Wednesday, October 31, 2018

It was a dark, cold night...

The night wind was blustery and cold, and the sky was dark and full of clouds.  I walked down the road, the wind pushing at my back, hurrying me along.  It was getting late, and I had considered asking for a ride, but only had a mile to walk until I reached my home.  The Halloween party had been fun, and it had been a while since I had seen my friends, so I lingered longer than I had planned.  Shivering from the chill in the air, I considered taking a short cut across the cemetery, but hesitated.  "Isn't this the perfect scene for a horror movie?" I asked myself.  Glancing to my right, I studied the gravestones, looking for any sign of movement.  There was nothing there to disturb the silence, only an empty stillness.

I quickly made a decision, hoping over the knee-high fence, I jogged across the cemetery.  While I did not believe in ghosts or monsters, I did have an active imagination, so I moved as quickly as I dared in the low light.  I was about half way across the grounds when I heard a low, pain filled howl.  Pausing, I turned to stare into the shadows, looking for the source of the sound.  Was it just the wind, flowing through the trees that created the mournful sound?  Or was I not as alone as I originally believed?

I took a step, to continue my progress across the graveyard, when I heard it again.  This time it was louder, a wailing lament full of loneliness.  A shiver of fear ran down my spine, while tears filled my eyes at the sadness in the ghostly sound.  No one should be so sorrowful, I knew I couldn't ignore a cry that was so full of despair.  Telling myself I was crazy for lingering in a cemetery late at night, I pulled my cellphone out of my pocket and turned on the flashlight.

Hearing the low moaning again, I made my decision.  Slowly, with equal parts dread and determination, I made my way towards the sounds.  The wind continued to blow, tossing my long, brown hair into my eyes, making it difficult to see.  Passing through the rows of gravesites, I stared into the darkness, looking for the source of the heartbroken cries.  Suddenly, off to the left, I could swear I saw a shadow moving, low to the ground.  I headed in that direction, unsure of what I was about to find.

Passing through another row of graves, I finally discovered who was mourning in a cemetery alone at night!  Gasping, I fell to my knees!

Not sure I could believe what I was seeing, I was frozen in shock.  Lying there on the cold ground, his eyes full of pain and grief, was a rough collie.  He was a beautiful creature, and he looked so out of place curled up next to the old, grey headstone.  As I stared at him, he softly whined, begging for help, for someone to care.  I slowly reached out to him, and ran my fingers through his long fur.

"Are you okay?  Are you lost?" I softly asked him.  He whined in response and stared at me, with a tilt to his head and a gentle acceptance in his eyes.  I glanced around us, and seeing no one, I turned back to the collie.  "I can't leave you here alone, do you want to come home with me?"  He slowly stood up and walked towards me.  Placing my hand on his furry mane, I encouraged him to follow along at my side.

We soon reached my home, and the collie walked inside, as if he had always lived with me.  I brought him into the kitchen and grabbing a bowl from the cupboard, I poured him some water.  He quickly drank his fill, while I searched for something to feed him.  "You must be hungry, let's see what you can have to eat." He just sat down and waited patiently, as if he understood my words.  Looking in the fridge I spotted left over chicken.  Grabbing it, I cut it into small bites and fed them to him.  He took each piece so gently, I could tell he was well trained.

Basic needs met, I decided it was time for bed for both of us.  "Come on big guy, you'll sleep in my room.  I can't have you wandering around my house unsupervised.  In the morning we will try to find your family."  He once again followed me, and watched as I made him a bed of blankets on the floor of my bedroom.  "You can sleep here, you sure are a good dog," I told him as I stroked his beautiful fur.  With uncanny intelligence, he laid down on the blankets with a sigh.  He looked happy and grateful to have a soft, warm place to sleep, and his little pink tongue gave my hand a kiss of thanks.  "Good night handsome collie."  I got ready for bed, and fell asleep listening to the quiet sounds of the his breathing.

