This is printed with permission of the author, Kelly Labrie Ferguson who is with Best Animal Rescue Friends in Houston. The original post was on her Facebook page (Sept. 22, 2014) and shared on various collie Facebook pages.
My experience at Houston Collie Rescues Camp Collie has been a emotional, life changing journey and I try to post pictures and give an account to the outside world of what has happened and what is happening out there. The first few days were basically triage, if you will, volunteers working so hard to settle these frightened starving dogs, bathe them, sort them into groups, medical attention, and hearing sounds of barks of confusion, fear and some were shut down in silence.
It was overwhelming, the sheer magnitude of that many dogs, all ages, sizes, medical issues etc etc. Volunteers just dug their heels in and got things done. The first week or so the dogs were still confused, and starving, they had never had a consistent meal. After getting them divided into groups, all the females in heat were housed together, some of the dogs were blind, they were settled to where they would be secure and not so frightened.
So heading into week two things were more settled and many left to foster homes, dropping the numbers down, although it still left many collies. Basically groups of volunteers took sections and would feed, clean and care for their section on a daily basis. The collies were getting used to the consistency of being fed everyday although many were still frightened and had to be carried to their crates to eat.
Some were coming around fairly quickly, others slowly. The barks changed from fear and confusion to barks of we are alive, we are safe and hello world.
So I had settled into a section I named Collie Hollow and had about 30 collies there mostly males between 2 and 5 years old. Several volunteers and I took care of the Collie Hollow boys and they got to know us and we got to know them. In the beginning they had very little energy, they all had to be treated for worms and the whole experience left them shell shocked for lack of a better term.
As the days went on they became more and more comfortable and when you arrive they all jump with joy and bark with greetings. I slowly saw life returning to their eyes as if a light had come on. Many days volunteers reached out to them slowly to let them know the human hand was of love and care. Some responded more quickly than others. As the days went on life was not so scary for them and they started to feel better and show their stuff.
Many started to seek the loving hand and learned it is a hand of love, kisses were given everyday and we had collies that that were afraid when we cleaned their dog runs, now becoming little helpers. Collie Hollow has around 15 or so dogs left and each time one leaves I cry like a baby. It is like feeding your own pack everyday, in a sense they are fosters, just a large number of fosters
I have been so very blessed to be able to help these babies daily and I call them my own Houston Collie Rescue Volunteers have done such an amazing job. On a daily basis we laugh, we cry, we laugh and cry some more. We get together in the mornings and say hey did you see what this one did or that one did and we are all like proud mothers talking about our sections we all care for. The truth be known I don’t know who has been blessed more by this experience, the collies or me.