Winter 2003 - 2004                                               volume 2  


What’s in

this issue:

Read Solo’s story

Poem by
Bridget Byrne

Our featured rescue
for the month of

Update on Callie

How Mo-Kan Rescue dogs became

MKBCR’s Summer

How YOU can help!!

Member info
and contact listing


Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.
--Roger Caras


Our featured adopted dog is Solo who has been adopted by Vicki and Jack to become a Search and Rescue dog. Vicki tells us that border collies are excellent candidates for this job due to their intelligence, bid ability, and agility. She gives a first hand account from Solo’s perspective of this journey.


At the tender age of 10 weeks, I went to live with wonderful Missouri foster parents named Barbie and Fred. They are volunteers for Mo-Kan BC Rescue. They were very nice to me. I had lots of foster brothers and sisters too: dogs, cats, and horses too. They started some of my early training and saw how quickly I learned and how self confident I was.

Just as my life was beginning, this really nice Kansas lady named Vicki started looking for just the right dog to train as her teammate. She wanted to be a K-9 handler with the Kansas Search and Rescue Dog association (KSARDA), but she needed a K-9. She found just what she was looking for on the very first day she looked at the Mo-Kan BC Rescue’s website-ME!!! After many e-mails and a visit from Vicki and Jack, it was decided that we were a perfect match! It was love at first sight for all of us. I got a new name in the process. I had been called “Freckles” because of the ticking on me but Vicki re-named me “SOLO: The Search Dog.” By the time I got to officially start my Great Kansas Adventure, I was 16 weeks of age. At my new house there are two other dogs-big black Labradors. I love having sisters and they can’t resist me either-I’m so darned cute.

I started my formal training after just a couple of weeks living with Vicki. I already knew some basics like my new name, sit, come, and wait. But I began working on things like stay, roll over, whisper, speak, wave, shake, crawl, back up, sit up, and lots of other stuff too. I went to a puppy class and now I am taking a basic obedience class. I am the star pupil! I also started going to Search and Rescue training and met the other KSARDA K-9s. I am one of thirteen dogs that also include two other border collies. All thirteen of us get to play hide-and-seek games at least once a week. I also get to wear a special vest that says I am a search dog. Then someone goes and hides for me. I get to bound through grass that is way taller than me to find them. Sometimes I run through wooded areas or look in different spots in building to find them. Guess what!! When I do, they give me treats or my favorite toy. I even get to look for people in the dark. No kidding! We went out in this big area at night and I got to wear this really cool flashing red light so everyone could see how fast I found my victims.


Vicki says I am making tremendous progress in a very short time. I am six months old and I know my Great Kansas Adventure has barely begun. I am a Search dog in training and I am not nearly as good as the other KSARDA not-YET. Some of them have been training for a long time, and some of them are certified and have found real victims in emergency situations. I can’t wait until it’s my turn. Then I really will be “SOLO: the Search Dog!
{Ed note: there are 2000 SAR teams in the US. It is estimated another 5,000 are needed.)

Vicki and Solo in uniform!


Remembering Old Friends

You left us some time ago
And I can think of you now
Sometimes, without the tears
And the good moments are
Beginning to replace the sad

In people time your life was so brief
But really a dog’s lifetime which
Taught me to measure each day
With you as a gift, though brief,
As precious as any more enduring.

We had come to know one another
So well that a glance or touch was
All that was needed and the comfort
Of your presence was a rhythm that
Wove through the fabric of each day

Now it is time to start again
With another young life and
I know it will be different
And that I must not compare or
Expect the same of him as you

To be ready for him I must seal
The compartment in my heart
That will always be there for you
And open another for this new life,
This new gift to begin anew.

Dedicated to our old friends, McGuffin, Tootsie, Ollie, Shedoe, Atticus and the other old friends in the MO-KAN Border Collie Rescue family.

-Bridget Byrne, 2003






Editor in Chief
Bridget Byrne


Jennifer Fitzwater




Kathy Hallberg



In South Missouri:

Barbie Ernst





How you can help



There are four ways to help:




Donate (includes becoming a Border Collie Angel)


For more information on the suggestions above, please visit our web site


“Animals are more than ever a test of our character, of mankind’s capacity for empathy and for decent, honorable conduct and faithful stewardship. We are called to treat them with kindness, not because they have rights or power or some claim to equality, but in a sense because they don’t; because they all stand unequal and powerless before us.”

-Matthew Scully


Our Featured Foster Dog

Charlie is a three year old male who was found wandering around a lake in Kansas City Missouri suburbs. After some detective work we discovered that his original owners had given him to an elderly couple about a year ago. How he came to be a stray we do not know.

Charlie is a beautifully built and marked dog and is the consummate border collie. He is quite athletic loving to play fetch and has shown us potential in herding, flyball, and agility. We also believe he would be a good goose dog. He had no job in his first home so assigned himself the job of keeping the backyard clear of birds!

But in addition to these skills he has a wonderful temperament. He loves to cuddle and be with his humans. He has an endearing way of slowly creeping up on your lap and curling into a ball, and then looks up as if to ask “is this OK?” He just adores cuddling whether by your side on your lap or at your feet.

Like many border collies he learns quickly and knows basic obedience commands and is house broke. He “turned on” to sheep within five minutes or so and has learned to catch a Frisbee since being in his foster home. He plays well with other dogs if introduced gently and is learning how to share toys which he apparently has never had to do before. He gets along with cats.

Charlie needs a home without young children as he was badly treated by a child in the past. He is very anxious for approval and needs a stable home where he can express all of his many gifts.
{If you are interested in learning more about Charlie please contact Jennifer}




Update on Callie; last months
Featured Rescue Dog

Callie was adopted by a couple in St Joe, Missouri. Her new family consists of 2 pomeranians, 2 springer spaniels, 1 great pyrenees, 4 goats and 5 horses and a ferret! Callie's new life is full of adventures! She'll get to go trail riding with Melissa and Matt on her new farm as well as traveling to different parts of the country on camping and trail riding trips. We discovered that Callie has very little interest in herding as she walked up to greet one of the goats and touched noses with it and turned and walked away LOL! There was almost an audible collective sigh from the goats! No worries, Melissa and Matt are just excited for Callie to be a part of the family and that she will do happily!

~Barbie & Fred Ernst~
Our Featured Foster Family for September

A story is passed around rescue groups about a young woman walking across the beach after a hurricane which was littered with star fish. She is throwing them back into the ocean and when a passerby questions her about how her small effort of throwing individual starfish back into the ocean can possible matter given the millions on the beach. Her answer is “it matters to this one.” Barbie Ernst reminds us of this story. With the support of her husband Fred Barbie has been tirelessly working for the welfare of animals for many years. We are very fortunate to have her as a foster parent for our border collies, one of our three primary rescuers as well as a board member of Mo-Kan Border Collie Rescue. Barbie is a dedicated determined woman who rarely gives up on a dog or any animal for that matter even us humans the most frustrating species of all!

Barbie and Fred live in Ava Mo on acreage that they share with many dogs, cats and horses most of them rescues. In addition to rescuing and fostering for MKBCR, Barbie is involved with the Southwest Missouri Humane Society. She attends and gives seminars and training on many aspects of animal welfare including the correlation between animal abuse and domestic violence and child abuse. She is also a trusted resource for a number of animal organizations and is very aware of regulations and legal matters which affect the quality of life of all animals in Missouri. Barbie’s energy and level of commitment is truly inspiring to us all and we thank her for being such an integral part of Mo-Kan Border Collie Rescue and …..for all the star fish she has returned to the sea!

Barbie & Fred with their dog Gracie

MKBCR Participates!

Bridget, Jennifer, Kathy and Abby
at Strutt with your Mutt – Longview Lake

MKBCR participated in 4 dog walk events in 2003. This spring we were at Gladstone’s Walk and Wag where our Flexible Flyers also put on a flyball demonstration. Additionally we had a booth at the Dog and Jog this summer and one of our alumnae Jesse was featured with his runner Frank McCarthy in the Humane Society newsletter. We also had a booth at Wayside Waif’s Strut with your Mutt this fall as well as The Dogtober held at Lake Jacomo in October.

Bridget, Kathy and Dale at the
Dog-n-Jog on the Plaza


Rescues Prove
What Champions They Are!!

Katie Bishop our powerhouse!

