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Mary Ann Lindsay

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I know there are a lot of people on here that know Mary Ann. She was a wonderful rescuer and a true friend. This is Lucia and Grady's rescue Mom. She is the reason I have such awesome dogs. No other rescue would adopt out to a transient seasonal park ranger with no house, yard or year round job (can you blame them?!). Thank you for taking such a leap of faith and thank you for changing the lives of so many two and four legged friends. That'll do, Mary Ann. The Bridge is waiting, God speed.



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Unlike most days at Rainbow Bridge, this day dawned cold and gray, damp as a swamp and as dismal as could be imagined. All the recent arrivals were confused and concerned. They had no idea what to think for they had never experienced a day like this before. But the animals who had spent some time waiting for their beloved people knew exactly what was happening and began to gather at the pathway leading to the Bridge to watch. They knew this was something special.


It wasn't too long before an elderly animal came into view, head hung heavy and low with tail dragging along the ground. The other animals on the pathway, the ones who had been at Rainbow Bridge for a while, knew the story of this sad creature immediately. They had seen it happen far too many times. Although it was obvious the animal's heart was leaden and he was totally overcome with emotional pain and hurt, there was no sign of injury or any illness. Unlike the pets waiting at the Bridge, this dog had not been restored to his prime. He was full of neither health nor vigor. He approached slowly and painfully, watching all the pets that were by now watching him. He knew he was out of place here. This was no resting place for him. He felt instinctively that the sooner he could cross over, the happier he would be. But alas, as he came closer to the Bridge, his way was barred by the appearance of an Angel who spoke softly to the old dog and apologized sorrowfully, telling him that he would not be able to pass. Only those animals who were with their special people could pass over the Rainbow Bridge. And he had no special beloved people...not here at the Bridge nor on Earth below.


With no place else to turn, the poor elderly dog looked toward the fields before the Bridge. There, in a separate area nearby, he spotted a group of other sad-eyed animals like himself...elderly and infirm. Unlike the pets waiting for their special people, these animals weren't playing, but simply lying on the green grass, forlornly and miserably staring out at the pathway leading to the Bridge. The recent arrival knew he had no choice but to join them. And so, he took his place among them, just watching the pathway and waiting.


One of the newest arrivals at the Bridge, who was waiting for his special people, could not understand what he had just witnessed and asked one of the pets who had been there for some time to explain it to him.


"That poor dog was a rescue, sent to the pound when his owner grew tired of him. They way you see him now, with graying fur and sad, cloudy eyes, was exactly the way he was when he was put into the kennels. He never, ever made it out and passed on only with the love and comfort that the kennel workers could give him as he left his miserable and unloved existence on Earth for good. Because he had no family or special person to give his love, he has nobody to escort him across the Bridge."


The first animal thought about this for a minute and then asked, "So what will happen now?"


As he was about to receive his answer, the clouds suddenly parted and the all-invasive gloom lifted. Coming toward the Bridge could be seen a single figure...a woman who, on Earth, had seemed quite ordinary...a woman who, just like the elderly dog, had just left Earth forever. This figure turned toward a group of the sad animals and extended outstretched palms. The sweetest sounds they had ever heard echoed gently above them and all were bathed in a pure and golden light. Instantly, each was young and healthy again, just as they had been in the prime of life.


From within the gathering of pets waiting for their special people, a group of animals emerged and moved toward the pathway. As they came close to the passing figure, each bowed low and each received a tender pat on the head or a scratch behind the ears. Their eyes grew even brighter as the figure softly murmured each name. Then, the newly-restored pets fell into line behind the figure and quietly followed this woman to the Bridge, where they all crossed together.


The recent arrival, who had been watching, was amazed. "What happened?"


"That was a rescuer," came the answer. "That woman spent a lifetime trying to help pets of all kinds. The ones you saw bowing in respect were those who found new homes because of such unselfish work. They will cross when their families arrive. Those you saw restored were ones who never found homes. When rescuers arrive, they are permitted to perform one, final act of rescue. They are allowed to escort those poor pets they couldn't place on Earth across the Rainbow Bridge. You see, all animals are special to them...just as they are special to all animals."


"I think I like rescuers," said the recent arrival.


"So does God," was the reply.


Vaya con Dios, Mary Ann.

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I thought I had stopped crying...until now......


Thank you Bustopher. I've never seen this Bridge story until now. I can almost see the greeting that surely took place. Mary Ann's goal was to save 1000 dogs. I would like to think she more than reached her goal as she guided those lost souls across the Bridge with her :)

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Thank you Christine for posting this. I have not been able to do it. It all hit me this week. Mary Ann was my best friend and we spoke on the phone every day for the last 5.5 years. There is a great emptiness in my heart. I know it will ease with time, but that hasn't happened yet. Mary Ann only had three rescues at the time of her death, and she handpicked the rescue that would take them. Nikki came the next day. She is not that far from us, and will become my go-to rescue when I find someone here that needs rescue. Mary Ann single handedly rescued so many dogs on her own that it is quite unbelievable. She had an extremely low return rate, because she was so good at matching people and dogs. Most of the returns were because of the death of the owner, or the move to a nursing home, etc. They weren't even failed adoptions! She was absolutely amazing.


The day after Mary Ann got the news from her doctor that her time was limited, she was scheduled to compete in a small local ASCA trial. This was an annual event for her, and she was determined not to miss it. Her husband drove her and stayed the weekend, while Mary Ann went HIGH IN TRIAL other breeds with Tan, her old girl!!!!!! Her courage and determination were awe inspiring.


Thank you for the rescue story, Bustopher. I had never heard that one, and it made me sob, but also made me happy! I am going to print it out and give it to Jim when we meet him for lunch today. (With instructions not to read it until he gets home!)


