Spring is headed our way...

Spring is here
Spring is my favorite time of year, the grass starts to grow, the days get longer, the lake gets warm (but it never makes a difference to the dogs) the mud dries up and most importantly the mower starts again.  During the winter months, not much machinery runs for various reasons but summertime is game on for the equipment.  Once the season starts, the dogs think that every time I walk out the back door and walk to the pole barn, it’s only for their sole pleasure.  Just walking in that direction starts the excitement.  If they are laying or sitting anywhere in the vicinity, their eyes get big, ears perk up, prancing is everywhere and some ever start to bark.  Some will take off running and jumping the ornamental fence even if the gate is open just because they can.  The others will run nearly 30 feet and stop and wait but barking all the time.  Whether it’s the tractor, Gater, chain saw, blower or lawnmower, if it goes varoom-varoom, it means to start running, and they don’t know where, just somewhere.

Somedays are not good...
As we all know it can be dangerous.  Years ago, one of our first dogs “Max” was running alongside our neighbor’s 4-wheeler and he got so excited, he turned the wrong way and they ran directly over him, they sped to our house and Max followed and he was good as gold.  They were so apologetic, but everything was fine, and Max wanted more.  If I cut grass, they will lay a ball or a stick in front of the mower so I will have to stop and play and I will tell you, there are times when I don’t see the ball and boy does it fly across the yard if I run over it.  I’m sure they have figured it out and think I drive a big ball launcher and it is their personal toy.  The thing that worries me the most is when they run through the woods during the first of the season.  They will weave in and out of the trees, not really watching the trail ahead, only each other and I can’t imagine the processing that is going through their brain in milliseconds.  “Just be careful kids” is always on my mind and shouted it at times but nothing can break them from running and having a good time.
This Saturday afternoon, I ask Elaine to help me with straightening up my office, just to “start” the process and assist getting a handle on it.  I have things in piles and drawers that need some organization with lots of catching up with Clancy’s Dream.  I found my first digital camera in the bottom of a drawer that was a whopper and when I opened the battery cast it had corroded because of the old batteries.  Just as I raised it up to throw it in the trash can, I thought I need to check for the memory card.  Low and behold, there was one in the camera and when I looked at it, they don’t make that size anymore, so I tossed the camera back in the trash.  As I continued to clean out the drawer, I found the adaptor to download the information on the camera.  First, the computer would not recognize the card and I had nothing but trouble, but I was now captivated.  After many attempts, I finally got it to open and download…

I was shocked and dumbfounded because I found 19 photos and 3 videos which are priceless to me that I never saw.  They were 15 years old and it is the only video I have of it…if I only knew then what I know now…
We all rush around and overlook the things that are really important to us and miss the things that really matter, and I am at the front of the line with this and if anyone should listen, it needs to be me.

When I saw the video, I actually gasped and then a tear ran down my cheek and whenever I watch it, it still happens.  Oh, how things have changed.
You see, the real things are free and nothing or no-one can buy happiness or peace of mind and if you try, the more you spend the deeper in life’s debt you get.  We worry about what others think, we worry about what they say and what they think of us and what really matters is what makes us happy and should care less about their concerns and take care of our inner self.   The best vacation we ever took was a cross country trip for three weeks and it was free except for the gas and food and we even carried a cooler and ate out of the back seat and it was majestic.  We saw all the sights and out of the “100 places in America” to see, we saw eighty-nine of them, and I would go again tomorrow if possible and it was free.  In hindsight, every planned vacation was expensive, and we always came back more stressful than when we left.

Henry David Thoreau: "Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder."

The short and only video portrays our first dogs that were “free to a good home” and they brought to us so much happiness.  What started out as a lap companion for Elaine and deer-chaser for the farm, turned us into what we are today.  I can’t even imagine where we would be right now if either one of these events did not happen…. Funny how this stuff works…  I’ve always said that “when you throw a rock into a pond, the ripples may be subtle, but they can last forever.” And they usually do.  As I’ve said before, because of Max, our life, the lives of others, our children and children of our pup owners have and will be changed because of “free to a good home.”

Max, our first Border Collie
The camera was discarded nearly 15 years ago and was nearly thrown in the garbage twice, but something made me check it and because I did, I was swooped back years into a simple time that shaped my life forever.  Look around and see what you might be missing, it just might be priceless, I know I now have.  Thanks, Max and Lilly…  Ken



In August of 2015, I got an urgent call; someone found a dog and made a desperate call to the national “Blind Dog Rescue Alliance,” who contacted a Border Collie Rescue in New York who contacted a friend who contacted me with the following message…  We need help!

A dog has several issues described from the caretaker to the rescues, he was;
Abandoned in a neighborhood
Fell off a retaining wall into a yard and was injured
He was terrified and ended up running into the brick wall.
Front paws look torn open.
May have been beaten.
He is limping
His fur is matted
No shots or Heartworm medication
They are desperate
He is not housebroken or leash trained.
Please help; we are hoping for rescue, we cannot keep him
but and he is Blind

“He is very sweet” was the last comment from the caretaker who found him, and he was hurt from falling off a retaining wall nearly six feet off the ground.  The person who found him also contacted their local Vet for help and to see if anyone recognized him and reached out to everyone, but no one came forward.  Once I got the caretaker's contact, I sent an email to inquire about him to see if we could help.

