Sometimes when you
least expect it, life takes a turn that leads you to exactly what you've
been searching all your life to find. Glen Highland Farm is one of
those momentous occurrences that dramatically changed two lives and
hopefully, many hundreds more that will touch this place thanks to the
dogs whose spirits led us here and forever changed our path.
|Glen Highland Farm is a dream long in the making.
A gorgeous 175 acres of rolling countryside, it is a place for dogs and people
to join in nature.
|Glen Highland Farm now exists.
starting here in February 2001, thousands of dogs have visited this
Farm, whether as rescue so
be rehomed or vacationers coming to summer camp, the Farm has impacted
numerous people. For me, I have had the opportunity to work
with 3,000 dogs in rescue; in camp; teaching seminars and in animal
communication sessions. My sense of dog has broadened and deepened
to a remarkable level. While I am not a dog trainer, I do believe
that my innate and intuitive experiences with this breed and others
provides invaluable insight for what we do at Glen Highland Farm.
As of 2012, close to 2000 dogs have been saved and now reside in loving,
forever homes. An additional 30-40 are living onsite with us,
running through the grassy fields and acres of paddocks, residing at
night in a cozy 200 year old barn and lovingly being cared for until the
perfect family arrives. These wonderful dogs find their way to us
in various ways - calls from shelter staff concerned about a border
collie; owners who know they've 'got the wrong dog' and concerned
individuals who want to help dogs in distress plus we actively network,
linking ourselves with fellow rescuers.
Our goal is now 150 - 200
dogs per year. We are meeting those numbers every year
| John and I believe we're called to be
'of service' and it's the dogs that led us in a direction that links people's
hearts with animals, creating more love and more
awareness of a way of being that is gentle, humane and good for the
soul. We believe that the dogs are allowing us to do the work of
the soul. Each dog carries a spirit, a way of being, that we
meet and then share with someone else. We see the miracle of
this exchange every time there is an adoption. It's as if the dog and person have finally
found each other. It's uncanny and it's tangible to experience. We
get to witness God in action.
Glen Highland Farm is a personal journey and commitment
for us, yet it is one that we will share with others. We are
grateful for the opportunity to do so and welcome all those who want to join us
as we let the dogs lead the way. They are great masters
of 'being' which is something we long to again experience. Stop all the
'doing' and learn how to 'be' who you really are in the world. That's what
Glen Highland Farm is all about.
OUR DOGS - a snapshot of their stories
The inspiration: LUKE -the first dog
Luke is the inspiration for all that you see at Glen Highland Farm. It
is his amazing turnaround from unwanted, abused rescue dog to beloved companion, that led us to change our lives and rescue this breed. You
can see Luke working the perimeter of the property, always circling groups of dogs or people, actively trying to herd, his keen 'eye' is
the classic herding breed in action! Luke is very friendly so he's our official greeter and host of the property. His watchful eye never
misses anything and he's quick to trade his love for recognition of a job
well done. He sleeps down in the kids camp for 30 days, making sure
all is in order and watches over the vacation camp, a continual presence
‘working’ the camp.
A majestic dog with a heart of gold, Luke
had a rough first year in life. Luke lived in Manhattan when he was found
as a stray at 1 year old. Upon meeting you, he would cower, shake, urinate
and then lay down and roll over giving you his stomach in a submissive
posture. Luke also hung his head, continually fearful of approaching
people or loud sounds. And, sometimes, when he felt most terrified,
he'd growl and lunge, attempting to protect himself. All his
reactions were based on a bad history. Yet, in brave moments when he
felt safe, he'd nuzzle his head next to you and gaze longingly into your
eyes, pleading for kindness, gently licking your hand. His neediness
showed his tremendous potential to trust again and overlook the pain
inflicted upon him. A great dog....in the wrong place at the wrong
Years later, he is now clearly exactly where
he is supposed to be, side by side with us running the Farm, a beloved
friend. He greets everyone who visits and loves being introduced as the
1st dog. Spend some time with Luke and you’ll feel his marvelous heart.
There is only one reason Glen Highland Farm exists - it
He is the reason that 10 years of rescue happened.
He is the reason that 300 inner city children found healing here.
He is the reason that 1500 people rescued a Border Collie.
He is the reason that thousands of campers vacationed here.
He is the reason that dozens of people have had jobs here and volunteered
simple act to rescue Luke transformed so many lives. His work is
nothing short of miraculous. Click here
for our Tribute
The Beautiful & Analytical KATIE
our 2nd dog
Katie is a highly intelligent Border Collie with an innate ability to
observe everything that goes on around her. If dogs went to college, Katie would be the quintessential graduate student. She truly studies
the world around her and if she could talk, she'd have a great deal to say. As a Border Collie, she likes to nip heels and bark madly, as if
she's in charge, so just ask her to 'sit' and she'll quickly relax. Katie is a talker, so she may continue barking....she means no harm.
Katie is also the most polite girl of the group, we call her Princess
Katie. She's never dirty, never rowdy and always takes petite bites of food. It's true when there is carnivore cuisine at stake, she's the
first to chomp down quickly, but otherwise, it's dainty bite-size pieces please.
We also like to call her, 'Katie, the beautiful',
because she's quite dignified in her glorious beauty and she knows it. One thing that's uniquely Katie is her love of water. Now, remember
that the 'princess' in her approaches the water with some elegance, never a full jump in, she delicately prances into the water, about
waist-high. Be sure to visit Katie's Dip, it's her favorite place.
Katie found her way to us from a loving home where she was treasured
and adored but there was no time for her. It was her 2nd home. At 1 year old, she was originally abandoned from her first home to a shelter
in New Jersey. Katie has now had many years of trusted love so she let go of all her worries and stresses and now enjoys being the ‘princess’
at the gate, welcoming everyone. The Farm is her home forever.
age 15, crossed over 1/15/12 Anyone who ever came to GHF, met KATIE. She
was the self-appointed welcome committee, a 'gate-greeter', happy to say a
barking hello and then flirt her way to getting a smile on everyone's
face. "The white dog" was always remembered for her full mouthy
grin, showing teeth which surprised people until they realized she was
smiling ear to ear, saying welcome! This remarkably sweet, good natured,
wonderful girl found her calling at the Farm and she did her job better
than any human. Katie loved to see who was coming next and happily said
good- bye with a little nip on the heel. Always a character, she wanted to
provide vivid memories for GHF visitors. We miss our "Katie
Sweet" who joined us in January 1999 before we had any idea rescue
would even happen. She and Luke were best buddies, going everywhere with
us. One car trip to the Farm changed her life and here, she blossomed,
loving this new life with tons of space and plenty to do. She was the
ultimate supervisor, tracking all that went on with humans and dogs,
you Katie for sharing your sweet heart with us. How very lucky we have
been and for all those who met you.
