Dog Days

Dog Days at Mid-Atlantic Border Collie Rescue

21 October 2016

Adoption Update: Junior (formerly Newt)


I wanted to give you an update on Junior (Newt).  He is the absolute love of our lives, along with his brother Bo of course. We can not imagine life without him anymore and he spends all day, everyday with us. My older dog Bo NEVER played with any of my foster dogs, and as I type this, he and Junior are wrestling at my feet. They love to race around the yard and play frisbee. They love each other. Everyone compliments me on how well trained Junior is already, he is so smart! He knows sit, stay, lay down, come, paw left and right, spin, and we are working on roll over and fetch. He rarely has accidents in the house, and only chews on his toys. 

He went to his first puppy class today which he absolutely loved. He loved playing with all the other dogs, meeting new people, and playing on big toys. He loves rides in the car and coming to work with me. His vet appointments have been going well. He has been microchipped, had all puppy shots, rabies shot and is being vaccinated for Lyme because of where we live. He is on Nex guard and Heartguard already. 

I can not express how fortunate I am for being abe to adopt this little man. He is exactly what I have wanted to add to my family for the last couple of years, I am so glad I waited. Thank you so much for letting him adopt us, he is very very happy.


17 August 2016

In Memory: MABCR Sawyer


Back in late summer of 2008 we adopted a beautiful dog named Sawyer.  He came to MABCR from West Virginia.  Sawyer was a mix of Border Collie and a Sheep Guardian Dog – Probably Bernese Mountain.    I send you this email as Sawyer passed away today.   He was diagnosed with a terminal Nasal Carcinoma in May.

I wanted to let you know since we were under obligation to return him to you if we didn’t wish to care for him.  This of course was never the case.  He was deeply loved and a wonderful member of our family.   Thank you for picking us for him.   

Urbana, Maryland

03 June 2016

In Memory: UCD MABCR's Signing Bonus UDX, OM2, VER, RN, OTCH (Moss)

I'd always wanted a split faced dog and MABCR had one. But Sarah insisted I look at Moss instead. As I recall, her words were something along these lines: "He's a maniac and if you don't take him, whoever does will strangle him with their bare hands." (editor's note: Ilene is paraphrasing :) )

So I took him. And he was, indeed, a handful. No impulse control, no fear, acted first and thought afterward. But there were so many redeeming features! He was bright, clever, indefatigable, optimistic, willing to try anything, really wanted to please me and really wanted to work. He was happy from the minute he opened his eyes in the morning to when he drifted off into sweet dreams. 
I adored him.

 Moss grew up but he never grew old. He developed self-control but never stopped being silly. He placed in some sheepdog trials but he really excelled in the obedience ring, winning multiple High in Trial awards with performances that awed spectators and garnered comments like "I think he's splendid!" and "Damn, that dog is having fun!"

Moss ran and swam miles with us, flung himself off countless docks in pursuit of his flippy, joined us on a cross-country drive, demo-ed for my training business, and loved to ride on my paddleboard. He did it all with gusto and verve. So many times I wished I had his optimism, his good cheer and yes, just a wee bit of his impulsive silliness.

My Mossaboo now sleeps outside my bedroom door. I though he'd rather be there than anywhere else. We planted an azalea bush and I expect it to be a riot of color.

30 May 2016

On Our Way! Travels With Polly

Hi Sarah,

We are well on our way to CA. Polly says hello! Here are a few photos and a couple of videos which I hope you'll be able to view. Polly insisted on being the first item of luggage loaded into the car--there she is in her crate all ready to go (we had to convince her that we weren't leaving for another couple of hours). We spent last night at a KOA campground--that's us on the porch swing. And then today we found an amazing dog-friendly spot, Elk Meadow Open Space Park. Lots of dog-friendly hiking trails, a lovely cool stream to splash in, and a large fenced-in area with rocks and trees and things to scramble over. 

Happy Trails!


26 December 2015

MABCR Update!

As Mid-Atlantic Border Collie Rescue (MABCR) looks forward to its eighteenth (!!!) year of rescue, I am proud at how far we have come. At the same time, I feel challenged at how many miles we have yet to go.

In its first year of operation, MABCR rescued four dogs, but with your help through the years, we have rescued and re-homed more than 1,700 Border Collies, Border Collie mixes, and other worthy dogs that have come our way—as well as the occasional cat, goat, and miniature horse!