When I woke up the next morning, it took only a moment to remember my guest.  Looking over to the bed of blankets on the floor, I realized the collie wasn't there!  Looking around my room, I didn't see him anywhere.  My bedroom door was still shut, so he couldn't have left.  Sinking to my knees next to the bed I had made for him, I stared in confusion, wondering if it had all been a dream.  But later when I spotted the bowl of water on the kitchen floor, and the missing chicken from the fridge, I knew he had really been there.

How he disappeared from my room, and where he went, will always be a mystery.  I did return to the cemetery, to the spot where I had found him, but I never encountered the lost collie again.  Was he a lost dog, lonely and looking for companionship?  Or was he something more, perhaps a weary soul wandering through the night?  I can only hope the comfort I gave him allowed him to continue his journey knowing he had a friend.  I still think of him from time to time, and wonder if my ghostly visitor ever found his way home...

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Nothing Gold can stay...

Along with attending another dog show this weekend, we took a hike in the woods to enjoy some of the beautiful New England Fall foliage that surrounds us.  Autumn is my favorite time of year, surrounded by beauty, I try to spend as much time outdoors as possible.  It's also my favorite time of year to take pictures of the collies.  Every Fall I share our Autumn pictures, along with some beautiful seasonal poems and quotes...

"In the garden, Autumn is, indeed the crowning glory of the year, bringing us the fruition of months of thought and care and toil.  And at no season, safe perhaps in Daffodil time, do we get such superb colour effects as from August to November."-   Rose G. Kingsley, The Autumn Garden

"Just before the death of flowers,
And before they are buried in snow,
There comes a festival season
When nature is all aglow."

-   Author Unknown

"The scarlet of maples can shake me like a cry
Of bugles going by.
And my lonely spirit thrills
to see the frosty asters like smoke
upon the hills."

-   William Bliss Carman

"The leaves fall patiently
Nothing remembers or grieves
The river takes to the sea
The yellow drift of leaves."
-   Sara Teasdale

"Youth is like spring, an over-praised season more remarkable for biting winds than genial breezes.
Autumn is the mellower season, and what we lose in flowers we more than gain in fruits."
-   Samuel Butler

"The gilding of the Indian summer mellowed the pastures far and wide.
The russet woods stood ripe to be stripped, but were yet full of leaf.
The purple of heath-bloom, faded but not withered, tinged the hills...
Fieldhead gardens bore the seal of gentle decay; ... its time of
flowers and even of fruit was over."
-   Charlotte Brontë

“I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
― L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

“No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace as I have seen in one autumnal face."
[The Autumnal]” 
― John Donne

"Colors burst in wild explosions
Fiery, flaming shades of fall
All in accord with my pounding heart
Behold the autumn-weaver
In bronze and yellow dying
Colors unfold into dreams
In hordes of a thousand and one
The bleeding
Unwearing their masks to the last notes of summer
Their flutes and horns in nightly swarming
Colors burst within
Spare me those unending fires
Bestowed upon the flaming shades of fall."

-   Dark Tranquility, With the Flaming Shades of Fall  

“But I remember more dearly autumn afternoons in bottoms that lay intensely silent under old great trees”

-   C. S. Lewis 

Nothing Gold Can Stay
~ Robert Frost

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.

Nothing gold can stay. 

Monday, October 29, 2018

Happy National Cat Day!

The collies and I were surprised to learn today is National Cat Day!  Ooops, we totally forgot, but I know the kitties will forgive us, we do have special treats for them tonight...

Pumpkin - "Did you say you forgot it's National Cat Day?  There better be some really good treats tonight!"

Goblin - "National Cat Day?  I've never heard of it!  My previous family never celebrated it."

Pumpkin - "It's a day to celebrate All Things Cat!  At Christmas time Mom gives us lots of toys, treats and catnip.  See all the presents behind me in this picture?  Well, Goblin, National Cat Day is like Christmas, but it's ONLY for cats!"

 Goblin - "I wasn't sure what would happen to me when I came to live here as a foster kitty.  But if this is really how we are treated, I never want to leave!"