The Boss, HALEY
the 3rd dog
Haley is the alpha dog of our pack, much like Margaret Thatcher's
slogan, 'She who must be obeyed', Haley knows she is a leader and demands respect. No matter how how many dogs are in the yard, they
instantly know she is the leader. Haley is a fair leader and crystal clear in her management of dog ‘politics’.
Haley is also the most obedient and intelligent dog in our home.
There is one truism when it comes to dogs, they choose you and that's exactly how it worked with Haley. So, here's the story. Haley spent 6
months on the streets of Ct, evading everyone's desire to catch her.
You see, Haley is THE most agile, physical girl we've ever seen. Able
to jump straight from the ground into the open window of a Suburban truck, she is unfazed by any height or obstacle.
She even climbs
lifeguard chairs at the beach. So, what had Haley running so hard and so fast? At 1 year old, how bad could it be?
Turns out that Haley had been severely, horribly abused, repeatedly
beaten over the back and head. So much so that when the rescue person met her, she bit her. Five months of serious rehabilitation was the
commitment it took to help Haley. She had to earn everything she was given, fed morsel by morsel upon executing the sit command, Haley had
to relearn trust...the hard way.
When we met her, it was instant bonding. Though we could not touch her
back or head, only her chest for a quick scratch, she was clearly our dog. She sat for hours after our departure in the space where our car
had been parked. Then after sleeping in the rescuer's bed for five months, the very night we'd met her, she promptly went down to the
first floor and slept by the door. She was joining us. She'd obviously already decided. So had
Haley left us in the New Year, as in charge of her exit as she was her
life on earth. This remarkable girl grabbed our hearts the day we met her
and never let go, taking us on a journey to understand dogs and understand
how to teach people about dogs. Haley left an amazing legacy of learning.
She left a deep lasting legacy of love, too. Always missed and always in
our minds and hearts, we will be forever grateful for knowing you.
Haley baby...thank you for this grand experience
MAJOR, The Nurturer
the 4th dog
The most unlikely Border Collie, well Border Collie/Gordon Setter
picked us when we thought we were picking him. His name is Major and what a Major impact he had and still has on people who meet him.
This 'black dog' had been at the pound for four months. No one wanted
him. Not even one person showed any interest. His relinquishment form said 'too difficult to handle' but also said 'he carries a teddy bear
around everywhere he goes'. Major was only 1 year old! Thankfully, the shelter staff said he was as sweet as could be. Frustrated by the
pending threat of euthanasia, they gave him to us for our rescue
A month went by with no interest in the funny looking dog named Major.
No one seemed to respond to his picture. It was then that Cameron began asking, 'we're going to keep Major, right?' An emphatic no was
given. Easy, adoptable dogs we do not keep. Another week went by....then John said 'we're going to keep Major, right?' No, a little
less emphatic was answered. You see, they'd seen that Major had won Lillie's heart 'big-time'. He stood on his hind legs, perched his paws
around her neck and hugged. It was love at first sight. They knew it more clearly than she.
So, onto the phone with the animal communicators who promptly informed
Lillie that this wonderful dog was here to teach her all about love. That was his mission with everyone he met. Major is our love dog, the big heart. There isn't a visitor who meets
him without saying "I like Major, he's the one I want"...."I can understand why you kept him"...."can I have Major?' So, the comical
mis-marked Border Collie mix has surely had a major impact.
If dogs got 21 gun salutes, this would be the day for that sound to ring
out at GHF.
the deepest sadness one could feel, we said good-bye to MAJOR today. Aptly
named, this one dog was the heart of the Farm. He came to us in 1999 at 1
year old, an adorable character who had no idea his life would influence
so many. One of our original CT pack, his role at the Farm would touch so
many adults and 400 children. MAJOR was the single most influential dog in
Camp Border Collie for Kids. He was the demo dog, introducing terrified
inner city children to the unconditional love and friendship of a dog. He
was the practice dog for each child to learn how to approach a dog and
befriend them. This remarkably sweet Border Collie mix, never scared the
kids, he never jumped on them, he only licked them and loved them and all
the children instantly adored him.
was the camp dog, the one constant canine friend throughout every camp,
there 24/7. He'd load up on the golf cart to head to camp with John,
and literally leap off, heading across the fields to be with the kids. He
also was a foodie and never missed a camp meal. All the volunteers loved
this dog, too, laughing often at his antics around mealtime. Anything on
the table or the ground was Major's!
destiny with MAJOR ends now in the physical at age 15 and for that, we are
completely devastated, missing this spectacular friend. However, his
spirit is way too huge to be here only one lifetime. We only hope he'll
grace us again, soon -
HE IS MAJOR.
the 5th dog
After close to 60 dogs coming into rescue, it was time to make the
move, change our life and commit to really helping these dogs and helping people connect to them. So, good-bye Connecticut, hello rural
In the midst of all this change, came Magic. Appropriately
named, no doubt. He joined Lillie in the car ride home from a week-long advanced Animal
Communication course with Penelope Smith. A week's worth of revelations ended with the passenger seat occupied by the most unique
white-headed Border Collie she'd ever met. A very strong spirit emanated from him.
He sat totally upright for the entire 3 hour car
ride, completely silent, quite like a human contemplating this new life change. Ironically, he'd been howling so badly at the Pomona pound,
they'd plan to put him to death. Yet, this stoic dog now sat silent. His previous guardians claimed that allergies forced them to
take him to the pound (a kill-pound).
Quite quickly this mystery dog gained the name, Magic. He carried
himself with a grace so un-dog-like that it was clear he had his own agenda. One thing also became quite clear, he and Lillie were
linked. En route to the home visit with a potential adopter, Lillie found herself sobbing uncontrollably, overwhelmingly nauseous and
weak. She finally admitted she could not part with him. She'd had an uncanny sense all along that he'd come to help her in the Intuitive
Coaching, helping people.
Magic joined Lillie in numerous client sessions, often rising
unannounced and placing his paw on the heart of the person while in meditation. He always had a profound impact on people as they learned
to trust their intuitive nature. And, so Magic is now carrying his unique energy to Glen Highland Farm, ready and willing to be of
most of life is imperfect, my life with Magic was perfect. He was my
dearest friend, my greatest helper. He joined me in my life's work, side
by side. He set my heart free. He helped me want to be on the earth. He
walked with me through an amazing journey called the Farm. He made all the
countless rescue dogs feel welcome, even when it meant less for him. He
committed his heart to mine. His gifts to me, were remarkable. I am the
luckiest person to have had thirteen years with him. There is no
relationship like the one we had together. He was the Magic in my life.
