Dear Clancy...

This morning was just like the morning that we lost Clancy James.  It was nearly a fall-like day, the early sun was bright the humidity was low and like usually I walked the rounds on the farm in the early dawn, but this day he was not leading me, and I was alone.  I pass his grave every day and will always take a glance and say “Hi big boy.” but this morning his grave was my first stop.  I did sit in the Adirondack chair and noticed that the mound over his gravesite is smaller as if he is going away, I cried like a child.  

After paying my respects and our daily chat, I walked the walk we often took many times.  He would keep guard and watch and see everything along the way, letting every dog know it was his farm and it was and always will be.  After walking the trails alone I finally came to the “spot” where he died, I had to go no matter how much it hurt. 

I bent down to the exact spot where he took his last breath, touched it and cried like a child again but on bended knees.  

I lost it and asked why, knowing there is no answer and there never will be.  Sitting in the wrought-iron swing under the wisteria, I pondered my thoughts.  I first thought of the exact day that he left and watched him stumble over and take his last breath.  I remembered how magnificent he was in everything, even jumping off the diving board which was the last thing he did.  It was odd, this morning because of the temperature change and cooler weather, a mist rose from the water, and it was beautiful with the sunlight shining through it.  Was he there? I don’t know, but he was in my heart as he always is.

Dear Clancy…
I knew this day was coming and I thought I was prepared for it, but I was wrong  It’s been a year since your death, and subconsciously I would watch the calendar knowing it was coming, wow how time flies.  I want you to know that I love you and you’ll always be by my side.  I will forever be grateful for your love, loyalty, and demeanor that you had and shared.  You have changed the lives of everyone you have ever touched, and your spirit will continue to.  I just wanted you to know, but I think you already do.  I love you.

By now, you must know that there is always a goodbye hovering in the shadows of a dog. We are never here for long, or for long enough. We were never meant to share all of your life, only to mark its passage. We come and we go. We come when we are needed. We leave when it is time. Death is necessary. It defines life.
I will see you again.
I will watch over you.
I do not morn or grieve, but I will miss standing beside you, bound together on our walks through life, even as I know that there is a long line of others waiting to take my place and stand with you.
Thank you. It was nothing but a gift.
And finally, I ask these things of you:
Remember me.
Celebrate me.
Grieve for me.
And then, when you can, let me go, freely and in peace.   Jon Katz

As I write this, a dog that was given up by his owner that had fallen on hard times is by my side.  He was just staying one night because he was being transferred to a Border Collie Rescue in New York that originally re-homed him and he was going back, and we were the layover.  I had stopped typing to wipe my face because of the tears, he knew something was wrong and wiggling his head under my armrest and laying his head on my leg was something I have seen before from my Clancy.  He repositioned himself and put his two paws on my chair arm and pressed his head into my chest, he knew I was hurting and was trying to help me, and he did.  I cradled his face and looked into his eyes and said “I love you Clancy”  he licked my tears and put his head into my chest…How do they know?  At two o'clock today, Elaine has decided that we will be sitting in the wrought iron swing under the wisteria at the time he left us.  I’m sure we will speak of him and the things he did and gave us, but I’m telling you, it will be hard…

We all have a Clancy, you just need to find him inside your dog, I promise he’s there… I saw it today from a dog I had never met before.  Thank you, Clancy, my big “Clancy Man.”  It's ten minutes till 2, that dreadful time.  We're off to the "spot".  It draws us.  Ken

It's Time

It’s time…Words you never want to hear and especially ever want to say.  When we got the first family dog, my kids were young, and they needed a companion, or so I thought.  After the newness had worn off, the dog belonged to me.  It was during a very difficult time in my life.  I was divorced, and my son Bradley lived with me.  We kept the home and continued to live there for many years, bringing Elaine and her kids into our clan after four years of single life.

“Patches” was a black and white party color Cocker Spaniel, small, cute and loveable.  I never really knew how much I loved her until it was “that time.”  When Bradley would visit his mother, and I was left alone, Patches would sit with me on the couch in the living room and in the dark we would share a bottle of Chardonnay or should I say, she would watch me. 

