful forever homes, but this is not all.  

Next Week…What can be done now?
Read Part 4 Here, The Wrap-up

Arriving at GHF, Part II

After arriving, I put the Jeep in park, and I could sense the stillness in the air.  I could hear the familiar bark of our beloved breed, and in just an instant, we were met by a staff member and a border collie at his side.  “Are you here for an adoption?”, “We've brought 5 rescue dogs to you,” I said, and in a flash, a radio check was made, and we were told to pull in the gate and to back up to the “Rescue Barn,” "You are expected," he said.

On the Barn Door
We met a few of the workers and was introduced to Lillie Goodrich, the founder of GHF. As we made small talk, the Jeep was swarmed with caring workers who unloaded the dogs one by one, and in less than 5 minutes, they were being checked and bathed. 

As we watched the transformation, unbeknownst to me, the Jeep was cleaned from head to toe. Our crates were washed out, and everything was arranged back to normal, and the “Lucky 5” had a chance at being normal dogs in a much desired normal environment very quickly.
As I watched and witnessed the work, a staff member asks, “Can you help me with a “once over” body check”?  “Of course,” I said, touching each dog and feeling them with loving hands for one of the few times in their life.  
Vacant eyes sought refuge, lots of skittishness, fear, and un-trust, but the “Lucky 5” was now in the arms of loving, caring people, ready to give them a life filled with love and attention.  
Every dog was checked and washed, and their assignments were made.
We did speak to Lillie, who was directing the operation, and we made some plans for the day but not before everything was lined out…
That night, we were to stay over because of our long journey.  Lillie said, “You will sleep in the bunkhouse,” pointing to me, “and Karen, you will sleep in the reception house.  I hope you like dogs because you will be with several; this is their house.” We were thrilled as we both sleep with our dogs, and it would help with the loneliness of missing our own border collies.
As the afternoon passed, we got to see firsthand a working farm that transforms a dog with problems and issues into an affectionate, loving, and devoted dog that would fit in almost any home.  It was wonderful to watch the current border collies play and socialize with everyone as they lived without any cares.
After dinner, we sat around in an informal circle with some of the staff members that live on-site, and we were joined by Lillie.  In just this short informal gathering, I learned what a real “rescue” was and how well they do what needs to be done to correct a challenging dog and how I have failed in some areas.  Lillie is one of the most talented people I have ever met, with a rewarding background and a very keen sense of dogs.  After everyone had left, I turned to Karen and said, “Wow, Lillie is one of us.” and she is, and much more…
Sleep came early because of being up for nearly 30 hours. I walked to the bunkhouse to be with Quincey, my K9 companion for the night, and very shortly, we both were fast asleep.  I was dreaming about moving to New York, and Quincey was chasing rabbits…Karen was with Simon & Jaz.

I got up at 6 am and walked the farm to see a small part of heaven; the sun was coming up, and the fog was lying low but make no mistake, it is heaven for dogs and dog lovers and me.

We started at 7:10 at the rescue barn, and no one went in until everyone arrived, and everything was in full swing in just a few moments.  The bedding was washed, food was given, floors were swept and mopped, and then the “Lucky 5” was carried to living green grass for probably the first time in their life and "actually" got to walk on it and begin their journey to new adventures.  
Apprehensive at first, they would look for a corner to run, cowl in, and then move again to another.  The dogs did loosen up a little after a while, and Lillie stated that their rehab would take about one year.
It was incredible to see trained personnel work and do things that I didn’t even know about, but they know dogs and how to read them very well.  

Lillie giving instructions
One thing that they also do is to take each group of dogs to a groomed pasture and walk and play with them.  They would run and scamper and forever frolic in the sunlight, and to think, this is part of the handler's responsibility, amazing...  Everyone was in heaven, even me.

There is so much done at GHF for all the dogs, and they even have an onsite home for senior dogs that may need extra care and attention, including an area for dogs that need medical care.  Quincey is an example of this; he was being treated for Heartworms and needed extra rest and slow walks because of the treatment he is getting.  One thing that I saw, GHF spares no expense at the needs of animal care.  It is truly a place where a border collie can get every type of attention necessary to put them in a forever home, no matter how longs it takes or costs. Before we left late that morning, we took a tour with Lillie in a Gator, exploring the camping area (tent and cottages), the creek, Flynn’s Folly, Bullfrog Pond, the Connor House, and my favorite place, the Garden of Resting Spirits, more on this later.

After we had started the Jeep to head home, just as we were when we came in, we were again without words, and there are none to express the gratitude that we have for a dream that has come true beyond our highest expectations.  Ken

Note: During this series, many things happen with people and dogs, and in the end, I will tell you why firsthand...
Read Part 3 Here

The Journey Starts… by Kenny Shuck

Where to start?   Since its conception three years ago, I've pondered this story from one of the worst possible situations to absolutely the best situation but only for a few.  We have done everything to save/rescue border collies for several years because of our love for the breed and the dogs' uniqueness. Wrong placement in a home can be fatal to the breed, and if you have never had a BC, take caution and research them before you get one; they are not for the faint of heart.

But...this story begins here, saving a few...
A year or two ago, I had volunteered to help Glen Highland Farm (GHF) in upstate New York with help or assistance in transporting a dog if needed.  Several weeks ago, I was contacted for some transportation, and I ask Karen Newhall if she wanted to go on a road trip, to which she agreed.  GHF is a Border Collie rescue that focuses on rehabilitation and love, not the quick re-homing of a BC.  They will spend as much time as needed to get the BC rehabilitated and will be sure that the Border Collie is correctly placed, sometimes taking years. If the dog is not placeable, they will live on the farm forever in loving care with the Founder of Glen Highland Farm.

