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