Saying Goodbye, Adiós, Arrivederci, Shalom…

This week we had someone drop off a dog at Clancy’s Dream.  It was unusual because they just showed at the house because they heard about us.  After getting things straightened out, paperwork was completed, an evaluation was done and the dog passed with flying colors but the owner didn’t do very well.
To give up a dog is one of the most stressful things a dog lover can do.  You feel guilty, hurt and even feel like a failure.  I know, I have been there.  Nearly six years ago, I had to do the same thing with one of mine. 

From June 2011
“That night I tried to go to sleep, it was a bad night.  I might as well-of-been Ebenezer Scrooge.  I saw all three ghosts, and they weren't very friendly, especially to me.  There wasn't any redemption for me. They always say that if you love something, you'll let it go.  Sheppie, as much as it hurts, and as much as I try to put you out of my mind, I can't.  I want you to be everything you deserve, and I know you will.  You'll always have part of my heart.  Run Free little fellow, Run Free...”  This was the hardest thing I have ever done...

Most owners who leave their dog wants to know how thing are going.  They ask for updates and photos because they want to know if everything is OK.  Some don't want to know, and while I have seen this before, it is unusual.  When I got Dahlia nearly three years ago, I had been asked to help find her a good home.  The owner was a friend of a friend, and I helped because of that, and I liked German Shepherd dogs, poodle, maybe not have happened…

When I was getting in the car to leave, I asked Dahlia’s owner, “do you want updates.?” “No,” she said, “just let me know when you get home.”  Walking away, she was crying, and I knew she cared and was deeply hurt but why wouldn’t someone want to know?…  I always wondered and pondered that thought.  After re-homing Sheppie, I wanted to know how he was doing and called the new owner, just to check.  We even sat up a day where I could visit because I cared and loved him and it was the worst thing I did.

Shepp wasn’t my dog anymore, and I needed to know that.  As we were leaving from the visit with him, as we were backing out the drive, Shepp leaned into his owner showing his attention.  It was a painful ride back home.

When the dog was dropped off this week because they couldn’t keep her. I ask the same question.  “Do you want updates?”  “No,” she said, “find her a good home and give her a hug from me.”  We starred at each other in the bitter cold for a few seconds, and she reached out and hugged me.  “I trust you, and I know she will be OK.”  Flowing tears from both of us and I drifted back to my time with Shepp, I understood so well.

Last night as she sat in my lap in the recliner,  I stroked her face until she drifted off to dreamland and knew the previous owner was thinking about her dog too.  She is well, warm and cozy but remember one thing… I understand and have felt your pain as many others have.  But also know we will do everything for the dogs we love…   Ken


A Christmas Visitor…

"Christmas is always an extraordinary time of year at the farm.  While we all say it's special, it's especially unique during the witching hours between midnight and 2 am, and this Christmas Eve was special.  We all seem to be able to communicate with our dogs in one way or another, but this is the one time I can really talk to them."  From my Christmas post in December 2011

December 2011
“IT’S CHRISTMAS MORNING, SANTA'S BEEN HERE,” the dogs all said in turn. “It’s barely past midnight,” I said,” let’s go and see, Let’s go and see.  I know he’s been here, let’s go, let’s go, LET’S GO,” they all shouted. 

December 2011
Midnight, Christmas Eve 2017…

This year was no different during “this” witching hour…
“Did you see him?” Abbie asked.  “I saw him not once, but twice and he was watching all of us from over by the big tree,” Dutchess revealed.  “I see him all the time, maybe because I was with him the longest; we grew up together,” Molly said.  “Who are you talking about?” I said in a confused tone.  “You don’t know?” they all asked.  “Who are you talking about? Tell me!”  “Clancy,” they all shouted.  “Quit kidding me; I'm telling you, this is not funny and something I don’t want to talk about,”  I said. “But did you look? Not with your eyes but with your heart?” Meggie ask.  “I saw him when I had my cancer surgery; he was with me,” Gabby also said. And then Abbie spoke up, “I see him all the time. He told me that when it’s “my” time, because of my illness, it will be OK.  He’ll go with me so I won’t be afraid.”
Abbie and Clancy
“ENOUGH!” I said. I walked outside into the crisp night, not knowing if I was hurt, sad, or frightened. Maybe all three, why haven't I seen him?  I love to walk the trails at night when it’s cold.  It’s refreshing and peaceful. You see things from a different perspective because of the moon or the darkness of the night, especially when you walk without a flashlight.  Many times I’ve said it's spiritual at night, and tonight would be no different.

