Today is Blog the Change for Animals, it is a virtual event that happens four times each year. It aims to bring together a passionate community of animal bloggers in support of a wide variety of animal causes. This month I’m going to highlight one of my favorite breed rescues, Glen Highland Farm Sweet Border Collie Rescue.
After very suddenly losing my heart-dog, Tazzie, to a fast moving cancer, there was a huge hole in my heart and in my life. Tazzie was probably a border collie/golden retriever/?? mix, but she was very much so Border Collie in her personality–focused, driven, full of energy, and super smart. When she passed, I started looking to adopt a Border Collie and came across GHF. While I ultimately adopted Shayne from a local shelter, I really fell in love with the work they were doing. While I was in college, I volunteered to help transport dogs anytime I made the journey from NYC to Pittsburgh–it made setting up transports easier since I would take the pups for 4 or more hours of the journey to/from the farm. A few years ago, I had the privilege of visiting the farm during the summer for their kid’s summer program–which is when I fell even more in love with the work they do.
The rescue was started in 2001 when Lillie Goodrich and John Andersen bought a 175 acre property in central New York. Each year they aim to help about 200 dogs needing homes–some dogs stay at the farm in a beautifully converted and updated horse barn and some get to stay with experienced foster homes. The farm is truly a place of healing for this frequently misunderstood breed. Rescue dogs receive the very best food, excellent veterinary care (it helps that Cornell is local resource), plenty of outdoor play/exploration, and most importantly, they are surrounded by people who love them and understand the breed.
GHF is more than just a Border Collie Rescue. While the rescue and the rescue dogs are clearly the heart of the operation, the important work they do doesn’t stop there. Each summer they invite several groups of disadvantaged youth from NYC and NJ to spend 10 days on the farm for Camp Border Collie for Kids. The youth work one on one with a dog in the rescue, complete science activities, do agility training and get to take advantage of the 175 acres of nature. It really is amazing program that helps youth learn to value compassion (both between human and animal but also human to human). The youth also get to feel the unbridled love of the dogs in rescue who are longing for someone to bond with. I was blessed to meet youth who were participating in the program and was just inspired by these kids. They were truly fantastic people who grew so much as individuals during the time at the farm. In the short time I was there, I could see the confidence of each youth increase significantly. As an educator, I see the work being done on the farm as simply amazing and really life changing for the youth involved. GHF really opens their arms and welcome each and every youth into their extended family.
It would be remiss of me to forget about the rescue Border Collies who benefit from a month’s worth of everyday bonding with youth who learn to love them. Border collies are dogs who need jobs but, unlike some breeds, Border Collies have been bred for hundreds of years to work with humans–to bond closely with humans. A Border Collie without a human to bond with is like a painter with out paint. The camp provides the opportunity for the dogs to bond with a human closely and work with a human and relax with a human everyday. To me, the most moving moments come with camp dogs are adopted during camp–their youth handler is filled with joy and sadness at the same time. The closeness with which they bond in such a short amount of time is really phenomenal.
GHF’s amazing work with Border Collies and kids is why I am highlighting the work they do–they really are Being the Change for Animals (and youth). I hope you will go check out their site, look at the dogs, read their Border Collie information, check out the adult camp options they offer and the seminars/mini-camps they hold, and maybe consider donating items from their “wish list” for Camp BC for kids (wish list hasn’t been updated yet for this year’s camp). While their camps and seminars are not cheap, the money very clearly goes back to the rescue dogs and I can honestly say just being at the farm is revitalizing and provides this amazing sense of healing.