Now gone at age 15, I feel a loss far deeper than ever before. I only ask
that we can make this magic happen again. May we reunite again soon, Magic
The Smart, Wannabee Boss,
our 6th dog
Darcy is a brilliant gorgeous Border Collie with charisma. She is also
a leader and keeps a watchful on the pack, acting as secondary leader
to Haley. She could easily step into her shoes, given the opportunity. Darcy’s strength probably comes from her days in the Bronx, where she
was abandoned, tied to a tree. Darcy then sat in the NYC pound,
narrowly escaping death. An unlikely success story, she'd lost favor a few times with strangers
because she tended to be fearful, distrusting and hesitant, even rather threatening.
If you pushed her too quickly, she'd cower, roll over and
submissively offer her belly, hoping not to be hit. Reaching for her collar brought a turn of the head and a teeth-filled warning. Darcy
had obviously been abused.
Now, while Darcy could be very scary, she carried the same sweetness
and neediness we'd seen in Luke...the real desire to trust again. Good news is her car ride home to CT brought her to her proverbial
knees...she was thoroughly sick. So, she and John completely bonded. No longer able to offensively protect herself before any expected
abuse, she caved in and took solace in his comforting hands, stroking her hand, quietly providing a safe haven.
But, Darcy presented a challenge....incredibly brilliant, truly needy,
generous in her affection, once given, and not yet confident and stable....she became John's 'project dog'. Her mischievous spunk showed
up, her rebellious playfulness engaged the other dogs, her quizzical desire to interact led the way....Darcy came to life.
One wonders exactly how that moment occurs when it's as if a dog claims
a life with you...there's no way to pinpoint when this occurred with Darcy...it just did. One day she was a rescue dog, then another she
joined the pack and now she helps rule an even
larger pack today at the Farm.
said goodbye to DARCY tonight (7/24/14) after 14 great years together….a
great life, age 15…starting from being tied to a tree in the bronx
to being an ambassador for GHF..an amazing life. She joined 5 others
to come with us from CT to start Glen Highland Farm and through these 6
dogs, people began to experience rescue…adopters, campers, inner city
kids…the six from CT left their hearts with those they met. Whether it
was Luke, Magic, Major, Katie, Haley or Darcy…they were important
founders and inspiration for dogs and humans alike. Our sweet powerful
Darcy was no longer mobile as she would want to be so we gracefully kissed
her goodbye, sadly missed already.
are gone now and while others have taken their places at GHF, living with
us, those original six will forever be known as the ‘pilgrims’.
Godspeed Dear Darcy…you did GOOD, very very GOOD
The Comical, Funny,
Funny Flynn sees the world differently than a lot of other dogs.
He isn’t quite sure where he feels safe so he is always dodging out of arm’s reach, not too sure what he wants. He wants to go out. Then he
wants to come in. He wants to lie down. Then he wants to get up. His confused emotional state comes from his odd history. Little Flynn came
to us at 6 months old, during the summer of 2001. He had been
confiscated off a fire escape in Brooklyn and clearly had suffered for whatever time he was left outside. Without much hair left, his panic
of being left anywhere was tremendous. A crate threw him into a frenzy. The
barn dog room made him want to escape. No matter where he
was, little Flynn wanted OUT, even if out was going nowhere. Clearly, the Farm was the best place for this little guy to live.
Today, Flynn has finally learned that he can relax a bit. He still
won’t approach strangers directly or go inside without having a way to get out. But, as long as he can move freely, he feels life is okay. It
has taken many years after joining our family pack for Flynn to blossom.
A sweet, gentle dog, he loves a good cuddle but it’s unlikely that
you’ll get much of a chance to touch him. But, rest assured he’s got his eye on everything going on and will join in when he is sure enough
of how to exit.
If you spend time with Flynn, you'll quickly find that his heart is so
open, his way so gentle, that you'll be caught in his sweet nature which makes his story even more poignant. We are grateful that he
joined the Farm & forever touched by the unexpected gifts Flynn shares.
Our little friend from Brooklyn found his way upstate and deeply into our
hearts. Once abandoned on a fire escape, this fearless little
‘bugger-man’ graced our lives, leaving moments of joy and wonder. Once
a worrier, he trusted us and those near to share his heart. With a tilt of
the head, Flynny Innocently watched the world go by, event after event. He
loved his Farm pack, delighting in a full chase across the lawn or a mad
dash along the trail. Life had turned good for Flynn and he happily knew
from us way too soon at age 6, we deeply miss his spirit . A little guy
full of spunk, our Flynny-binny rests forever in our hearts.
We love you little guy, we miss you.
Escape artist & herding maniac,
- the 8th dog
From the moment of arrival, Gibson was quite clearly unique, with off
the richter scale border collie herding tendencies. He herded everything that moved. His incredible keen eye led him to work all the
time, whether it was herding the dogs or herding the cats, he herded and herded and herded. Plus, he was a classic escape artist, climbing
over the 5 foot fence time after time while at the Farm as well as at the local pound where he was found as a stray. He could clear the fence
faster than you could say his name. This border collie had every trait
magnified... even nipping the heels
of other dogs. In order to effectively handle the escape artist tendencies, it meant bonding to him in a big way. We spent
extraordinary amounts of time together hoping to 'ground' this dog into a sense of belonging.
Each escape and each search (one time he was
away all night) brought up such strong emotional fears of loosing him that when he was found, it was celebratory. Heart pounding panic of
finding him hit by a car or never finding him, led to joyous delight when he was found. Somewhere between 4 - 6 weeks, the magical
relationship took hold and it was quite clear that the bonding had worked....only too well....giving him up was now impossible.
Our hearts were connected way beyond the normal foster relationship.
So, when John's son, Cameron, pushed the decision by requesting that Gibson stay to be his sheepherding partner, taking lessons together and
forging a working experience, the decision was finalized. So, Gibson joined our Glen Highland Farm pack and fit in as if he'd been here all
along. To this day, we still see Gibson herding everything in sight and we also watch as he sails over fences while we call his name.
Thankfully, he knows coming back is what he wants to do.
Our amazing herder and fence jumper will now be a cherished memory, a
spirit held deeply in
our hearts. Gibson died on April 1st, 2009 after tenaciously holding on
with severe heart disease. Cornell doctors were astonished that he was
still with us for so long after his diagnosis two years ago, but we
understood because Gibson was the most intensely focused Border Collie
when he put his mind to something. It's really no surprise his
tenacity allowed him to break the odds and stick around longer than anyone
expected. We were graced with extra time and so very thankful for it. We
deeply miss our sweet herder who always took a second out to say hello
before rapidly returning to herding whatever was near- dogs, sheep or cats
- in all the thousand dogs through rescue, there's never been another
GIBSON. We love you and we miss you, our BC friend who literally herded
his heart out.
The Red Dog -
the 9th dog
There is something intangible that happens when you 'click' with a dog
and often, it shows up with a jump of the heart or a sense of knowing each other before....hard to describe, it's just one of those moments,
if you've experienced it, you trust when it happens. Witt entered the picture via email in a pitiful picture sitting in a kill shelter in
TN, about to die. An unwanted stray, this dog was in trouble. Seeing the
picture triggered the reaction instantly....he had to come here. As days went by and his safety was assured, that 'knowing' grew louder and
louder....Witt was the one. Upon arrival at the Farm, it was confirmed. This was the 'red dog' I'd waited three years to find...a
sweet, loving, gentle creature now joining the wild and wooly Farm pack. What a delight to finally meet!
