Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Updated Wish List

GHF has updated our Xmas wishlist with a few new items like dog beds and salmon oil, two products that we use quite frequently and go through.

The salmon oil is great for dogs who have dull coats and the beds are great for all the dogs to curl up in!

Updated Amazon Wishlist

We sincerely thank you for helping to make this holiday season a special one for the dogs!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Happy Holidays from GHF!

The rescue barn gets decorated for the holidays too! And the Xmas spirit is plentiful throughout the snow-covered hills and paddocks of GHF!

Thanks to the GHF Amazon Wishlist, the rescue dogs will hopefully have plenty to do during the holidays... even though it may be could outside, the dogs won't get bored... staying nice and cozy and engaged indoors! If you haven't taken a look at the wishlist already, check it out and consider picking an item---no matter how small---so that the dogs who don't have homes can feel special and cared for in a meaningful way during his special season!

Above: Xmas stockings hanging on the left annex for Bud and Pip!

 The GHF Xmas tree! It means so much that the dogs are thought of during the holiday season. Many, if not all of them, are confused as to why they don't have people; no matter how much we as caretakers provide to them, the rescue dogs are still patiently awaiting forever homes of their own. So something seemingly small like a wishlist toy or becoming an Angel for one of our BCs (see the GHF website for more information on this) is incredibly special and significant as we close out 2014! A sincere thanks and Happy Holidays to all from GHF!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sprakers Newsletter (This time it's personal!)

The Sprakers Newsletter has been released! Check out this inside glimpse at how a few of the ex-Spraker's gang are doing in their forever homes!

The Sprakers story is quite personal. As a GHF caretaker, I literally took my work home with me...

This is Kora. Her original name was Kendall. She was one of the more fear-driven BCs--wouldn't come up to people--ran and hid anywhere she could find. She was one of the last Sprakers dogs left at GHF waiting for foster. 

I couldn't possibly understand the pain of her previous life, but as I was going through some changes and personal difficulties of my own, I could appreciate her circumstances. Of course, we love all the dogs in rescue, but are sometimes drawn to certain ones... such is what happened with Kora. 

Some time went by, and she still didn't have a foster... finally I admitted my attachment and took her home. And, true to the classic 'who rescued who?' meme, we helped each other. Eventually, I came into work one day and said... "so, I don't think you're getting Kora back."

All I wanted to do was to show her that there was an alternative; a different way to live. 
It took weeks for her to be able to approach me, just to take food or treats from my hand. When you read the Sprakers stories in the newsletter and see their pictures, it's hard to picture how they were before. But they were literally like fear-stricken wild animals, at first unable to overcome the neglect and trauma of their previous lives. 

It's taken patience on my part for Kora--on everyone's part for all of the Sprakers dogs--but mostly it's been the dogs themselves. I have been completely astonished at their ability to overcome their past and accept their future as quickly as they have, albeit with lots of setbacks... but they have persevered none the less.

I never thought any of the Sprakers dogs would be capable of the transformations that many of them have undergone already. How smart (Kora learned recall in about a month, and she now has the best recall out of any of my dogs!) and intuitive they are, how willing they are to trust people, even though they have every right and reason not to.

They will (likely) never be 'normal,' but they are safe, happy, and loved. My heart laughs when I see Kora running alongside my other dogs, acting like a real BC, making up her own herding games during fetch... it's so neat to watch their true personalities unfold and develop. They embody the spirit of a true rescue dog, one that seeks and finds joy in every moment... they don't need a 'reason' to be happy, they simply welcome the future... you can see in their expression that they're just happy to be there

For the Sprakers dogs, its not about what's easy. I remember someone said to me, "why would you keep a dog like that?" 
I kept Kora for many reasons: because I felt the last thing she needed was MORE change, because I loved her, but mostly because I respected her immensely. It is remarkably honoring to have been such an involved part of this process, as a "Sprakers owner" if you will... 
so humbling, and so enlightening. The Sprakers situation changed entirely not only my own, but the staffs' and many, many other people's perspectives on dogs.

I think everyone touched by Sprakers now knows:

- immerse yourself in the joy of small moments and victories - 
- take pride in the character of your shortcomings - 
- eat all the food you possibly can - 
- embrace life and all its opportunities! - 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Staff Meeting

The GHF staff has regular meetings in order to make sure the dogs needs are being met in regard to their growth and development--until they find a loving, forever home!

During the meeting we discussed how the dogs were progressing individually and changes to make in their training/handling protocols; medical issues; dogs coming into rescue and dogs being adopted or sent out into foster; really anything that involves day to day dog care here at GHF!

