Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Our mom is finally feeling better after her surgery.  In fact she is feeling well enough to...

make us put on our costumes for a Halloween picture!

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Be back soon!

Ryder here, just wanted to update.  Mom is having surgery this week, so we will back to posting next week.  We hope everyone is enjoying this lovely Fall season!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Dogs are not humans, they are better!

I work in an office setting, and many of my coworkers are not “dog people.”  They are unable to understand my relationship with my dogs, and they think I am crazy for having so many four-legged family members.  In fact, they don’t view dogs as family members at all, to them, dogs are just pets.  These are the type of people who fail to understand that dogs have feelings and should not be forced to live a lonely existence tied to a dog house in the backyard.  These are the people who may buy their children a cute puppy, but 6 – 12 months later, when that puppy is still chewing on their furniture and having accidents in the house, they will dump the puppy off at a shelter.  They don’t understand that a dog needs affection, training, exercise and mental stimulation to become a well-mannered family member.  They also don’t understand that adding a dog to the family should be a commitment for the dog’s entire lifetime.  One of my coworkers gave away her 12 year old dog, because her 4 year old son and the new puppy were too rough with him.  Instead of teaching her son to be gentle with the dog, and teaching the new puppy manners, she gave away a dog she had lived with for 12 years!

I have a daughter, and I am aware of the differences between raising a child and raising a puppy.  I don’t place unrealistic expectations on my dogs by trying to get them to act as humans.  However, I do consider myself a dog mom, I do talk to my dogs and I do spoil them.  They get birthday presents, and there are wrapped gifts under our Christmas tree with their names on them.  But I don’t give them these gifts with the mistaken belief that my dogs understand it’s their birthday or that it’s Christmas Day.  I give them presents because they get excited when they are given a new toy, and watching them joyfully rip open their presents makes me happy.   

Lad, enjoying his Birthday presents, even though they were pink!

In the last 50 – 60 years our relationship with dogs has radically changed.  When our parents were children, no one brought dogs to puppy play dates, to help their puppies develop appropriate social skills with other dogs.  There were no doggie daycare facilities, to keep dogs happy while their humans went to work.  There were no Petco and Petsmart stores, where we could take our dogs shopping for toys, treats and food.  There were no dog parks, areas specifically designated for dogs to run and play.  Our dogs now share our lives, our homes, and often our beds.  We take them hiking, for rides in the car, and even on vacation with us.   

Scarlett at the dog park

Why has the role our dogs play in our lives changed so dramatically?  Is it because our lives have become so busy, that we now feel disconnected with our friends and family?  While we are in constant communication with our loved ones via text and email, we spend less time at family gatherings, and few of us sit down each night for a family dinner.  Dogs allow us to still have that connection with another living being, and they force us to slow down and take a break from our hectic schedules.  Knowing they are at home waiting for us, waiting for the simple pleasure of a walk around the neighborhood, we are forced to step away from our computers and jobs, and make time to accommodate their needs.  They remind us that there is more to life, and they teach us to once again appreciate the little things, like a walk in the woods or on the beach. 

Lad on one of our hikes in 2010

Dogs don’t care about computer games, videos or online chats.  They prefer to get outside and explore their world.  Have you ever watched your dog during a walk?  Unlike us, he doesn’t rush along trying to get to a specific destination while overlooking the journey.   He takes time to smell who has come before him, and to notice that bird or butterfly passing overhead.  He will stop to greet other dogs or people, which forces us to cast off our anonymity and actually meet our neighbors.  Because of my dogs I have met the lady down the street who rescues greyhounds.  Because of my dogs I have joined a collie club, making friends with other collie owners.  Because of my dogs, my daughter and I travel to dog shows on weekends and spend time together with our dogs, pursing a hobby we all love.

Mariah, on a camping trip at a dog show

They bring so much joy into our lives, and leave us far too soon.  So I for one, intend to spoil them as much as possible and treasure every moment with them.  So those that choose to live their lives dog-free may never understand why we live this way, but you do, don’t you?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tasty Tuesday Treats!