Walking through the tall oak trees after midnight was clearing my head.  There is always something moving in the forest at night, rabbits, squirrels,  little critters scurrying about, but not tonight.  I didn’t hear anything except for the occasional sound of a breaking twig from behind.  I grew emotionally exhausted, and I stopped at my favorite place. Sitting by Clancy’s Grave in my Adirondack chair, where I often find comfort and peace.

“I’m not there” broke the quietness of the night.  I snapped my head away from Clancy’s grave in the direction of the voice.  “What!” I said in a confused and bewildered tone to my voice.  “I’m not there.”  Again I heard it and was nearly speechless. It sounded so familiar.  “Clancy, is that you, but why, why are you here?”  I asked.  “You said yourself on the very day I died” “I want him to live forever…somehow,” pausing, "and I did, and we all will because it’s the master plan.” He said. 

Still seeing nothing in the darkness of the night, I continued, “But… why are you here?”  “It’s Christmas,” he said, “we always speak on this special day, remember?”  “I do remember, maybe, but, but, but...”  “When I died, you wrote that I was the protector of the pack, but more importantly, I was a mentor for the rescued dogs that were lucky enough to enter the gates at Dogwood Ridge. Now I will lead and watch from far away; my spirit lives on,” he said.  “I do remember,"  I said,  "... but why did you leave when you were so young?”  I asked.  “That’s simple," he said, "there was a real need for us to help, look at all the dogs we've been able to save, where would they be now if I hadn't died and the foundation wasn't formed?”  “Your life was for them?” I asked.  “Yes, it was for them,”  he said.

He continued by saying, “I was with Elsa when she was hurt and left for dead until a man "just" happened to see her in the snow in the ditch.  How do you think she was found?” he said.  “She is safe now and has someone to love her.  Luna was re-homed seven times before I sent her to you.  She was your first for the foundation; she could have been put to sleep as many others have been; she needed you. Think of the many we have helped since I left, and Oreo is never far from my thoughts.”  I didn’t know what to say, but he did;

Luna, the first dog to come through Clancy's Dream

"There are many things you will never understand on this earth.  Sometimes we never realize the plan that is laid out for us until we experience it.  Throughout my short life, you have groomed me by showing me the change that can be brought about by helping other dogs, and I have seen the result of that help. We became a team, and if you remember, I have always watched over you from a distance.” 

 “That’s right, you did, but I thought you didn’t want to join in on the fun,” I said.  “That’s not true; there was a higher calling for me, for us. I was learning about things that are more crucial than playing. The need to help other dogs." 

“Will you stay?”  I asked.  “NO, you don’t want me to.  Just look at the difference that was made in a short time I have been gone and the many dogs that were helped.  Think of the dogs that were saved and the over-population that didn’t happen because people are not always responsible.  Most importantly, look at the happy families and the dogs that live a life where they are not chained up or living in a shelter for a short time before they are…”  I interrupted. “I know, I know, I can’t stand to think about it.”  He ended by saying, “I am your protector and the protector of “my clan,” and there will always be more to do, always.”  “I will miss you; it’s been tough,” I said.  “It’s tough on all of us," he replied. "Especially on the ones we can’t save, but it's “our” calling and our purpose to try.”  “You are always in my thoughts, and I love you so, will I see you again?”  I asked.  "You see me every day in the dogs we save, look with your heart, and you will see me too. I still watch you from a distance like always.  The day I left you, when I crawled into your bed that early morning to sleep with you, I  knew I was saying goodbye to this physical life.  I dreamed and saw days like today.  Love my clan; this is our calling.”  Again I asked, “Will I see you again?” “Of course," he replied,  "We will walk together someday, and you will be a spirit like me, and then you will understand.” And he was gone, again...