Witt is a shy character, quick to hide under the porch or under the
truck. He is a very gentle Border Collie, happy to herd other dogs and be near you for affection. He’s a toy boy and truck dog, loving to
herd cars as they zoom by. But, he’s also clearly a worrier and still shows signs of some history that haunts him. Though he has relaxed
more in the years at the Farm, Witt still cannot be handled by his collar or cornered. He will panic and potentially bite. Little did we
know that this ‘red dog’ needed the Farm more than we even knew. There
is no way Witt would have been adoptable. Whatever his history, it was not good.
If you spend time with Witt, it will be a quiet, gentle hello and nudge
from him and then off he goes to happily join the action of the pack. He doesn’t ask for much and is happy to have the simple fun life at the
Farm. And, we are all happy to have his sweet nature grace our hearts.
We said good-bye to
Witt, our very special thirteen year old. There is a unique wooded, muddy,
curving trail shrouded in forest at the Farm named after him - WITT'S WAY -
that's because when it came to Witt, the way that worked for him in
life, is the way that we went - his way, no matter what path he took.
His first weeks with us, he hid under the porch afraid to come out.
The next weeks unfolded just as oddly, clearly a dog who had a very, very
rough life living in the south. It took Witt so many, many years to become
'normal' where he'd say hello to strangers and solicit attention from us.
Step by step, he did it 'Witt's way', until he realized that he was
safe and loved. Some things he never overcame, like being handled. Simple
things like picking him up or brushing or reaching to touch him, made him
flee or defend himself with a warning to leave him alone. We always
respected his way of seeing life, never knowing what caused all his fears
of humans. In the end, however, he loved attention, coming over for
pets and belly rubs, a real transformation from the 1 year old who arrived
at the Farm.
was a teacher, like so many others at the Farm. He showed us how much he
wanted to love and needed us to adjust to his 'way' in order to love. There
is no other setting that would have helped him like the Farm where he was
never pressured to do anything. Instead, he could BE. We are deeply
thankful for the long life with Witt, a very gentle soul who healed so
much before he left. Forever in our hearts, we'll miss you Witty.
The Border Collie Wanna-be
With great joy, we introduce Ema, our 10th
dog to join our lives. She came to us at 5 weeks old, way too early
to be taken from her mother, only 2.9 pounds. Transported from
Tennessee with three other pups from a different litter, two of those dogs
sadly died from parvo (the distemper disease) so with great anxiety, we
watched and waited, hoping little Ema would survive. Happily, she
did not have parvo and once wormed and given antibiotics, began to grow,
ounces at first and then of course, pounds. For three weeks, I slept
| with her curled next to me, to simulate the feeling of her doggie mother
she no longer had. I held her close, shared my heart as fully as I
could and cared for her, day by day, hoping she'd be a healthy pup.
Months later, Ema had grown to normal size for her age, she was still
on antibiotics for a nasty virus but otherwise, she was a completely healthy and a very happy, well adjusted pup. She's socialized with all
our dogs, been held and touched by everyone at the Farm and everyone who visited. With such an amazing journey together, this wonderful
border collie mix, with very little border collie in her, had to join our family forever.
We now call her ‘the Buddha dog’ because she is wise beyond her years.
A feisty adult, Ema is in the middle of everything, never intimidated by all these herding dogs. In fact, we think she thinks she runs the
show! You are sure to see her controlling the crowd as well as giving her howls and funny beagle barks. This supposed beagle-blue heeler is
always in charge! A nonstop charmer and mischief maker, we are grateful for her presence and the teaching she's already shared. This surprise
little dog gives us the greatest joy each and every day.
My dearest little friend, EMA, left us this fall. Twelve wonderful years
of play and fun and learning about life together. Forever and ever in my
heart, Lillie’s little pup will remain. A feisty nature, you were filled
with confidence, curiosity and total focus on whatever made your life great.
Whether jumping into my arms or into the car for a trail walk…you went for
it, with gusto. You helped so many rescue dogs over all these years, met so
many people who visited and gave so much joy to all that would watch.
Everyone knew Ema. The little celebrity with a spot on the trail: Ema’s
Pool, the place where puppies learn to swim and all dogs love to visit.
It’s all about loving life in every moment.
A teacher, a friend,
a total kindred spirit, I love you Ema. We all do and will, forever. Home is
not a home without you in it. Remember what I whispered in your ear as you
laid by the creek, getting ready to let go. You found me before, you can do
it again. I’ll be waiting for you.
The one and only
FLY!! the #11
Fly is the miracle dog. He is not only incredibly talented in herding
sheep and easily agile for obstacles and any sport, he healed himself. Fly is a balanced, happy, good natured Border Collie who gets along
with everyone and every dog. He is a true social creature who wants to play, play, play.
If you visit the Farm and see Fly today, you'll see
this happy go lucky dog and you'd never guess that this sweet, friendly dog was once a very fearful, fearsome dog, ready to bite strangers.
Fly’s first year of life was screwy. Living with a schizophrenic, he
was abandoned at the vet
twice, never reclaimed. We stepped in to bring him into rescue. A very worried, agitated dog showed up, clearly
in a panic about what people would do to him. As he unwound at the Farm, playing, racing and herding with other dogs, he relaxed and
showed the real FLY. He was an adorable, good natured sweetheart, yet
had the potential to be triggered.
Unfortunately a failed adoption led to a bite and Fly landed back at
the Farm. He was not trustworthy, yet truly wonderful so we gave him an open door to stay until we sensed if he’d made enough progress to be
adoptable. We felt that without human pressures, he could potentially heal. Roll ahead one year and a happier Fly emerged. He joined in all
the Camp activities, handling all the pressures he could never handle before and we realized he had healed himself. Truly, we offered the
place. He did the work.
Watching Fly, we realized quickly that he had become very very
comfortable at the Farm, most of his insecurities had lessened. It became clearly apparent that the Farm was a place that Fly could
happily live a life in our home. We nurtured him through a remarkable transformation and realized that he made the choice to again trust
people. Meanwhile, we had fallen in love.
FLY left us in a strange set of circumstances where an injury led to the
discovery that his tissues were deteriorating so badly, he had no
structure left in his back end. The shock of seeing him unable to stand or
walk, even after Femoral Head Surgery, left us with only one decision - to
let him go. We miss this lively, spirited and good natured gorgeous boy
beyond belief. He healed past traumas to become the happiest BC around. He
could do anything and go anywhere, long past his days of fear. There will
never be another Fly. This magical boy graced our lives and hearts
forever. We miss you so much.
