"Currently, there are 989 animals in our care, and more are coming in every day. Our shelter is at capacity!" Indianapolis Animal Care Services. September 8, 2018

When you see this word, you sit up and take notice.  Last week some information came across my desk about a nine-year-old Border Collie that was in a very high kill shelter.  The back story was his owner had died a year ago, and he was placed in the care of a family member.  Fast forward to last week and the "Urgent Notice" that was in front of me, and he was to be euthanized in three days.

Apollo's first day at the shelter
In November of 2012, Molly and Clancy had a litter of beautiful Border Collies, and their new owners were very excited to see them.  One particular owner made a trip every week to the farm to see "her" pup and play and kiss it, never missing a weekly visit.  On January 12 of that same year, during an ice storm, they made the journey to pick their pup up and take her home where new toys and a beautiful dog bed was waiting.  The last words spoken to me from the original owner was, "I'm so excited I cannot wait." Three months later, the owner passed away unexceptionally.

Last week, Clancy's Dream kicked into gear for a Border Collie.  We talked to the shelter and got the euthanasia date postponed for two days, and on his last day alive, I was on the way to Indianapolis.  It was a rainy Tuesday morning, and I was in a somber mood for several reasons, and when I got there, they were closed, but we had permission to go in through the back door.  I was met by an attendant who took me right in.  Our Foster Director had already submitted all the paperwork, and all I had to do was an evaluation and take him if he passed.  Sounds simple, but it was very moving, and I choked back tears for several reasons.

It was the largest open kennel that I had ever seen, nearly a 1000 dogs barked at once drowned out any conversation, but before I stepped in, the antiseptic smell was as strong as anything I have ever smelled, but it didn't cover the stench.  Six workers were working diligently to clean and scoop up waste, but it was a never-ending task.  You could tell the dogs that had been there for some time because there was no emotion in there face, the new dogs would jump and try to get your attention, and after passing many dogs, we stopped.

I looked inside and did not see anything but a paw on the kennel door saying, "please." My heart broke again, and my mind was screaming, "how does this happen." I lead him out, and my mind was blank.  He was friendly, his tail was wagging, and he appeared happy to get out, something that doesn't occur too often.  Little did he know that I could have been his executioner, and his tail would have still been wagging until the end.

We went to a large office where I could evaluate him, but it was brief because he was a keeper, you could just tell.  No issues at all, loving, playful, and very friendly, but he had mats as big as baseballs in his fur and had been treated for a flea allergy where they had to shave some hair and treat him with antibiotics.  Every time he wagged his tail, he sprayed urine on me, but I didn't care, Apollo had a new owner, and he was going to a home that will love him like he once was loved. 

Apollo in his new bed
The astonishing thing, he is a smart, intelligent, and beautiful dog.  While there, I was shown some of the tricks he knew, and I will tell you it was more than all of my dogs know together.  Under the urine, hair mats, and flea allergy, he is a beautiful dog both inside and out.  His original owner loved him so much and taught him nearly every trick in the book and would not have ever thought that his dog would end up like this.

The Freedom Ride
When I took him for his "freedom" ride, I had to pause because this hit me pretty hard. I hung my head and asked that question once again, "how does this happen," and there is never an answer.  If you could ride with one of our rescuers or me just one time, you would ask the same question.

Apollo is doing great with a wonderful foster and has been thoroughly updated on his shots, along with a groom, and is scheduled for a dental next week.  He does his tricks again and chases the ball as much as he wants with other dogs.  He is living the life of a king, which he should.  No-one loves your dog as much as you do, and Apollo's previous owner would have been shocked if he knew the treatment that his beloved pet went through.  I do have to wonder if something happened to Elaine and me, who would take care of our dogs, or would they end up in a shelter.  Have a plan for your dogs… 

On January 21, 2012, Tess was put on a Delta flight and flown back to us because she needs a home, and in Tess's world, it was upside down.  Her home was gone, her loving owner had passed away, and no one wanted her. Apollo's world was also turned upside down too.  His owner had passed, and he had not been carried for and was suffering.  He was in a shelter and was scheduled to be PTS the next day.  He was covered in filth and wouldn't ever look through the gate; his life was over as he knew it even though he was still alive, and all he wanted was to share his love and play…

Tess is coming over in October for a play day with her owners, it will be nice to see her again.  While the shelter did it's best, they are limited.  They were dedicated and cared for the animals and did everything they could. It's up to us to help in any we can.  Think about it, how many slips through.  Spay and neuter your pet and don't ever buy from a pet store, you would be encouraging puppy mills...  Ken

Times have certainly changed…

One of the hardest things on the farm is to schedule our vacation.  It is so easy to pick up and leave when you don’t have dogs, and at times I envy that.  We love to travel and have been to all fifty states and camped in most of them and visited many other countries.  If we didn’t have obligations at home, chances are, we would travel six months out of the year. I love to go but also love our home life with our dogs too.

