Monday, September 18, 2017

Books for dog lovers...

Dogs make me smile, and not just my own dogs, all dogs have this effect.  When I am out running errands, or returning home from work, and I see a dog taking a walk with his or her person I have to smile.  So I can understand why so many residents at Nursing homes are excited when they see me walking down the hallway with my collie, Ryder.  I recently read two books that show just how deeply dogs can create positive change in peoples' lives.

The first book, Rescuing Finley, was written by Dan Walsh.  This book was very heartwarming, but you have to get past the first few chapters, which help set up the story.  The main characters are a young woman in a correctional facility, a veteran with PTSD, and a special dog called Finley.  This book did have me in tears a few times, but they were happy tears.  While it is a work of fiction, service dogs really can help soldiers suffering from PTSD, and they have made profound changes in the lives of inmates participating in training programs.  I highly recommend this book, and plan on reading it again sometime in the future.

The second book, Finding Riley, was also written by the same author, Dan Walsh. In this book, the main character is a dog named Riley.  He is the best friend of a little boy, and becomes lost during a family vacation.  As a dog lover, you can't help by worry about the fate of this little dog, but Dan Walsh does not disappoint the reader.

I really enjoyed both of these stories, and I can't wait to read his next book in this series.  While they weren't short stories, I flew through them in a matter of hours.  If you give them a try, please come back and let me know what you think!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Never forget...

Remembering the 9/11 responders, and the search and rescue dogs, who gave so much...

Thursday, September 7, 2017

New Blogger in Blogville and Thankful Thursday

It's Thankful Thursday, and we wanted to continue our new tradition of introducing you to other bloggers, as we are truly thankful for their friendship.

We wanted to introduce you to a new friend of ours, who recently started a brand new Blog, which also happens to be about collies!  Other Breeds are mentioned too, so it isn't only about collies.  If you have a second please pop over and welcome them!  Life in the Collie Army

And while we are celebrating Thankful Thursday, could you keep our friends over at Key West Collies in your thoughts and prayers?  They had to evacuate their home before Hurricane Irma hits.  We are thankful they got off Key West in time, but hope they stay safe and their home isn't damaged.

And last, I'm personally thankful for the laughter and love this Collie brings into my life each day.


Monday, September 4, 2017

Got stains?

We have puppies, and we have wood floors, so I jumped at the chance to review Nature's Miracle Hard Floor stain remover for  Because puppies and even adult dogs have the occasional accident, and sometimes you aren't home to clean up the mess as quickly as possible, stains are the unfortunate result.

With a few stains on my floors, I was hoping that this would be the Miracle I have been hoping for, I figured it was certainly worth a try!

before photo

The directions are relatively simple:
Apply to stained area, making sure that Nature’s Miracle(R) Dual-Action Hard Floor Stain and Odor Remover thoroughly saturates all of the affected surface. Wipe dry with a cloth. No need to rinse with water. Repeat if necessary.

The bottle also advises that you try a hidden section of the floor first, to make sure it does not damage the wood.

We gave it a try, and then tried twice more.

Unfortunately, I didn't see any change in the stain.  But I am going to try a few more times, I am still hopeful.  So while I can't recommend this product for stain removal from wood floors, it didn't harm my floors.  And it does contain Nature's Miracle odor remover, which may help deter future accidents in this area, which is always a plus.  According to the company, the Natures Miracle dual action hard floor stain remover can also help remove odors from litterboxes and kennels,so it has other uses as well.

after photo
One thing I wanted to add, is that this stain is quite old, so maybe if you try this on a new stain it would be more successful.  

Nature's Miracle Dual Action Hard Floor Stain & Odor Remover attacks pet stains from urine, feces, vomit, and grease on hardwoods, concrete, pet kennels, litter boxes, and any other solid surface. Bio-enzymatic agents penetrate deep into the surface and get rid of stains and odors.
Key Benefits
  • Odor-locking technology seeks out, traps, and works to actually destroys stain and odor matter
  • Specially formulated to safely remove stains and odors from hard surfaces
  • Safe for all hard floors and surfaces
  • No rinsing necessary
  • Safely works to eliminate new and deep-set stains and odors from sealed wood, ceramic tiles, vinyl, linoleum, brick, concrete and grout

We were sent this product for free, for our honest opinion. did not compensate us for this review.

What is the best cat food for finicky cats?

Every month our awesome friends at send us a pet product to review.  Usually, we pick something for the collies, but this month the kitties were sent something to review.  Everyone knows that felines can be a bit finicky discriminating, so finding something that the kitties all enjoy can sometimes be a challenge.

Chewy sent the kitties Wellness Core Simply Shreds, in the chicken variety.  It is a wet food topper, that actually makes your cat's dry food much more appetizing, so cats who aren't happy with a dry kibble diet are more excited by mealtime.

The Wellness Core Simply Shreds contains just three ingredients, chicken, chicken broth and water.  I love seeing dog and cat foods that contain limited ingredients, as less is often more!  Less ingredients, means less fillers, and more protein.  Plus, with broth and water as two of the three ingredients, we are actually helping our cats stay better hydrated!  Since we have one cat who has had urinary blockages, we are always concerned with his water consumption, as the more water he drinks the less risk of future blockages.  This food topper may actually help him stay healthy, and that makes me very happy!