Typically each of the staff members is assigned their own 'project dog' so that each dog, out of those who need the most attention, get the one-on-one time they require in order to thrive while waiting for a home. This could mean doing training sessions, play time, or simply sitting with the dog so they feel as 'at home' as possible. 

We also discussed the holiday wish list...please see previous post to find out more information about how to make the holidays special for all the rescue dogs! 

Jaz and Simon were there to help with the meeting--Simon in particular!

The GHF Howl-a-day Wishlist

GHF has a wishlist for the holidays for the rescue dogs!


In the giving spirit? Spread some holiday cheer to the Border Collies awaiting their homes by purchasing items from the Farm's Amazon wishlist! Choose from Border Collie approved toys, bones and chews, winter coats, and other goodies.

Use your Amazon smile account (or sign up for one atsmile.amazon.com) and choose Glen Highland Farm as your charitable organization of choice and Amazon will donate .5% of the cost of eligible purchases to GHF!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Frisbee with Poe!

Poe is the newest addition to GHF and he absolutely LOVES to play frisbee! This boy has the game down to a science, carefully watching the person he's playing with, super engaged. He catches it basically every single time! He's a pro!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

ZogoFlex Dog Toys

Recently, GHF has decided to try out these funky-looking dog toys to see how they work: if the dogs like/prefer them, if they prove better than kongs, etc... so that, in the end, the BCs have something interesting and challenging to stimulate their ever-active minds!

So far, these have worked well; the dogs can get to the peanut butter easily, it doesn't get stuck down in the bottom like it does sometimes with regular kongs. The dogs haven't destroyed any of them yet, even our bigger BCs... so they seem rather durable. Each time we give one to a dog, they seem eager and excited; it gives them something to do with their mouth and their mind. Additionally, these are dishwasher safe for super-simple cleanup. They are also recyclable, non-toxic, and they float! We just fill them with peanut butter and stick 'em in the freezer, as seen below.

In use at GHF!

Here they are:

Tux Treat Toy by West Paw Design

Have you used these toys? If so, let us know!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Cold Weather and Hunting Season Changes

With all the cold weather coming our way, we make changes at GHF accordingly; taking into consideration the weather and timing of the year to ensure the dogs are as comfortable as possible and that they still feel safe during the active hunting season of upstate NY.

During the transition from fall to winter, we adjust our protocol to account for these seasonal changes. The 'out schedule' changes most in the morning and at night, so that, especially on weekends when hunting is the most active, the dogs aren't alone when outside or, if they are alone, it's for very short intervals. MANY of our border collies have sound sensitivities and panic when gunshots go off... so it's important for our staff to know who is out, or to just remain with them while outside in order to lessen their anxiety and so that they associate humans with safety.

Here's some basic tips about exercising your dog during hunting season:


And as the cold weather hits, the staff has to be on their toes about making sure the heating situation for the dogs is matched appropriately to the weather outside. There are fans inside the barn as part of the heating system so that the heat is circulated and not simply vented out into one area or room (since each of the dogs have their own 'rooms' in the main rescue barn.)

Each of the annex rooms has their own heat set up as well, ensuring that all the dogs are in the best state of warmth when the weather drops. In the extreme cold, like we had last winter, dogs get large blankets covering all the floor space so that they have a cozy place to nest.

Here are some basic winter-weather tips for pet owners:


While these tips are fundamental and straightforward, it's always good to have a reminder about your pet's perspective and to review basic care. For instance, during very icy times at the farm, we may have to use booties to protect dogs' feet from being torn up or use a product similar to this to create a buffer between their sensitive pads and the harsh ice:


If it's really icy or desperately cold, the dogs are only out to do their business and then back inside, so as to avoid any potential injuries. It's much easier to for a muscular injury to occur during this type of weather, which is another thing to be aware of as a border collie owner, and it's certainly something we take into account at GHF!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

What's with all the notecards?

When people come through the barn for a tour, they always ask about what the notecards on the doors mean. Lillie, our founder says that 'You sure have a lot of dogs named Thunder' is a common remark.

The notecards are one of the ways the staff communicates with one another, and generally they signify something of importance; for instance, if the note says 'BONE' like it does in orange above, the dog has a knuckle bone in the room... which is something to be aware of if one of the staff was to put another dog in there. Rooms that have 2 or more dogs do NOT have bones, because we don't want to create dog/dog issues by giving them access to a valuable resource, like a juicy bone. 

