I'm Free...

I was born nearly 4 years ago, and as soon as I was old enough to be on my own, I went to a house in the country far away, I was free from my littermates and sharing my food, but I was free to explore my new world.  I was with a man who was not so nice and tied me to a post in the yard with plenty of chain.  I saw the kids getting on the bus, and later that day, I saw them come home.  They were having so much fun running and playing, and I loved to watch, but I had to guard my little house and couldn’t leave, at least that's what I thought.  I even got to sleep in it; it was nice except when it rains, I kinda got wet and cold.

Several Summers and winter came and went, and I was taken from my chain and went for a car ride.  This was my first ride, I was free.  I went to an inside cage in a huge building where lots of dogs were barking.  They were all unique, and some would go away together after being there for a few weeks.  Some man would hang a big “X” on their kennel door in the morning, and by afternoon they would find a new home because they never came back; they were free, but I had new friends to bark at that very afternoon.

Sometimes I would lose my balance and fall over, and when I would come to, I didn’t know where I was, but things would clear up, and I could walk again.  I saw the Doctor, and he would give me some pills, and then I didn’t do it as often as before, but I remember I would shake a lot and run in place on my side.  They said I had seizures.
“Heartworms” I’ve never heard that word, and I heard from the friendly people who were talking next to my cage, the people who would feed me my food.  They were looking at me but seemed very sad.  Maybe someone was sick, but the next few days were a whirlwind, and I got to see the Doctor again.  The man with the cards with the big “X” was walking down the aisle.  “Pick me, Pick me,” I said, “I want to leave. I want to be free; I’ve been here almost 4 months; pick me!” 

I had to go to the dog hospital and got a couple of big shots in my back, something about that Heartworm word.  It hurt, and no one would let me run and play, but then I never really knew how to do that, but I wanted to try.  “Where am I going? I didn't have an "X" on my door?” I wondered when they put me in a car driving me to something called Indiana.  The lady that took was so nice, I miss her.

Oreo with friends at the farm
“WOW,” I said when I got out of the car.  No cages, lots of room, trees, fields and LOTS of dogs to play with.  I can play, play with the other dogs on grass all I want to, is this heaven?  I’m free!  I slept in the house anywhere I wanted to and even went outside and walked and explored every time I wanted to, but this was short-lived because a GREAT home with my buddy Jessee was waiting for me, and we played. 

Oreo with Jessee
We had so much fun, and they took such good care of me; I was free, which I always wanted, but I got very sick.  Going to the dog hospital, I had so many seizures, and I was so hot because my temperature was 106 and in a coma; I was lucky because some dogs don’t make it when it gets that high.  When I came home, I was confused, I didn’t know where my doggy door was, and I didn’t know where I was at times, I needed special help.  I even became mean to my best friend Jessee, I couldn't help it.  I wasn't as free as I once was, my mind was foggy, and I couldn’t think.  

Elizabeth, my friend in my new home, was so much fun; they were with me all the time and could take care of me.  Life was good until one day it happened; I don’t know why but it did, and I don't know what came over me, I couldn’t think, and my mind went blank; I couldn’t function.  I went back to the farm because something bad happened, but I don't remember.

I met my old friends and got to see my human friends and slept in the bed again.  The next day, we drove to the Doctor; I remember being hugged and loved on; things are fuzzy and confused, but a face I have seen many times was right next to my face; he was always at the farm.  I heard the words "I love you" I shut my eyes, and I was free… Thank you!

"I know you; I have smelled your scent at the farm, have I meet you before?” Oreo asks.  “Only in spirit until now, I’m Clancy.”    "Am I in heaven?"  "You're free, yes, you're in Heaven.

Oreo and I went to the Vet I once worked for in Louisville.  She rode on the front seat, and I rubbed her head and body the whole way down.  She was put to sleep in my arms, and I was with her until the end, I stroked her face and hugged her through it all.  I brought her home, and she rode next to me again.  She is buried here at the farm just a few feet from Clancy,  Ken…

In the middle again…

Well I don't know why I came here tonight.
I've got the feeling that something ain't right.
I'm so scared in case I fall off my chair
And I'm wondering how I'll get down the stairs.

Clowns to the left of me!
Jokers to the right!
Here I am stuck in the middle again.
Stealers Wheel - Stuck In The Middle With You Lyrics

Two times in my life I have been in the middle with dogs, and today I just realized it.

Many years ago, we raised Border Collies as most of you know.  It was so rewarding to see the pups born and to play with them in their early weeks but my favorite times were when they were 6 weeks old.  They form a bond with you, and I became their leader when they were weaned, one of the few times I was in charge of something, just ask Elaine… We had a heated and cooled kennel, and they lived a life of Riley.  

Sometimes I would sit down in the middle of them and let them craw on me and nip my fingers.  They would untie my shoelaces, and if you put them up to your face close to your nose, they would nurse the tip.  Life was GRAND and the puppy breath… nothing better, and every night at bedtime, I would sing to them…

Because of our website and word of mouth, we would get several calls a week from people wanting a Border Collies.  Having restricted litters, we didn’t have extras to sell because of a waiting list.  Whether they got a pup from us or not, I would always try to direct them to reputable breeders that I knew.  Before the end of the conversation, I usually heard the reason they wanted a BC.  Nearly 90 percent of the time it was because they had one and it had passed from a tragic event or old age.  It was always devastating to both of us to re-experience it again.  Usually, they would cry, and I wouldn’t talk much because I was choked up too.  I was in the middle and hated it…

Several weeks ago, I had been going back and forth via email about a family that had to give up their border collie of 5 years.  Not going into the reason, it was necessary, trust me.  When the week arrived for the transfer, I contacted the owner, and we talked the mechanics of the handover.  I notice her voice starting to break, and that was enough for me because mine did too.  I told her I understand because I have been there and we both broke down.  I gave her directions to the farm and said we would talk and walk around the farm, and discuss Clancy’s Dream and assure her that we will find the perfect home, and we will. 

Because of a family emergency and she was on the way from out of state I told her to put her dog in the kennel and someone would be there soon to take over.  When I arrived back, he was out playing with the other dogs and one of our Board members, and he was beautiful and perfect.  After settling in, I checked the bags and material that she left in the kennel that was his.  Exploring through all of it, I came across a small bag paper bag that was neatly folded over.  Inside was a single decorated dog cookie for him.  They had celebrated his birthday early because he would be gone, I gave it, and it broke my heart for both sides.  I have seen this scenario many times.   It breaks my hears, and I know I am a softie and wish there was an easy answer…

When we find homes for the dogs, regardless of you’re a short time foster, or they are with you for a few weeks you fall in love with them.  Just ask Elaine, out of the 10 dogs we have, seven of them were given to us.  When they leave, you miss them and wonder if the new owners will love them as much as you.  Many tears of joy have been shed when that match is made in Heaven.

You see, as a rescuer, you’re in the middle just like when we raised pups.  You see both sides and feel the pain and shed a tear from a tragedy and a success.  Maybe I’m just a softie, but I’m stuck in the middle again…   Ken

Clowns to the left of me!
Jokers to the right!
Here I am stuck in the middle again.