Check out the Key Benefits:

  • Provides a boost of pure protein and hydration with just three ingredients—lean chicken, chicken broth, and water.
  • Lean protein helps maintain healthy muscle mass while chicken broth helps keep your kitty hydrated and supports urinary health.
  • Unadulterated, low calorie protein source with no fillers, grains, or starches, so it helps support a diet similar to that of your kitty’s primal ancestors.
  • Convenient tear-away pouch makes it easy to top dry food or wet food, or give as a side dish or high-protein snack.
  • Proudly made in the USA with no grain, meat by-products, wheat, corn, soy, artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.

We added the Toppers to our cats' dry kibble, and they loved it.  The smell must have been highly appetizing to them, as I barely kept them back long enough to get a picture.  I also appreciated that unlike some stinky cat foods, this food reminded me of chicken soup.  This is a cat food topper that I highly recommend, and one that I will be ordering more of in the future.  You can order some for your cats by clicking right HERE.  The Wellness Core Simply Shreds also comes in Beef, tuna, shrimp, salmon and mackerel varieties.

We were sent this product for free, for our honest opinion.  We were not compensated for our review.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Happy birthday to our first litter!

Six years ago today, three special collies entered our lives.  We waited years before breeding our first litter of collie puppies.  And we waited, excited and hopeful, throughout Abby’s pregnancy.  We felt the puppies moving, and tried to imagine what they would look like, if they were boys or girls, rough or smooth.

Then a few days before Abby’s due date a hurricane named Irene hit the East Coast.  It hit our town particularly hard, and many houses on the beach were destroyed.  There was flooding, and we were left without power for days.  To stop looting of the destroyed homes, the National Guard was called in to patrol the area.

These homes were just a 1/2 mile from us

I read that the hurricane caused many pregnant women to go into labor early.  Our Abby decided to join them.  So there we were in the middle of the night, trying to deliver our first litter of puppies by candlelight!  Abby pushed for a while, and finally a little face appeared.  But the puppy was stuck!  And then the worst happened, Abby broke the sack. 

All that was visible was a little nose, and a little mouth with a tongue sticking out.  My sister thought the puppy was dead.  But we had to act quickly, to save the other puppies.  So my daughter and sister began packing everything we would need, as we prepared to take Abby to the animal hospital.  I remained with Abby, to keep her calm, and as I was sitting by the whelping box, the little puppy cried!  The puppy was still alive!

So we raced to the animal hospital, my daughter sitting in the back of the car with Abby.  Abby tried pushing a few more times, and was able to get the puppy’s head and one arm out.  My daughter was able to get the rest of him out.  He was a bit blue by this time, so my daughter rubbed him with towels, as I continued to drive down the highway.  He was a little sable and white, rough male.  Since this puppy was born in the car, on the way to the animal hospital, he was immediately given the name Ryder.


We arrived at the animal hospital, and they too were without power.  They had some lanterns, so the veterinarian helped deliver the rest of the litter there on the floor, on a pile of blankets.  The next puppy born was a smooth, sable and white girl.  She was born without her sack, completely blue and stillborn.  The vet tried to revive her, but it was too late.

Next came another smooth, sable girl.  She was born alive, though smaller than Ryder.  Ryder was the largest puppy, he weighed 12 ounces.  The little girl was given a few different names, but we finally decided on Kori.  After a little more time, a final puppy was born.  The fourth puppy was another boy, another sable, rough boy.  He was small like Kori, and weighed 8 ounces.  Which is still a healthy weight for a newborn puppy.  We named him Luke.


Kori, Ryder and Luke

While losing the one little girl was very sad, we couldn’t help being happy that we had three healthy puppies and a healthy mom.  We bundled them up, and took them home.  We watched them grow, and waited for the day when they would first open their eyes.  We laughed in delight when they began playing and when they discovered how to bark and growl.  We completely fell in love with our puppies. 

Kori (left) and Ryder (right)



Ryder, Luke and Kori

Luke, Kori and Ryder
Little Luke

It's hard to believe they are 6 years old already. Time has just flown by, and they have brought so much happiness into our lives.  Luke went to live with a wonderful family, who had lost their 12 year old collie. He is the best friend of two little boys named Matthew and David.  And Ryder and Kori stayed right here with us.

Ryder and Kori

Happy birthday - hope the next 6 years are full of many more fun adventures!

Friday, August 25, 2017

The Versatile Collie - the Collie in Agility

Today we are excited to share our fifth post in our new series, The Versatile Collie.  It's our hope that through these guest posts more people will come to appreciate the amazing and special collie breed.  Collies are such versatile dogs, they excel at many different activities, including the exciting sport of agility.  Our guest blogger is Michael Vorkapich, and he trains his dogs to compete in Agility.  His  blog, The Agile Dog Blog, has great information on competing in agility, and some beautiful pictures of collies in action!  We are very grateful to Michael for taking the time to write this for us!     

