Let's take a trip...

Many times a week, we all may take a trip.  It might be to the store, work, office or just running errands, but we take many trips.  With that being said, I don’t make as many as I use to because we live off two gravel roads.  If we see a car, it’s our neighbor but "this" particular trip, I take often. 

Today, I want us to take a trip together.  We won’t be going to the same place because you have your memories, but we will see and feel many of the same things.   We all know about the bittersweet emotion that most of us carry about, a place, person or a dog from our past.

My journey began the other night as I approached our couch that also has a recliner in both ends.  As always, the dogs follow my steps and will usually come with me to a place where I relax and ponder the future and the past, but this night I didn’t have any followers, or so I thought.

As I went on this journey down memory lane, Clancy, Molly, and Abbie came to be with me.  At first, I was saddened by there memories popping in my mind.  We all have been here, we see our past dog in the corner of our eye we think or see them frolicking in the grass at a distance, but we do see them and it's a comfort.  I remember just a few days after my Dad suddenly passed away.  He was an avid walker, and he walked on a tree-lined road near our home on a bridle path for bikes and walkers.  He wore, what I call “an old man’s hat” with a brim all the way around it and you couldn’t miss him.  Several times after his death, I would see him I thought, but I soon learned that several old men wore the same “old man’s hat,” I once ever stopping and turning around, but it wasn’t him but oh how I wanted it to be.  The very "old man's hat" now lies in my hope chest.

As I sat down and pondered the day, Molly was first to arrive, she walked down the steps and looked at me but went to her dog bed.  It’s still in the same place, and few rarely use it, out of respect I guess.  Abbie was next, she ran down the steps, turning the corner on two legs and came straight to my lap, placing her chin on my leg and looking at me with those big black eyes but them moving to her position where she could watch and protect me.  

Then the Big Boy eased his way down taking each step with confidence and poise.  Clancy rarely got into a hurry unless he needed to, but this night, he went to one of his favorite spots, a chair that was too small for him but he liked it.  As always, Clancy walked into the chair and turned several times and made his nest.

Some Doctors have come to the conclusion that it’s useful to take a trip down memory lane now and then because the end result is to make life seem more meaningful and death less frightening.  Research indicates that when people dwell wistfully on the past, they became more optimistic and inspired about the future.  I don’t know if this is true or not but I do know that when I go down memory lane with the dogs that I loved and lost, it is melancholy but necessary.

As I close my eyes, I can again, stroke their fur and even smell their scent.  Yes, it’s melancholy and wanted.  Although it’s sad to miss them, I know they will always be part of my life and I don’t think I am the only one who would enjoy a visit from our beloved dog that has left such a hole in our heart.  I know each of you has gone down this path before, enjoy it now when you think of that look, memory or even smell, and know that your dog, you see in the corner of your eye has come to visit you.  Peace-Enjoy,   Ken...

“When the shimmer of the past is melting into the presence, spreading a scent of attentiveness and inquiringness, our mind may ask for a new reading of the story of our life. An innocuous flicker from a hazy sequence in our memory lane can affect our current awareness, making us raise questions, throwing new light on our expectations; crafting an airy vision of the future.  ― Erik Pevernagie

Eating Crow...

Many times a day, I see those eyes that say “I don’t like that.”  It’s always the same, but it continuously appears when a new rescue dog comes around for a day or so before it goes to it’s its foster.  Let’s imagine what’s going in their mind.
“Who is this, I hope the new dog doesn't think they are going to get any food, it’s all mine!” Dutchess said with a big scowl.

“Oh No, No.  Those dogs are not going to chase me out of my spot on my bed, it’s mine.” Whiskey perked up.

“”No way Jose, no one is going to take my place on the bed, I was there first and I ain’t moving,”  Gabbey shouted.

“I’m not going to play ball with them, not enough balls in the world for that, I’m not going to do it,”  Shepp stated.

Doc raised his head and, cocked his ear and listened to what was said because he was in the worst shape of any dog that came here and he knew how bad it was, he wasn't saying anything.

The Shepherds were laying together, both sat up and said, “you Border Collies play all day, running, fetching and turning circles and what is this thing about tennis balls and Frisbees.  We are the true workers, we guard the house and keep the squirrels in the trees but we voted, and us Shepherds don’t want any new dogs to take our real jobs, we have purpose.”

Annie and Meg sat quietly and listened to what was being said and hung there head.  I looked at them and noticed they seemed uncomfortable.  Both of them were licking their lips and had averted their eyes, and I knew I had to say something. 

“Really,” I said, “I’m sorry some of you are bothered, you know we help people and dogs that need help and comfort.  Some of the dogs are in pretty bad shape, or they were turned into a shelter, they didn’t have any hope left.”