As many dogs as we assist, we still turn away an average of three dogs each day—1,095 per year—from our doors. You may wonder how MABCR's dedicated volunteers and I stay in the game; we do it by focusing on the dogs we can save.

You see, each and every dog that passes through our rescue is a great save, and every dog rehomed gives us the joy and hope to reach out to the next one that needs help. (We also love that the dogs we place change our adopters’ lives for the better!)

This year's highlights include:

  • Two litters of pups, along with their mamas, both pulled from the shelters where they had delivered their pups. Both litters were fostered by MABCR volunteers until they were old enough to come to the farm, and then go on to their new homes. Both moms went to great, loving homes as well!
  • Matty, who has been with us for more than 18 months waiting for his forever home. 
  • Lady, a bilaterally deaf dog who was misunderstood in her previous home. Understandable since it took us several months to uncover this sweet girl was unable to hear.
  • And most recently, Jack, an eight-month-old puppy who was found and turned over to us after he had been living feral for more than three months. 

Each and every animal is a great save. Each pup is special. Each forever home is special. The relationship that consequently grows between a newly rehomed dog and their new humans is very special.
Your commitment to MABCR has helped make each and every one of them possible. Every dollar donated supports our dogs and helps to keep them comfortable until we are able to find the appropriate home for them.

In 2015, through incredible support from a donor, we were able to raise the funds (through a matching challenge) to install additional fencing to protect our rescue guests. All of our rescues have benefited from a safe, securely fenced play area.


Projects scheduled for 2016 include repairing the doors in our kennel building, as well as replacing some of our old gates with new, stronger, safer gates, in addition, we would like to add outdoor lighting to allow dogs to be walked and exercised after dark during the long dark months of winter. Volunteers are lined up to tackle this hard work—three groups of students are scheduled to come to the farm this winter via our Break Away [] program.

These are ambitious goals, but achievable ones, if we all work together.

The dogs we rescue count on us, and on you. Without you, we cannot do what we do. With your gift
we can accomplish these vital goals together, and provide essential supplies that will benefit all the dogs that we care for in 2016 and beyond. Your continued financial support will help us continue on our mission to change the lives of our dogs with the simplest of ingredients. Thank you for helping MABCR save and enrich the lives of so many deserving Border Collies.

Good tidings, and great joy to you and yours for a wonderful New Year.


Sarah Ruckelshaus

Executive Director

Mid-Atlantic Border Collie Rescue

P.S. If you prefer, you can make your secure contribution of any amount online at

P.P.S. You can also make a difference all year long by becoming a member of the Shepherds’ Nook. You’ll make a huge impact for as little as 27 cents a day. Find out more at

Ways to Give to MABCR: Check/Money Order payable to MABCR, Inc. P.S. If you prefer, you can make your secure contribution of any amount online at

Donations of stock and marketable securities can be made to MABCR as well—please contact Sarah Ruckelshaus at

Mid-Atlantic Border Collie Rescue, Inc., is a registered 501-C-3 nonprofit. Donations are tax-deductible and a copy of the financial statement can be reviewed by contacting Sarah Ruckelshaus at:

MABCR~24420 Chestertown Road~Chestertown Maryland 21620

18 December 2015

In Memory: Casey Ellis-Evans

MABCR Casey went to the Rainbow Bridge today, and all of us left behind will miss his dearly. 

He was many things, including the official Surfer Dude Border Collie, a certified Therapy Dog, wonderful family member, great all-around dog, and perhaps the worst car-rider I have ever encountered. (What other dog has made a long-term MABCR volunteer contemplate tossing him off the Chesapeake Bay Bridge during a transport?) 

He was picked up as a puppy, where his self-appointed "job" was chasing cars at a busy intersection on the Eastern Shore. Rescue gave him 13 years of life that he undoubtedly would not have had if he had continued with this pursuit. He was simply a great dog and will be sorely missed.



On a personal note, MABCR Casey was a special friend to me. He once made it a practice to take on all of my sadness for his own. I will never forget his kindness, and his soft, sweet nature. 

I'll see you when I see you, buddy. 



27 November 2015

In Memory: Tucker Eyler

Tuesday when I driving to work I was making plans for the holidays - taking the dogs to my sister’s house on Thanksgiving because it was going to be such a nice day, taking a walk after lunch, so thankful that Tucker was going to be with me for another Thanksgiving.  Thinking that he might just be with me for another Christmas and feeling so hopeful.  Then I started thinking how making plans can be such folly.  How things can change in the blink of an eye.  Probably best not to make plans.

