Original post : February 24, 2014
"She must be in Heaven!"
That's what a lovely gentleman said to me one night when I was picking Nicki up from boarding at Boomtowne Canine Campus.
We had two seconds to talk while picking up our fur kids, and I always
wind up telling Nicki's story. The guy who left her tied to a fence so
long that the skin from her nose had peeled away due to sunburn. The guy
who left her tied to that fence and moved
away. When the gentleman at Boomtowne that evening heard what she'd
been through, and saw the love with which she was welcomed after we'd
been apart only a few days, that was his remark - said in a soft,
Yesterday, we went for yet another walk,
taking advantage of the break in the weather. Nicki eagerly tugged me
along at the far end of the leash, hopping over snow banks and trying to
jump up into trees after the elusive Squirrel. We ran through snow and
plodded through muck, and she seemed to enjoy every minute of it.
I don't have a fenced yard, so Nicki is always leashed or tethered when
outside. Sometimes I feel sad about that. She'd clearly love to run
after those squirrels! But when I make the effort to take her to an
enclosed area where she can run freely - she doesn't. I don't think
she's ever had the chance. Just like she doesn't know how to play with
toys, she also doesn't know how to run free. That's not only sad, it's
dangerous. If she does get a chance to run without a safe area, she
won't know how to handle it. She won't know to watch where she's going.
She won't know how to find home again. So, we walk on long leashes.
When I tried to adopt a Border Collie after our Daisy's passing, I was
turned down flat by most BC rescues because we didn't have a fenced
yard. When I applied to Glen Highland Farm to try to adopt, I almost
felt guilty! "She must be in heaven!" That TRULY had to apply to Lillie
Goodrich's rescued BCs. They had acreage and ponds and other dogs!
Adopting them away from that seemed unfair! I needn't have worried. I
had no acreage. No other dogs. No fence. No chance. If you look at the
stories of the lucky pups who have been adopted from GHF, you see a very
similar profile. People with time, money, land, and other dogs. They're
My problem with that is that it would be like
insisting that no family be allowed to adopt a child unless they owned
Disneyland. These may be excellent homes - but so many of those dogs
have been looking at me from that webpage for an entire year - and
they've been there even longer. Not just at GHF - but in other rescues,
But here we are with our Nicki. Apparently, she's
being deprived, in some people's minds, by living with our family. No
open fields. No other dogs. No livestock. No "safe" fence.
said, though, she doesn't seem to know what to do with open space. She
doesn't much care for other dogs except in very limited contact. She's
indifferent to other animals (except for Squirrels!) And yesterday,
walking at the end of her leash, bouncing through the snow with me, I
realized that she is more free now than she has been in a long while.
Maybe her entire life. Tethered here, with me, she's safe. And loved.
And cared for. And, more than before, free. I hope it feels like heaven.