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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Holly's home...

This morning was overcast and gray,and then Holly came, and immediately after the sun came out.  She's still not her old self, and they still don't know what caused her illness, but she was well enough to come back home.



We spend the day doing much needed yard work, but tomorrow I'm planning on taking Holly somewhere, not sure where we will end up.  But sometimes that's how you find pretty new spots to explore. Thanks for all the good thoughts and prayers!

Friday, May 26, 2017

ISO Pet Bloggers...

I established the collie blog 5 years ago this month.  So I guess it's our 5 year Blogiversary!  It's been a fun 5 years, and I've discovered so many interesting blogs along the way!  One thing I noticed over the years, from watching new blogs start and some older blogs end, is that it's difficult to keep track.  I wish there was a better way to discover new blogs to read.  I realize there are posts set up to welcome new pet bloggers to the community, but that's only a handful of the new blogs, as so many others are missed and it doesn't help us find blogs that have been around for awhile.

I'm always looking for new or interesting blogs to read, and I seem to find new ones all the time by joining different blog hops.  But I was wondering, has anyone ever created a "discover new pet blogs" hop?  It would be a great opportunity for fellow bloggers to post about their favorite blogs, and post links, so the others could visit too.  But it would have to be a way to share new blogs, or existing blogs with few followers, and not just the well-known, popular blogs.  I've never hosted a blog hop, so I'm not sure how to set it up, or advertise it.  But it occurred to me that one might already exist, and I just haven't found it.

So how do you discover new blogs to read and follow?


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Worries cast a shadow over ordinary things...

Holly came home yesterday, she seemed to have perked up a bit.  But today she took a turn for the worse, and is back at the Veterinary hospital.  They are running a bunch of tests, x-rays, etc.  I'm trying to stay positive, but we are very worried.  She is 11 1/2 years old, and most collies only live to be 11 - 13 years old.  I really hope we have another year or two with our girl.

With thoughts of how short our time with our dogs really is, I took my Abby on a hike yesterday.  She is now 10 1/2, and has always been my special girl.  I could tell she was really happy, just the two of us, taking a walk along the beach.  Here are some pictures from our walk.














Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Time is fleeting...don't waste a moment

There are some days that we are reminded just how short our dogs' lives really are, and just how quickly the years pass.  For me, today is one of those days.  We haven't lost one of our beloved collies, but as they age, it becomes obvious that time is taking a toll. One of our sweet seniors, Holly, is at the veterinary hospital today, and she is a very sick collie.  She has some kind of gastrointestinal infection, and she is getting sub-q fluids and antibiotics.  While the veterinarians expect her to fully recover, it was a little scary last night.

Baby Holly

Holly rules our home, all the other collies know she is the undisputed Queen. She decides when playtime has gotten too rough, and puts an end to the younger collies antics.  She eats first, and leads the pack on walks. So last night when she wouldn't, couldn't, get off the couch to go outside, I knew something was wrong.  At first I thought she just had the same stomach bug that Scarlett had caught. But unlike Scarlett, this bug seemed to be hitting Holly much harder.  And that's the problem with getting old, at 11 1/2 years old, Holly just couldn't fight off the infection the way a younger dog can.

Holly in her prime

It makes me sad to see her slowing down, and how she limps a little after a play session. And my heart breaks a little when I see her waiting at the bottom of the stairs when it's time to come inside, because she doesn't want the other collies to bump her as she climbs up the steps.  She has always been such a strong and athletic dog, even in her senior years.  It has only been the last 12- 18 months that we have seen her really start to slow down.  We have recently started taking her for acupuncture sessions, to help alleviate some of the symptoms of old age.  But it's a constant reminder that our remaining time with her is limited, and that some day she will leave us, long before we are ready to let her go.

Holly, on her 11th birthday, Dec.25th, 2016


So if you have a senior pet, give them an extra hug today, take them for an extra walk, or just turn off the television and spend some extra time enjoying their companionship.  You never know how much time you will have with them, and every moment is to be treasured.

Wordless Wednesday, Scarlett in the pink!


Today we joined the BlogPaws Wordless Wednesday blog hop, it's a great way to discover new blogs!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Looking for jerky treats for your dogs? You've come to the right place!

Guess who hit the collie jackpot?  That's right,we did!  This month our pawesome friends at Chewy.com sent us Merrick Backcountry Wild Prairie Chicken Jerky.  We are pretty sure this finally answers the age-old question of "who's a good dog?"  Obviously, since we were sent these dog treats to sample, it must be us, right?  Of course, our Mom told us that every dog is a good dog, that we are all born that way, and she also said that every dog deserves to be spoiled with yummy treats.  And we have to tell you, these dog treats were pretty yummy.


Merrick Backcountry Wild Prairie Chicken Jerky comes in long strips,that are easy to break into smaller bites.  The treats are smoked, and are grain-free and they contain no soy, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.  And our Mom loves that they are made right here in the USA, with no ingredients from China!

Ingredients:
Deboned Chicken, Dried Cultured Skim Milk, Mixed Tocopherols (a Preservative), Rosemary Extract.


Since they are easy to break into smaller bites, we took them to a dog show, and they were the perfect treat to keep us focused in the ring!


We also took them on a recent hike, and they also worked as a great bribe when Mom was trying to get us to pose for pictures!  (You didn't think we worked for free, did you?)


Mom wanted us to let you know that while most of us enjoyed these treats, one collie did not.  But don't worry, Merrick also makes Salmon jerky too, just click here to learn more.   So if you want to make your dogs feel like they are good dogs too, order them a bag of yummy Merrick Backcountry Jerky from Chewy.com, they will be happy pups just like us!


Our Mom reminded us that we are supposed to tell you that this review was done for free, and Chewy.com did not reimburse us for acting as their collie taste testers.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Earthborn dog treats, the treats that give back.


Every month the collies are given a fun opportunity to do a product review for Chewy.com.  When Miss Natalie sent us an email with the selections for the month of May, the collies had a difficult time choosing which product they wanted to try, as there were so many great products to choose!  We only review products that we believe are safe and contain quality ingredients, and fortunately, the folks at Chewy.com feel the same way.  Since we already feed our adult dogs Earthborn dog food, we decided to review the Earthborn Holistic Earthbites Dog Treats.


We love the Earthborn products, and we especially love that the Earthborn company cares about the environment.  They have this great program called UPCs for trees.  How does it work?  It's easy, you buy their products, send in the UPCs, and Earthborn plants trees!  Our dogs eat great food and treats, and they help the environment, it's a win-win!

 1 Tree =
  • 1 UPC from a 28 lb. dog food bag
  • 1 UPC from a 14 lb. cat food bag
  • 2 UPCs from 14 lb. dog food bags
  • 2 UPCs from 5 lb. cat food bags
  • 3 UPCs from 5 lb. dog food bags
  • 4 UPCs from treat bags
  


Since these treats are from a company that is environmentally conscious, we had to head outside to do our review.  We took Scarlett and Winter for a hike at one of our State parks.  This park, which is actually the location of a Revolutionary War fort, is on a long stretch of beach.  And the wild beach roses were in full bloom, which made the perfect backdrop for Earthborn treats. 



So what makes these treats so special?  These treats are grain-free, contain powerful antioxidants, and are made with high quality ingredients.  They are made with real molasses, honey, and maple syrup, and each treat contains apples, blueberries, carrots and spinach.  They also contain Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids to promote healthy skin, coats and immune systems.  We chose the lamb variety, but they also offer many other varieties so even the pickiest pooches should find a treat they will enjoy.  You can see all the different varieties by clicking here!   

Ingredients:

  1. Lamb Meal, Peas, Cane Molasses, Tapioca, Vegetable Glycerin, Honey, Maple Syrup, Canola Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Dried Egg Product, Apples, Blueberries, Carrots, Spinach, Cranberries, Phosphoric Acid, Natural Flavors, Flaxseed, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Salt, Vitamin E Supplement, Mixed Tocopherols (Preservative), Rosemary Extract, Green Tea Extract, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Source of Vitamin C), Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product.

Our collies really enjoyed these treats, and I love that they are small enough that they won't expand our collies' waistlines.  Since they are soft and chewy, and judging by the collie drool, tasty enough to be considered a high value treat, they work great as a reward in our training sessions.  So please visit Chewy.com and check out the Earthborn Holistic Earthbites treats!



We were sent these treats for free, in exchange for our honest opinions.  The opinions, and collie drool, are all our own.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Hiking with dogs

Milford Duck Pond Park

Spring in New England always spawns a desire to head outside and explore local and National parks.  And of course, my collies are the perfect hiking companions, they are always ready for an adventure.  I have shared pictures from many of our past hikes, but I thought it might be nice to revisit some of them, in case anyone was looking for a fun and pretty hiking spot with their best friend. Many of these parks allow dogs all year long, but some do not allow pets from Memorial day through Labor day, so it's best to check ahead of time.



Hiking is an activity that the entire family can enjoy together, and our canine family members especially love to hike.  Our collies really enjoy hitting our local hiking trails, they love exploring new places.  In fact, they love it so much, that we began traveling to parks all over our state.  Each Spring we manage to visit new parks, as well as some of our local favorites, for some beautiful and scenic hikes.  We have discovered waterfalls, covered bridges, light houses, wild flowers, lakes, rivers and peaceful woods.  The hot Summer weather will often shorten our hikes, but the milder Spring weather is the perfect time to get outside and explore.   During the Winter months in New England, we can get a lot of snow accumulation and ice, so for safety reasons we stick to our local parks, with their familiar trails.  But as soon as Spring or Autumn arrives, we set out to discover as many new parks as possible.


