Farrah is our love and joy. She is the daughter of our Trendy and we couldn’t be happier she calls our farm home. I’ve honestly always thought of her as our “Barbie” collie. Perfect in every way. The golden girl. Lol. Well the story I’m sharing has shown me that our Farrah has strengths we never knew. She is amazing and we are so proud of her. One day she will be a mother and we’ll share this story with her babies about what a survivor their mama is. For now, I’ll share with you.
One day in the 2nd week of March, 2018, we allowed our Farrah to go for socialization to our friend Vicky’s home. She has many children and they love the collies, so we thought this would be great for Farrah.
A few hours later Vicky called and was in tears. She had told one of the children to take Farrah outside in back (meaning the fenced in area) and the little one thought she meant out back in the pasture. While out there Farrah slipped her collar. We believe with being in a new place and people that she went outside and it looked the same as home but when she turned back around it wasn’t home and these weren’t her people. She became scared and confused and the children took chase trying to catch her. She ran from the children and people she wasn’t familiar with.
When we got the call we thought Ok… we will go to the area she was last seen and call her. She knows and loves us and she’ll come. Well… things didn’t go that way. We didn’t even see her for 3 days. My heart is in my throat still as I write this because of how emotional this was. Our lives stopped when this happened. I had to focus on her. Tears would have to wait. Time was critical. The ONLY thing we cared about was getting her safely back into our arms and home.
One of us had to stay at home while the others went back and forth and searched. So I stayed with the babies, and put myself to use by posting her picture everywhere I could think of and getting the word out. While doing this, I was contacted by a team of angels. Denice, Sheri, Mary, Lynette, and more. Denice walked me through every step. She helped me set up missing posters and we put them out. She registered her on sites for missing dogs and helped me get her microchip registered and post her as missing. Everyone had a different part but we worked together as a team...a family with the same goal. Get Farrah home safe.
Day 1 - Early Afternoon - Temperature 40. We didn’t see Farrah today. We drove, walked, looked, and my daughter Brittany spent the night, along with Mary, Chris, and Aiden. Vicky and Jackie helped too. Nothing. Not a sighting or paw prints, other than those we found that led up to crossing the road. We left a blanket and food out by Vicky’s home where she went missing in case she returned.
Day 2 - Early Morning - Temperature 23. I woke in tears because Farrah was out in the cold. Everyone was out still. We posted and took flyers to the neighborhood we were searching. We talked to people about her. We handed out business cards to those we talked to, and asked them to call us if they saw her. We didn’t see Farrah on Day 2.
Day 3 - Early Morning - Temperature 33. Brittany and Aiden spent the night again out in the car watching to see if they saw her and they didn’t. By day 3 we were getting so discouraged because we hadn’t seen anything. And then the call came from a wonderful lady in the subdivision who said “I just saw Farrah!” She told us where and we went to see. We found pawprints, but we saw no other signs of her. I took other dogs Farrah knows and we walked, and played with them in the area. We started looking in a long greenbelt south of that location. Brittany started walking south with her dog. I drove around to get a good view, and OMG there she was!!! I still feel the emotion of that moment while writing this. I was so choked up with tears in seeing her. I kneeled down and called to her. At first she looked like she might respond, and then I saw the fear come into her eyes and the worry dance across her brow. I watched her eyes dart from me to Brittany who was walking in her direction, and then dart to where she could run to get away from us both. I softly asked her to come to me but she ran. Words cannot express what I felt in those moments. From hope to hopeless in seconds. Then she was gone. I cried for Farrah being so alone and scared. I cried because she didn’t know us. Denice was there for me. Farrah was in survival mode.
Day 4 - Early Morning - Temperature 17 - Snow on the ground, misty and cold. All I could think about and wonder was “was Farrah cold last night? Did she find somewhere to crawl into that was warm? She had never slept outside at night. My fingers got cold while we were out walking, and I worried for her feet. Was she ok? We didn’t see her on this day. Wherever she was… she was hunkered down and not walking on the frozen snow.