I sat and pondered what things would be like without the dogs when being home when we returned because I always wonder what they are doing.  Several years ago, I installed cameras around the property.  It wasn't for security, it was to be able to see the “kids” when we are away from home.  On the last several trips, I would pull each camera up just to check.  It always goes like this.  “wonder what the dogs are doing?” one of us would say.  “Let’s see” I would answer.  We have even done a  "Face Time" with the dogs and our phones.

The anticipation would grow. “Oh look, they are so cute.” With nothing going on because they are sleeping on the porch and you would say there name as you panned the camera. It was a great relief because you always wonder…   Years ago, it was a challenge because of the differences that Molly and Dutchess.  Being compelling females, they would tussle with each because of their competitiveness, and I could envision that when we were gone, and luckily it never happen because we would always find a vacation spot for Dutchess.  She would stay with our neighbor who also had dogs that love to play in the water and Dutchess had her vacation too.

Abbie and Clancy went on this Vacation several years ago.
It always the same as we are pulling away, I turned to Elaine and said, "wonder what the dogs are doing."  We always look at each other, and a sign of panic comes across our faces, and then we snicker and say, "Oh, they're all right."  But if you have ever left your dog for vacation, you do worry about them, because no one can watch or love them as much as you can but we have been very blessed with our dog sitters.

This year it was a little easier because Molly and Abbie left us this spring.  It was a little quieter because Abbie, of course, was the “action” dog and always would turn things up in a good way, sometimes.  It was nice seeing them on camera even if they were sleeping on the porch and it always made us feel good just to “see” them.

The best part about vacation is not only ae you refreshed, but getting home to the dogs and the greetings and you know you were missed.

Usually, they will meet us at the gate when they hear us, but this year, they were with the sitters sleeping peacefully on their dog beds.  When they did hear us, they ran to us barking and jumping and of course JoJo would talk a conversation in her “dog talk.”  All was good, and everyone was happy to see each other, but “times have undoubtedly changed.  Ken


A Dog's Purpose - Part 2

Several years ago, Elaine and I saw a great movie "A Dog’s Purpose." after Clancy died.   As we left the movie, I try to look at the ceiling and floor but not at anyone.  I tried to put on a brave face, but couldn’t because it hit close to home, very close.  Elaine was crying as we walked to the car and I just couldn’t understand what was so wrong.  Through chopped words, she said to me after composing herself and said.  “I’m too old to see Clancy again, and he won’t come back to me, but to somebody else.” 

A lot of water has passed under that bridge since Clancy passed away and we saw the movie.  Since then, Clancy’s Dream has grown, and things have changed, but a lot of things are still the same.  I always get misty eyed and choke up when I mention his name or tell his story, the love is still here and always will be.

Our purpose, as well as Clancy’s purpose, has changed too.  From the “boss-dog” of the farm, Clancy went from the leader of the pack to the leader of the foundation he inspired.  Many times when  things come together for a rescue dog and a happy ending for a hopeless situation, for no reason or explanation, someone will say, “ you know Clancy had his hand in this.” In my heart even though I think it would be impossible, I do believe it because there is no other explanation and his spirit may be responsible.

Things have grown as to where we save the unsavable, heal the unhealable and love the unloved.  Is this us working hard or a driving force we can’t explain?  When we needed money for a very expensive operation on a dog that was destined to doom and death, money was raised in less than 24 hours, and the excess that was collected will save other dogs.

I now know why Elaine was so upset after the movie, as the dog in the film moved through the lives of his various owners, he helped many people, always at the end of his life.  Clancy came into our life after our first Border Collie was killed very unexpectedly and tragically.  When we went looking for a new Border Collie and picked one out, that one was taken, and only Clancy was left, little did I know that our life and the lives of many Border Collies would change along with the people he touched.  Why did that happen?

It rained so hard, we had to wear raingear in our tent.
Last week several board members represented Clancy’s Dream Inc. at the Scottish Festival in our state.  At first, we were not able to have a Raffel because I didn't know the state law and we needed a permit which takes up to 4 weeks.  Calling and talking to the lady in charge and telling her our plight I got this response,  "I can do this today" and at 10:30 that very evening two days before the event, it appeared in my email when she finished it at home.  Because of the rain, we could not fully set up our displays.  For the entire Saturday, it rained nonstop, and we received nearly 4 inches of rain on that day.  Late that evening, we moved to an inside shelter and set our booth up.  Because we had more room inside, we used things that we would not have used because of the lack of space to lay out our goods. The weekend was a bust, or so we thought. 