“That’s not our problem,” some of the dogs said, “this is our home, but we have to share everything, our food, shacks, and even your attention.  The couch is only so big, and we can’t get to you when you have one of THOSE dogs in your lap.”  “REALLY,” I said again “and what do you mean by THOSE dogs.  They have fur, 4 legs, and a tail and even bark like you, they look like you.  It’s you that looks different now,” I said.  “What do you mean,” they said.  “I remember the first day when all of you came to me, you were scared, lost and hungry and nearly all of you had no one who wanted you.  If you remember everyone who spoke up were rescued from some situation that was unpleasant and I took each one of you into my home, lap, and bed and gave you everything you needed AND wanted.  Meggie and Annie are the only rightful dogs that really belong here, and I assure you, the couch is big enough for those two. 

Every head bowed, and sad eyes were everywhere as they looked at each other and suddenly remember there past.  “We’re sorry, if it’s wasn’t for people who rescue unwanted dogs, where would they be, where would WE be if you didn’t open your house and heart up to us?  We promise to be better and help make the new dogs feel welcome, and when they go to there new home, we’ll know that a part of us went with them too, that makes me feel good."  

Everyone is responsible for helping and having a purpose and our purpose is to help, and as I’ve always said, if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem and sometimes we forget where we came from because we're wrapped up with today.  I told the dogs that when you're wrong, eating crow is not very tasty and Dutchess piped up and said: “I bet if you put a little gravy on it, it will be pretty good.”   DUTCHESS…  Ken

Getting Ready…

Many days on the Clancy’s Dream web page and our Social Media pages, it looks like there is not much activity going on.  I assure it that is not the case and as I sit at my desk looking over the two stacks of files on both side of my keyboard, I have to wonder where the time goes.  It’s not that I muddle around, it’s just that there is lots of paperwork and phone calls to make and that’s when we are not busy.

This Saturday afternoon we were planned to bring three Border Collies to Clancy's Dream, and we were making arrangements to schedule and coordinate the task.  After it was discovered that one of the dogs in the shelter in Kentucky was an Austrian Shepherd, it took some of the workload off and we could focus our attention to the Border Collies that still needed transportation but we still contacted an Austrian Shepherd Foundation, and they agreed to help and did. 

Everything was set, and our travelers were to go as planned and on Friday morning we were getting ready to bring the dogs to the farm.  All the paperwork, agreements, and trip ticks were prepared.  Nine people were involved, and seven stops were mapped out in a two-state area and we were all set, or so we thought.

Suddenly snow appeared in the forecast, and it was something we needed to watch with all the miles driven on the small rural roads and the interstates.  As the weather rushed closer to the time of departure when we were to leave on Saturday morning, it was looking bad, and finally, the question was asked, and all of our plans were about to be postponed until later in the week, where we would need to start over.

Messages of some of the people involved, and there were two different groups working together.

Well, the weather forecast is getting worse, Indiana appears to be getting socked in starting tonight and ending Sunday with 8 inches in southern Indiana.  What is your feeling about this?

While I can travel anytime the roads are clear, I understand others have schedules.   I just want to make sure that everyone is safe and without any struggles when they are driving.

We just got this... I don't know, I don't see how it can miss us. Winter Storm Warning in Central Indiana Active for next 2 days · National Weather Service This alert has been updated. Posted 28 minutes ago ...Winter Storm Warning in effect late tonight through Sunday Morning... Confidence is high for the first significant snowfall of the season across Central Indiana. Snow will begin late tonight and continue through the day on Saturday before ending on late Saturday night. Snowfall amounts of 4 to 7 inches will be possible across Central Indiana.

As soon as the roads clear, I should be able to drive any day from Monday on? Could we do this today?

After the question was asked, and after nearly 100 messages, we were going for the transport that same night, but everyone needs to start getting on the road.  Elaine was headed for home from work, and she needed to stop at the Veterinarian's office for some vacations for the pup, We all scrambles but now 4 different groups of people were on the road to make this venture work. 

Everyone kept in contact via messages sent from there phone, so everyone knew where each other were at.  All in all, it went without a hitch, and late that night, Elaine and I made it home with two pups that were good as gold but needed some time to run because of time spent in the car.  While this looks like we’re not busy at times, there is always, always something going on.  I can only thank my Board of Directors and Katy Wilson and Deidrea Wade for helping out.  It was fun to meet each other because this was the first time Katy and Deidrea help with our cause and until again.  Thank you… Ken


That Smell...

Maybe I’m weird, but I have noticed that my dogs smell different from each other.  It’s not that I smell them frequently, but in a sense, I guess I do.  Saturday morning, while we were having breakfast, all of the dogs were around us and would often change places to get a better spot.  Dutchess started it when she started barking when she wanted a bite, but with Dutchess, she always needs a taste of anything and everything, always.  Once she started, that was the calling for everyone to circle around the people, “they have food.”