Crazy Kissing KYLA
the 12th dog
Kyla has gone to live with our
former caretaker, Susan, in New Hampshire so that she can be out from
under the tough female BC's that are a part of our pack. As the girls
aged, they became less tolerant of Kyla's kinetic energy, zipping around
everywhere a thousand miles an hour and they ended up fighting with
For her safety, we made the tough
decision to offer her another life and thankfully, it turned out to be
fantastic. She has plenty of land to run and play and a pack of easier
Kissing Kyla came to the farm from nearby Norwich, a stray. She is a
happy-go-lucky, eager to please Border Collie who is also quite unique and clearly, wherever Kyla is, she makes the most of it! Kyla is a
dynamo, happy to jump from the ground right into your lap, wrapping herself around your neck and head like a cat, but she then begins her special "kyla facial wash". The first time this happens, it's fantastic
and funny...the second time...the third time...well, let's just say that each adopter who met
Kyla, picked another dog. After five months of countless rejections, it was heartbreaking to see this loving girl
passed over again and again.
One day, a young couple asked to meet her, forewarned of her obsession.
They fell in love and off she went with another dog at the farm, Domino. The evening before she left, I sat weeping like a baby. Kyla
not only had my face, she had my heart and made me chuckle with her endless obsessions...she chases shadows, reflections, raindrops and
water from the hose...we affectionately say she's a classic neurotic border collie. Crazy Kyla we call her.
During her stay at the Farm, I had contemplated asking her to join our
family. She was the light in the barn every day and always full of unbounded joy. After wiping my tears, talking to her at length about
her new life, I promised her a place at the farm if her adoption didn't work out. Well, turns out she and Domino teamed up on the cats in the
house and back she came! So, the morale of the story is expect to add yet another dog, especially when one grabs your heart like she did.
Crazy kissing Kyla is a wild child of love, so watch out when she says
hello. Her hello is never low-key but she’ll certainly teach you all about joy and living life with gusto!
The miracle dog,
the 13th dog
Connor arrived at the farm with quite a rough history. Turning one year
old his first day here, we celebrated a life that was about to get much better. Connor's former guardian had very negative feelings about him,
calling him 'the stupidest border collie he's ever met'. Describing him as 'not trainable because he was too stupid'. Even saying 'he is a pitiful dog because he is just not good for anything'. We were stunned.
Connor not only lived with negativity, he had also been stabbed in the
side by the child in the family and hit by an SUV. Of course, the guardian had no fencing and only saw the dog's stupidity as the
problem. So, upon arrival, he had his second hip surgery. He had severe damage and would have been unable to walk at all without
intervention. He now has metal plates holding his legs onto his pelvis. Post surgery, he literally wags his tail and his whole back end
It was so clear meeting Connor, that he was a
gentle, loving dog, completely unharmed by the ignorance he lived with. He just adored
people, giving kisses and asking for affection so easily that there wasn't anyone who turned him away.
But, shortly after Connor’s surgery, he became gravely ill with a virus that turned into bronchitis and pneumonia. He was rushed to Cornell
emergency. Dehydrated and weak with vomiting and diarrhea, he went into the oxygen crate for days of support. IV's with antibiotics of every
strength were tried, to no avail. Connor spoke to me one night in the hospital where we talked about his choices to remain as a dog, sharing
his spirit with the campers and all the inner city children at camp. He wasn't sure his life could be good but he agreed to think about it.
That morning, his health turned around and each day, he became stronger. I made a pact with him that he could work here at the farm,
deciding if it was what he liked. Once the summer ended, it was clear that Connor liked the farm, more than anything else. As he best said,
he 'now knew that his life could be good' and he had hope again.
We are honored to have such a miracle dog in our lives and thrilled to
share him with all who visit the Farm. His story inspired The Connor House for other dogs in severe need with no place to go.
the 14th dog
She may be tiny but she is one big spirit with tons of spunk. Petite
Fiona is a fireball of energy, ready to race and chase and play in an instant. And, she talks all the time, excited barks of joy. She spins
and turns on a dime, so excited with the joy of having fun. Fiona is focused, fast and so funny. She has more energy than most of the pack
Petite Fiona visited the farm many times with an adopter who does geese
work professionally. (she adopted 3 dogs from the farm) Little Fiona caught our eye on those visits with her charming, funny, little
mischievous ways. She had been brought over from Ireland to join her geese herding business but fiery Fiona had other ideas. Seems she had
no interest whatsoever in birds so working was not going to be her idea of a good time. Nipping heels of the other dogs rather than herding
birds meant she needed a new home. In quick order, we offered to have her join our pack. She had already grown up with 12 dogs and seemed
happiest in the middle of a lot of dog commotion. A loving little 'wild child', Fiona mixes it up day and night, sharing her Irish charm and
good nature. She is a sweetheart and is so small (full grown though) that we continually laugh that so much energy could be in such a little
Fiona is also very talented at teaching dog language to people at camp
and in offsite seminars. She loves her private space and clearly lets other dogs know to back off so she’s the perfect teacher to learn about
how dogs talk to each other. In exchange for her tutorials, she travels off the farm and gets special private time which includes her
chattering and spinning while jumping on the bed! She is quite a sight to see.
The Brilliant Ball Nut LITTLE LIL
the 15th dog
Little Lil is all Border Collie, ready for action with any ball
anywhere anytime. She even invented her own game of ‘two-ball’ for times when no one will throw to her. She grabs one ball in her paws,
the other in her mouth and exchanges them over and over as she spins one away and catches the other as it drops. To say Lil is a ball-nut,
is an understatement.
Lil is also a sweetheart, focused on all the action at the Farm and
happy to meet everyone who visits. She is fast, focused and has all the ‘eye’ to respond within seconds for herding or ball play. She is an
exceptionally sweet Border Collie who fortunately found safe haven at the Farm after being abandoned as a young pup.
She came to the farm through a shelter we worked with years ago on a
special abuse case where we helped with 9 dogs. The director took one look at this little 3 1/2 month old pup and felt she had to go to me,
especially since she had my name. And, lucky for us that she decided that! Lil instantly grabbed my heart in such a big way. It was
impossible to send her anywhere else. It started innocently enough bringing her into the house since she was a solo pup and then up into
our bedroom so she wouldn't feel alone.. well, that was the end of that story...she fit into the pack like a glove and into our hearts
If you spot one little black and white dog with a ball in its mouth,
you can be pretty sure it’s Lil. If she is intently herding the other
dogs with that same ball in her mouth, then for sure, you will have met Little
Lil! Of course, she is also one of the most gorgeous Border Collies at the Farm.