As quick as our conversation had started, it ended.  I had only heard his words. I thought I was going crazy, maybe even dreaming.  As I turned and walked toward the farmhouse, I was mystified and confused, but I saw a white tip on the black tail of the dog that I love running through the darkness in the distance.  It soon vanished, but I heard that familiar bark that I hadn’t heard in over a year.  The wind-chimes over his grave started tinkling, and I knew it was Clancy.

Returning to the house, the dogs were fast asleep until I opened the sliding back door.  I had so much to tell them and couldn’t wait.  “I SAW HIM, just a glimpse, but I saw him, do you hear me, I saw Clancy!”  Dutchess barked, wanting a snack, Doc jumped up wanting some attention, and everyone wanted something, but no one understood me because the morning was well on its way.  Molly from her bed, raised her head and stared directly into my eyes, and bowed her head in reverence.  

Molly and Clancy were inseparable.
Christmas is an extraordinary time of year at the farm. 

No greater love is there than to lay down your life for your friends... which is the highest expression of love.  Merry Christmas,   Ken.



I received an email from someone who had heard about our organization and that we would help Border Collies that needed help.  The email told of a young Border Collie that needed help in the worst way.  Not only was she abandon, but her rear leg was severely broken, and she could not move from the snowbank she was in.  The email was from a rescuer worker with another breed but wanted to help because she, as all of us do, doesn't want any dog to suffer.

Searching social media, I found the person who picked her up in a post he wrote.  "So on my way home this morning I somehow spotted this little girl laying in the ditch covered in snow with a severely hurt back leg covered in mud and snow unable to walk like someone threw her out of a car, she is three to four months old! She is warm n toasty in our home now. Poor baby,"   "Vet said she definitively was hit by a car, shattered and disconnected her entire leg from the hip."  Many phone calls were made, help was offered but who will pay for the immediate care?

When I saw her photos, I hung my head and wept.  "How can this happen,” I whispered, “how can anyone dump and abandoned a dog with a broken leg in a ditch in the snow?”   Time was imperative because of the severity of the injury and decisions were made because we had to move.  

A few days earlier at the annual meeting of Clancy’s Dream Inc, we discussed many things.  Its purpose was to let all the board members know the expenses, failures, successes and where we can point ourselves to a bright future and help more dogs.  Before we started the foundation years ago, no-one had experience managing an organization, and we started on a shoestring and a prayer.  We have re-invented the wheel several times because there is not a “how to be a successful dog rescue for Dummies.” book written, but we surged forward.

Reports were made, and thousands of dollars in expenses were used during the year, not counting food and supplies.  So this year we will need to up our antie on the work we do and to work smarter to save Border Collies because as word of Clancy’s Dream expands it also expands our actions, involvement, and expenses because of the need that is always there.
Something I wish everyone could see is the joy when everything comes together for the good of the dog.  The cost doesn't matter, and that just vaporizes when you see the good that has come from placing a dog is a loving and healthy environment and having the time of their life.

Elsa who was named after the charter in the Disney film “Frozen” because she was abandoned and left in a ditch in the snow and is recovering well according to her new owner.  It was a long recovery and she needed to learn how to walk again.  Usually, three-legged dogs will adapt very well, and I know she will too.  It’s often the people who help and see the tragedy of the situation that has a harder time.  I know in the years I have been involved with the rescue, many scenes flash through my mind that I will never forget that I wish I could.

Elsa did not come through Clancy's Dream because she was adopted immediately, but we reposted the events on our social media that unfolded every day and donated to her medical cost.  When a fundraiser was started many people flocked to the site to help Elsa.  The one thing that I was so proud of was the people that support us also supported Elsa and her recovery.  We all can't do everything, but we all can do something.  Just in the past few years, we have had several dogs with major surgeries and even amputations where the dog's life was nearly 100% better and they lived a normal life.