Gillette Castle State Park

Did you know that hiking can be one of the best ways to bond with your dogs?  And sharing the adventure of hiking a new trail is beneficial to you both!  So much of the destructive behavior a dog exhibits is due to a lack of exercise.  Even excessive barking can be the result of boredom and too much pent up energy.  You can leave your home whenever you choose, your dogs are stuck in the house or yard until you decide to take them for a walk or car ride.  By hiking with your dogs, you give them a chance to experience new smells and terrain, getting them off concrete sidewalks and giving them the opportunity to feel some dirt and grass beneath their paws.  This is exciting for them, and it tires them out.  Remember, a tired dog is a good dog!


Binney Park


We spend so much of our lives working and rushing around.  Our schedules are packed full of events, and jobs to do.  We lead very stressful lives, and spending a few quiet hours outside, enjoying the peace and tranquility found in nature, can lower our blood pressure and improve our moods.  And a good hike will help to keep you fit and healthy.  But you aren't the only one who needs exercise to remain strong and healthy, your dogs need it too!  Hiking with your dogs on a regular basis will keep them healthy, which can help to extend their lives!


Wadsworth Falls State Park, 2013


But there is more than just the health benefits to be considered.  Completing a challenging hike can fill you with pride, and it's fun.  There are no demands on your time on the trail, you can wander and explore to your heart's content.  Many times we let our dogs choose which trail we will follow, we let them have the freedom to explore, and they have led us to some amazing places.  And we always bring along a camera, as you never know when the next curve in the trail will lead you to a peaceful spot, that will stun you with it's beauty or touch your heart.


Devil's Hopyard State Park


We also wanted to remind everyone that Saturday, June 3rd, is National Trails Day.  What is that?  It's a day to celebrate all our wonderful National Park Trailways.  We have some beautiful hiking trails here in New England, and all across this country.  There is something so relaxing about exploring a trail, you could almost forget that you are also exercising!  So we would like to encourage everyone to get outside on June 3rd and take a hike or walk.  You do not have to live in the United States to participate, all you have to do is step outside, and put one foot in front of the other!  We realize that June 3rd is a couple weeks away, but we want to encourage people not to wait, and to start hiking now, there is no better time than the present!


Gillette State Park
So do you have any hikes planned?  Do you have a favorite park?  Please share your hikes on June 3rd!  


Fort Hale Park, a fort from the Revolutionary war.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Guardian - a collie poem



The collie guards the castle,
so noble to behold.


And with each passing season,
he stands ever resolute and bold.




A coat of snow and copper,
he walks with strength and grace.


And with a steadfast heart,
he remains a sentinel of this place.


The collie guards the castle...
and is the guardian of my heart.
~K.Pirro








Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Coming of Abby, part 3

Abby


The puppies were adorable, and they had very different personalities.  Abby was more outgoing, and CC was more shy.  Abby would pose for pictures, and CC would run and hide whenever I pointed the camera at her.  CC would peek out from behind a chair or around a corner, but only when I had the camera. I never did figure out what caused this reaction, perhaps she was like me, and just camera shy.

Abby on the left, CC on the right


They were both such pretty collies, that it was decided that we would take Abby and my sister would keep CC.  Knowing she was going to be ours, I fell in love with Abby a little more each day.  I couldn't wait to bring her home, but it was a little sad separating the sisters. However, since we live close by, Abby and CC were able to see each other often while growing up.  And as Abby grew up, we started taking her to dog shows.  We even entered her at the Collie Club of America National Show, and she won her class with my daughter handling her.  I was so proud of them both, as it was a very competitive class,with a lot of beautiful collies and top handlers.



At home, Abby fit in almost from day one. Our first collie, Lad, was 2 years old when she first came to live with us. He wasn't too sure about having a little sister in the beginning, but they became very bonded.  She used to hold the tip of his tail in her little mouth and follow him everywhere.  The bond between Abby and I grew stronger too, and before long she had to be by my side where ever I went.  She loved going to dog shows, and going in the ring with my daughter, but I was definitely her person.  She would only sit next to me on the couch, and would only sleep on my bed at night.

Abby and Lad

In time, both Abby and CC finished their championships, and it was decided that Abby would have a litter.  It took about a year, and we met a lot of different stud dogs and studied a lot of pedigrees, but we finally decided on the perfect sire for Abby's first litter.  While my sister had years of experience, this was my first litter and I was a nervous wreck.  I kept swinging back and forth between worry and excitement.  I couldn't wait to see the puppies, but I was terrified that something would go wrong.  All I knew for certain, was that I couldn't lose my Abby.