This week we decided to skip the oven and make the collies some doggie ice cream!  This recipe is so simple anyone can make it, and the dogs LOVE it!

What you will need:
1 - 32 ounce container of plain, low-fat yogurt
2 – 4 (heaping) tablespoons of Peanut Butter
1 – 2 tablespoons of honey
2 ice cube trays

Put ½ of the yogurt into a blender
Add 2 heaping tablespoons of peanut butter
Add 1 tablespoon of honey

Blend well, pour into two ice cube trays.  Freeze and then serve the treats to your very appreciative dogs!  Once the treats are frozen, you can store them in another container in the freezer.  Then you can make more by blending together a second batch, using the remaining ingredients and your ice cube trays.  This frozen treat can also be made with ½ of a banana instead of the honey or even with the honey if your dogs prefer their frozen yogurt a little sweeter.  We made this for our collies, and they couldn’t get enough of these bite-sized treats!  (But to avoid upset tummies, I would only give them one of these treats at a time.)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Birthday hike in the woods...

Yesterday was a beautiful, warm Fall day.  So we took the collies on a hike for Abby's birthday.  Today we went to an event called the "Animal Awareness Day Pet Party."  We were going back to watch the rescue dog parade, but it started raining.  I hope it stops so all the vendors don't end up soaking wet!

Pictures from yesterday's hike -

It's a really nice park, we are usually the only ones there, so it's very peaceful.



Family portrait!




Now that the cooler Fall weather is here, we hope to visit our trails often, as the leaves are starting to change!

And because it's black and white Sunday...

Saturday, October 6, 2012

You say it's your birthday?

It was six years ago today, that I was at a conference for work when I got the call.  Angel was in labor, she was going to be delivering her puppies soon!  Lad was our first collie, and he brought us so much happiness.  We decided we wanted another collie, specifically a collie puppy from my sister’s collie, Angel.  So we waited, and waited, and finally she became pregnant.  We couldn’t wait to see her new puppies, and meet the puppy who would one day be ours!


I snuck out of the conference a few times that day, to call and check on how Angel was doing.  I was so happy when her first puppy, a sable and white smooth girl, was born.  A little later a second puppy was born, another sable and white smooth girl!  One last puppy was born a short time after that, but this puppy was much smaller than her two sisters.  She was a pretty, tri-color puppy, but she was very tiny.  Sadly, she only lived a few hours, she was just too tiny to make it on her own.  But there were still two healthy, beautiful sable girls.  Which made us very happy, as we were hoping for a little girl.
We visited the puppies a couple times a week, watching as they grew and changed.  They were both very sweet, and they had very similar personalities.  But the first born puppy seemed a little more attached to us.  She was named Abby.  Her sister, CC, seemed to be more attached to my sister.  And so it was decided, Abby would be ours and CC would stay with my sister, and Angel.  Because there were only two puppies in the litter, and since we only lived a mile from my sister’s house, Abby and CC stayed together until they were 11 weeks old.  And then on Christmas morning, after we gathered with our family to celebrate, Abby came home with us.

Abby on the left, CC on the right. (Christmas morning)

She so easy to train, you only had to tell her once not to do something, and she remembered.  And she loved Lad, she became his shadow.  He was a big, young two year old male at the time, and wasn’t sure about her at all.  She was a typical pesky little sister, she always wanted to play with whatever toy he had at that moment.  And she loved to take the tip of his tail in her mouth, and follow him around the house, holding onto his tail like a child holds onto an adult’s hand.  

