Friday, August 12, 2016

It's that time of year again...

Dogs feature in starring roles in many movies and TV shows, and they are also the main characters in many works of fiction.  I could spend all day writing about the movies and books I have come to love because of their canine icons.  But instead, I am currently focused on one group of canines who were the main characters in a series of books in the 1920’s through the 1930’s.  The books were mainly works of fiction, but they also included many real events, and the dogs in the books were very real.  They lived, played, and died at Sunnybank, and their lives were forever immortalized on the pages of Albert Payson Terhune’s books.  


I’ve written many times about Sunnybank, and the wonderful Sunnybank collies.  And each summer around this time many collie lovers and Terhune fans begin to get ready…for it’s almost time for The Gathering of Collies at Sunnybank!  Reservations are made, collies are bathed and groomed, and we begin to pack for our trip to “Collie Mecca.”  For many diehard Terhune fans, this is the one weekend they eagerly await all year.  For on the banks of Sunnybank, though the main house and barn are long gone, the collies and their people gather for two days to explore the grounds, visit the graves of the Sunnybank collies, and to socialize.  There are guest speakers, silent auctions, fun and games, a collie puppy match, and even a memorial for the collies that have left us.  

Next weekend we will also be making the journey to Sunnybank, and we will be bringing some of our collies.  I can’t wait to walk the grounds with my own collies, visit with friends, and of course take lots of pictures!  We are going to enter our puppies in the puppy match, which is just a fun way to introduce puppies to dog shows.  And we are just going to sit, and soak it all in, remembering our past trips to Sunnybank while we look out across the remaining 10 acres of “The Place.”


You can read more about Sunnybank by clicking HERE and HERE. There is truly no other dog event that can compare to The Gathering, and I am so happy I can share the experience, with all of you.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

The girls do a review, part 2

So Ms. Sydney over at Chewy.com sent us a second item to review.  And dog, oh dog, were the puppies happy!  This item proved to be a very tasty treat! (Can you see why the collies love Ms. Sydney and Chewy.com?)



The pups were asked to review Wellness Core Grain Free Protein Bars.  Now I just want to mention, even though I have said it before, we don't do reviews on products unless we feel confident that it is a quality food or treat.  Since these treats were made by Wellness, I felt this was a product I could trust, so I wasn't afraid to let my collies try these treats. The Key Benefits are:

  • Grain-free, gluten-free, tender, bite-size bars
  • Perfect pairings of hearty proteins and delicious superfoods
  • No meat by-products, wheat, corn, soy or artificial flavors, colors or preservatives
  • Only 16 calories per treat
  • 100% natural & Made in the USA!

The bars were a little large for the puppies, but they were very easy to break into smaller pieces.  And we are happy to see that they are made in the USA!



Now let's take a look at the ingredients:

Salmon, Whitefish, Peas, Flaxseed, Natural Flavor, Cane Molasses, Salt, Broccoli, Carrots, Pomegranates, Mixed Tocopherols Added to Preserve Freshness, Dried Cultured Skim Milk, Rosemary Extract.

I know many are debating the use of peas in dog food and treats, but since these are only treats and aren't meant to be consumed in large quantities, I felt these were safe enough.  And look at the other ingredients, broccoli, carrots and pomegranates!  I think if you are looking for a quality treat for your dogs, this is a good option.  The puppies LOVED the taste, and so did my adult collies, so they all give these treats four paws up!  You can learn more about these protein bars or you can order some for your pet by clicking  - HERE


Now we have to include a disclaimer, Chewy.com did not pay us for our opinion or compensate us in any way.  We were given the item for free for our honest opinion.  Thanks Chewy.com!

The girls do a review, on their 3 month birthday!

Every month our awesome friends at Chewy.com send the collies one or two items to review.  When the Chewy.com box arrives, the collies know that it is for them.  (Except for the occasions when the kitties get to do a review.)  As we also order our dog food from Chewy, through their autoship program, the mailman brings us a few boxes each month.  So now, thanks to Chewy.com, our collies LOVE the mailman!  And if you haven't checked out Chewy's autoship program, you should!  They deliver our food right to our front door each month!

Sophie is ready for some birthday fun!


I held off the review until yesterday, since it was Sophie and Maizie's 3 month birthday.  It was the perfect day to introduce the items we were reviewing this month.  The first item we are reviewing is the Outward Hound treat chaser.



