Letters from Ernie, the follow-up...

In 2009 "Shadow," a Border Collie born here at the farm, came back to us from his first home where he had lived for a year. I will never forget that call I got that day. "Hello, I have a problem. I got two Border Collie from you, and it's not working out. They run all the time, and they chase my neighbor's cattle, and the neighbor told me he was going to shoot the dogs if I don't keep them off his farm." That very day, "Shadow" and his brother came home, back to the farm.  A few weeks later, I got a call from a family who wanted a Border Collie and was interested in "Shadow" and he found his forever home...  His new name was Ernest Dextor Archer or Ernie to his friends. Ernie wrote every Christmas telling how he was doing, and I always enjoyed the letters especially from a dog's point of view.

Several weeks ago, I got an unexpected letter from Ernie, telling me he was sick.  This week, I got another letter, this time it was from Addie, his sister.

Daddy Kenny and Mommy Elaine (Ernie told me I could write to you, I hope it is ok!)

Bubby Ernie, my dog brother, asked me to write you yesterday to tell you he was "going home," even though I thought he was already home!
He has been having a bad day about every week or so, then he would be great, and we would even run a little in the yard. Mommy thought he was going to heaven about 3 weeks ago, and even called in sick to be with him, and she slept on the floor by him. He surprised us all that next day and got up easily, and seemed to be ok! Mom felt bad for calling in, but just enjoyed the day with him.
Ernie and Addie, best friends

Saturday, I was outside, barking at Max, our doggie neighbor, and Daddy said Ernie just bolted outside, and ran to where Max and I were at the fence. For some reason, yesterday morning, Ernie only would eat or drink if Daddy held the bowl up. I later heard Daddy tell Mommy, when she got home from work, that he wondered if the cancer was putting pressure on his neck, and bending down to eat/drink made it worse. (If you ask me, Ernie was just milking it, trying to get extra attention!)

Mommy noticed that Ernie didn't greet her at the door after work, but he seemed happy and wagging his tail at her. Later, she saw him struggle to get up, which is how it is at times for him, but this was worse, and he fell right back down! Mommy was so sad! She used a towel around his lower back to try to get him out to potty, but he just couldn't stand by himself.
I heard Mommy tell Daddy, when she saw him in the exact same place yesterday morning in his bed, she knew it was time. You are right! Time to feed us, hello!

Mommy called in to work, and she was sobbing like I have never heard her do. Daddy is sooo sad! (He always called him Ernie Boy.)

Mommy made a few calls, but I couldn't hear what she was saying, but she was still crying on and off. She FINALLY fed us, but literally, hand fed Ernie. When I saw that, I stopped eating, and then she started hand feeding me as well! Hey, this is kind of nice!

Around 10:00, she came back with some ice cream. I knew, as soon as I saw that, one of us is going to heaven! (It was a vanilla Frosty, cause she told Daddy she didn't have enough time to go all the way to DQ!)

"The" Ice Cream...
Ernie lapped it up, even though he left his head laying on the bed. I ate mine in record flat time, and Mommy gave me a little of hers! It's always bittersweet when we get ice cream, because not always, but sometimes, Mommy comes home without one of us! I hope it's not me!
Ernie and Addie saying goodbye

Mommy told me to "tell bubby goodbye," and I went over to him in his bed, and kissed him! Mommy got a great picture that she said she will always treasure!

Daddy put me up in the bedroom, and I was like, "whew," it's not me. 

Mommy and Daddy came back about an hour or so later, she was sobbing, Daddy crying, and I just looked and looked, but no Bubby!

Mommy told me we will see Ernie again, and that made me happy! I can't wait until Ernie, and I can go running with Mommy again!

I did hear Daddy tell Mommy last night..." when you first brought him home, I wasn't sure, he was a lot bigger then our other dogs, but he ended up being the best dog ever!"

I will not take that personal, because, hey, I know I have some issues, and I agree Ernie was the bestest bubby ever!

Addie Lynn Archer

PS: I heard Mommy and Daddy talking about sprinkling something "at the farm," not sure what that means, but I do love me some sprinkles on my ice cream!

I will miss the letters from Ernie and especially his point of view of the world.  He has a rough start but found a loving home and a wonderful life.  When I got the notice he had passed, I was speechless and broke down.  How can you love a dog so much?  Some people will never see or understand that but some of us do and I feel sorry for the ones who don't.

The x-ray that found the buckshot where Ernie was shot.

Run free Ernie, you were greatly loved by many.  Some of Ernie's Ashes will be sprinkled at the farm and he will be with his father, Clancy.  Until we meet again...   Ken

Read Ernie's letters he sent to me.


It's all about the dogs...

On November 28, 2013, I watched a video that someone sent to me, and while I don't usually look at things I'm not familiar with, I watched this one for some unknown reason. In 20 seconds into the video, I was balling my eyes out. Large crocodile tears were running down my face. My heart hurt in more ways than I could imagine, and it changed my life. When I watched the video, I was amazed at the love, help, and determination, and it was apparent there was more, much more to come. Sad tears became happy tears. "Lucas" was only eight weeks old, and he couldn't walk, but many miracles occurred in his short life and mine too.

 It was about a Border Collie scooped up from Craigslist with a birth defect and needed help. Glen Highland Farm in New York picked up the slack and took the dog in, and many months later, operations were done, much therapy was given, and Lucas ran again and was living a life full of joy, and he was loved by many. 

Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly
And the dreams that you dare to
Oh why, oh why can't I? 

