Along for the ride:

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas in Rescue Land

I'm in an email group with some others who are involved in collie rescue. I see information shared about specific dogs or people who apply to adopt them. There's a lot going on behind the scenes and at least 50% of dogs are matched with new homes without ever being posted on the rescue web site. Others are taken into foster care until medical or behavioral issues are dealt with and some seniors or dogs with serious health problems are supported by a sanctuary program that pays their bills for life, long or short, and they often stay with their original foster parents. This means that some people in our group have up to nine or ten collies at one time. Mostly it stays at three or four, but we do get to hear from each other about special characters. 


There's a young and naughty collie named Brooke who was found, cold, wet and scared in a huge thunderstorm, in the Spring of this year. She's white with a sable head, very sought after markings, but she had one of the worst cases of mange anyone has ever seen. Brooke's treatment has required daily doses of a medication that is hugely expensive and, once again, someone stepped in to help. A drug rep from the company that makes the product went to her bosses and they agreed to help by supplying six months' worth of the medication. Not your usual story about pharmaceutical companies. If I knew the name I'd share it here. 

Brooke has taken over the home in which she's been living. She is bossy and rude to the home pack and gets into all kinds of trouble. Her foster mother's email this morning described her living room, festively decorated and with ex-pens arranged around the perimeter to keep Brooke from the tree and the gifts. Why don't those home decor shows ever include this kind of thing? 

Another email was not about a collie at all. A friend of a friend in poodle rescue was reaching out to ask if anyone was driving up to Lake Tahoe for the holidays and was willing to transport an old dog who had been saved from euthanasia at the pound and matched with an elderly couple who couldn't make the drive.  In less than an hour, someone had volunteered to pick him up and deliver him. 

I've re-posted the Starfish story below. I think it is inspiring. We all have opportunities to make a difference somewhere, in some small way. That's my Christmas Wish, for those in need and those who can help. Small things add up and you have to start somewhere.

Starfish-Making a Difference (writer unknown)

Once upon a time there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking the beach before he began his work. One day he was walking along the shore and as he looked down the beach, he saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself to think of someone who would dance to the day. So he began to walk faster to catch up. As he got closer, he saw that it was a young man and the young man wasn't dancing but instead he was reaching down to the shore, picking up something and very gently throwing it into the ocean. As he got closer he called out, "Good morning! What are you doing?" The young man paused, looked up and replied, "Throwing starfish into the ocean". "I suppose I should have asked, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" "The sun is up, and the tide is going out. And if I don't throw them in they'll die." "But, young man don't you realize that there are miles and miles of beach, and starfish all along it. You can't possibly make a difference!"
The young man listened politely. Then bent down, picked another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves and said, "It made a difference for that one."


  1. If we all do our bit we might save all the starfish.

    Hope you and yours have a very merry Christmas and a very happy New Year.

  2. My biological father and his wife have 2 Boarder collies. Those dogs are nuts! One of them was rescued. Fortunately, my biological dad and his wife know how to handle them so the only thing they destroy is dog toys. Those dogs are so smart and soooo funny. A great pet but so important to be in a home that knows the breed.

    I love the starfish story.

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  3. Beautiful story. Wishing you and yours wonderful Christmas time and hope you will meet many Starfish men on your journey.
    All the very best,

  4. Lovely story, and it certainly did make a difference for that one starfish. We recently took a good friend to the local animal shelter to select a companion and she picked a small cream colored four year old schnauzer named Sunny. The two of them are getting on wonderfully.

  5. Steve, there's no reason to believe we can't do it:)

    Birdie, you're right Brooke does look like a Border Collie in this photo. She's a Rough Collie like Lassie. Her coat is growing back after her skin problems. Rough Collies are a generally polite breed, which is why she's such a fun filled aberration. Thanks for the tree. xx

    Wiola, I hope you aren't missing home too badly. My Frenchman would be looking up Starfish recipes in a situation like this.

  6. Love the starfish story. I don't have room to take in rescues, but all my kitties are from rescues and two of my horses are as well.

    One at a time does so make a difference, but wouldn't it be grand to have the time, space, and finances to take care of dozens at a time? That's what I'd do if I won the lottery.

  7. What an uplifting post. I'll keep the starfish story in mind.

  8. Making a differnce, heard it a long time ago and still love it!
    What a beautiful dog, she knows that some people really do make a difference!

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  9. Maria, the broader concept includes reaching out to people too. Just a smile or a word can rescue someone from loneliness.