On September 5, 2014, at 10 pm, Karen and I began a journey of "hope." We were to pick up five dogs in Lafayette, Indiana, at the Wildcat Valley Animal Clinic run by Dr. Heather Baker and drive to Glen Highland Border Collie Rescue, an 1800 mile round trip in September 2014.  They were 5 dogs of nearly 40 border collies that were given up after a 3-year court battle, and we called them the "Lucky 5".  

Dr. Baker with one of the Lucky 5

Dr. Baker
Arriving shortly after midnight, we met up with Dr. Baker, who was waiting for us and had the Lucky 5 dogs ready to go on a transport to New Youk.  After meeting and talking briefly with Dr. Baker, we soon found out that she, too, is an animal lover. She informed us that her practice is prepared to handle any large or small animal crisis lovingly and saw this firsthand.  We met the staff and even a potbelly pig that was housed in the bathroom for the night.  Surprisingly, we found him to be quite joyful and pleasant to be around.  Once the five dogs were packed up and ready for travel on our 1800 mile round-trip journey, we had the opportunity to meet the other dogs rescued out of the same facility. They were still there but on their way to other rescue groups.  

In the back of the Jeep, and the last cage they'll ever be in...

Going in for the trip
We were told that all of the rescued dogs that came to Dr. Baker had been given the necessary shots, medications and were spayed or neutered by Dr. Baker. They all enjoyed a good cleaning, the first bath any of them had ever had.  All their records were in a folder with donated Heartworm medication ready to take to their new home.  Everything was done with the best of care, and each dog's needs were donated by Dr. Baker. Dr. Baker stepped up and did what was necessary, something many people talk about doing, but few rarely follow through.

Getting instructions
At 2 am we hit the road, finally on our way.  We had not planned on stopping for food, so Karen packed sandwich meat and bread. Snacks and drinks were also provided by a real friend from Lafayette who has assisted us many times via phone and emails for support, and we finally met for the first time, and they too carried a great love for animals. We were headed east, or so we thought… but 10 minutes into the trip, we need to stop to clean out a cage, one of 4 times during this trip and had to stop for more towels, wet wipes, and disinfectant, but then we were off to border collie nirvana.   If only the Lucky 5 knew it…

The night was somewhat uneventful, and of course, as the sun started to rise, sleep occupied my brain. It was a long trip, but the cage cleaning kept us active. Not one dog barked the whole journey; they were good as gold, but I believe they were fearful because of no socialization or contact with humans, and they were out of their common element. As the hours passed and we were getting closer, we became chatty; one question was asked, “What do you think it will be like?”.  I was a little nervous because I always hope for the best but expect the worst; it’s just my nature…

As we turned down the last road and saw their sign, my heart started pounding, we were there...

I have watched GHF for several years and keep up with them on their Website and Facebook page. Since learning and knowing about them, we made the trip but “Why Glen Highland Farm? What I am about to tell you is from a first-hand view...and meet Lillie Goodrich, the founder, and “Luke,” the dog that started it all, my life began to change before me…

A placard on the front fence...
As there is so much I need to share, but this will have to be in parts…
Read Part 2 Here

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It Had to be Done...

This week, several life chapters have opened and several have closed and each one brings so many emotions to ones state of mind.  This post will be a little earlier and shorter and if you read it this weekend, know that Karen Newhall and I are on a mission to close a chapter that was started over 3 years ago and we will travel nearly 1800 miles to do what we need to do and close a huge chapter…More very soon…

But as I said, chapters do open and close with everyone and they certainly do in my life too.  As most of you know, we presently have puppies with most going home in about 5 weeks to their new owners.  Just a few days ago, I received an email telling me the fate of one of our pups that left the farm last year.  It was involved in a very serious accident and I will tell you, this is an email I hate to get but I am so grateful people trust me and let me know because I do truly care about my pups that venture into this world.  Things happen with no fault of our own at times and I have had it happen here and it’s a feeling that is easily carried on your shoulder.  
Over the years, we have lost several pups to accidents and when I get that notice, it's devastating.  I will tell you, I have cried with every notice and always drift back to the time when they left.   I am so glad that that I am alone when I read it, those chapters close and new ones may open. 

Many times I have said “there are dog owners and dog lovers” but I know you can change from one to the other but I don’t know why, I am the lover but I always wasn't however when that little face looks into your eyes and that little paw reaches for you, extending into your heart, thing change…trust me.

Just recently, I was informed of three families that faced a tragedy with their dog.  In all of the cases, everything possible was done and things did changed for the better, but not without struggles and inconveniences to all involved, including the dog because “it had to be done”.

There is that little spark that kicks in and common sense is not always present but in most cases, the end justifies the means and in your heart, you know it’s the right thing to do.  As we travel to Glen Highland Farm tonight, I’m sure that the struggles we had will surface in our conversation and the burning images of past visits to a puppy mill will also surface too, but there is a great satisfaction knowing we did the right thing for the things we love…Run Free everyone Run Free…Now you can...  Ken

I went out to help some dogs today
To give them a really good life
To take them away from the life that they led
And free them from trouble and strife

I thought I would do them a favor
And be a good person to them
And go do my bit for the country
I didn't go out on a whim

But what do you think really did happen?
The day that I did my good deed,
I discovered a love that I’d dreamed of
And fulfilled in myself a strong need.

I helped the dogs that I care for,
I see things that I needed to see.
Those lovely dog that I rescued
Really ended up rescuing me...

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