Little did I know the impact it would have on me and the journey I and many others would make three years later when Clancy died. Because Lucas needed help with his seven surgeries, I made a donation, and while it was only $10.00, the effect of love and compassion reverberated throughout my soul, and I never forgot it. Ten months later, Karen Newhall and I were at Glen Highland Farm transporting the Lucky 5 to them because we knew they were the best.

I learned many things from GHF, but what I will always remember, never give up, never give in, and know your mission. When Clancy's Dream started, we reached out to Lillie Goodrich and GHF for advice and guidance, and of course, she helped, and we still communicate and assist each other when we can, all because of a video.

Instilled in me was the lengths that GHF would go to to save Border Collies, which was passed to the staff of Clancy's Dream and me. Many times, Border Collies with medical issues are put down almost immediately if/when they reach a shelter or pound because no one wants them. We have taken in blind, Heartworm positive, pregnant, injured, and deaf dogs. There is always that small urgency of fear that comes into my mind, but in every case, when we get that call, the dog is fostered and rehomed immediately. It's because of the love and compassion people have who make any organization work.

While this has been a whirlwind trip, it's all worth it because of the happy faces and loving heart that is always inside every dog; sometimes it takes time.  Nearly 3 years after I watched the video of Lucas, my life and the lives of Border Collies changed for the better when Clancy Passed away.  Life can be cruel and is, but we are who we are because of our past, and you have a choice.  Many years ago, I wrote this; "Life is not about what I have done, what I should have done, what I could have done, it's about what I can do and what I will do."  When I donated those $10 dollars, I did something and although, it was just a smidgen of what was needed to help Lucas, I took a step, and because of that, it set in motion great things for the dogs we love.  At the end of the video, the donors are mentioned and on the last page is my name, and I was so proud, but in reality, I did something.  Please watch the story of Lucas.  Ken

I contacted Lillie Goodrich about the lucky five. All are adopted but  

After landing at GHF, it was clear she was quite the fence jumper, so she needed constant supervision as she learned the ropes of life with humans.
A semi-feral BC, she had never received the kindness or connection that normal BC's long for and flourish in so off to foster care in Vermont with our most skilled person.
Ana blossomed step by step over TWO years there; however, one fateful day, the sound of a lumber truck sent her scampering under a fence…gone in winter for 4 1/2 months.
A night camera, wildlife net, and continual diligence all hours of the day and night by the foster family found her. So, back to GHF as a Resident in a specially built enclosure to keep her safe.
It worked, and Ana was set to reside forever in rescue. She stayed back at GHF for TWO years.
Then a funny thing happened when the fosterer came to say goodbyes with our impending move from NY to VA in 2019…one look at Ana, and she asked to take her HOME. Now at age 11, Ana is more content than anyone expected, sliding right back into the family's home with a pack of GHF BC's…Ana had a BIG journey but, thankfully, landed right where she belonged.


A notice About Glen Highland Farm
Dear Friends of the Farm,

Almost 20 years ago, we launched Glen Highland Farm to meet the exploding numbers of young Border Collies landing in bad situations. We created a facility on 175 acres with a team that tackled every challenge, determined to succeed and right the wrongs for this special over-popularized breed, creating the largest BC rescue in the country. To date, and thanks to your support, GHF has helped over 3,000 innocent dogs make their way to new lives. 

We now invite you to come
with us in a NEW CHAPTER for GHF.

As aging Border Collies emerged in record numbers, we opened The Senior Sanctuary seven years ago and, more recently, tailored our full focus to rescuing only dog's age 10 and up this age of dog needs lots of time and oversight and with our medical expertise, we are the perfect answer to help them where shelters and other rescues cannot easily handle long-term care.

Our hearts break watching them struggle to understand what they have done wrong and why their person is gone. But, we see their hearts HEAL by reigniting that special spark so deeply inside every Border Collie… to work, to focus, to DO… wanting to be active. THIS is what makes an aging BC want to go on! Our goal is to make that possible whether they are waiting to be adopted or live their life out at GHF.

However, upstate NY winters are brutal for almost half the year, no matter how hard we try to make winter easier on the older dogs. Dogs stumbling, sliding, and falling on ice hidden under inches of snow; white-out blizzards with whipping winds frightening the dogs; five-minute outs in -20 temps morning and night with dogs lifting feet to avoid pain as paw covers won’t stay on; accidentally pulled muscles and injured backs as dogs attempt to right themselves in the snow; dogs unable to move due to severe pain made worse by bitter cold. With severe orthopedic issues, winter injuries can sadly lead to life and death decisions earlier than needed. Even Caretakers and Volunteers rely on ice crampons to maneuver outside without injury. And winters are getting worse, year after year.

So, to give our Rescues the best possible life...
GHF will continue our journey, moving all the dogs to Virginia for a gentler climate that favors them year-round: 15 flat acres and warming sun that allows them to be the best of who they are - energetic, focused and busy Border Collies for their remaining years! 

We invite you to continue with us in this new chapter and help us help the Senior Border Collies… innocent in the human drama that leads to their abandonment... they have no chance, without all of us! 

Thank you for your caring and giving heart, supporting GHF to be the best it can be for this breed!

Lillie Goodrich & John Andersen

Hold on, to me as we go
As we roll down this unfamiliar road
And although this wave is stringing us along
Just know you're not alone
'Cause I'm going to make this place your home

Settle down, it'll all be clear
Don't pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found

Just know you're not alone
'Cause I'm going to make this place your home

Settle down, it'll all be clear
Don't pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found

Just know you're not alone
'Cause I'm going to make this place your home
Phillip Phillips