As she grew, she became more beautiful, and she had a successful show career.  She finished her championship, she excelled at herding sheep, and she became Lad’s best friend.  We lost Lad last year, and I think she misses him as much as we do, even though she is very close with Holly collie.  (who joined our family in 2010)  Finally, we decided to attempt breeding our own collie puppies.  We searched for a long time, until we found the right stud dog for Abby.  The first time we bred her, she missed.  So we had to wait another 7 months to try again.  The second time worked, and she became pregnant.  We ended up with three beautiful puppies, and kept two of them, Ryder and Kori.  We decided to try again and the next litter produced four smooth puppies.  Two tricolor boys, one sable boy and one sable girl.  We ended up keeping the little girl, and named her Scarlett.

Abby is a sweet, gentle soul who sits quietly in the background while the other collies jostle for attention.  She will lay by chair when I am on the computer, or by the bathtub when I shower.  When I am alone watching a movie, she will curl up on the couch with me.  But if my daughter is watching the movie with me, Abby will go lay in “her” chair.  She sleeps at the end of my bed at night, always in the same exact spot.  She doesn’t demand attention or treats, she just patiently waits to be noticed.  She’s always there, always by my side, and I treasure her companionship.

Happy Birthday Abby!  Thank you for being my special Abby Dabby girl!


Friday, October 5, 2012

Forever Home Friday

This week’s collie rescue group is based in Colorado.  They are a combined rescue group, helping both collies and shelties, so we thought we would share some of their homeless collies in our “Finding our Forever Homes Friday!”

Here is a link to their website:

We believe in Magic. Magic is the name of this 5-year-old neutered male, tri-colored rough Collie. He had been called something else in his “previous life” but this name suits him much better. This sweet dog is a bit malnourished and underweight from crappy food but he is eating well now. His coat was full of burrs and undercoat from years of neglect but he is now showing how spectacular a Collie can look. He has appropriate vaccines and is microchipped with a Home Again chip. His foster family raves about how wonderful this pooch has been with very few adjustment issues to living inside and being a beloved companion dog. How lucky can one dog be?

You will notice that Magic’s nose is lacking some pigment and we have sent appropriate biopsies to CSU to diagnose this concern. Everything else is completely normal. Heartworm negative, good baseline blood work, housebroken, gentle demeanor, child tested with an 8-year-old, no extractions from his dental…and pretty much ready to rock and roll. He is also good with other dogs and is willing to share affection. The cat in his foster home is awfully exciting to Magic but he has shown no aggression, just curiosity.

Magic wants what all of our dogs want . . . a loving family that will make him a priority in their lives. Good quality food, a comfy place to sleep, a shade tree and a couple of humans to call his own. Together, we can make this happen. And then you, too, will believe in Magic.



Precious and Drake
Two Collies came to us when their owner went into hospice care. Precious, the 9-year-old tri-colored rough coat, is aptly named for there has never been a gentler Collie dog. It took some time for her to realize that all good things come from the hands of her foster mom. But she has been willing to put aside the past neglect and love a human again. A couple of weeks of good food and a much-needed bath have improved her outlook. She is hypothyroid and we hope that, with the appropriate level of medication, she will regrow her fur. She has a urinary tract infection (UTI) and is on antibiotics to clear that condition. Her smile is bright since her dental cleaning and she is eating well and enjoying affection from the whole family.

Her good friend and companion is Drake, a 6-year-old blue merle rough coated Collie. Drake is very tender toward his pal Precious. He is often found snuggling up to her on a single dog bed, much like a two-headed Collie. This mild fellow is learning to play as if he was a puppy again and it is fun to watch him to see which dogs he will engage in play. For the first time today, he snagged a sterilized marrow bone and flopped down to chew on it. His teeth are looking great since he had a dental cleaning recently. He understands the whole issue of only going potty outside so we know that he was a “house dog” before things got complicated in his former home. His blood work is all normal and he is ready to move forward to a forever home with all of the privileges that come with unconditional love.

Now, it gets a little complicated. Precious has some health issues that are not quite resolved. She is nearly finished with a round of antibiotics for the UTI but is still having some dribbling so we may need to change antibiotics or try a different kind of med for older females that have leaking problems. We are nearly ready to check her thyroid level and make sure she is in therapeutic range but we may need to tweak the dosage to get the level right where it should be. And the lack of fur is still in process. We hope it is related to her thyroid and nothing else but we cannot be sure for another couple of months while we watch for new hair growth. In any case, the continued medical care is on us.