If the card says 'thunder,' like it does above, this does not mean their name is thunder, rather it signifies to the staff that the dog is noise-sensitive or is thunder-phobic. This is something to be aware of if we are outside with the dogs, and, for example, the weather turns or (like it is currently) it's hunting season and a gunshot goes off; the dog may panic, which the staff needs to be prepared to handle. 

The other two green cards seen above, saying 'no towels in crate' and 'crate Nim in PM' simply mean that the dog in question, (Nim, as seen on our website!) may chew towels which we want to prevent, and does better in the crate overnight, as some dogs do--usually to help with house training. 

There are many things we may write on notecards and place on the dog's room door, (where they are easily seen) like: 'no soft toys' (since the dog chews or destroys them) 'dog aggressive' (if the dog interacts poorly with other dogs, 'allergies' (if the dog can only have certain treats, etc. If the dog has something important that needs to be known about their behavior or personality, we'll tack it on a notecard and tape it on the door, to make sure that everyone is able to manage them properly, using techniques that work the best for each individual dog!

New roof!

The 'front annex' dog room has gotten a new roof!

Thanks to Kory and John, the roof has been replaced and is now in GREAT condition! It only took a few long days from these boys to make sure the roof was completed, ensuring the dog(s) rooming there are snug and dry for the upcoming winter!

Kory and John do much of the physical work for the Farm... repairs involving fences, etc. and also work during the camp season helping guests who vacation here at the Canine Getaway.

During the construction, we moved Banner (the dog staying in the front annex, check him out on our website!) to the barn so he wouldn't have to endure all the racket caused by the roofing process. He was happy in the quiet, but he is ultimately happier in his own space, which the front annex provides; it's tucked just in front of the rescue barn where most of the other dogs are, so Banner settles much better there where he is able to manage himself more easily. Each dog is different and handles space differently!

There are two additional 'annex' rooms slightly behind the front annex where other dogs are able to stay, cozy in the winter and cool in the summer with fans and thermostats in each room! There are windows for plenty of light and easy-to-clean floors... in short, they're like miniature houses! These three annexes are a wonderful tool for us to utilize for some dogs, since the environment mimics that of a real home, and, as mentioned before, it serves as a quiet place for dogs that may have more difficulty settling down. It's one of our many great, unique resources!

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Food Room

Here's what our food room looks like... with all the breakfast bowls washed and ready for use!

All of the feeding arrangements are written up on the board for the morning staff to follow and adjust, depending on the dog's preference or health protocol.

Some dogs are on special food, like a kidney diet, others may enjoy a certain kind, like fish flavored, still others want canned food mixed in to entice them to finish it all! Each dog gets their own bowl and a special meal catered individually to them.

What happens when GHF gets a new dog?

Since rescue is an evolving and continual process, the flux of new dogs and adoptions is essentially constant. Though we are on hiatus, we start back up in November and so here's a run down of what happens when new dogs arrive...

Most of the time it takes a team of transporters to get the dog (typically somewhere in the north east, though we've had dogs from China before!) Each transporter will take a different 'leg' of the journey and eventually, the teamwork from the kind volunteers involved gets the dog(s) to the gates of GHF!

It's remarkable to watch these new dogs, some coming from being chained or from being crated all day--clearly situations where they weren't getting what they needed as BCs--to a green haven filled with different sensory experiences and people dedicated to their well-being, health, and happiness. 

We normally allow the dog plenty of time outside (they have to pee from the long ride!) and give them the opportunity to orient themselves in their new environment, which, as mentioned before, is usually drastically different from where they came.

Depending on how they settle in, we see what their vet histories look like: based on this, they may receive a dewormer or have a heart worm test, which not only tests for this infectious parasite but also checks for 3 different tick borne diseases, including lyme disease, which is common in dogs. 

Due to their circumstances, most of the time the dogs get a bath, to complete their fresh start, and frequently they receive a new name to initiate the journey towards a new and loving life! In the immediate days following, these new guys are given extra attention to ensure their acclimation is smooth and they remain happy; that way, if any changes need to be made they are done sooner rather than later and we can minimize any potential anxiety, which is normal for any dog to experience during such a lifestyle change. 

The dogs realize quickly that the digs at GHF are rather accommodating! 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Rob & his Kong

Here is another farm dog, Robbie, enjoying his peanut butter stuffed Kong. In the morning, when dogs are first let out, or during the day when they are running through the paddocks, sometimes the caretakers will let one of the dogs roam inside the barn; that way they get a chance to have some people-time while the actual care taking 'chores' are done--water buckets are changed and food is mixed.