LIL lost the
fight against lymphoma this memorial day 2010. We are deeply grateful
for having 11 months beyond her initial 2-4 week prognosis. We were very
lucky indeed. Each week, we shared trail walks and a closeness far
greater than ever before. Knowing that at any moment, it could be our
last with her, gave us the priceless chance to cherish her far deeper,
adoring her charm and brilliance and uniqueness. There has never been a
Border Collie like Lil and there never will be. The deepest pain in our
hearts now comes from the deepest love we could ever experience. We miss
you Lil. No one is playing two-ball anymore. You were inspiring as you
chose to live the big life, all the way to the end!
the 16th dog
Patch is a unique girl who loves to herd anything and everything that
moves but she also loves to focus her ‘eye’ on me. She intently watches
every move, much like you would expect a farm border collie to do with a shepherd, waiting for any sign of a work task to accomplish. Patch
is seriously in tune with my every move. Born with only one eye, she has the classic intense focus that signals that you are in her sights
and clearly she knew who
was saying ‘yea’ or ‘ney’ to which dogs joined
Patch had originally come to the Farm a couple of years ago with two
other breeder dogs, all three cast off in their older years, no longer wanted
for making money. A very sad outdoor kennel was their life. In
seeing Patch, Lass and Bonnie living alone away from the home, my heart sank. These three girls love people and wanted to be included in
everything so once into rescue, wonderful homes were found for all.
In an expected turn, the adopter of Patch had to move overseas so after
two years, she was returned to the Farm. It was then that Patch made her move, turning that eye onto me just to be sure I knew exactly what
she wanted. She clicked into that special soft spot already there from years ago and there was just no way I could send her away again.
Today, you can see Patch on the move, circling, herding and barking as
she rounds up the other dogs in our pack or any dog at the Farm. She is clearly quite a herder and in fact, in
sheeptraining, the teacher felt she could do great work as good as any border collie with two
eyes. Of course, Patch loved working those sheep and until we get our own pack, she’ll happily make due with our gang.
This little ball of fire did her last herding at the Farm, racing around
all the Farm dogs, having the time of her life. Even with one eye, Patch
had so much 'eye' to get the job done! And, she loved it with non-stop
circling and controlling and taking charge of anything that moved. Patch
lost the battle to GI problems that were finally diagnosed as cancer. We
are all deeply sad to see her go but know her life was a great one here at
the Farm where herding reigned and she she charmed everyone she met!
The Unexpected Puppy
the 17th dog
When single puppies come to the Farm, they always come into our home or
into The Connor House since it’s important they connect with a person and are socialized in a loving, close way. Plus, they are way too
small to interact with adult dogs without supervision. Dozens of puppies have resided in our home over the years and we always loved
them dearly until they found their new life living elsewhere. Since most people do
their names, we tend to affectionately call them all ‘puppy duppy’. The intonation of excitement always works no matter
what name, so we all casually use this rhyming ‘puppy duppy’ phrase.
Ironically, a little pup named Dix was bought in TN at 5 weeks old (way
too early to be away from the mother), taken home to Boston where the guardian discovered the children were allergic to dogs. They called us
and within days, we transported this southern girl west to the Farm. A long journey for a seven pound pup!
Soon as she arrived, it was clear that Dix, then known as ‘Puppy
Duppy’ was going to be a willful, focused, strong Border Collie, like most of
the females. She had her own ideas about pretty much everything, even at week 6. We carefully instituted a plan for handling her that gave
her some boundaries and new understanding that people are in charge. Each day and night, John sat with her, teaching her to be still and
tolerate attention without resistance. He taught her to play ball and rewarded her for connecting with him. The relationship was an
important way to transform her experience of life from ‘solo’ pup to belonging in a pack structure.
With her new name Gyp,
she quickly became the love of his life and he, along with his son,
Cameron, cast their vote that she must stay. This determined little pup journeyed far but found her forever home.
The 18th dog
ROC, the miracle
Neither John nor I expected to add
an 18th dog but neither did we expect to meet Roc, the most remarkable
Border Collie to come through these gates. A wise old-soul spirit, Roc
captured our hearts instantly and forever impacted me. He asked to stay at
the Farm and join me in this work so that he has. Roc is in my office
every day, by my side, a constant companion. He makes his circle tour of the outdoors and heads
right back in to assist in the office, keeping my heart open and filled
with compassion. This one dog is a miracle in action.
Wherever I go, so goes Roc. In the
office, on trips, by my side each night. He has his new work and it is
clearly me. His intent focus tells me whenever I am off course and his
love holds me steady.
Roc came to us from a NJ golf
course superintendent who no longer worked him to chase geese. He had
herded geese all his life. Seems while Roc was working in service all this
time, his health care had been neglected so a heart murmur had gone
untreated with medication. His deteriorating gum disease had worsened to a
horrible mess of blackened gums and bulging pockets of disease.
Unfortunately, the severity of his heart murmur now made it impossible to
fix the dental crisis. Roc was in serious trouble en route to quick death
from a failing heart and horrific dental problem. The miracle is that
finding the Farm just in time, has meant adding time to his life. Now on
medication, his congenital heart failure will be at bay awhile longer and
his mouth is looking better, thanks to better nutrition and lots of bones.
Roc is one happy, good natured guy,
much healthier than his first entry through the gates. And, most
certainly, one of the most important heart dogs that has come to touch us
all. Roc is a heart worker who is now herding my heart into exactly the
focus he wants!
year has brought numerous deaths we didn't expect. While loss is
incredibly painful, we wanted to share a special perspective from a
special soul that graced the Farm - ROC. He left his body on June 30th,
leaving a legacy of will and love and miraculous inspiration. We wanted to share his
message. It is a way of understanding the work of the heart and why dogs
are with each of us, loving us so deeply. Click
here for Roc's message
The 19th dog
KIELY, a sweet addition
Little Kiely, all of 6 pounds, came
to the Farm as a stray on the streets of PA. Sweet as can be, she loved
attention, though she already had signs of being roughly handled since she
would cower when you came over her. This tiny pup had already learned to
be afraid. Living in our house around all the dogs and on the land, helped
her blossom. She even joined campers in July to say hello and
snuggle. And, all the time,
grabbing our hearts. What a gem! Decisions of the heart make little
rationale sense but being able to act from the heart and not the head,
makes all the sense in the world. So, little Kiely now lives at Glen
Highland Farm, stepping in, to again bring our pack to eighteen.
We said goodbye this fall to our dear, wise KIELY much earlier than
expected from advanced liver cancer. From little pup to only 7, our
journey was way too short. She was in top condition until the illness
tragically showed itself and within days, she was gone. Stunned to
loose her, we know she found her way as she wanted, completely conscious
and aware of her final time on earth, with us. She laid by the creek
aware of her next step, showing us the grace of accepting the end. Only
Kiely with all her depth and old soul ways could offer such clear
insight. She will be missed beyond measure yet we carry her very snugly
in our hearts.