It is one of Outward Hounds interactive toys, which helps alleviate boredom, and can help your dog or puppy learn to problem solve.  Now some of their toys are a little challenging for puppies, but this toy was perfect for our little ones.  As you can see by the video, they figured out right away how to roll the ball to get it to dispense treats.  From then on, they had a lot of fun!



Based on the ease which the girls mastered this toy, I would say it is perfect for puppies.  The adult collies tried it too, and they also enjoyed it. But what's not to love?  The collies all agree, that a ball that also dispenses cookies...is a great idea!  Here are the details:

Key Benefits
  • Interactive, treat-seeking doggy fun
  • Keeps your pup playing longer
  • Made with durable food-safe plastic
  • Spin & whirl action
  • 2 treat chutes
  • BPA, PVC, & phthalate free
You can order one for your pup by clicking right HERE!  Now we have to include a disclaimer, Chewy.com did not pay us for our opinion or compensate us in any way.  We were given the item for free for our honest opinion.  Thanks Chewy.com!


Saturday, July 9, 2016

And then there were three...

The puppies turned 10 weeks old today.  Cody left me today, his new Mom and Dad flew up here fromVirginia.  He is going to be a service dog.  Ben leaves next weekend, he is going to live on a 55 acre farm, with pygmy goats and a wonderful family, including a 2 year old granddaughter and a 2 year old adult collie.  Wyatt, now called Finn, left us last weekend, he lives with friends of ours and they adore him.  I am so happy our boys all ended up with such awesome homes!
Maizie 10 weeks old


Cody 10 weeks old, he went to his new home today

Cody

Cody

Cody




Sophie 10 weeks old

Ben 10 weeks old

Ben




Sophie and Maizie





The puppies at 9 weeks old...

Sophie, such a sweet, soft expression
Sophie and Maizie, always together
Cody
Cody
Wyatt, with two of his new family members
Wyatt, now Finn,such a happy boy
Silly Ben, how can that be comfortable?!?
Sophie
Cody
Sophie and Maizie
Ben
Maizie
Sophie
Wyatt
When they were 8 weeks old...

Sophie
Maizie
Maizie
Ben
Sophie
Cody
Wyatt
Now we just have three puppies in the house.  I am happy with their new homes, but I sure miss them when they leave.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Musings on my Life with collies, part 1

The collies all jostled for attention, all happy that I had once again returned home to them.  They all took turns greeting me, expressing their happiness in their own unique ways.  Scarlett, the youngest of my adults, pushed her way to the front and jumped up to say hello.  I was well aware that I should put more of an effort into teaching her not to jump up, but I didn’t have the heart to scold her while she was gazing at me with that special sparkle in her eyes and her tail wagging fast and furiously.  After giving her a hug and a kiss, I nudged her down and turned to the next collie.  After greeting each collie, and giving them hugs and petting their soft heads, I turned to place my purse on the table.  But before I could put down my purse, Scarlett was back looking for additional attention and love.

“What is it Scar, did you miss me?”  Scarlett just snorts her answer and grins up at me, her tail wagging all the harder.  Looking at her sweet, happy face, I couldn’t help but smile down at her.  She never fails to make me smile; she is just such a happy, joyful collie, that her enthusiasm is contagious.  While I finally put down my stuff and kick off my shoes, Scarlett runs off to find a toy.  She quickly spots the perfect toy, and it’s no surprise, it’s the one that her sister Kori is carrying in her mouth.  Scarlett delights in taking toys away from the other collies.  And even though she is the youngest of my adult collies, none of the others will challenge her for possession.  She quickly prances back to my side; her whole butt is wagging now, as she proudly displays the stolen stuffed sheep.  “What do you have Scarlett?  Did you steal that from Kori?  You are such a naughty collie!”  Scarlett’s only response is to snort gleefully and dance around the room carrying her new treasure.  

In the meantime, Kori is on her dog bed looking up at me.  Her eyes can melt any heart, as this girl has the most soulful expression I have ever seen on a collie.  When she is happy or sad, Kori’s eyes have the ability to touch my heart.  When I look into her eyes I can read her thoughts and her feelings, as everything is clearly displayed for me to see.  Anyone who doubts a dog has a soul needs only to look into Kori’s eyes to know the truth.  I sit down on the couch, tired after a long work day.  “Hi sunshine girl, did you have a good day?”  Kori jumps up and as graceful as a deer, she is quickly by my side.  Hesitantly, she wags her tail, waiting for an invitation.  “Come here sweet girl, come sit with me.”  Kori jumps up on the couch next to me, and stares questioningly into my eyes.  “What is it Kori?  What do you need?”  She jumps down and runs to the back door, clearly asking to go outside, as she glances back to make sure I understand.  

