Curious about Clancy’s Dream? Well, the pack leader of the Border Collies of Dogwood Ridge was born in 2006. Elaine and I made the long trip to purchase a dog from a breeder in Pekin, Indiana. Clancy was our second choice because the one we thought we “wanted” was already taken. The breeder said that Clancy had an excellent and famous bloodline. We didn’t really care; but, his bloodline is pure and strong. His grandparents were from Kamloops, BC Canada and Selkirk, Scotland which is one of the oldest Royal Burghs in Scotland. His family of champions include:
- 2004 International Supreme Champion
- 98/96 Scotland National Champion
- 1994 Irish National Champion
- 94/91 International Supreme Champion
- 92/89 International Supreme Champion
Elaine and I decided that Clancy would indeed fit in nicely with a female Border Collie that we already had here on the farm and we took him home. As time marched on, so did their hormones and on February 14th several years later new Border Collies puppies were on their way. This was the start of an incredibly successful breeding venture.
There is no doubt Clancy was our alpha dog. He kept the pack on their toes especially our other two males — Shep and Doc. Clancy mated with our girls — Molly, Dutchess, Meggie and Annie and we are very proud of all the Clancy’s pups that will carry on his bloodline. He was strong, stately and carried himself well. His hair was hardly ever messed up, and he held a striking figure. But what you didn’t see was the fact that he was the most loving and gentle of all our dogs. His movements were precise — always knowing where he was headed and in what direction. Of course, he was a natural with sheep — born to herd.
Some of my fondest memories include the time that I kenneled Clancy and the girls because I was going to work on a project at a neighboring farm. I returned to the farm and discovered that he had let himself out of the kennel and opened all the runs that the girls were in and they were all at the front gate. Clancy had a tennis ball in his mouth and was sitting, (im)patiently waiting for me to play and play we did! He loved the snow, water, mud and any action. When he ran, he would canter like a horse until he sprinted at full speed.
Perhaps my sweetest memory of Clancy was when he would sit in my lap. He would slowly work up the recliner moving ever so gently making a nest and settling in for the evening. He’s one of those dogs that likes to sit near you, leaning up against you, and when I put my shoes on, he would put his head between my arm and body trying to get me to rub his head, which I always did.
My last memory of Clancy began with an innocent question: “Does your dog jump in the water?” I was grinning and secretly said to myself, “just you watch.” One of the children tossed a tennis ball into the water and Clancy jumped off the diving board to get the ball. This time a chorus of excited voices asked “can he do it again?” Of course! After several more throws he got out of the water and took two steps, wavered and fell over. In the blink of an eye, Clancy had passed away. In that instant, our life changed and things on the farm would never be the same.
Friends helped to dig a grave at a place picked just for him under the tall trees where the sun shines through an open canopy and wind chimes sing with the breeze. I gathered the titan of Dogwood Ridge in my arms and held him close while carrying him to his final home. Clancy was still wet and even had some dirt on his feet. It’s just how like he liked it – wet, dirty and happy. So very suitable. Clancy died proud, doing the things he loved to do. Slowly I lowered him to his earthly bed. Gently, sadly we wrapped him in his blanket. One last look and a kiss was made “Goodbye Clancy, we love you.” Every one of the dogs watched and sniffed him and was allowed to say goodbye to their leader, friend, lover and playmate. Buried with him was his tennis ball, Frisbee and two broken hearts that will never mend. “I can’t believe it” was said a thousand times… “It will never be the same…” and it isn’t.
Clancy James was named after me, but he belonged to Elaine and was her heart dog. He was a born leader and he demonstrated it many times. Every dog followed him and humans admired his herding strategy and tactical skills. The very morning Clancy passed away he crept into my bed, burrowing his nose under my arm, falling asleep. As I watched him breathe and rubbed his head, he slept peacefully and dreamed. I wonder now did he know?
Clancy touched all of us in one way or another. He greeted everyone who visited us and even went to assisted living homes and nursing home facilities. He would take his ball and place it in the lap of each resident. Everyone was so amazed at this gentle touch, but we weren’t. As I walked from Clancy’s grave the day after his unexpected death, I said “I never wanted this to happen.” There has to be more and there is …
Elaine and I agreed there is definitely more work for Clancy to do. For over 6 years we have worked with abused, neglected and unwanted Border Collies. Clancy’s Dream went from an idea to a conversation, to a registered 501 (c)3 Non-Profit Foundation in the ten days following his death. An impressive Board of Directors was quickly formed. This Board is charged with organizing a sustainable future for Clancy’s Dream by adopting sound, ethical, and legal financial management policies as well as ensuring that, as a nonprofit foundation, we have adequate resources to advance our mission and serving to keep my boy’s memory alive.
Working in a veterinarian’s office, I witnessed drastic decisions made for a pet because the owner could not pay for the treatment that the dog required to survive. Hearts were broken and lives were changed because the owner saw no other option other than to put the dog down. It seemed like a perfect fit to reach out and help Border Collies receive the best care they can get and help even more that need rehabilitation, rescue or re-homing.
We miss Clancy as do others. We pine over his death but know that because of him, many dogs will be rescued or given the medical attention they need through the donations and support from fellow dog lovers and protectors of the breed. Our beautiful Clancy will live on through the lives he will help to save.
Today, the mission of Clancy’s Dream is to bring help and hope to Border Collies in need. We provide rescue, medical, rehabilitation and adoption assistance for neglected, abused or abandon Border Collies. Locally, we also assist families who are unable to afford medical help to care for a sick or injured Border Collie.
Thank you my boy and I will see you again on the Rainbow Bridge.