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Sometimes when you least expect it, life takes a turn
Glen Highland is one of those momentous occurrences that dramatically changed two lives and many thousands more that touch this place thanks to the dogs whose spirits led us here and forever changed our path. Founders, John Andersen and Lillie Goodrich, opened their hearts to Border Collies and changed their own lives as well as so many, many others, human and canine.
In 2019, the focus shifted solely to meet the needs of abandoned Seniors, often overlooked as unadoptable. Again, Glen Highland broke new ground, as the ONLY rescue devoted to Senior Border Collies, providing long-term care for truly unadoptable dogs with nowhere to go as well as a chance for adoption for those healthy with so much life left to live! We can provide the time needed to heal abandonment as well as wait for that special person that could come for them. We also provide refuge for various age BCs with behavioral or medical challenges, making them unsuitable for a new home.
Answering the needs of Seniors is leading to a move in 2020 to a warmer climate in Virginia, more favorable to the dogs. Sunny days on 15 acres of flat land will the transformation from sadness to joy as the Border Collies renew their energy to play again!
Lillie Goodrich, has worked with over 3,000 dogs in rescue; hundreds and hundreds more in the vacation camp; as well as teaching seminars and in animal communication sessions. Her sense of “dog” has broadened and deepened to a remarkable level, heightening her innate and intuitive abilities to help so many dogs and people. And, now, she is sharing the wisdom of Border Collies in the final years of their lives, sharing their actual messages communicating directly with them. This breed redefines the word Senior and through talking with them, they will redefine how humans think of this phase of life for canines and for humans.
Glen Highland is a personal journey and commitment for the founders, yet it is one shared with others. These amazing Border Collies are great masters of ‘being’ which is something the world needs to experience again. Stop all the 'doing' and learn how to 'be' who you really are in the world. That’s what Glen Highland is all about.
OUR DOGS - a snapshot of their stories
The inspiration: LUKE
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 time.
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.
LUKE, May 2011
One simple act to rescue Luke transformed so many lives. His work is nothing short of miraculous. Click here for our Tribute to LUKE
The Beautiful & Analytical KATIE
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.
KATIE, 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, alike.
Thank 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
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 we.
Our Haley baby...thank you for this grand experience
MAJOR, The Nurturer
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 program.
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.
With 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.
MAJOR 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 -
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 America.
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 service.
Magic, March 2013
While 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 and me.
The Smart, Wannabee Boss, DARCY
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
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’.
The Comical, Funny, FLYNN
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.
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.
Escape artist & herding maniac, GIBSON:
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.
WITT - The Red 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.
Witt 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.
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.
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!!
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.
Crazy Kissing KYLA
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 her. 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 BC's.
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!
Kyla, July 2015
At 14, “Kissing KYLA” moved from body to spirit on July 24, 2015, leaving behind a legacy of sweetness and charm and tons of fun! This girl could make the party come alive, charming everyone she met! She will be sorely missed by us and Susan, our dear friend who opened her home and heart to Kyla for the last five years, letting her reign supreme as the Queen! We’ll miss those kisses!
The miracle dog, CONNOR
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 wags, too!
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.
On 12/29, we said goodbye to our dear friend, CONNOR, namesake of The Connor House. About to turn 13 this New Year, he came to us a very sick 1 year old, a broken body hit by a car and sick enough to be in critical care at Cornell. Those early days turned into a lifetime with one of the most unique, strong-willed characters we’ve ever met our entire time at GHF. And, his recovery, literally from death’s door, led to creation of a special place to house dogs with severe illnesses.
|Countless Border Collies found safe have at The Connor House, thanks to the inspiration from this one very special dog. Connor aged beautifully, willful and stubborn til the very end but his mental capabilities gave out and panic attacks changed his entire experience of life. Witnessing such a grand thinker unable to think his way through a simple day or night, became increasingly painful. He’s set free now yet we still know he’s right by our side…Connor is one dog whose presence will be with us, forever. And, if the day comes that we no longer feel his spirit, it will be his choice to make it that way. Love you CONNMAN- what a ride you took us on!|
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 put together!
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 Border Collie!
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.
FIONA October 2017
Saying good-bye to FIONA was tough. One of our dearest family dogs, she was the 1st generation of dogs to live in the Founder’s home as part of the large GHF pack, joining the original ‘Pilgrims’ from Ct, almost 16 years ago. So many, many people met this petite powerhouse and adored her! Her contribution not only to us, but others, was amazing. This little fireball sent to the U.S. directly from Ireland, brought all that spunk and will to all she did - barking non-stop in excitement with every little thing that thrilled her - and helping the inner city kids learn all about play and joy as a the friendly summer dog at camp so many, many years - and then, out into the real world for Lillie’s seminars where she shared her feisty nature to show humans how dogs talk to each other, clearly sending the signals to ‘back off!’ Fiona always knew what she wanted and what she’d allow.
We are deeply sad just a few months shy of turning 16, she was loosing ground, unable to be her true self…so, it was time. If ever the cliche was true…good things come in small packages…this was true for Fiona.
Thank you little one for sharing your big heart and big personality with so many lucky, lucky people, including us.Thinking of you, will always make us chuckle.
The Brilliant Ball Nut
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 forever!
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, May 2010
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!
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 our pack.
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.
The Unexpected Puppy GYP
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 change 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.
We said good-bye to one of dearest Family dogs today, GYP, leaving us at age 12. This little 30 pound spitfire won the heart of Founder, John Andersen, becoming his closest friend. They were deeply bonded as kindred spirits, sharing the experience of the Farm as well as their own personal journey together. Step by step, they tackled tough diseases - EPI & diabetes and then blindness - til her petite body could do no more. Gyp's spirit stayed strong until the end, for her final Farm run on each of the trails, revisiting the site of the Kids camp program where she stayed every summer as well as all the creekside trails she so loved so much. GYP came in 2006 and will be forever remembered as one of the greatest Border Collies we’ve ever known. Until the other side…to meet again
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!
ROC, June 2010
This 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.
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.
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'
Rio landed at the Farm in rescue in 2008, a year later he joined our pack. For Rio, 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 Rio 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, Rio's world is our world and we're happy to have him join us.
Our little nest suited him just fine - lots of trail walks, ball play and a huge yard to explore each day - it was just enough for this gentle worrier. Nothing much was asked of him and he gave his heart of thanks each and every day. He had very few triggers to launch him back into the fear of humans he once knew. Originally left outside 24/7, he never wanted to be out long unless he was sure someone was there to open the door and welcome him home. We were happy to provide a safe refuge for Rio. We sent him “home" with the same love today that was given unconditionally for all these years. His renal disease advanced in less then three weeks, leaving us no choice but to say goodbye. Safe travels REE-REE…hoping that you gained some trust in humanity to carry deep in your very lovely, kind heart. We will miss you. A few lucky people other than John and Lillie, had a chance to experience the pureness of real trust, heart to heart, in knowing Rio. He was magnificent when he let you join him.
BEAR, the soulful one
BEAU 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 shock 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.
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. SULLY 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.
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.
CRICKET-the big heart in the little body
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.|
A little powerhouse at 6 pounds in 2015, she’s joined the founder family pack to be the boss! Sent on a mission for a ‘big’ life, KYA is already strutting her stuff and clearly navigating the crowd beautifully. Smart as a whip, she’s got guidance from the previous boss, Ema, so we know things will work out just fine. This wee girl is an amazing addition to our lives at GHF.
EMMET & KIKI
EMMET & KIKI, at 4 months and 7 months, found their way back to GHF, yes BACK.
Our dearest Emma & Kiely left us this past fall and while we had no idea that this would turn around so quickly, we had so hoped to see them again. While many people may think this idea of reincarnation is wishful thinking, we know it is not.
|They are an incredible pair of dear friends, just like how they were here before and they have exact mannerisms that match Emma & Kiely. A stunning event to say the least, we are enjoying the experience of their joyful energy as they celebrate being back with us at GHF. We are so grateful to witness first-hand the truth of life as energy that returns to us.|
Though close to 3000 Border Collies have come through GHF, there are some who arrive with a clear connection to US…Puppy MADGE is just that dog. She and 3 siblings came to rescue, part of an accidental litter but little did we know that Madge was here AGAIN, a new body and a new time but completely the very special friend we had before - MAGIC!
Little Madge is an old soul with a contemplative nature, sharing that solid grounding that Magic did before and while she is all puppy, she is certainly NOT just puppy. Welcome back Magic…we are beyond happy that our lives are now fuller and complete again, with you here