The Collie in Agility
By Michael Vorkapich
Of the Agile Dog Bog -
Creative, positive and fun dog training thoughts and ideas

My name is Mike Vorkapich and I have been competing in Agility with Collies for 14 years. I started with my Smooth Collie, Charlotte. As a young dog, she tried to destroy our house! My wife one day told me that I needed to find Charlotte a job. We tried many many dog sports and finally settled on Agility. I had no idea what I was getting into. Charlotte loved Agility. She loved that she was allowed to run around like crazy and quickly figured out that Agility provided her with a playground. Charlotte, as my first Agility dog, was the recipient of all my mistakes and my learning. We had a great time but never achieved much.

My second Smooth Collie, Holly, was also a high energy dog as a puppy. Pretty typical puppy energy. So it was natural that she joined Charlotte in the Agility training when she was old enough. Holly and I did much better than I ever did with Charlotte. We went to the Collie Nationals in 2010 and earned first place in Excellent Jumpers on both days. We attended the Canine Performance Events National Competition in 2012 and earned High in Trial.  I am currently working with my fourth Agility Collie and looking forward to my fifth.

The sport of Dog Agility started in 1978 at the Crufts dog show in England. John Varley, a committee member for the 1977 show was asked to provide entertainment during some down time between obedience and conformation. It was designed after the sport of equestrian jumping.

Currently there are 13 organizations in North America that sanction dog agility trials. They each have a different focus, from extreme competition to friendly gatherings to a focus on youth.

Agility is a high-speed, wild ride of a sport. It is a cooperative effort between dog and handler. The handler directs the dog through a series of obstacles. The dog must climb, crawl, jump and more. The handler is not allowed to touch the dog or the equipment. There is a time limit, typically around 60 seconds, to complete the obstacle course. The dog must run at full speed through the obstacles with enthusiasm. It’s a great time to loosen up the requirements and just enjoy the time with your dog! Each of the obstacles is standardized and has performance criteria. However, the order and number of obstacles changes. The course is numbered and the handler gets a chance to figure out where they are going before their turn. Because of the time component, the dog needs to be confident on each piece of equipment.

You may think “I can’t run very fast, there’s no way I could ever do Agility!” If this is you then you could consider NADAC as an organization. Their focus is on working at a distance from your dog. No running for the human! Or you may want that competition. AKC and USDAA are for you. Things are extremely technical and precise. And there is everything in between.

You can attend Agility Trials in order to earn placements, titles and ribbons. There are National and International competitions. You can attend local events and earn a place at these larger competitions. However, there are plenty of opportunities outside of competitions. There are demonstrations, fun matches, and group practices. In my area, there is an Agility League, which is a friendly competition held over a span of 8 weeks in the Fall.

The world of dog agility is dominated by just a few breeds. The Border Collie, Shetland Sheepdog and Papillion. However, any breed of dog can compete in agility. These breeds are what most people have due to the myth that they are the best breeds for this sport. This is simply untrue.
The Collie is ideally suited for agility because they are happy, enthusiastic and eager to please. If you get a young Collie and work with them, they can achieve all the same things a Border Collie or Shetland Sheepdog can.

Quite often, if a new Agility handler has previously only ever trained a dog in Obedience or similar performance sports, the Collie may approach Agility as though it were Obedience. They appear to be slow and unmotivated. In reality, they are doing exactly what they were trained to do. Obedience is a very precise sport and dogs need to be very thoughtful. The Collie won’t want to make a mistake. I know about this because I trained my third Collie in Obedience quite heavily before her Agility training and had to work quite hard to get her to loosen up on the Agility course. I also had to retrain her to work on both the left and right sides of my body.

I have discovered over the past decade and a half that Agility really requires positive reinforcement for all behaviors in order to improve that enthusiasm and get maximum drive and accuracy. So my fourth, and current, Collie was trained in Obedience using completely positive reinforcement. This has worked really well for us and he does quite well in both Obedience and Agility.
How can you get started? Agility is a sport that requires a bit of training. So you will need to find a good instructor. One way to find a good instructor is to attend local Agility Trials and talk with competitors. Let them know you are interested and would like suggestions for instructors. Everyone is friendly and helpful and will want you to succeed so they will suggest the best instructors.

A few things to consider:
  • ·     Your dog should not be doing any repetitive jumping until their growth plates are closed. Consult your veterinarian before starting Agility. 
  •       A good instructor will recommend some foundation training and probably won’t want to put you on any actual equipment for several weeks at least. Foundation work can be done before the growth plates are closed.
  •       Agility will not interfere with other dog activities. If people tell you that it will, they simply have little experience with Agility. My dogs compete in Agility, Obedience, Rally, Herding, Conformation and more. They know how to behave in each environment.
  •       Agility is addictive! Once you get started, you won’t want to stop.
  •       The American Kennel Club isn’t the only game in town. There are 13 sanctioning organizations and they each have a different feel to them. Find the one that appeals to you most.

For further information:

Want to learn more about agility?  please visit Michael's blog by clicking below:

Want to see the other things collies can do? click below: