Dog being evicted from Kremmling nursing home
January 8, 2010
Senior citizen Fred Baessler usually perks up at the sight of him.
“Hi Case’,” he warmly said as the 10 year-old Border Collie-mix entered the room.
Casey became a resident at the Cliffview Assisted Living Center in Kremmling one year ago.
He eventually gravitated to Baessler.
“He just follows me around,” Baessler said.
He calls the old dog “Caseyboo” or “Old Beasty.”
The elderly man sat quietly in his room on Wednesday afternoon, looking out the window as he stroked the fur on Casey’s back.
He’s had hunting dogs all of his life, but admits he’s selective about canine companions.
A dog lover? “Some dogs, yes. Some dogs, no,” he said.
Similarly, dog Casey has become selective about his humans.
About five months ago, Cliffview’s Resident Services Director Valli Shaw noticed Casey growling when visitors entered the lobby of the facility.
And lately, Casey has been known to snap at strangers.
“He doesn’t like the look of them,” Baessler figured.
Casey isn’t necessarily a mean dog. “He’s just protecting his home,” Shaw said. “I was devastated the first time he started doing that because he’s a great dog.
“He wouldn’t hurt any of these people,” she said of the 19 elderly residents at Cliffview. Casey lifts them up when they are down, she said.
“When somebody’s having a bad day, he knows it, and he’ll go over to them and lay his head on their lap. It’s so sweet.”
But the staff at Cliffview is coming to terms that it may be time to find Casey a new home and eventually adopt another dog that isn’t overly protective.
Shaw said she would love to keep him, but it isn’t entirely up to her.
Grand County owns the center and it’s managed by another company.
Shaw has found herself worrying about the legal aspects were something to happen to a visitor because of Casey.
Since Casey formerly was a stray and was acquired from an animal shelter in Craig, Shaw said it would break her heart to send him back to the shelter.
The dog had been there long enough to be facing “death row,” she said.
Because Cliffview had been looking to adopt a dog after residents’ 12-year-old companion Sissy died, center employees had made contact with the shelter.
Someone called back Cliffview about Casey.
“We don’t know what this dog’s been through,” said Dawn Martin, owner of the nonprofit animal rescue in Kremmling called “Heaven Can Wait.” She recently was contacted about finding a place for Casey.
Border Collies, she said, “are the most intelligent dogs I know of. They have to have a job so they feel important.”
Casey’s adopted “job,” she surmised, has become protecting and watching over the residents at Cliffview like a true herding dog.
That breed – a valuable herder of livestock – was originally bred to be shy of strangers to ward off being stolen.
Martin is hoping the dog can find a home of an elderly person, maybe a retiree. Or, perhaps a working ranch, she said. Meanwhile, she hopes to work with the dog to see why he’s become overly protective.
Having to move the dog saddens the Cliffview staff as well as Martin, especially in light of the bond he’s formed with Baessler.
“It’s like moving an elderly person from his or her home,” Martin said. “Dogs have some of the same emotions we do. They miss their owners and can grieve.”
– Tonya Bina can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail email@example.com.