As I pondered life, Patches would lay her head in my lap and comfort me.  This always happened several ways whether it was her large eyes, her head in my lap or just the presence of something that loved me more than herself.  I will never forget Patches and the beauty and loyalty she had.  When Elaine and I married, Patches was not her favorite thing.  Patches was a lot like Dutchess, but one-way in particular was her interest in the garbage can.  On more than one occasion, Patches would get into the trash and look for something to eat.  Sound familiar?  I was at work and got a call from Elaine, and she said, “Patches needs to go, I’m tired of cleaning up after her.”  I was distressed and told my cousin about the conversation that day, and she said only one thing.  “you can always get another wife.”  Elaine was not amused but soon found out the love that a dog can give you.  Soon after, Elaine and Patches became best friends for ever and ever, and Elaine was the last thing she ever saw...

After retirement, we both work for a veterinarian, she was the office manager, and I was the guy in the back.  It was a great job, and I would encourage anyone to have that experience with animals.  I learned so much, and the Vet was a teaching Vet that taught me many things and the love of animals.

Cocker Spaniels have chronic ear problems, and Patches was no different.  We were able to stay on top of it, but it became too much to handle when she was a senior dog, and I heard the words, “there's nothing more we can do.”  It was time.  During lunch, we brought Patches up to the exam room as we have many times before but this time was different.  We had her at the Vet for some more care that day and made the decision because we could do nothing more.   We stroked her face and told her we loved her and when the time came, I couldn’t be there…

Working at the Vet’s office for nearly 5 years, I’ve seen many animals put to sleep.  It was never painful for the animal, sometimes for the owners and sometimes not.  Some people stayed, some left, and I never understood until it was Patches’s time.  I walked out of the exam room telling Elaine I couldn’t be there.  After it was over, I walked back into the room and again stroked her sweet face.  I carried her back to the back room, and we situated her body in a new blanket along with a St Francess of Assie medallion around her neck and neatly wrapped her up.  We had just bought the farm and soon after, she was brought here and buried under a beautiful tree near our entrance,  She was the first to live at our/her home.

Several years ago, I wrote ten insights from a dog’s point of view, and number 10 was because of Patches.

10. Please go with me on “that” difficult journey. Never say: “I can’t watch, it’s too painful.” Everything is easier for me when you are with me, even death, this is when I will need you the most…and then I know you love me as much as I love you. Your face will be the last thing I will ever see…

I let my Patches down after all she gave me.  You see, it was a mistake I can never take back and will always feel the guilt.  Just this last week, several people called asking the question, “when is it time?”  I wouldn’t answer but gave them some personal experience, one part which was “Go into the room with them.” 

“The Dogs of Dogwood Ridge”
Our beloved pets are buried here.  Please honor them and us
By keeping this site sacred.  We would be honored if you chose
To bury your loving pets along with ours…

Buddy and Donna Teague lost their sweet Annie this week and had to make “that” decision.  She was 17 and ½ and lived with them from 3 weeks old until she passed and she was part of their life and very loved.  They were with her when she was put to eternal rest and it was them who she saw last.  They decided that it would be fitting for Annie to come to the farm and be with Clancy and Patches along with a granite plaque to honor her.  I was pleased and her ashes will be placed with our other dogs, and when they come up to see us from Georgia we can give her a special place and be by the sides of our dogs, and we can sit together in the Adirondack Chairs and talk about the best dogs in the world...
Rest in Peace Annie, you will be missed, Run free sweet girl, run free…  Ken

 “By now, you must know that there is always a goodbye hovering in the shadows of a dog.” Jon Katz

100% sure...

Several weeks ago, Clancy’s Dream was contacted about helping a dog for rehoming.  It was a very unique situation, and my heart hurt for the family who had to make an agonizing decision.   From their email in part;

My husband and I have a beautiful, intelligent and extremely affectionate one-year-old chocolate male border collie. He is a fantastic dog. We've had him for 9 weeks, and we adore him. We've taught him lots of tricks and were planning to use him as a hiking/adventure buddy. However, we are going through some big life changes.  Because of this, we think it would be better to find another home for him. He loves learning and is very smart plus has the infamous border collie energy so we are trying to find him an excellent home where he can get the mental and physical stimulation he deserves.