Mom - "Okay Goblin kitty, since you have been such an amazingly good boy, how about we celebrate National Cat Day by announcing you are staying here!  You are home!"

Goblin kitty was not treated well in his previous home, so I didn't have the heart to refuse my daughter's request to foster him.  But he has turned out to be a wonderful kitty.  He never lived with dogs or other cats, but he gets along with both.  He wasn't sure of the collies at first, and still keeps a bit of a distance, but he touches noses with them in the morning, and never hisses or swats at them when they try to play.  Pumpkin isn't attached to him, she won't sleep with him like she did with my daughter's cat, Ghost.  But she tolerates him, and doesn't seem to mind sharing her home with him.  He doesn't seek my attention, but purrs like a motor when I pet or cuddle him.  I named him Goblin because he has one green eye and one blue eye, just like David Bowie.  So his full name is Goblin King, from the movie Labyrinth.  All of our kitties, past and present, have had Fall/Halloween themed names, and they have all been rescues.  (Autumn, Spice, Pumpkin, Cider, Ghost and now Goblin)  While I think most cats believe EVERY day is National Cat Day, I am glad to say we remembered in time to celebrate.  After all, I have two of the sweetest kitties in the world living with us.

And because it's the Aww Monday Blog Hop, here is a picture of Pumpkin when she was just a baby!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Collie vs Squirrel

Some squirrels just know no fear...

Poor Kori is so frustrated, that squirrel just continues to ignore her while he demolishes my daughter's pumpkin!

Monday, October 22, 2018

The Honest Kitchen Superfood Pour Overs

This month we reviewed another great product for our friends at  We were sent a package of The Honest Kitchen's Superfood Pour Overs, Lamb and Beef Stew.  This was one food topper I was very eager to try, as I really love all of The Honest Kitchen's products.  I'm always looking for ways to make my collies' kibble more interesting and tasty, and the Pour Overs were made to do just that!

Let's check out the Key Benefits:

  • Slow-cooked, grain-free stew topper is 100% natural and adds a healthy boost of nutrition to your dog’s already complete and balanced diet.
  • Antioxidant-rich, meal enhancer made with chunks of lamb, beef, spinach, kale, broccoli and turmeric for an added boost of green goodness for dogs of all breeds and ages.
  • 2 servings are packaged in a BPA-free box, which can be easily opened, poured and closed for every pet parent’s convenience.
  • Human grade Pour Overs meets the rigorous FDA safety standards, ensuring the highest quality wet dog food topper.
  • Limited-ingredient topper is made in a human food facility with no rendered meals, by-products, grains, artificial colors or flavors, and only the highest quality non-GMO whole foods.

The Honest Kitchen Pour Overs contain only Non-GMO ingredients, with no rendered meals, by-products, grains or artificial ingredients - I am very impressed!

And look at the ingredients -  Lamb, beef, spinach, kale, broccoli and tumeric - this product is rich in Superfoods to help keep our pets healthy!

It was so easy to open, similar to a milk container, and it was easy to close and store in the fridge if you don't want to use it all at one time.  Each container is enough for two meals.  Since it was my collies first time trying this, and because collies have really sensitive stomachs, I added a lot of water and split it up over multiple meals until their systems got used to it.  But even getting less, they loved the taste of the Lamb and Beef Stew Pour Overs!  They all checked each others' bowls after dinner, to see if anyone missed any of this tasty stew!

You can see all the kale, spinach and broccoli right in the stew, and it smells pretty good too. 

The collies really love this product, and I am so excited about being able to sneak in so many superfoods into their diet!  I can't say enough good things about The Honest Kitchen Pour Overs, and the collies can't get enough of the taste! We chose the Lamb and beef stew, because their kibble already contains lamb.  But if lamb and beef stew is not for you, The Honest Kitchen makes many other varieties of their Pour Overs, you can find them all by clicking right here.  I know I will be ordering more varieties for my gang, as they can't wait to try the Turkey and Pumpkin variety for Thanksgiving!