Thanks to all who have helped Clancy's Dream in the past and to the people who have stepped up to the future.  Without you, we wouldn't exist nor would dogs find homes and lives changed, I know mine has.  In 2019 we saved and rehomed over 60 dogs, doubling the number from last year.  Over $25,000 was spent in medical procedures alone, not including grants for cancer and medical assistants that were awarded.  All of this done without an adoption fee, there is no charge for a wonderful home no matter what the cost was that we incurred.  Thousands of hours were spent with paperwork, travel and coordinating ever movement of every dog.  In the end, it's all worth it because you know you made a difference.  Ken

A letter I got…

Two years ago, we got this letter and while it breaks your heart, it is so true and common.  This very day, another dog will be traveling to his new home and while everyone who met him wanted to keep him including Elaine, he has a wonderful home waiting for him.  I will never understand how this happens but grateful there are people who will jump in and help to save another.  

“Melody Reese referred me to you. We found a border collie in an abandoned area and brought him home a few weeks ago, and we have tried everything to find out who he belongs to. The animal control gentlemen said where He was found is a hot spot for dumping animals. He was pretty skinny. You could feel his backbones and tail bones. He seems to get along great with other dogs and just wants to be petted, loved, and played with all the time. He gets along with our 3 dogs great. Our 3rd dog is a male and doesn't like him for being a male, but this dog still tries to win him over. We were told by Melody you have a rescue that would take amazing care of him. We don't want him to end up on the streets again and want him to have a great home. Here he has to be separated because of my boyfriend's male Labrador. We also worry, because we live off a road that is 55mph and he will try to run around to check everything out, and we're scared he'll get hit. From what Melody said, you are located in Indiana. If you are able to take him, I will do my best to figure out a way to get him up there. We just really want him to have a great home where he can run around and have so much love.  Thanks”

 We got this message last week, and at first, I check our foster rescues homes to see what is available because we are full and it might not work.  Luckily, our rescue dogs are scheduled to go home to their new homes as soon as we can coordinate their transportation, and this might work. 

Sadly this is not the first letter we received that has similar wording.  Scared, fearful, hurt, cold infected and even euthanasia are words that are common in the correspondences we see.  Always fearful of what we may get into, not of the dog but because of “what will we do if we can’t find a home” is always lurking in the shadow.  The last time it was mentioned, a friend of our organization that has a large rescue organization has 17 Border Collies that are unadoptable and live on their farm, and with my 9 dogs, it would make it challenging to keep others.
Just when you feel the concern running through your mind, you get that email or call.  “We lost our Border Collie and are looking for another.”  After explaining what and where we are at, including our current situation, they are interested if everything works out.  This has happened many times, and I have even written several blogs about the “miracles” that have happened.

When Elaine got home and “the dog with no name” jumped out, I was shocked… She had prepared a pallet in the back for him to ride comfortably on but when she pulled up to the garage, he was riding in the front seat and smiling.  I ask how he did she responded “beautifully”  He wanted to be near her, pawing her arm and trying to get as close to her as possible.  He was starved for love and attention and just wanted a normal life as we all do.

Last night, we headed out to the trails in our woods to walk off any urges that they may need to take to get ready for bed.  We had a full moon, and it was spiritual to see the splendor of the Creator in all of his glory.   As “the dog with no name” went with us, his tail was wagging, and his coat was shining in the moonlight and was happy.  He literally would prance and jump with joy, as he ran with the other dogs.  He was happy and safe and had a home even if it is temporary with a bed waiting for him that very night and no more abandonment, hunger or cold.  In the weeks he was abandoned, where did he get his food, water and where did he sleep, God knows and the very sad part, there was a second dog that would not come close to his saviors after many attempts and has vanished, hopefully, he's safe.

The postscript to this story is a potential new family that lost their Border Collie several weeks ago is traveling today to meet “the dog with no name, ” and a match in heaven may be made.  This morning I got up to this message from the savior who helped him find his salvation… and I'm sure he will have a name soon.

“Aww, I'm so glad he made it there. Did he do good on the car ride? I know he was whining a little bit when I put him in your wife's car. I felt bad because we had kind of gotten a little attached to him in the 3wks. But we also know he will have a better happier future where he's never abandoned again.”  
Thank you, everyone, you saved another…   Ken

The things that are normal around here…

Over the years, I have obtained a new vocabulary in sayings that I picked up since I have dogs.  Just like a parent that learns and says new phrases when they get children.  It’s not typically something you may say until you have kids or dogs.  Some can be the same, but some are entirely different.