My mind immediately went back to the time I ‘had” to re-home Shepp and remember the events and day so well.  This is the email that I sent to my dog owners when the decision was made here years ago;

It is with great sadness that I write this email..... Beyond our control, we need to find "Shepard James" or "Shepp" to most of you, a forever home. After much thought and trying every way to make this work, it just won't.  I am not looking for just a home, I am looking for a forever home to love him. If you know me, you also know I am passionate about dogs, and I am even more passionate about my personal dogs.
There has been a lot of thought and discussion at home about this, and it is not an easy decision. The hard decisions never are...I love him too much not to let him live his life in peace.  They always say that if you love something, you'll let it go.  Sheppie, as much as it hurts.   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...

I remember that day so well.  When the new owner for Shepp came to pick him up, as he was walking to our house, I had to waive him off because I was crying so hard.  Later I watched my “Sheppie” leave, the worst day of my life had just occurred.  The people who are making that same decision and following it through today have agonized over this for months, just like I did.  Because I have been in their shoes and know what is going through and the hurt in their heart, as God is my witness, Clancy’s Dream will do everything in its power to make sure that their dog is well loved and cared for.

The couple was driving a little over three hours to meet us last night but just before they got here, I received their call.  “We are going to give it a few weeks and try to make it work, and I hope you’re not disappointed,”  I said, “I would be disappointed if you weren't 100% sure, of course not.”  Today we are going to talk, and they are committed to making the right choice, what ever it is, it’s about the dog.

It takes work to be a great dog parent, sacrificing your time, money and space.  Clancy’s Dream is not here to just rehome dogs, it’s here to bring help and hope to Border Collies in need, which included their family.  
Good Luck to the dog parents and know that your family was the last thing I thought about last night and the first thing I thought about this morning.  We’re always here to help, in any way we can…  Ken

Note:  Sheppie came back to us 5 years later and is still living with us, things sometimes have a way of working out…

Summer is upon us...

With the warn humid weather upon us, we all need to take caution.  Back in 2011, we found how something that I never thought would happen can be so serious.  Several days ago, it was hot and steamy with a high humidity in the air.  Doc found his solace by finding a cool spot right in found the running fan.

Doc was really Hot...
In 2011, it started out with a little yard work with the dogs and I.   I was riding the 4 wheeler hauling stuff around the farm.  As usual, the dogs thought I was just doing it for them and they would run back and forth wherever I was.  It was a sunny day but not particularly hot or humid, about 82 degrees.  I rode over to the lake and I was so proud that Molly was getting into the water, "All The Way In" which she never does.   She even laid down in the water just to get her body all the way under the water.  I thought this was a little odd so I watched her a little closer.  She would attempt to move and walk but couldn't.  Now I was concerned......  She looked at me and I knew she was in trouble.  I thought I was going in the water to get her because she was so unsteady.   She was panting and breathing very heavy and looked disoriented and her eyes rolled back into her head.  Molly was having a "Heat Stroke".  I have read about this many times and knew the signs. This was serious, very serious.

The most common clinical signs of heat stroke are:
loss of balance
excessive panting
roaring breathing sounds
gums that turn bright red, then purple or blue
excessive salivation
a decrease in mental awareness
collapse and death

Take the dog’s temperature. One of the best ways to assess whether the dog’s internal temperature is elevated is to take his temperature rectally. A dog’s temperature is normally between 99.5 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. A dog is overheated if his temperature is 103 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. A temperature of 109 °F (42.8 °C) is usually fatal.  I've asked several people if they would take the temperature of their dog and they were so squeamish, but this could save their life.  Get a thermometer and keep it apart of you human one and use it if in doubt.