October 2012 I found a large tumor in his anal gland and he was given two weeks to live.  Thankfully I got a second opinion, some good advice and listened to my gut and decided to go for the surgery which was a success.  Hopefully he might have another 8 to 10 months.  Thanks to Dr. Barbour and Yellow Springs Veterinary Clinic he had three more great years.  It was nothing short of a miracle.

Tuesday night when I got home and he looked at me with those big brown eyes I just knew something was wrong.  I called him in for dinner and he just laid there looking at me with his head on his paw.  If you know Tucker you know the boy loves his food.  Even after major surgery in 2012 he didn’t miss a meal.  I finally got him inside and put his bowl in front of him and he didn’t want to eat it.  All I was thinking was no Tucker, please don’t do this but looking into his eyes I just knew that today was the day.  I called his best girl Jo at YSVC (Jo also heads up Free Reign Animal Massage and does massage and energy work on Tuck) and let her know that I had to come in.  She let Dr. B. know and off I went with Tucker and Remy.  A sonogram showed that Tucker had a large tumor on his spleen and that it was bleeding into his abdomen.  Tucker was weak and anemic.  With his age (15) and his history of seizures surgery wasn’t a good option and I knew that Tucker was ready to go.  Tucker actually loved going to the vet.  He often had treats, massages and got to see his favorite vet techs, in particular Rebekah, and I was happy that she was there that night.  So Tuesday night he was perfectly calm and surrounded by people that he knew and Remy and I were both by his side until the end.  I can honestly say Tuesday was the worst day of my life but I know that I did the right thing for Tucker and have no regrets as to how he lived his life.

I adopted Tucker from the Mid Atlantic Border Collie Rescue on Sept. 8, 2001.  I headed up to his foster in White Hall, MD with a friend to meet him on that Saturday.  When we got there, he was running around barking like a mad dog trying to chase the horses in the pasture.  Adrienne said “you’re not going to take that dog are you?” and I said “yes I am”.  He was 10 months old.  He loved loved loved his big sister Scout who I had just adopted in July.  He was smart and energetic and the epitome of a Border Collie.  My neighbors said “you’re not going to keep that dog are you?” and I said “yes I am!”  After lots of training, exercise and love, a year later those same people were telling me what a great dog he was.  Terri Hoopengartner, you were his first trainer and I think you were pretty partial to him because he was a herding dog.  He was a superstar in class.  You were also there at the emergency vet when I had to bring in him after his 2012 surgery because my power was out due to Hurricane Sandy.

Tucker was bold, brave, smart, a lover, sensitive, and sometimes a total shithead and that is why I loved him.  He had “the eye”.  He never hurt another creature in his entire life, unlike Scout, who was a killer of all things small.  Watch out mice, bunnies and baby birds.  Once Tucker caught a low flying dove in his mouth and no one was more surprise the was.  You should have seen the look on his face.  I told him to put it down and he did and it flew away unharmed.  I feel so sad for my cat Rogue.  She loved Scout and they used to hunt together.  When Scout passed she latched onto Tucker.  There were times he found it hard to take a step in the yard because she kept head-butting him.  He would lick her face and ears until she was a soggy mess.  I don’t know what poor Rogue will do now.  Remy just has no use for her.

My favorite Tucker memory is from December, 2003.  My boyfriend at the time had a big black lab and on a really warm day before Christmas we all went over to Harper’s Ferry to hike on the tow path.  Owen had to carry Tucker up and over that bridge because he was afraid of it (you can see below to the river and it is pretty scary).  Owen had put flashing bicycle lights on Mike’s halter and I just thought it was the funniest thing ever.  I laughed until I cried.  We hiked for hours and the dogs swam and had a great time.  Hours later we piled back into the car and drove home exhausted.  We had to take a pit stop along the way because Tucker drinks water when he swims so I had to let him out to go potty.  Then the dogs slept the rest of the way home.  These memories are how I will honor Tucker - the greatest dog that God ever put on this earth.

I really couldn’t have asked for more (even though of course I want to).  God gave me three extra years and Tucker was happy and healthy until those last couple of hours when he wasn’t.  He was a true miracle.  I will miss him more than I can say.

If anyone would like to make a donation to MABCR in Tucker’s memory you may do so at

Godspeed Tuckerman and I will see you again some day.  Have an awesome time over the bridge with Scout and Albus.