If I have learned anything about finding good homes for dogs, it can be tough at times and nearly impossible to find that right home, even for the perfect dog.  “Do I want to get into this,” I thought, and “am I going to have another dog?”  I knew from the get-go that this was a hard one, probably impossible, and I did have doubts and concerns, but this guy need help.
A date was set for him to be transported to a Veterinary in Louisville for his shots/tests and surgery.   I drove to Louisville and met the caretaker and Rocky at the Vets office.  The family was wonderful and had their children with them who were very fond of Rocky, and I noticed a few tears from the kids during their last goodbye.  

He is a beautiful dog, perfectly marked for a border collie, but he was very nervous and scared.  “Can I help him?” I said under my breath as I looked at this broken, handicapped, and scared dog.  Because he was blind and he needed to go to the surgery prep area, I picked him up, held him close but noticed he leaned his head into my chest for comfort as we walked to the surgery area.  After the surgery, I drove back to Indiana thinking about the problems that may arise, the biggest one that came to mind… Where will he live?
That night I added a post to my Facebook page hoping for just one inquiry, someone who could care for him, love him, and give him a chance to live but also help him see through his blind eyes.  His outlook was dreary at best.  The next morning, I went to the computer and punched up my Facebook account, hoping for one inquiry but expected nothing.  Our Facebook was on fire; I had nearly thirty-five thousand “likes” and “shares,” something I have never seen.  Hundreds of messages were sent, even to my Gmail account, but why?  After starting to read them, they were inquiries about Rocky; people wanted him!  After answering what I could, I started making a list of people who I checked out that seemed like a good match.  I was very upfront about his disability because he needed a loving/caring, and knowledgeable home that understood about blindness and how to care for him, and this still might be hard.

A family was looking for a second dog to be a companion for their senior dog and had planned to pick up the dog at the farm, but on the very day, the wife was involved in an automobile accident, and plans were drastically changed and put on hold. After she recouped for what seemed like a long time, she saw a notice about an available dog on our Facebook page.   I tried to stress the trials and potential problems of having a dog with these special needs.  She explained to me that she worked with children and adults that are blind and work with service dogs.  “Why wouldn’t I want a blind dog?”  Rocky was cleared to go to his new home that next Saturday.

Nilla And Rocky meet again at the Rainbow Bridge.
Rocky was the joy of their life and traveled in the front seat of their Motor Home and was not now scared to move, and he has developed into a confident dog that is truly happy with his companions.

Rocky, Guinness, and Bear, this was their last trip together.
Several days ago, I received this; “Say a prayer for Rocky; he isn’t doing well. It’s hard that we aren’t home, but I’m glad we are all together, and my Mom is with us. Hoping and praying he will come out of it overnight but suspect he is slipping away.”  Later that night, Rocky and Nilla were reunited and are running pain-free. Guinness and Bear are going to miss their brother greatly.

Rocky was a bling dog that had countless health and physical issues and overcame all of them with the help of his human parents and Bear, who is another blind dog along with Guinness, all from Clancy’s Dream.  He was a great Motor Home companion and always traveled with them to faraway places.  This particular trip was Bear's first one with the crew and Rocky’s last one.  He was cremated in Gulf Shores, Alabama, and brought home and will be buried on their farm, forever with them.

Rocky took "His" spot in the Motor Home for his final journey back home.

From my point of view, you have to wonder how all the pieces are put together to make so many complicated issues so simple.  Look at all the obstacles that were involved with Rocky, but because love, attention, and companionship overpowered the bad, Rocky, Bear, and Guinness have lived and are living a wonderful life.  Don’t think we are in control; higher powers are always at play, and the love for each other and our pets can overcome many obstacles if we would just listen; Unbeknownst to me, Clancy's Dream was already in the works; a year before Clancy died...  Ken

“With great love comes great heartbreak.”  Katie and Brian Crawford
Rest in Peace, Rocky. 3-17-2019

After Rocky had passed, I contacted the caretaker who found him years ago and told her the news.

"Thank you so much for finding him the best home! Also, thank you for letting me know about him! I was just telling a lady I work with about him last week & have been wanting to reach out to you to see how he’s doing. It’s sad that he died, but so heartwarming to know that he had a great life for the past couple of years!!! I very much appreciate all you’ve done!!!"

More from the owners;

“One of Brian’s favorite stories about Rocky occurred shortly after we got him. Our senior dog Nilla loved to bark at UPS/FedEx drivers but knew he wasn’t allowed to in the house. One day we heard him and another dog barking outside. Rocky hadn’t yet barked in the time we had him.  We went to look - Nilla was barking through the fence at the truck, and Rocky was standing near him, facing the wrong way barking right along.

When we first got Rocky, he was scared of every new voice and would cower behind us with his tail tucked. Even voices on the television startled him. Over time he just blossomed and would let everyone love on him. He felt at home at our house, at Nana’s, and in the RV, meeting many new people through our travels. Little kids were drawn to him, and he was so gentle when he let them pet him or walk him.

Rocky was Brian’s constant companion as he healed from a workplace injury and subsequent surgeries.   Rocky fought hard through the pain with teeth that needed to be removed, a cyst on his hip that needed removing and the resulting wound that took a while to heal, knees that easily dislocated, arthritis, and battling Ehrlichia twice. Through all of that, he was never snippy or whiny. He just kept trying and letting us help him.”