“ Don’t get a cookie”  you might tell your child and something you tell your dog is usually the same.  “Get off the cabinet” or “Get off the table.”  It's something that is said here at the farm on a regular basis.  

Just yesterday, I was upstairs and heard that tell-tell nose that all dog owners can pick up.  I was typing on this blog when I heard the rustling of plastic.  In the short time it took me to run down the stairs, an empty plastic bag was on the floor, and every homemade dog biscuit was gone.  Three dogs were within 10 feet of it and just wanting to know, I smelled their breath hoping to discover “who” was the culprit was.  No luck…

“Don’t eat that.” or “don’t roll in that” is a common occurrence here at the farm too.  We spend thousands of dollars on the best food that can be bought and they turn their nose up at it.  But what do they eat?  

How many times have we seen them eat mulch, sticks, rocks, deer-duck-rabbit or sheep poop?  It’s like candy to dogs.  We give them the best, and they treat us to the smelly breath of their favorite poop, what a treat for us.  Once, Clancy came to the back porch with a gift for everyone.  Don’t know how it happened or want to know but he came prancing up the lane with the hind leg of a deer, and everyone was excited but me.  Go figure…  

“Don’t stand there” is something I say a lot.  As you try to sleep, they will get into bed and make themselves comfortable laying on top of me.  I just wonder what they would do if while they are in their dog bed, I decided to get on top of them or scoot them off and take their place, they probably wouldn't care.  

While I do enjoy the closeness of a dog sleeping with me, I also do enjoy my space.  Once, for whatever reason, most of them wanted to be near me and I was being smothered.  At 3 am, I got up from the bed and went to the couch where they could be close, but I would have some breathing room.  I still had a dog on my lap, but I could at least breath.

This is said every day… “I don’t need you to help me poop.”  Dogs are fascinating creatures, and they love smelly things.  I know they want to be near us but really, can’t I go to the bathroom by myself and at times I need a little privacy.  As soon as I enter the room, here they come and stand in a semi-circle, ears perked up and prancing around.  Some have even stood in my underwear.  It’s like they never seen this before and they will watch with such intense and bewilderment.  They poop, it’s natural, but I try to give them lots of privacy, I don’t even shine the light on them if it’s at night.  One of our dogs is very private, and I have only seen them go to the bathroom twice, and they were at a distance.  I guess I should have run toward them and said, “what are you doing, need some help?”

You can brush them, take care of their teeth, wash them and ever put bows in their ears on some dogs.  But the best thing they can do to pleasure themselves is to roll in a fresh stinky pile of critter crap.  I can see them and even smell them 100 feet away, and it’s usually after a bath or brushing.
As I said, dogs are fascinating.  In some of the things they do, I will never understand, but at times I have to step back and wonder, “where does that come from.”  Ken

A very difficult week…

A day late with the blog and I will tell you, I am exhausted.  It has been both a mental and physically exhausting week.  As fall quickly approached and the choirs are piling up, I was running out of time and know not everything would get done.  At the first of the week and as I do each year, I will populate some of our forest with maple trees.  Brown County Indiana is known for the fall colors that are produced throughout the fall by the many colors of the fall tree foliage. 

When we first built the house, we planted many varieties of maple trees for that very reason.  As time has moved on, the trees have grown, and in the spring they send out seed pods.  After sprouting and leaving the saplings alone for a few years letting them get a few feet tall, I will move them to various parts of the forest to produce even more trees on their own with lots of fall color.  The falls rains have been pretty severe this year throwing me behind schedule, but we are making progress.  We have had visitors at the farm along with planting new grass and cleaning gutters, but we will manage. 