As always, they sit patiently until it’s there turn to get there bite, but if you drop something, it’s game on, and who can move the fastest.  Dahlia was standing next to me which means her head is next to mine because I’m sitting down.  I put my arm around her and hugged her, putting my face into her fur.   “Wow,” I said to myself she smelled good, and I liked that smell.  It was earthy and woodsy and reminded me of walking in the forest. 
Too Woodsy

Maybe I’m weird, but I have noticed that my dogs smell different from each other.  It’s not that I smell them frequently, but in a sense, I guess I do.  Saturday morning, while we were having breakfast, all of the dogs were around us and would often change places to get a better spot.  Dutchess started it when she started barking when she wanted a bite, but with Dutchess, she always needs a taste of anything and everything, always.  Once she started, that was the calling for everyone to circle around the people, “they have food.”

As always, they sit patiently until it’s there turn to get there bite, but if you drop something, it’s game on, and who can move the fastest.  Dahlia was stand next to me which means her head is next to mine because I’m sitting down.  I put my arm around her and hugged her, putting my face into her fur.   “Wow,” I said to myself she smelled good, and I liked that smell.  It was earthy and woodsy and reminded me of walking in the forest. 

I do have to make a confession, I can’t remember when I gave one of my dogs a bath… Hold on everyone, let me explain.  We do a pretty good job keeping them groomed, but a bath is usually never in the picture because they don’t seem to need it.  The last bath I remember giving any of our dogs is when we were taking Dutchess and Clancy to a nursing home for a therapy visit, and we felt that it would be appropriate.  It was ill-fated because, on the way, Dutchess got car sick and threw up on Clancy, not on the seat, ON Clancy.  That didn’t end very well.

Our saving grace is the lake because of the frequency they get in it, which is often, no matter how cold it is.  On one occasion, I was taking Clancy somewhere, and I took him to the lake and threw a ball into the water.  He jumped in after it, and when he got out, I lathered him up a few times with shampoo.  He was clean as a whistle and to rinse him, I just keep throwing the ball into the water.  It’s not for lack of a place to wash them, I have a dog washroom with a dog tub with hot and cold water and even a collar that is anchored to the tub so they won’t move. 

I have noticed that the German Shepherds do smell different than my Border Collies, and each dog is different in a good way.  

Getting some thought from some people surprised me, I thought it was only me…

"My son thinks I'm crazy because I think our 5-month-old puppy smells really nice. Even when she's wet, she just has this really nice, appealing smell to me. The first day we got her I thought she smelled like dark chocolate, haha."

"My dog's natural odor just smells like home to me. It's a really comforting smell. I can't describe it any other way."

"I love the way my pup smells. Sometimes I smell his head because one day when he's gone, I want to remember how he smells."

"They smell like love, cuddles, and home."

"I love the way my dog smells. He's a greyhound, so in general they are not "smelly dogs" I'm a total creep and sometimes when he's near me, I have to schmooze him and breathe him in. I love it! He has a very comforting smell."

"I do like my dog's smell -- it's a blend of natural light sighthound musk, maple syrup, and corn chips."

One thing about the dog world is everyone and every dog is different.  What works for me may not work with you.  If you ask your followers on social media, everyone may have a different answer and some may be quite unique.  But I'm wondering, how many times do you bathe your dog and what do there feet smell like to you?   Ken


The Witching Hour...

Christmas time is always an extraordinary time of year here at the farm.  While we all say that time is special, it's especially unique during the witching hours between midnight, and 6 am, and this Holiday season, it occurred again.  It started here in 2011 on Christmas Eve night.  I found out I seem to be able to communicate with our dogs in one way or another, but this is the one time I can really understand them.

In folklore, the witching hour is a time of night that is associated with supernatural events. Creatures and animals are thought to appear and to be at their most powerful pinnacle. Magic is believed to be most effective at this time and some Christians, for example, hold that the true witching hour, which they would instead call the devil’s hour is 3am, because it is said to be a blatant mockery of the hour of Christ’s death on the cross at 3pm. 

As I have said many times, I like to walk the paths of Dogwood Ridge and especially at night.  Sometimes, I even travel without a light because of the wonders you see that are different in the moonlight.  Because of my conversation last year with Clancy, this year I traveled the paths nearly every night hoping to capture a sound or glimpse of our boy.  Time was running out and the season was nearly over, and I hoped just to see him once again.  Every day as I walk, I pass the sacred ground where my pets are buried and tonight would be no different. 