So, we are hoping that there is a fabulous family that would want both dogs. But they are so different that it is hard to know if that is possible. We will post the two of them and ask for enlightened people to read about them and consider giving them a home together for the rest of their days. If that approach does not work, we would consider sending each of them to different homes. We will have to wait to see what the Universe has in store for Precious and Drake.

Here is this rescue group’s policy for adopting one of their collies:

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Fall means pumpkins and collies!

We took Ryder to a local orchard and farm market, and they were nice enough to provide us with a lovely Fall backdrop!  I know it's suppose to be "Wordless Wednesday," so on to the pictures!

Ryder at the orchard!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Happy dogs need the freedom to be themselves...

Dog parks have always made me nervous.  There are too many irresponsible dog owners, who do not consider the ramifications of bringing a dog-aggressive dog to the park.  The potential risk to my own dogs' health and well-being just wasn't worth the benefits that a dog park can provide.  I refused to consider bringing any of my dogs to one of these parks.  That's how I felt, until I discovered a little park near my home...

This park is small for a dog park.  It has about an acre of fenced area for the dogs to run around and play.  The ground of the park is covered in mulch, not grass, and some areas are a little bit muddy after it rains.  But this park appeals to me because every time we have visited, we have either had the park to ourselves, or there have only been 1 or 2 other dogs present.  So I am able to see what type of dogs are present, before we enter the park with my collies.  And when I say type, I am referring to the dogs' temperaments, not their breeds.

Ryder and his new dog park buddy. (up to plenty of mischief!)

One day we ended up leaving the park early, because someone did bring a dog, which was a wolf mix, that was acting aggressive.  So we left before anything could happen, because it was only a matter of time before someone ended up injured.  But for the most part, we have found this park to be a fun place to visit with our dogs.  Kori tends to prefer the company of smaller dogs, she tends to avoid dogs that are her size or larger.  Ryder on the other hand loves to run and romp with the big dogs.  Abby and Holly only want to play with their own family members, or with people, so we don't bring them as often as the young collies.  Scarlett is too little, so I haven't let her visit the park yet.  She is still a puppy, and we want all her interactions with other dogs to be positive, and with the somewhat chaotic atmosphere of a dog park there is no way to ensure that all the dogs are behaving.

Still, I have found that dog parks, when they have the right mix of dogs present, can be beneficial.  Socializing with other friendly dogs, in a large area is fun for dogs.  They get a chance to meet other dogs, and play and run in a safely, enclosed area.  They can really stretch their legs, and burn off a lot of energy.  They get to run as fast as they want, they get to wrestle without worrying about damaging your furniture.  They get to explore, free from leashes and free from their humans directing where they get to go.  In short, they get to just be dogs.

Too often we read about how dogs are being placed in the role of family members, which has many benefits but also some drawbacks.  They are expected to behave 100% of the time, which often means suppressing their normal canine urges.  Dog parks, if all the dogs are friendly, can be so much fun for your dogs.  But if you are hesitant about visiting one, like I was, try to find an area where you can safely let your dog off leash to run and explore.  This can be a baseball field, once the baseball season has ended.  Or if your dog has a perfect recall, this can be during a hike in the woods.  But dogs need time to "just be dogs," which is something we humans sometimes forget.  The next time you take your dog for a walk, try letting your four-legged friend choose the direction you walk.  When your dog wants to stop and smell some interesting scent along the way, let her.  Don't hurry her along, dragging her away before she is ready.  A walk to your dog isn't about the exercise, it's about exploring the world around her.  While I personally consider all my dogs to be family members, and while I do have expectations of their behavior inside the house, I have come to realize that they need time where they are allowed to be's the only way to be sure that your dog is living a truly happy, well-balanced life.