874. That is the number of Border Collies, Aussies, Kelpies and other herding dogs whose lives were saved by Mary Ann Lindsay. Mary Ann died this week. The cancer she had fought for 10 years took away one of the best friends dogs in the north western states have ever had. Helped by her husband Jim Mary Ann took in the stray, the hurt, the frightened and the out-of-luck dogs collected off the streets of Eastern Washington and the Idaho Panhandle. She made them well both physically and emotionally. She found new homes for them - homes in 40 different states. Each new owner made the trip to Hayden Lake, Idaho to be scrutinized by Mary Ann. Knowing her was seeing the best. No board of directors, no fund raising committee, no marketing program. Just Mary Ann (and Jim). Many dog owners are comforted by the prospect of visiting Rainbow Bridge where their pets wait for them after death. Mary Ann is there as surely as there is hope and love in the world.
Annie came to us from Mary Ann. She was already in her middle age, sick and scared. We gave her back her health. She taught us about sheep. She lured us out into a field and showed us what Border Collies are bred to do. She loved to work sheep. She could move difficult young sheep as well as any dog, better than most. In her old age she slowed, but still went out to gather her flock. Sheep respected Annie. They moved comfortably ahead of her quiet gait. Her final gather was last week. Her time had come - wheels up, Annie, and safe flight.
Here is a picture of Annie in her prime.