As I walked through the tall oak trees, I was getting disappointed, this was the last night of the holiday season, and I was headed to the house, maybe I’ve always dreamed of this, and it’s not real.  I hung my head and walked home with blurry eyes and a wet face.  As I approached the house, I notice the lights were off but, we have a whole house generator that kicks in when the power goes off but it didn’t, and I made a note to get it looked at.

“Don’t come any closer, stay where you’re at” I heard
I remember that voice, was it a neighbor I thought?
As I took a few more steps, I heard it again and saw the silhouette of 4 dogs sitting on the back porch.
“Whiskey, Dutchess, Meggie is that you?  Whose else is there.” I ask
“They are asleep, we’ve come to see you,” Clancy said.
Having lost two of my dogs this year, I was now facing Clancy, Molly, and Abbie but from behind, stepped another dog, and it was Nellie, daughter of Clancy who passed away this past October from cancer.    
I looked around and even pinched myself checking to see if I was dreaming and ask, “as much as I enjoy seeing you, why have you come?”
“This is our home and always will be,” Clancy said. 
Molly spoke up, “I was here first, even before Clancy.”
Abbie then said, “I was your first rescue dog, no one wanted me, but you took me in and loved me.”

And then Nellie spoke up, “I was born here with Abbie, not at the same time but we share a dad, you were the first and last to touch me and I was buried right up there,” looking toward our dog sanctuary.
“We know it’s been a tough year,” Clancy said.  “Molly, Abbie and then Nellie came to be with me and to help with our work. It’s exhausting I know.”  Molly spoke up and said, “I know you don’t understand the things of our world but believe that everything has a purpose, your world is different from ours.”
“Why did Nellie have to leave this world so early and so quick, one day she was fine, and the next day, she was sick leaving her human mother with a broken spirit, it doesn't seem fair.”  Clancy spoke up and said, “it’s never fair, you will never know the purpose for a long time or maybe never, but it’s there.  There was a need for Nellie.  Just look at what has happened since her death.  She became part of our cause to help and save our clan.  This was started years ago right after I died, by You and the others that formed my Dream, this is your statement, Clancy’s Dream  Brings Help and Hope to Border Collies and their Owners in times of Need through Rescue Efforts or Veterinary Care Assistance. 

Don’t you see, there is a plan and now it has expanded because of this need.  As good as Nellie was in life in doing everything she loved to do, it was her destiny to help in other ways too.  What you don’t know, on that Christmas Day in 2008 when Nellie and her littermates were born the plan was changed.  My pup you called “Midnight” was supposed to live, and Nellie was not to make it but because of higher powers and special needs, things changed.” 
I hung my head and thought but spoke with tears, “I remember “Midnight Clear” he was beautiful, solid black pup with a white tip on his tail.  I remember telling Elaine I loved him so and wanted to keep him.  I did the best I could to save him, and for 3 days I coddled and loved him.  The Veterinarian said there was nothing you can do.  He died in my hands, and I had to give him up.  I understand now why he had to leave.”

Clancy stood up and said, “It’s time to go, I wanted you to know why this has happened.”  As the others stood I was hurt, excited and glad that I now know why things happen, I may not understand, but I know there is a reason.  As I stood on the driveway, they each passed me.  I wanted to touch them one more time but dare not, but I smelled their scent once again.  With wonderment, I watched them leave, and from nowhere a little solid black Border Collie with a white tip on his tail stopped to look at me and said “Thank you,”  and then he ran to his dad, Clancy.  Before they vanished into the woods this miraculous night, Nellie stopped and turned and said, “Tell her I miss her too, it was wonderful and I loved that life, but the dream is bigger than all of us.”  As I walked through the back door, the electricity suddenly came back on.

From a post I wrote on December 28, 2008, and now Nellie and Midnight Clear, brother and sister are together again.

"Midnight" passed away tonight.  He was one of the 8 puppy's that Dutchess had on Christmas Morning.  He was so unique as to his color.  He was indeed all black but with the Border Collie white tip on his tail.  He was born with a cleft pallet that we learned about tonight, there is a zero chance of survivability, and he was dying.  It was one of the hardest things I have ever done.  The dogs walked with us to where we buried him and stood guard but watched from a distance.  The cats, as they often do, walked all the way and made sure that he was treated with respect.  I will miss him so.  I know that this is just part of it, but it's the hard part.  The odd thing, I dreamed that we lost one last night.

"The Nellie’s Effect” has been formally set up through Clancy’s Dream to be a driving force to help dogs with cancer and to assist their owner's through the treatment of this horrible disease.  Nellie’s second cause is to reimburse the fees associated with a Border Collie becoming a registered Pet therapy dog through Pet Partners.  Together Nellie and Clancy will spread their love and be able to help even more of our beloved breed.  

Things happen for a reason...  Ken