Clancy’s Dream has been overwhelming with paperwork and meetings, and at times I will be at my desk for eight to ten hours with paperwork and phone calls.  If it weren't for Leah Lamb, we would never make it as she is a God Send for us, taking care of all the internet work and getting us on Amazon along with working on several other sights promoting Clancy’s Dream.
With everything going on, as most know, we took Gabby to the vet for what we thought was a simple removal of a fatty tumor.  The news was devastating when we found out it was cancer.  With all of this going on, I purchased a new computer for the foundation and have had nothing but trouble with it.  After many three to four hour conversation with Dell and replacing the week-old hard drive, it has been determined that it needs to go back to Dell for repair and it’s only one week old, always something…

With all of this going on, and while in my safe zone in my recliner Sunday evening, I saw Gabby across the room staring at me.  She looked so pitiful with her bandage, and I sensed she needed me.  I only had to tap my armrest, and she came running to me and dove into my lap.  In just a few seconds, Abbie also joined me in the recliner and curled up right next to me.  What I see is two sets of eyes looking so intensely at me and soothing my mind from all the activity racing through my head and in an instant, all is good in the world. 

Two dogs with cancer are at peace without a worry in the world and are living the dream, and at times I wish I could be like them.  No problems, live and love to have fun, play and eat, sleeping well and running hard and enjoying a good nap many times during the day.  All of which I need to do.  I can’t begin to tell you how they all improve my life just by wanting me but what no one knows, is that I need them when my life is upside down…   Ken

Dog doors and stuff...

I don’t know about you, but with the weather is getting cold, I worry about the dogs when they are outside.  I always think they are just as chilled as I am and still fret about them.  The one time I worry about them is when they get into the icy water to get a drink.  Mine are notorious for getting into the lake and drinking, not standing with both feet on solid ground but always getting in the water for a drink of water.  
Even Molly gets into the water to drink
Several times in the winter after they got out, the water on their fur would freeze, but they never seemed to mind.  Now if you give them a bath and the water isn’t warm, they raise a fuss, go figure.

I installed dog doors in the garage and the utility room door that leads into the house.  This fall will be the first time that they have an opportunity to use them.  They are so used to zooming out the back door, some still have the need to make a race out of it barking and nipping each other as they run out to the driveway which is a calamity, to say the least.

Dutchess leading the charge
Some may remember a dog house I made for Doc several years ago.  It was very sturdy and looked pretty sweet.  I worked on it for about 3 weeks, and it had an all-weather dog door on it and was thoroughly insulated and warm, what more could a dog want.  I soon found out. 

Dutchess Helping
Never used
Everyone helped me with the doghouse, and when it came together, we all rejoiced.  The unfortunate part, Doc never went inside it, he always laid on his dog bed that was outside.  I did get a bed that plugged in that had a built-in heater, he did like that, but the dog house was out of the question, never to be used.  I would sell it, but someone would need a forklift to move it, it’s cumbersome and very heavy.

After I installed a dog door to the attached garage door and then one to the utility room, it was open season.  Once they traveled the "tunnel of happiness," it was an open door policy to the Shuck house.   All in all, it has been a very good experience for the dogs.  They get to come and go without any problems, and I get no quiet time.  I want them to be able to have the comforts of home but also do the necessary things that need to be done.  Not every dog will wear the hinges off the dog-doors as like Abbie.  She will want to stay outside and survey her domain but the others love the house.  Because Abbie likes to lay near the outside porch steps, I will move a dog bed to where she is so she will be comfortable.  
Probably looking at the dog door
Just this morning before posting this, after Doc got off "my" bed, I let him out the sliding door.  As I turned around, standing to meet me was Doc after going through the two dog doors and returning.  "Really," I said.  "No way you did your business" and back out he went.  Thank God for a cover that blocks the entrance.  He loves the inside...   The things we do. Ken

It’s 3:30 am…

It’s 3:30 am and do you know where your Border Collie is?  As a matter of fact, I do.  Elaine was in Louisville helping her dad with some Doctor appointments for a few days, and I was tending to the house and all the chores which have its ups and downs.  First off, the good part is you can leave the toilet lid up which also may help if the dog’s water bowl is empty.  

You can watch what you want on TV, eat what you like and, when you want to.  Sounds like a sweet deal.   The bad part is if you run out of toilet paper, there is no more.  If you run out of dishes, no one will wash them, and no one will fix my drink if I have a dog in my lap.  Life can be tough, and it was.