    Jean, I agree wholeheartedly.

    Argent, It's a modern parable.

    Di, I came across this story in England, so I'm not surprised you know of it. It is such a simple thought and yet has so much power. You are quite the digital overachiever, aren't you? Love the artwork.

  10. What a wonderful story. Most of our horses are rescues and we did have an Australian Sheperd rescue who died last year, she was 19. I agree with Jean if only I had the resources to do more I would. The people who care for the rescues you work with are wonderful to help dogs in need. It makes a difference to the one starfish that is saved.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours. Wishing you a Happy Healthy New Year too!

  11. Happy holidays ER... I'm always admirative when you share with us all the wonderful things you do. I wish I had time to be able to do more, but right now my work is eating into my life in an alarming way, hope to get that a bit under control in 2012.

    And may 2012 be a wonderful year for you... keep on shining...

  12. Rainbow, Good to see you. merry Christmas to you too.

    Grey Horse and Owen, there have been times when they had to supply the dog food, as I couldn't even afford that. All I give is my time, sometimes that's struggle enough.

  13. Wonderful sentiments, sometimes the bigger picture just seems so immense but it truly is just a question of us all playing our small part.

  14. You are the perfect antidote to the daily news, ER.
    Thanks for posting the starfish story again - it's exactly the right thing to remind people that the little things count.
    May the New Year bring you more adventures of the happy kind.

  15. Trudi, small kindnesses do count.

    Deborah, Happy Adventures to you too.

  16. Christmas TV adverts are awash with "save the" or "help the" donation requests and it gets hard to pick them out from one another after a while

    But i always watch the ads about abandoned pets and have to wonder about the kind of person who could take on the responsibility for a life and then just abandon it - surely you would at least try to re-home something that you realised you couldn't cope with?

  17. Pixie, it's the "me first" crowd, lacking empathy, understanding and any sense of duty or responsibility. Nobody we wish to get to know.

  18. Thank you for your comment over at my horsey wold :) Wish you many Starfish moments, happiness and health for 2012!

  19. Just calling round to wish you a very happy new year, hope it's filled with all the best things and of course, lots of equine related activity. :) hope all the various collies find their homes too.

  20. What a pretty girl Brooke is; sounds like she needs to be in a one-dog family (where she can be spoiled and adored properly ;o)
    I love that starfish story; it's printed on the side of my lunch tote.

  21. I've always loved that story! When I am closer (at least on the same continent), I'd be very happy to help you with placing others like Brooke.

    Wishing you the very best 2012 can bring to you.

  22. I hadn't seen the starfish story before. So true, in every respect.

    It's good there are people like you (and me, in a small way, over here) who take pity on abandoned and ill-treated dogs and help to give them a good home.

    I hope your rescue work goes from strength to strength in 2012.
    Happy New Year to you, ER.

  23. Wiola, thank you.

    Watercats, I can't wait to see what this new year brings, for all of us, two and four-legged.

  24. Jen, you should see Brooke with her full coat. White collies are spectacular. I never knew they existed until a few years ago.

    Hostage, you'd be welcome to join our pack:)

    Friko, It's the small ways that add up to big results, especially in the eyes and hearts of those in need.

  25. That was a good message for a teacher to read at the beginning of another term!

  26. Fran, so many stories carry worthwhile messages to live by. I'd love to be the fly on the wall to hear open discussion of this in a classroom. One of my "guidelines for life" comes from The Waterbabies, Mrs. DoAsYouWouldBeDoneBy

  27. What a great post! Loved the rescue story about the Christmas ride for the old Poodle. Very dear, and what a difference that person made for the older couple who had the dog home for the holidays. How about Brooke? Has she found her forever home yet? She is simply beautiful!
    The starfish story is wonderful and you selected just the right image for it.

    Happy New Year to you!

  28. Lydia, Brooke isn't completely rid of the mange mites. The vets do periodic scrapings to test her. We have to be sure she's cured, can't have a relapse in a new home. I'm sure she'll be fine. She has a waiting list but we're not sure they're "qualified" to handle this minx. She was going to be my next training project after Abbey but I'm resting my feet due to arthritis and Brooke needs the walks.

  29. Thanks for your comments on my blog and my choice of Winston. I, also, think his breeding is inspired. His current owner is a trainer who purchased him as a prospect but I have his papers -- I'm going to see if I can find the farm where he was born and what else they have. Hopefully, they are making more!

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