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The Collie in CRN’s logo is Jake and he is why Collie Rescue Network exists today. I adopted Jake from the Kitchener-Waterloo Humane Society in 1996. My husband had always had Collies but I'd always had mixed breeds, adopted from shelters. Shortly after we moved to Waterloo I talked my husband into going to the local Humane Society to check if there was a good match for us. Imagine our surprise when we found a 7-year-old Blue Merle Rough Collie sitting there!

He had been seriously neglected; much too thin with his coat in terrible shape and his skin so bad it smelled like it was rotting in places. He had obviously been abused as he would duck and flinch when you would do things like move the broom or raise your arms. Jake, however, was the sweetest, most gentle soul I've ever met and no matter what his past, he just loved people and wanted nothing more in life than a soft place to lay his head, a butt scratch and to follow me from room to room all day long.

Jake had never been indoors but lots of hotdog chunks later he’d mastered the stairs. I will admit, Jake never fully figured out the housetraining end of things no matter what we tried. He had number-two potty accidents in the house multiple times a week and I don’t really know why other than he had odd potty habits all-around (he would not poop unless he was under a large tree, preferably with low-hanging branches, with his back end pushed up as close as possible to the trunk, with no one looking – if you were watching he’d try to move to the other side of the tree). But he was the most loving, most noble dog I had ever known and he had those sweet, gentle eyes that would just radiate love and acceptance when he looked at us and that alone eclipsed his quirks and faults (he forgave us ours, we certainly could forgive him his).

Jake taught me a lot, about Collies and about how fiercely you can love a dog, and because of him I fell in love with the breed. Jake was My Boy and he blessed us by sharing seven years of our lives together. Jake passed away just three days after my father-in-law and it was a numbing, terrible week of loss. My father-in-law was a wonderful man and it was because of him that my husband loved the Collie breed and it was thanks to Jake that my love for Collies was found. We were heartbroken.

A few weeks later I approached my husband with the thought that we might do some kind of volunteer work in memory of Murdo (my father-in-law) and Jake. John’s only caveat that was we volunteered with animals; he often half-jokingly says he likes animals far better than most people as a rule. I’d only recently learned about the rescue world and so I went online to find the Collie Club of Canada where I found the email of Karen Fairbairn, the then CCC president. I sent her a note saying we’d like to foster Collies but very shortly afterwards received a note back from Karen saying that while Collie rescue was happening in Canada, there was no organized national rescue group per se....but wouldn’t it be lovely if there were? And I, being naive and ever the optimist, thought, yes, yes there should be and really, how hard could it possibly be to start and run a rescue? Yes, I know. I did say I was naive!

In late 2003 I started doing research and in June of 2004, Collie Rescue Network was born! To say Collie Rescue Network has grown since that day would be such an understatement. Because of Jake, the Collie in the CRN logo, that dirty, matted, sad, old boy sitting in the Kitchener-Waterloo Humane Society back in 1996, there have now been hundreds of Collies who have found loving families to spend their new furever lives with.

As each new volunteer arrives at Collie Rescue Network and as each rescued Collie finds his or her new family to help complete, I’m always so grateful that Jake was there that day, waiting for us to find him and bring him home so he could teach me what I needed to know and to lead me to where I needed to be in order to create CRN and to meet all of you that enable it to be where we are today!

Jake’s Story - How CRN Came To Be