And Pandabear, was your Stella named Stella at Mary Ann's, or did you name her? If she was Stella at Mary Ann's, pm me and I will tell you a great story about Stella in the shelter!!!!!


Kathy Robbins

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I saw Mary Ann getting into her van at Sunset Animal Hospital in Coeur d'Alene about 3-4 weeks ago and could not help but realize that "her time was near."


She was a very kindhearted, loving women. I sent a friend to her a few years ago to see an Aussie that she ended up adopting and when I told her of Mary Ann's passing she became very sad. She too will remember this gentle soul and do her part in paying it forward as Mary Ann so nobly modeled for the rest of us.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've been lurking on this board for some time now, and was motivated to finally register specifically because I wanted to respond to this tribute to Mary Ann. I've known Mary Ann since "back in the day' when she was primarily involved in aussie rescue rather than border collie rescue. I even handled a rescue dog she had at the time in (gasp!) conformation at a local ASCA fun match that was being held as a fund raiser. The whole thing was hilarious because the dog in question was a decidedly "unconformation" aussie, and I'm about as at home in the conformation ring as Lindsay Lohan is voluteering at the soup kitchen. A good time was had by all, the club raised a few bucks and jumped through one of the hoops it need to to start holding sanctioned ASCA trials. That was probably 15 years ago, and I still remember that as the day I got to meet a remarkable woman.


I see dogs all the time at herding events and elsewhere that are in loving homes because of Mary Ann. I competed in some AHBA trials against Mary Ann and Tan and Hemp. Sometimes she won, sometimes I did, sometimes someone else did. Mary Ann seemed equally delighted no matter who got the top score, and so I felt obligated to follow her example, and be equally delighted by excellent work, regardless of whether it was me or someone else standing at that hendler's post while the work was being done. The last time I saw Mary Ann was at an AHBA Ranch Large Flock trial. The course required her to walk a fair distance through fairly tall bunch grass - rough going for someone whose vigor had been sapped by years of chemo. But she did it, and it was breathtakingly beautiful work, and it delighted me to see it, even as it saddened me to face the fact that the clock was ticking.


That's where Mary Ann will be, frozen in my memory. Out in a big green field, with a fine dog bringing her sheep, tall trees in the background, Mount Rainier looming just beyond the horizon.

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"That's where Mary Ann will be, frozen in my memory. Out in a big green field, with a fine dog bringing her sheep, tall trees in the background, Mount Rainier looming just beyond the horizon."


That is one beautifully written passage.

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  • 2 months later...

I know there are a lot of people on here that know Mary Ann...Thank you for taking such a leap of faith and thank you for changing the lives of so many two and four legged friends. That'll do, Mary Ann. The Bridge is waiting, God speed.



I knew Mary Ann Lindsay mainly as a fellow sheepdog herding enthusiast. We often attended the same clinics and competed at some of the same events. Her rescue business was a huge part of her life. She found good homes for hundreds of dogs, and was well thought-of throughout the Northwest. She placed dogs all over the United States.


Mary Ann will always occupy a part of my heart and memories. Like to recall the time I invited her to drive out to a nearby farm where I used to keep my training flock...close to little marshy lake that bordered one edge of a field. We worked our dogs in an arena for a while. Eventually, I took a packet out to a meadow adjacent to the lake, for driving and long outruns. There were patches of ice and snow on the uneven ground, so Mary Ann elected to stay in the warmth of her car, parked so that she could observe Josie and me working the sheep. It was a chilly morning, and fog hung near the ground. You could barely see across the flat meadow through the mist…an enclosed feeling. Josie and I took a break, and walked over to visit. As I leaned on the car door to chat, Mary Ann had a smile on her face, Scottish music playing on the CD player. I'll never forget the bagpipes, the misty meadow, the dogs and sheep…a person would think we were on Scottish moors, tending our flock. As you might imagine, she wasn’t going to just sit and watch for very long. Mary Ann realized a good situation when she saw it, so while she remained near her car in one corner of the field, she drove the packet 150 yds across the meadow, and penned them at that distance in a little free-standing 10 x 10 ft enclosure. What a show-off :) We finished the training session playing a few rounds of catch with the sheep, practicing OLF’s. Great memories of Mary Ann.


I don't believe it was mentioned in the above posts that Mary Ann was awarded Oregon Sheep Dog Society's Novice Handler of the Year Award at the 2011 Fireridge SDT. She had entered the SDT, but was unable to attend due to her failing health. My friend Norm Close retrieved the award for her, and presented it at her home near Coeur d'Alene, Idaho shortly before she passed.


Mary Ann was a wonderful lady. I miss her. -- TEC

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What a beautiful memory to have of her :) She always made it look so easy. I remember when i adopted Lucia and met her for the first time. I was very taken with her drive for life and made yearly visits every fall to see her, Jim and the dogs. Eventually adopting Grady two years later, almost to the day I had adopted Lucia :P I asked her on that first day if I could watch her work her sheep. She and Tan gladly stepped up to show me how it was done. I watched in awe as she made it look so effortless. I've dabbled a bit in herding with both dogs. Grady is from working farm dogs. After several attempts with both dogs, a lot of time getting run over by sheep, and even a lesson with Norm at Mary ann's house, I will leave the herding to Norm and Mary Ann :lol:


Since that day, we have shared many days together sitting in lawn chairs and watching dogs play and discussing our thoughts on training. Not always agreeing, especially since we didn't train in the same sport, but always agreeing on one thing....doing what ever made the dog the happiest :)


Thank you fgor sharing this memeory. I can almost see the fog rolling across the field as the dogs are sent to fetch them up :)

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