Usually we stuff the Kongs with peanut butter and put them in the freezer... that way it lasts longer for the dogs to enjoy. And most dogs LOVE peanut butter!

Rob is pictured here with a 'classic' red kong. What is your favorite type of Kong toy and why? What's your favorite stuffing?

Pastoral Paddocks

The farm may be on hiatus, but the dogs sure aren't! 

At the farm, the dogs are rotated between various large paddocks so they get plenty of time to run and bask in the sunshine.

Here is Bud after a long play session with his roommate Pip, a Sprakers dog. They are both close in age and make a great match! Both love to make up 'herding' games, romping, chasing and being chased!

There are a total of five large paddocks for the dogs to enjoy and explore. We typically change-up the paddocks for the dogs so they feel as though they aren't stuck in one place, doing the same activity. Some days are more play-heavy, others are more dedicated to spending quality one on one time. What many of the dogs love most however is walking through the paddocks with one of the caretakers. That way they get plenty of human reassurance but also enough space to frolic and be themselves!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Marvelous Mav

Much of the staff’s job at Glen Highland Farm is ‘outsmarting’ the dogs themselves— keeping their intricate minds stimulated—we have to try and be a few steps ahead of them in order to make sure they get to use their minds and stay intrigued. Maverick, or Mav, is one such dog… he is constantly on the prowl, continuously interpreting, exploring his world.

Mav is very much an ‘old soul,’ more of the classic BC type, a true farm dog at heart, he really enjoys just following around the caretakers and watching them change water buckets and yard cleanup, as he monitors and remains on the lookout.

 He soaks the world in with those huge and eager amber eyes, like a black and white lion roaming the plains… though Mav happily trots about patrolling the paddocks here at the farm. You can see his mind churning the incoming thoughts about his head—a real thinker and problem solver—always ready to confront his next challenge, his next adventure.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sprakers Update

Everyone at the farm would unanimously agree: our lives and perspectives have been forever altered by the Sprakers dogs.

Many have been adopted by their fosterers.

It has been a remarkable experience to watch their journeys unfold and observe the incredible progress they’ve made. Certainly the physical change is significant and overpowering—as these dogs literally healed physically from the trauma and neglect they suffered—but to feel and see the psychological and spiritual healing of the Sprakers group is unforgettable. They seem lighter, their spirits lifted; they no longer cower or flee in fearful anticipation.

Perhaps most importantly however, they are actually becoming dogs. They run, bark, play, and frolic, as would a typical dog. Not to say that these dogs are normal, and some never will be. But they, now feeling the freedom provided by the farm, are able to truly let go and enjoy life, rather than having to fight for survival and warmth.

To realize where these dogs came from, and not only where they are now but what they have ahead, a limitless future, is to reflect on true hardship and true potential. They deserve utmost respect. If these dogs can overcome such a scarring and damaging past, what paths can’t they tread in the future? We, as their guardians, will route for them with hopeful eyes and eager hearts as their true personalities unfold and they learn how to love, and we will continue to provide them with nothing less than what they have shown us to be possible.

Here are some of their transformations. (From January 2014 to Summer 2014.)

Seen below are two other Sprakers dogs, Annie and Owen, enjoying the good life.

Welcome to the Highland Howl!

Welcome to the Highland Howl, Glen Highland Farm’s online blog dedicated to providing Farm lovers with a more insightful, meaningful peek into Farm life. A place to share all the happenings and adventures that take place here, amongst the wonderful, herding BCs that romp about the Highland hills of upstate NY.

The Farm is a place built by and for BCs, and it’s the only place of its kind where they can truly let loose their inner nature and simply be themselves. As each dog receives what they need to heal, each leaves a piece of themselves—a paw print on the farm—which ultimately assists and supports future rescue rescue dogs.

Some find their freedom by joyfully racing around the paddocks; others enjoy finding “work” by inventing herding games with other BCs. Whether it’s a classic game of fetch, trail walk or swim in the river, the dogs live to bound across the land, ears and whiskers riding through the wind.

So, we’ve created this weekly update to reveal what the dogs themselves experience and what exactly that experience entails. Here you will find pictures, videos, reviews and recommendations truly a “BC’s eye view of Glen Highland Farm. We invite you to “stalk” our page, comment and interact with us! We hope that in doing so, we will be able to share the remarkable, determined spirit of all the border collies but also to share the unleashed essence of the Farm itself.

Herd on!