Then disaster struck, and we were pummeled by Hurricane Irene.  This storm decimated many towns along the East coast, and it left us without power for many days.  And in the middle of the night, by candlelight, Abby went into labor.  We spent hours waiting to deliver the puppies, but the first puppy was stuck!  You can read the entire birth story by clicking  here.

If you clicked on the link above, then you know the story of how Ryder, Kori and Luke came into this world. It was quite an experience for a novice breeder.  But I was so grateful that Abby was fine and we had three healthy, beautiful puppies to focus on.   Around this happy time was when our first collie, Lad, became very sick.  He was a special dog and words can never fully describe how heartbroken we were over his loss.  There are some dogs that touch our lives and their absence is felt for the rest of our days.  Lad was one of those dogs, and Abby loved him too. She grieved for him, and we could tell she missed him.  While Lad left a huge hole in our lives, Abby and her puppies comforted us, and helped us through that difficult time.

Abby and Lad

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Busy collies, beautiful weekend...

I had Monday off from work, which gave me a fun three day weekend with the collies.  Friday evening, I took Sophie and Maizie to the store to buy dog food.  The store was closing in 30 minutes, so it wasn't busy.  It was a fun outing for us, and they loved getting to go somewhere with me and loved all the attention from the staff.  I try to spend time individually with one or two collies a few times a week, so they all get extra attention.  They love it, and so do I, as it's nice to have the extra bonding time.

On Saturday afternoon, I took little Snow to Petco to do some shopping.  It was her first time, and I wanted to work on her socialization a little more.  We are still trying to find the right home for her, as the last couple homes fell through, which was no fault of hers.  Both families had things suddenly change in their lives and couldn't add a new puppy into the mix.  We will find the right place for her, it's just a matter of time. So for now, I am raising her and training her, and trying to make sure she is well socialized and spoiled.

On Saturday evening we took Winter to a different pet supply store, so she could work on her leash training and socialization as well.  My daughter brought Scarlett along, so she had a turn going somewhere and getting extra attention.  With a multiple dog household, it can be crazy, but we wouldn't have it any other way.  Plus, with three birthdays coming up, we wanted to pick up a couple extra things.

Sunday arrived, and it was time to celebrate Sophie and Maizie's 1st birthday.  We had made plans to meet friends of ours at the local park. They had the girls' brother, Finn, so we wanted to celebrate all three birthdays together.  Since Scarlett's birthday was on Monday, she got to come too.  They had so much fun, and by the end they were all exhausted!  So we said good-bye and headed home with our tired collies.  Once home, all three birthday girls were given their new toys, and everyone got a new bone.  Which was perfect, it kept everyone happily occupied while I ran to see a movie with my Mom.  Later, we had dinner and the collies were given their birthday cake.  (My daughter made one just for them, but everyone only received a tiny sliver.)

On Monday I grabbed my camera, and Scarlett and Ryder, and I drove to a park.  I had seen pictures of the park on Facebook, and it looked beautiful.  It was a bit of a drive, but worth it.  The park wrapped around a large pond, with four foot bridges and was landscaped with beautiful flowering trees.  It was one of the loveliest parks I have ever visited. I wish it was closer, as I would visit it often.  The park was in old Greenwich, CT, a very picturesque town, almost on the New York border.  If you have seen the movie,"The Girl On The Train," then you can imagine the type of town, as that movie could have been filmed in Greenwich.  Unfortunately, I had plans later in the afternoon, so we had to head home.

You can enjoy more of the pictures by checking out yesterday's post.


Monday afternoon my daughter and I drove Ryder to Yale University.  He was invited to do Therapy dog visits with the University students, to give them a break from finals.  It was a lot of fun walking around the historic buildings, and it was held inside a gated courtyard.  It was a great event, they had massage therapists, yoga classes, herbal aroma therapy,  a taco bar, crafts and games.  In our corner of the courtyard were therapy dogs, and the students really enjoyed visiting the dogs.  Many of them were missing their own dogs, which were back at home with their families.  I thought this event was a wonderful idea, and it really gave the students a chance to relax.  They all loved meeting Ryder, and many of them told us they had never seen a real collie.  We already made plans to return next year too.


Ryder, looking very collegiate, getting love from two Yale students

It was a busy three days, but it was a fun weekend for both the dogs and us.  Did you guys do anything fun this weekend?

Monday, May 1, 2017

Collie flowers

Spring is a wonderful time to head outside with a camera and a collie or two!

 










We also celebrated a couple birthdays this weekend.  Sophie and Maizie turned a year old yesterday and Scarlett turned 5 years old today.




Maizie and her brother Finn, who joined us to celebrate their 1st birthday.