The gifts she gave
in those final days were crystal clear and meant to stay with us. We
heard you. We understand. Your life had purpose. You made it what you
wanted. We shared it all with you. We adore you Kiely and all that you
gave, through your short years here. We had a big life together. You
helped many, many rescue dogs and helped us even more. Come back
if you can. We’d love more time.
RIO -'crazy Rio'
the 20th dog
Rorie landed at the Farm in rescue
in 2008, a year later he joined our pack. For Rorie, the simple life of
the Farm fits him well. He is a major toy and frisbee nut, happy to catch
anything thrown his way. He is also super fast and clearly herds endlessly
as the other dogs run by. However, sweet Rorie had a hard start which
leads him to fear the normal world.
|New people, new sounds
and even familiar rain or wind or thunder send him into hiding. We know
nothing of his background except he was a stray due to be euthanized. He
was super sweet and super terrified of life. After bringing him to our
home to help him get ready for adoption, we knew that the best place that
gave him the greatest happiness and safety was staying right here. So,
Rorie's world is our world and we're happy to have him join us.
The 21st dog
BEAR, the soulful one
or BEAR (his original name) landed at the Farm with front elbows that
clearly caused pain and frustration when he went running for balls. It was
heartbreaking to see him suffering when he so wanted to race and chase
around like the other Border Collies. His physical disability limited his
play as did his emotional worry, clearly with a history of abuse. Bear was
afraid to go through the doorways and hit the floor ready to cower,
expecting a blow. His sweet, gentle nature was so fragile, as was his
body. After a few weeks, it became clear that Bear could blossom living
with the founders of the Farm, with no timeline pushing him to trust too
fast. He could also continue his trips to Cornell for innovative
wave treatment to help gain some mobility. Both reasons led us to add him
to our pack, as well as the true fact that we fell in love from the minute
he landed at the Farm.
BEAR left us peacefully today (June 7th) after 2 years living in our
lives, having a blast. This supposed run-away never wanted to leave and we
wish he never had to. He was a uniquely grounded, deep being who graced us
with remarkable energy. On a lighter side, he was all about the ball, too!
A constant presence in our meadow waiting for just one toss his way. His
battle with skin lymphoma created enough misery that it was only fair to
let him go. An amazing guy with degenerative osteoarthritis in his elbows
and severe heart disease, it took yet one more disease to take him down.
We'll miss the Bear man who grunted and talked all day long, asking for a
ball toss. We hope you've met up with Luke, Fly, Patch and Haley, all gone
too soon, too.
The 22nd dog
SULLY won the hearts of one our
team who often cared for the founder's dogs so when she was looking to add
another, it was Sully who came to mind. After numerous years unwinding
with Lillie and John's pack, he can now be the most special guy in a pack
of two, getting tons of love and attention. He's with someone who
understands his quirks as well as risky behaviors so he's set forever. We
see him all the time since he's living with a Farm caretaker.
Sweet SULLY found his grounding
living at GHF in our home, learning that no one would hurt him and that
life could be tailored around his worries. Sully has tremendous sound
sensitivity and needs to hide at the moment of thunder or odd loud sounds.
He also has significant handling issues when it's time to manage something
that makes him uncomfortable. And, this sweet guy has a very painful spine
situation much like sciatica so will bite in the wrong situation. So, he
found safe haven in our home until now. In a wonderful twist of fate, one
of our volunteers was looking to add a friend and had befriended Sully
when housesitting our dogs. She fell in love with his sweet nature and
felt she could handle his quirks so Sully got a chance to live a fabulous
life with tons of attention and someone who really understands his
triggers for worry and biting. Sully now lives in CT with Sea, another GHF
rescue and these two play their herding games endlessly. We are so
thrilled for Sully and in the fall of 2012 - the whole family moved to
Morris, NY to help out at the Farm.
will remain in the founder's home where he has been for the past five
months, happily playing ball and enjoying trail walks at the Farm. His
physical and behavioral issues are easily managed in this setting and he
is a favorite of everyone and will thrive here in this more rural setting.
The 23rd dog
Zee is brilliant, gorgeous and
super agile, faster than most Border Collies we've seen in rescue. She is
also one of the worst shadow chasers to come into rescue, which makes her
pretty impossible to adopt out. At the Farm, she improved. Not perfect,
but an improvement. Though we tried a foster situation where she could
herd and do agility, she actually got worse with the intensity of
|So, Zee will play at the
Farm with our pack forever. The fact is, we fell in love with her
remarkable nature and felt compelled to offer her a life with less
pressure, in hopes that she would do well. And, she IS doing better so
we're very pleased. Zee races around in ball play like an Olympic athlete!
the 24th BC to find home
NELL is remarkable. She is
brilliant, focused, smart and sweet, all in one package. She is also
incredibly special, carrying the spirit of LIL with her, in her. She has
returned. While many might think this is impossible, anyone who spends
time with her, knows it is the truth, just as we know. Nell aka Lil is
back to finish what was started and she is clearly happy to be here at GHF
with us. We are incredibly
grateful for the blessing of her return and cherish every moment with her
Gorgeous, brilliant and beyond wonderful...that is our Nell.
The 25th dog to
Gorgeous and sweet, Roze came to
rescue due to issues with nipping a child. She'd clearly been yelled at
and worried about being wrong, so time at our home with a dozen other BC
friends, gave her plenty of play and time to heal. A fast ball girl, she
can go high speed to catch or high speed into the water on a trail.
|She loves life! She
blossomed, happy to join the pack in anything and everything. Her worried
gaze lifted to reveal bright eager eyes, finally living where everything
made sense. Roze is a wonderful spirit who clearly landed right where she
heart in the little body
The 26th dog
Sometimes great things come in
small packages and little Cricket is a good example of this! She hopped
into our lives as a little BC mix who needed a new life. Within short
order, as she stayed to heal her illness, she was clearly brought a boost
of joy and fun and play for everyone in our pack. Little Cricket had the
old timers playing and brought smiles to the founders, much like many
years ago when rescue started.
|A little bit of joy and magic, this girl is
staying at the Farm to join our lives, with her big, healing heart and
radiance of fun! Cricket is a wonderful addition who we cherish.
of the most remarkable dogs to land at GHF is HUNTER. He's been in
rescue for almost 3 years. He's been involved with the inner city children
each and every summer. He's been the main meeter and greeter for
volunteers and visitors. And, he's been the best introductory dog for
rescue newcomers since Hunter is so good with dogs. He has a marvelous
nature and is amazingly brilliant but because of his severe car chasing
issues, Hunter has
| never found a home. We've hoped and hoped for someone
living in a rural area to come to adopt this very special boy but we have
finally decided that it is us - HUNTER will live at GHF permanently. We
have always loved him and now will sort out a way to block his view of our
road. Albeit a rural setting, Hunter knows right where traffic moves and
even at our home, high on a hill, there are spots in the fence and on the
hill, where he can view traffic and goes nuts. So, in keeping with the
tradition at GHF, "we'll figure it out" so he can have a home
which he so deserves. Many BC's that couldn't find homes have landed in
ours, for various reasons. If they can fit the pack, they can stay. We are
very happy to share our hearts with Hunter on an even deeper level. Hunter
is home, here to stay!
now joins Hunter to live in the Founder's Home forever! After 2 1/2 years
in rescue, it's the right thing for Flip. He loves the Farm and certainly
is loving his new life, hanging with a great pack of BC buddies. He'll
enjoy plenty of trail walks, lots of ball play and have tons of love.