"The" fabric
A large piece of Border Collie Fabric was sent to us several years ago from a beautiful person in New Your state, stating "use it as you want."  We did use it as a tablecloth at the festival where an acquaintance of ours saw it.  She lived in another state and asked about it when she saw it on our social media page.  When she shared her request and motive, I was moved to tears because once again, his spirit moved.  The fabric has now been sent to a group of loving ladies that makes clothing for school children in Africa.  Not only will it be made into dresses for the girls, but it will also be made into shorts for the boys and kids hospital gowns as well.  Who would think that "our" Clancy was responsible for needy children in Africa?  Not only did Clancy help orphan children, but we also made enough money from our raffle to save several other dogs. The weekend wasn't a bust, it was a miracle again.

Somewhere, someone will receive a nudge or a lick from a dog and not understand why.  It may be something you may not be able to comprehend or understand at that particular moment.   Be patient with this dog and take the love and kindness that comes from him, but look into his eyes and see his soul, especially through "those" eyes, that will pierce your heart as they did with us.  Delight in the love and licks on your leg and know you will love him, as we did.  You can’t envision the ride you will have if you choose his path.  If you fortunate enough to meet him, we now share a universal love, and please give our Clancy a hug because he is now yours until he will move on to another deserving soul who needs a nudge.  He now has another purpose with you, and someday, you will understand, but look into those eyes and listen to his spirit…  

Through the tears and concerns that Elaine had that she would never see Clancy again,  I tell you, she sees him every day through the dogs he sends our way that we save and love and start his circle of life again... Ken

For more information about the non-profit organization Sew Blessed Kentuckiana and helping children, check them out.  If you would like to donate, sew or be part of a wonderful group of people contact Peg Weedman at the above link.
From one of the members... 
"Notice no two dresses are made alike. It’s Because children in Africa can’t go to school if they don’t have a uniform. Most uniforms cost between 15-50 dollars. If a girl is lucky enough to have one, most of the time that is the ONLY article if clothing she has. Wears it 24/7. And she looks like everyone else. So, if I want to give you the gift of a dress, I want it to be UNIQUELY YOURS. I want you to know you are WORTHY to have your own dress."  


What a Reunion...

After we raised a few litters of Shucks Border Collies many years ago, Elaine had the idea to try to see some of our pups again.  We tried to keep up with all of them and communicated often.  The pup and new owners were always welcome back to the farm to have a play day and let them run and swim in our lakes.  It was fun to watch the pups and children grow up right in front of us.

One day, Elaine had an idea.  What if we have a puppy reunion and invite all of the puppies and their families back to the farm.  “Great idea but you can plan it,” and she did.  What started out as a one-day event in the planning stage went to a full weekend, Friday night until Sunday afternoon.  Knowing she had some culinary experience,  along with running her own restaurant, it was getting exciting.

 Nearly every “t” was crossed and “i” was dotted we were well on our way to our first annual puppy reunion.  It was a fantastic event, friends and family were welcome and even extended family because they all love their dog and were family.  After the first year, it expanded with people bringing their motor home and tents, and we would have a campfire each night, but the kids had to go to bed before things got too rowdy.  I will tell you, you see people in a different light around a campfire where the spirits are free.  Some I remember, some I don’t want to remember and some I can’t remember.  All in good fun and love and stories were shared.

The best part of the puppy reunion was seeing the dogs thrive and the love shared in the “family.”  They were all grown up, and they could do tricks, swim, and dock-dive and everyone had a ball, literally.  This went on for some years until we couldn’t handle all of the crowd and activities. There were classes that were put on by a Veterinarian assistant, microchips were done, and it was a great time by all, even when it rained so hard, we just stayed under the wrap around porch until it stopped and talked about our dogs. Usually, on the given weekend, we would have nearly 150 guests.

We were dog lovers, and we are together in spirit, and that’s what counts and always will because we really are family.  I imagine the day when I cross that bridge, it will actually be like this.

There's a bridge connecting Heaven and Earth. It is called the Rainbow Bridge because of its many colors. Just this side of the Rainbow Bridge is a verdant land of meadows, hills, and valleys with lush green grass.

When a beloved pet passes, the pet goes to this place. There is always food and water and warm spring weather. Old and ill and frail animals are made whole. They play all day with each other in the beautiful sunshine.

They are happy and content, but there is one thing missing. They are not with their special person who loved them on Earth. So, each day, they run and play until the day comes when suddenly, one stops playing and looks up! The nose twitches! The eyes are staring! And Lady suddenly runs from the group!

Ed has been seen, and when they meet, he took her into his arms and embraced her, and his face is kissed again and again, and he looked once more into the eyes of Lady his beloved Border Collie who rescued him, then they cross the Rainbow Bridge and will wait for Liv, together, never again to be separated...."  Author Anonymous (Edited) 

In Memory of Edward Werderits.  Ed was a friend of Clancy’s Dream and loved his Border Collies.  I know we have a connection because of the love we shared with our Dogs.  Rest well my friend and when we meet we can sit together and talk about the best dogs in the world and I will tell you about Molly, Abbie, and my Clancy Man, but I’m sure you already know them…  What a Puppy Reunion again!  Ken