Related image

After staying up and watching the Discovery channel (no Hallmark channel tonight) at about 1:15 am, I was tired and ready for bed.  Usually, Elaine will take her group of dogs with her to her bedroom, and I will keep my team with me which works out nice, not too many dogs for any bedroom.  But Thursday night was a little different because they all stayed with me.  My area is a little unique because it’s our finished family room with a full bath and kitchenette and 2 sitting areas along with a king size bed.  I call it my apartment “B” and I love it, but we were crowded with Elaine gone and I had all of the dogs.

Everyone was happy, dogs everywhere with some on the floor and some on the bed.  Doc was outside because he likes to sleep in his dog bed when it’s not cold, all was at peace.  Just when I was dropping off to my deep sleep, Abbie suddenly jumped on the bed near my head.  She was more loving than usual, rubbing her head on my neck, laying down and staying close to me seeking attention.  In just a few minutes, she changed places and turned around a couple of times and laid her head on my back this time.  I was exhausted and didn’t mind too much.  It was loving, and I enjoyed her company.  This went on for 20 minutes, and I said “you really are affectionate tonight" as were several of the dogs.  Earlier Molly had climbed onto the bed and was working up between Annie and Gabby which is unusual, but nice.  Several dogs were walking on the wood floor, and I could hear them but thought nothing about it but wondered was going on.

With just a hint of sound I heard, I opened my eyes wondering what it was and then saw the problem… Lightning was flashing along with some very distant thunder, nothing terrible but they could tell.  Trying to calm them down was a chore because I had nearly every dog in bed wanting protection.  Everyone scooted closer smothering me, and it was time to get up and go to the recliner, the bed wasn't going to work.  While I was up, might as well take the dogs out to potty.  Doc was at the back door and came in, I felt sorry for him, what's another dog?   It got a little worse outside, and Shepp started going into the zone, so upstairs we went to get his “storm medication, ” but the only problem, it needs to be given one hour before and storm…ugh…  The storm lasted only 30 minutes or so, and I was wide awake, so I leaned back and attempted to get some sleep.  Nothing worked, and I was wide awake. I went to the cupboard and got a half bottle of Jack Daniels and supposed a night-time toddy would be in order.  

After watching TV and getting interested in something and having the rest of the JD, it was snack time at nearly 4:30 and Cheerios were in order.  After a large bowl with some almonds making it was a healthy snack, I was getting sleepy.  If I went to bed at that very moment, I would have two hours of sleep, seems like enough I thought.  Morning came with a vengeance in a very short time.  I awoke to dishes everywhere, an empty bottle and two dog messes to clean up which is very very unusual, must have been the Cheerios or Karma.  The lighting and thunder were gone except in my head.  Everyone was safe, but there was still no toilet paper on the dispenser.   What a night…   Ken  

You may never know…

“Elaine …  ELAINE … ELAAAAAINE … “WHAT,” she said in a panicked voice from upstares, knowing something was wrong.  “Can you come here?” I ask.  As she made her way to the family room in a hurried pace, I had two visitors in my lap.  Oden and Guiennis were stretched out, one facing one way and one the opposite, sound asleep and in doggie dreamland.  “What's the matter,” she quickly asked.  “Can you get me something to drink?” I said and looked at the dogs and looked back at her saying “they're comfortable.”  Smiling back at me, “I understand” and off she went to get me something.  I will tell you that I pushed that a little when I wanted another and asked again while holding my empty glass in the air but she helped out but not without a small scowl.

The life of a dog rescuer can take on many faces.  You are a hero on the one hand and a villain at times when you can’t help, or it is impossible.  Many don’t understand what we do or how we do it because they just see the surface and think we can do everything.  Oh, how I wish we could wave a magic wand and fix all the problems with all the dogs.  It’s usually not the dog’s problem, it comes with the surroundings or settings in the past home.  All in all, we have had great success trying to get them back where they need to be.

 Sometimes things are pretty hectic with dogs being introduced into the pack of a rescuer but they nearly always work out, and everyone gets on track.  The one thing most don’t know is the attachment you get with the dog you’re taking care of.  Nearly every foster we have used has adopted one of Clancy’s Dream’s dogs, becoming a foster failure.  You learn all the tricks they know, including counter suffering, or ball playing.  It’s always fun to see them come out of their shell blooming into a loving creature.