Day 5 - Early Morning - Temperature 12 - Omg can she keep going through this? Where is she??? There have been no sightings for 2 days! My heart is breaking in two. How much longer will she be ok out in this cold. Is she eating? Where is she getting food? We found out that one of the residents of the subdivision she had been staying in had set food out by her back fence. She called and said Farrah had eaten the food late in the afternoon, and she would set out more. If we wanted we could come to their home and check or sit and watch. We also got another call that she was spotted on other side of subdivision earlier that afternoon. I received text messages with her photos. We received the photos below!! OMG… she was ok!! We could set eyes on her. We were able to watch from a distance. She seemed to be sticking to this green belt that ran on edge of subdivision and between two neighborhoods.
We knew we had to try something more because she wasn’t letting anyone close to her. She was in what they call survival mode and it could take a little or a long time for her to recognize or come to anyone, even us. The only thing we knew for sure is that she came out this day, and that she was hungry. So we called some people and began searching for a live trap to set. A local bear trapper had two bear traps that he just handed us to borrow. We were in business! We took trap 1 and put it by the fence where she had eaten food on this day. We took the 2nd trap and put it by the field the photos were taken in above. Then as instructed, we put warm steamy and good smelling food inside the traps twice daily.
The next few days are a blur as they ran together with no sightings, cold weather, and looking but not finding a single track.
Day 10 - We received a phone call early to mid morning. Someone had just spotted Farrah in front of Glacier Ranch Subdivision. We hurried to see and there she was! She was a beautiful sight to see. Her golden color glowed in the morning sun. I kept thinking “Please come home today my sweet girl”.
Marc approached and withdrew, back and forth. He did a dance of sorts with her, first pushing her guard and then withdrawing to peek her curiosity and let her smell his scent and hopefully spark some recognition. He did this for a while and then she started to move away, so he retreated to the car.
We pulled down the street about ¼ mile to give her a bit of space. Our friends who had been watching pulled over and let us know that Farrah was following Marc’s footprints with nose to the ground. So we returned and it was only about 10 minutes as you see the progression below in photos before she was beside Marc and he reached down and scooped her into his arms. He finally had her! Please don’t let go!
I have goosebumps writing this and will have tears thinking about him carrying her to the car. I was on video yelling “Oh my God… Oh my God! He has Farrah! He has her in his arms and is carrying her to the car!!!”
He slipped her into the back seat and she was all wiggles and kisses to my face. She was so happy to be with us. We took her straight home and reunited her with her pack. She was so hungry and happy to be home and safe. She laid under the table between us and was very content.
Now this is a wonderful happy ending and success in getting her home, but the trauma was far from over for her and for us. Farrah wouldn’t let us out of her sight. She was with us constantly. She slept between us at night.
She startled awake to the slightest of sounds, startled and shaking some. We let her be wherever she wanted to be. It was all about Farrah and her comfort. It was very difficult to not go overboard compensating and spoiling her after because we were just so grateful she was with us and home. Oh… who am I trying to fool? We did go overboard and spoil her. Lol I’ll be honest. She was my “barbie” before and my “barbie goes rogue in Montana” after. Haha She had strength that I had never imagined she would and we were so proud of her survival skills.
Farrah continued to improve and recover. In June she came into heat and we felt she was ready, so we bred her to Dar and she took! Farrah was going to be a mama.
Farrah and Dar were the dream team. They were best friends from childhood.
Farrah gave birth to 5 beautiful babies on August 18, 2018. Pride and joy!! She was the best mom ever. The babies thrived and grew.
After Farrah had her litter we decided that in order for her to come full circle in her recovery we needed to find her the perfect home where she would continue to recover fully. We chose a home with Gary Lehman in Tennessee, with Whiskey as her new brother. I delivered her on Saturday, November 17th, 2018 into his waiting arms.
Since her arrival to Gary and wife, she has blossomed. She gets to go for car rides to Waffle house which we know she loves, goes for walks, and has many more great adventures to come.
Thank you for reading Farrah’s story
Marc & Suzi Newman
PS Many Thanks to Denise, Mary, Lynette, Sheri, Kathy, and more who offered so much of their time and love during our efforts to bring her home. They were there for me 100%. We have shared Farrah’s story hoping to help others.
For Farrah, her happily ever after now truly begins…