Flyball is the fastest growing dog sport in the United States. It is basically a relay race in which two teams of four dogs each race over four hurdles and trigger a box which releases a tennis ball. Border Collies are especially good at this sport due to their speed and agility. Points are awarded based on speed in the heats as well as winning races.

Our first experiences with our rescue dogs and flyball were humorous and to the faint of heart it all looked a bit hopeless. Fynn began his high screeching bark that could not be stifled with all the techniques known to dog training. Charly forgot anything she new about returning to her handler and blazed a trail through the ball field and the building where we practiced. She also, managed to nip a demo dog who was minding his own business. Kate who could tolerate no man in a vertical position or who wore a hat circled and barked causing one person to say” that dog is beyond Prozac.” Lucy persisted in stealing every other dog’s tug toy which led to a bit of friction. But we persisted and were joined by Siouxsan with her wonderful sheltie Shiloh and Tina with her border collie Toby. Later, Kelli, and her Lab Happy also came aboard the “Flexible Flyers.”

Siouxsan Eisen wrote about our first tournament:

When I moved from California to Kansas City, I was looking to join a flyball team in my new hometown. We’d competed in three flyball tournaments and were addicted to the sport. With a lot of emails I finally found a new team that had just formed-the Flexible Flyers in Kansas City, MO. They had not competed yet and were just starting out. This was in the early spring of 2002.

Fynn hitting it hard in St Louis!

The team is made up primarily of border collies. They all came from various rescue situations, and the main purpose of the team was to get the dogs socialized and give them a “job.” Having not come from the best situations, each dog had different issue to overcome.Headed by Captain Jennifer Fitzwater, this team is very dedicated and held weekly practices. Progress was being made and we were getting ready to compete.  Fortunately we found Jeremy Traas and the K-9 Tornadoes in Salina, Kansas. We practiced with them a few times and received some great training tips from them. We were told we could be ready to compete in the December tournament in Omaha, NE. The Tornadoes would be there to help us with our debut.

With lots more practices and crossed fingers we made our way to Omaha. We didn’t expect much as we had heard about green teams and what usually happens. The K-9 Tornadoes helped us with our warm-ups before our first race. So far, so good. Then we line up, the lights went on, and we were off! And guess what? WE DID IT! WE RAN CLEAN! We hugged our dogs, high-fived each other and were delighted. That Saturday we even won some of our races and racked up points to earn FD titles. Some even got their FDX title that day. We were thrilled and amazed.

Charly Byrne, the secret weapon!

However one dog had been left behind that day. During each warm-up, Charly had broken out of the lane or simply refused to run. When we loaded up the dogs Saturday to go back to the hotel, Charly was clearly disappointed she had not run. Since we had such good luck on Saturday we decided we would let Charly try to run again on Sunday. On Sunday we had Charly in the #4 position, hoping that being last dog would provide minimal distraction. Dog # 1 ran clean and we had a slight lead. The same with dog # 2 and #3. Now it was Charly’s turn. She was released and the team held its collective breath. She barreled down to the box overtaking the dog in the lane next to her, got the ball, and flew back to her handler. Not only did she do it, she won the heat! We lined up for the next heat, and won three consecutive ones and won the race, thanks to Charly. It was the highlight of the tournament for all of us!

I’d like to encourage anyone out there thinking of starting a flyball team to do it. It is a wonderful, exciting sport. We enjoyed our first experience that weekend. But the best part was seeing our rescue dogs overcoming their past and becoming successful in this venue. They are all in wonderful homes with loving owners. Ribbons and titles aside, these are now happy, well-adjusted dogs. Now THAT is what I call WINNING!

Our dogs have now competed in five tournaments. In the last tournament in Amana in October 2003 our dogs came in 1st place in their division of 7 teams with a fastest time of 20.2 seconds. Kate, Charly, Fynn, and Lucy have all obtained their Flyball Dog Champion titles (FDCh) and they all continue to be winners in the best sense of the word! For more information on flyball, visit or

Flexible Flyers Flyball Team showing off their "Doggles"!

Humans: Kathy, Jennifer, John, Alex, Tina, Rachel and Bridget
Dogs: Lucy, Petey, Fynn, Katie, Happy, Toby, Charly