At times, rescuer’s are apprehensive about getting a new dog to care for and then, you fall for them, love them and see their loving heart that at times was buried deep down somewhere in their soul.  It’s always a great day when the right family is found, but the downside for anyone who took care of a dog is the small part of their heart that leaves with them.  Most times, Elaine wanted to keep the dogs that came through Clancy's Dream because they were unique.

The one thing no one ever sees is the heartache you get when they do go to their new home after you fall in love with them.  You keep saying they will be OK but always wonder.  Just several weeks ago, an exceptional dog came into one of our fosters that was sick.  Everything was done, and every attempt to fix the problem was made, and after many weeks, the dog died.   A separate cremation was arranged, and the ashes were transported to the farm where we had a ceremony that was private along with our dogs, and the sweet soul was laid to rest in the folds of the farmstead and around Clancy.

Noone knows what we all go through to help dogs in need.  The ups and downs, the love and the pain, but without the help of many people, it wouldn’t be possible.  The sad part, there is always more to follow, but we’ll do what we can.  We love them like they are our own, sleeping in our bed and running and playing with our dogs.  As I write this a 16-month-old purebred BC has his paws on my chair waiting for me to play ball with him, which I will until he goes to his new home very very soon.  I will miss him as I do with all of them and each has take a part of my soul.  Ken

A Beautiful Day…

Early Thursday morning of this week. I walked down the driveway toward the end of our lane to get the mail.  As usual, I veered to Clancy’s gravesite for a visit and I stood there soaking in the early sunlight and the cool breeze and reflected on the events of the past week and the things to come in the near future.  As always the windchimes were talking, and life was good.  I pondered for a moment and soaked everything in and felt good and in an audible voice as if I was speaking to someone, I said “it’s a beautiful day,”  and it was.

A friend of ours was coming over to our house and dog-sit for the day because we were heading out with friends.  When she arrived, bad news came with her.  She and her Veterinarian were treating Sapphi, her dog for an aggressive form of cancer. 

Sapphi is one of her beloved Austrian Shepherds, and just a few days ago, I saw her, and she was doing good, but since then, things went south... very fast.  As soon as our friend got out of her car, she said: “it’s time, the Vet is on the way.”  “Sapphi” had just an hour or so to walk this earth as she did many times before.  She smelled the last fragrances of the things she loved and rolled in the leaves, getting ready for her next venture.  While walking with her owner they walked the trails on the farm and said their goodbyes along with cuddles and kisses and all had a peaceful and treasured day to be remembered. 

When the Veterinarian arrived, arrangements were made, and Sapphi and her owner went to a spot that comforts all of us in times of need and reflection.  Her burial cloth was laid down, and her owner and Sapphi sat on top of Clancy’s grave where Sapphi rested in the arms of her beloved owner and closed her sweet eyes and went to sleep.  A moving moment for all and for anyone who has traveled this road.  Smokey her true brother and littermate was always nearby, and when the owner was weeping as we all do, he went to her and kisses and consolidated her telling her in his own way “all is ok, ” and it was.  It was time, and we all have been here if we have pets.

As we all sat and stood by and waited for her transition to her other life a slight wind blew, and the sun was shining through the open canopy with the wind chimes singing as if we were being spoken to and I'm sure we were.  Sapphi was welcomed home by a Border Collie friend she had and knew from this farm, our Clancy and her human father, Mark.  After she was interned, we stood and knew the correct decision was made and how peaceful and delightful Sapphi life was and knew everything was right.  With the birds singing, chimes speaking and the wind blowing our friend spoke of the 16 years she shared with her beloved pet and said “this is a beautiful day, ” and it was.  Rest well Sapphi, know Smokey is OK and give our big boy a hug from us.

Sapphire and Smokey were littermates
Annie and Fi were also laid to rest here at the farm the same weekend.  Their ashes were buried and placed in the cherished area of the spirits of our dogs.  They all have a sacred place somewhere else that we don’t understand but someday will and until then we can sit together in the Adirondack Chairs and talk about the best dogs in the world...  It truly was a Beautiful Day…   Ken