I stand up and cross the room, opening the backdoor, all the collies swarm around me, each hoping to claim the coveted spot at the head of the line, ensuring that he or she is the first one outside.  Ryder claims the lead, but not surprisingly he is pushed aside by Scarlett, as she races down the stairs, leading the pack.  As I watch their antics, I think of the videos I have watched of well trained dogs, and I tell myself that I should train them to wait by the door until I give them permission to go outside.  But instead I allow them the freedom to dash outside, indulging their need to compete for speed and position in this one small way.  As I watch them sprint around the yard, I consider all the times they have to wait for permission for even the simplest desire.  As my dogs, they have to wait until I choose to feed them their dinner.  They have to wait for me to let them outside, wait for me to take them for a walk or a car ride.  And when we go on walks, they have to stay by my side, tethered to me by their leashes.  So in some things I do indulge them, because no creature should live her life unable to make even the smallest choice.  When I take them for walks, I let them choose the direction we will take, and when they want to stop to investigate some new smell, I let them stop.  Our walks are more than just a way to get exercise; our walks are way to bond with my dogs, by doing something they want to do.  Too often people forget that dogs are sentient beings, capable of thinking and feeling.  So I may consider trying to put an end to the chaos that results from my asking “do you guys want to go outside?”  But I know that allowing them this freedom to dash outside willy-nilly is a small pleasure for them, so why would I deny them?

I see that they are tired and ready to come in, as my two old ladies are already standing by the door.  So I reach for the handle, and I call them inside, and one by one they saunter inside, order once again restored after their mad race around the backyard.  The last in line to come inside is always my sweet Abby.  Even though she has been with me the longest, and even though she is the mother of Ryder, Kori and Scarlett, my Abby does not have a dominant bone in her body.  Always a sensitive and gentle collie, she always hangs back when the others rush around demanding attention.  She is the collie who is the most devoted to me.  If I go into a room and shut the door, when I come back out Abby will always be lying across the threshold waiting patiently for my return.  When I single her out for attention, her happiness and joy is evident for all to see.  Filled with bliss, the years roll back, and she begins playing like a puppy again.  Abby is such a faithful friend, such a sweet companion, that I cannot imagine my life without her by my side.  When I look at her beautiful face, and see the grey hairs that clearly mark the passing years, I worry about the how much time we may have left together.  I wish dogs lived longer, but then how many years would be enough?

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Why the puppies love Chewy.com...

We are fortunate enough to be able to do reviews for Chewy.com each month.  They send us products, in exchange for our free and honest opinion about different pet products.  Since we have 5 very young, and very eager consumers, we chose something geared toward their small size.


But puppies, like children, love the boxes almost as much as what they contain!  So they wanted to give a shout out to Chewy.com for the awesome, fun boxes that provided lots of entertainment!


But what was inside for these little darlings?

What is it Mom? What do you have?

 Well Maizie, Chewy.com sent us a package of  Zuke's tiny Naturals Tasty Chicken recipe.


These treats are definitely "tiny,"  they were the perfect size for tiny puppy mouths!


But how about taste?  Were they appealing to our little ones?  Click on the link to see for yourself!

Trying out the new treats!

We used these treats in a game we had reviewed in a previous month, and the puppies spent a lot of time trying to figure it out...the smell of these treats kept them puppies working at this puzzle game for a long time.
team effort!
So what are in these treats?  As you can see, these are not a limited ingredient treat, but they are grain-free. And the best part, is that they are made right here in the USA.

Ingredients:
Chicken, chickpeas, peas, sweet potatoes, glycerin, pea protein, agave syrup, gelatin, coconut oil, flaxseed, salt, flax meal, citric acid, lactic acid, succinic acid, natural flavor, sunflower lecithin, mixed tocopherols, rosemary extract, vitamin e supplement, vitamin a supplement, zinc proteinate

Because of some of the ingredients, we won't be using these treats all the time.  But the puppies were crazy over the taste and smell of these treats, so as a training aid, these are a very useful tool!  And the tiny size, allows us as pet parents to control how many treats they get, which is a huge plus.  We give them 3 out of 4 paws up!  Thanks Chewy.com, the puppies loved doing this review!


Wyatt, waiting for more games with the his Chewy.com box!