Flip's been adopted twice but always had too many worries with visitors in
each home so came back. While we had hoped just the right person might
fall in love and help him handle the big world,
| he's waited long enough,
so he's now set for life here at GHF! He's joining many others in the
Founder's home who had no other place to go where all their worries and
OCD behaviors could be understood and managed successfully. We're happy to
have this sweet boy share his affection with us and know that everyone who
has met him, will agree this boy deserved this simpler and GREAT life with
RYE aka RYLEE/ RALLY is
staying at the Farm, joining our resident pack. He's a sweet guy with a
lot of issues and needs that make him a challenge so giving him an
easier life without expectations just made sense. This beautiful young
guy seemed delightful upon arrival but quickly showed significant
handling issues as well as issues with men and severe car chasing
behaviors, all in addition to his damaged front elbow. He's quite a
package for most people in
|'real life' but here
at the Farm, he fits in fine. He slid into a very tolerant group of
Border Collies, the majority of which, landed with us for similar
reasons. We're happy to give Rye a wonderful life. Over the years ahead,
we know he'll heal some of his worries yet other aspects of who he is,
will never change. We've fallen in love with the whole 'package'…a
brilliant and very quirky BC!
#30-The gift of balance
Mr. MAC aka Biggie MAC is going to live where he's been already living
for the last 6 months - with the founders - this boy is so content and so
happy and so loved here - there is no reason to move him anywhere else!
So, MAC is officially adopted and staying at GHF. He went through 3 homes,
one shelter stay and two stays at GHF, trying to find just the right place
for a rewarding life and we feel that he's voted a big YES to stay here!
We just adore this boy and he balances all the discordant energy of
unadoptable dogs who permanently live at the pond house with the founders
since they have no other place to go. Mac takes it all in stride, a
helpful compliment to the pack. We are thrilled to have this sweet,
smart, interesting boy live with us.
"Quirky" finds his Normal #31
OLLIE was adopted a year ago and
landed back at the Farm through no fault of his own - however,
upon this return, it was clear that this boy had a bunch of issues that
made him very challenging to live with in a normal setting - OCD
behaviors, car chasing, big kid issues and a high-pitched squeal talking
to you about everything he wants! A gorgeous sweetheart but coming with
a package of quirks that make
So, we tucked him in the founder’s home with the pack of other
challenging dogs who had no place to go and he fit like a glove. So,
OLLIE IS HOME…no need to send him anywhere when he’s handling this
rural setting beautifully without all the stimulation that sends him in
the wrong direction.
He’s already enjoying hikes on
the trails, hanging with the back making up herding games and is much
more at ease about life. We’re happy to offer him a life where he can
OUR FELINE FRIENDS
|People often ask us if we're only
oriented to dogs and I'm happy to say that we're not. We have
several cats living with our household of dogs. Again, many people marvel at that concept, assuming cats and dogs just
won't mix. Well, they do and in fact, they do really well.
Several of the cats like to be around all the manic dog energy and the others do not, so they hang upstairs (an off limits place for the dogs).
Two things made this menagerie of animals work well....1) we gave the cats
their own place so they can feel safe, and un-hassled....2) we trained the
dogs to 'no cats' as a rule, using a can filled with gravel, to shake and
reinforce the correction and squirt bottles with water, again to reinforce
the correction 'no cats'....all the dogs have responded beautifully and
truly leave the cats alone. But, regardless of their understanding
of the rules, we are also on alert when cats and dogs are in one room
because a pack of dogs acts quite differently than a single dog, putting
the cat(s) in harm's way. We believe that the cats know we're ready
to step in, on their behalf, too.
So, here's our colony of cats:
He was our second cat, joining us at 10 months old. Tigger
loves the dog energies and watches everything that goes on, from a
ringside seat - my desk or his own perches. He's our famous test
cat so he's met more dogs than any other cat I know. He was
rescued from a Ct shelter, found as a stray.
April 2013 - Tigger is
officially retired from his 13 years of cat testing at GHF! He's done a
heroic job here meeting so many dogs and now at age 16, his health
challenges mean it's time for him to take it easy! This remarkable boy has
given his all to the cause, with great grace, never ever swatting a dog or
being annoyed, just happy to move away…everyone loves Tigger!
We sadly said good-bye to one of the most amazing behind the scenes
'founders' of GHF - TIGGER. This remarkable cat met at least 1000 dogs
over the last 14 years, as he stepped up to be the test cat. Tigger was an
incredible spirit, so easy going about everything and so amenable to any
challenge, including meeting some tough dogs who had no love for cats.
Tigger took it all in stride. He defined the adoptability of every rescue
dog with respect to cats, a very big responsibility. Of course, he joined
our lives in CT when it looked so simple, just he and Luke and us together
in CT but that simple life was not in the cards…the Farm became the real
job and he became the most important cat to contribute at GHF, EVER! We
miss this adorably sweet, loving boy and thank him for an incredible job
well done! We so adored him. In his final days, he got some safe outside
time to revel in nature which brought him such pleasure.
Our third cat to join the household, Sasha is the timid one, aware of
every little sound and shuffle in the house. She has no
interest in dogs so can be found most days laying on the bed upstairs.
She was rescued from
a Ct shelter, dumped at age 3 1/2 due to moving.
timid girl, SASHA, left us this month (May 2013) after a full life at the
Farm. This sweet tiny girl grew to understand all the dogs in the
Farmhouse and deal with this new world of barking and chaos.
matter what went on, she remained the most loving, gentle cat, nudging you
for attention and then retreating to the quiet upstairs. She held the 'cat
energy' at the Farm to be sure all these dogs understood who was 'boss'!
About 1 year old, Goldie is Cameron's cat. He wanted to add an
animal to our family himself, so off we went to the Yonkers Animal Pound
(where we'd started in rescue, saving 4 purebred border collies and a
little bc mix). A rough place to visit with hundreds of dogs and
numerous cats, little Goldie watched Cameron intently. It was clear
she was to be his.
In another cage at Yonkers, sat Moxie, a recent mommy, now ready for
adoption. A talkative, beautiful little furball, supposedly
2 years old, she tugged at my heart. She had to come to our home,
too. Moxie earned her name because she is absolutely fearless with
the dogs and no matter how tiny, she'll take on the biggest dog.
And, they know it. We chuckle watching 9 dogs walk carefully around
Moxie, giving her lots of space!