An organization providing a safe haven for high-risk and unwanted border collies has expanded its services to care for some of the most seriously ill of the breed around southeastern Indiana.
Border collies suffering with cancer, as well as the emotional well-being of the owners who care for them, will benefit from a fundraiser in Columbus later this month.
A 5K walk/run, sponsored by a new division of Clancy’s Dream Inc., will begin at 9 a.m. June 29 at Noblitt Park in Columbus.
In addition to walkers and runners, organizers are encouraging dog owners to participate by bringing their pets to the event for a casual walk.
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Clancy’s Dream is a border collie rescue organization operating out of Dogwood Ridge Farm, located on Heathers Pass a few miles from Lutheran Lake near the Bartholomew/Brown County line.
Founded by Kenny and Elaine Shuck, Clancy’s Dream has been a registered tax-exempt charity since 2016 that provides rescue, medical, rehabilitation and adoption assistance for at-risk border collies, according to its website.
The charity’s newest division to help dogs with cancer, known as The Nellie Effect, was founded last fall through a $5,000 grant from the Greenfield-based Elanco Animal Health Inc., Shuck said.
Cancer in border collies is most often terminal, said Lou Anne Denny, who says she’s still grieving for the loss of her pet, Jake, to a brain tumor last Valentine’s Day.
But there is hope for many dogs with cancer, Shuck said. For example, his organization paid for chemotherapy for a border collie with cancer that survived nearly three years after being diagnosed with cancer, he said.
Although heartworm is usually considered fatal, Shuck said Clancy’s Dream has paid for the successful treatment of five dogs with that condition, including one of his own pets named Doc.
While Denny says her heart isn’t ready to permanently adopt another pet right now, she and her husband, Doug, agreed two weeks ago to work through Clancy’s Dream to become foster parents to Casey, a black and white border collie who exhibits extreme nervousness.
“He’s just learning how to play,” Denny said. “At first, he didn’t even know what a toy was, but he has come a long way in just a few weeks.”
Denny hopes to determine within a month or two whether she and her husband want to permanently adopt Casey, she said.
Clancy’s Dream Inc. consists of a board of directors that meets monthly and 34 fosters and volunteers throughout Indiana who work to save as many at-risk border collies as possible, Kenny Shuck said.
Upon arrival at the rescue facility, all border collies are brought up-to-date on vaccinations, spayed/neutered and receive any other needed medical care.
No medical cost is ever passed along, no fee is charged for adopting a dog and 100% of all donations go toward saving dogs, according to the website.
Known for their intelligence and determination to please their masters, the fictional portrayal of border collies in such movies as the popular 1995 film “Babe” resulted in an increased demand for the breed, Shuck said.
While he and his wife used to breed border collies, Shuck said the couple stopped in 2013 after learning the dogs were often being turned in at shelters and even euthanized because people were not familiar with their needs.
“We wanted to be part of the solution and not the problem,” said Shuck, who worked five years as an assistant to a Louisville veterinarian.
What many people don’t understand about border collies is that they can develop serious behavioral problems if unable to work off their energy.
The owner of a border collie needs to provide his or her pet with at least two hours of exercise and mental stimulation a day to ensure a good-tempered dog, Shuck said.
Since their herding instinct can be directed at anything that moves, a border collie’s behavior is often interpreted as nervous, neurotic or even dangerous if the dog tries to herd moving vehicles or cyclists.
The namesakes of both the Clancy’s Dream and The Nellie Effect organizations were both border collies trained as therapy dogs. Clancy was the alpha male of a large group of canines at Dogwood Ridge Farm in the Seymour area until he died unexpectedly at the age of 10 in 2016.
One of Clancy’s daughters was Nellie, who was sent to reside near Connersville at a facility that specializes in training border collies how to herd sheep. Nellie, who brought smiles to many sick kids as a service dog at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health in Indianapolis, died last fall of gastric cancer, Shuck said.
“Together, Nellie and Clancy will save dogs, even in their death,” Shuck said.
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To learn more about Clancy’s Dream and Nellie’s Effect, visit clancysdream.org.
Clancy’s Dream’s address is Dogwood Ridge Farm, 8092 Heathers Pass, Seymour, IN 47274.
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What: Inaugural Nellie Effect 5K Riverwalk/Run
When: June 29; registration from 7 to 8:30 a.m.; the walk/run will be from 9 to 11 a.m.
Where: Noblitt Park in Columbus
Entry fee: $30
Online advanced signup: runsignup.com/race/events/in/columbus/nellieeffect