I knew immediate attention was required, I just didn't know where she was on the list above list.  She had all the symptoms but the last one and that one didn't seem too far off.  I carried her into the house and laid her down and placed her on the floor and put a fan on her.  She would attempt to move but couldn't.  I got down on the floor with her and stroked her face, just to comfort her and to keep her still.  It seemed that she could not get "cool" fast enough.  

I knew that you didn't want to cool her any faster by using cold water, as it can actually be counterproductive. Cooling too quickly and especially allowing her body temperature to become too low can cause other life-threatening medical conditions, so I just had to wait it out, which we did together.  Little by little she started to get better and would respond to me.  She got up and tried to get in her favorite chair and couldn't.  I lifted her up, and there we stayed for the rest of the day, me holding her paw and rubbing her head.   She seemed better now and seems to be getting back to normal.  If this does occur, and it can so quickly, seek professional help if you are unsure of what you are doing.  We were lucky.  Molly usually doesn't play as hard as the others, I'm just glad we caught it in time.....and she had the gumption to get in the water even if it was uncomfortable and I'm sure this saved her life.  

Nellie Getting wet after a day or work
Make sure you have access to water and shade if you play outside, don't play too long, shorter sessions.  Sometimes they will tell you that they are hot and tired, stop, listen and watch.  They know better than we do at times. 

Nellie drying off...

 Have a safe summer and stay cool.  Ken

Visit us... at Facebook

His clan goes home…

Dear Ken,

We had been trying to find time to bring the dogs down to see you, but at our end or yours it was not working.
Then the notice came: we had a two-week window to organize flights and shipping.
We could not get down to you in that window and then did not want to tell you because with all of your other things going on we did not want you to worry about how the flight was going, etc.

So: the deed is done. Clancy’s daughter and his grandson are now repatriated to the land of their grandfathers. Catherine & Richard

Xena and Jack
Xena, Clancy’s daughter, and Jack, Clancy’s grandson has moved home to his beginnings…  I know this day was coming and it is with sad reservations on my end.  Jack and Xena were part of our life here on the farm and part of our Indiana Heritage, I always told myself, but I knew different, Clancy was a foreigner here in the United States but made the best of it, doing the things that were instilled in his lineage from over 10 generations.

Little did we know that Clancy’s pups would be moving back “home” near Worcestershire a county in the West Midlands of England.  The place where it all started.  It truly is their home because for the last 10 generations this was where “home” of his family was started.

I will miss Xena and Jack for many reasons.  I am a little jealous that they are able to walk the trails of their relatives and the likes of  Ben, the Scottish British Champion '83/'84, International British Champion '84, Craig, International Sheep Champion -76/-77, International Supreme Champion -77, Welsh National Champion -77.  Roy, International Supreme Champion -1953, International British Champion -1957 and much more, retaking his championship line to 1927 and beyond, all in Scottland and Britain.

Malvern Hills, county of Worcestershire, Western England
Clancy was a newcomer here in the United States having only his parents and Grandparents living here, and the rest is back to the other side of the pond.  Just like his past siblings, like them, he made a difference too, not winning any championships but winning the hearts of everyone he touched and the dogs his spirit will save.

Xena and Jack will be living in the Midlands, near Wales and just over 200 miles from the birthplace of his Great Grandfather and near to all of the generations of the Great Border Collies of his clan.  I am so proud of Xena and Jack to be able to walk the lanes of the Greats.  Good luck lads… 

“Hey… who are you bloke? You remind me of me past.”  “I am Clancy, Great Grandson of Delmar Turk but lived in the States.”  “Crikey, happy to meet you, let me introduce you to my mates, Here’s Ben, Roy, and even my chum Craig and all the others of our clan.”  As Clancy looked in the fields of green Scotish lowlands, he saw the many wildflowers with the fragrant of thyme and the buzzing of bees. He also saw the great many Border Collies that were his past.  Now the likes of Xena and Jack daughter and grandson of  “Clancy the Noble and Righteous.” will walk the earthly paths of the land of the magnificents.  Until we meet again…  I will miss you my bonny lads… Dad