I want to thank our friends at for sending us this product, and all the many others over the years, as the collies really look forward to trying new things.  Our friends at Chewy send us these products for free, in exchange for our honest opinion, and we hope our reviews can help our readers find great, new treats, foods and toys for their best friends.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Farm Dog Certified

This weekend we participated in an AKC Farm Dog Test!  The test was held on Saturday in the morning, and then again in the afternoon with a different judge.  It was cold and rainy in the morning, but cleared up by the afternoon.  Even though we were wet and freezing, we all had a lot of fun, especially the dogs who were entered!

Both Sophie and Kori passed both the AM and PM tests, earning their FDC titles!  (FDC = Farm Dog Certified)  I'm very proud of both my girls!  (Ryder passed this test last year, I didn't want to leave him out of the recognition!)

The test is open to all breeds of dogs, not just herding breeds.  There was a Great Dane, a poodle and a Portuguese Water Dog taking the test with all the collies.  The goal of the test is to "assess the dog's aptitude as a working farm dog by exhibiting self-control, confidence and trust with you or his/her handler."  I found the whole test pretty interesting, as some of the elements were similar to what you see in the Canine Good Citizen Test and the Therapy Dog test.  It definitely requires you and your dog to work together as a team, and good communication with your dog is important.

The test is made up of 12 elements that must be completed:

1. Greet Evaluator – Initial Dog Appraisal
Handler approaches evaluator, dog stops at handler’s side on a loose lead while evaluator performs
2. Perform a Walk Pattern around Farm Environment and by Passive Stranger
The handler walks the dog on a loose lead in a prescribed pattern through farm objects. A passive
stranger sits quietly on course.
3. Jump on Hay/Straw Bale
The handler instructs the dog to jump up on a bale of hay and stay on the bale for a minimum of 10
seconds while maintaining a loose lead.
4. Walk by Farm Animal(s)
The handler walks the dog on a loose lead in view of penned farm animal(s) approximately 30 feet
away from the fence line housing farm animal(s).
5. Walk Over or Through Unusual Surfaces
The handler walks the dog on a loose lead over or through three different unusual surfaces, including
a plastic tarp, safe wooded surface, and another typical farm environment surface.
6. Supervised Separation
The handler places the dog in a freestanding kennel or dog crate and walks out of sight for a minimum
of 1 minute.
7. Pass Through a Gate
The handler and dog navigate through a gate on a loose lead, the dog must wait calmly as the
handler opens the gate, calls dog through the gate opening and closes the gate.
8. Handler Feeds Livestock
The handler performs a farm chore of feeding farm animals while the dog is secured a minimum
of 30 feet away from the animal enclosure.
9. Reaction to Another Dog
The handler is positioned in a designated area with the dog at side on loose lead. The dog may
stand, down or sit. Another dog is walked by on lead approximately 10 feet away.
10. Reaction to Noise Distraction
The handler may stand or quietly walk in a designated area with the dog at side on loose lead. The
assistant creates two background noises typical to a working farm environment.
11. Dog Approaches Livestock
The handler, with the dog at side on a loose lead, enters a fenced area that contains livestock within
a separate enclosure. The dog is introduced to livestock and encouraged to approach the pen, the
dog is then called back to the handler and returns readily when called.
12. Physical Examination
The handler physically examines the dog for any plant material, debris or objects that the dog may
have collected while working on the farm.

* To pass the FDC Test, dogs must pass all elements of the test, including test assessment.

The goal is to have the dog be consistently responsive to the handler and successfully exhibit self-control while exposed to a farm environment.

You can learn about this test, and other AKC titles, by clicking on the link below:

So if you are looking for a fun new title to earn with your dog, you should give this one a try!  I also wanted to share our news, this is our 500th post! 

Thursday, October 11, 2018


It's Autumn, and with this season comes spooky treats and a chance to count our blessings, to promote an attitude of gratitude, to be thankful.

I'm always Thankful for my family, which includes my collies.  I dreamed of having a collie of my own one day, and now I am surrounded by them.

I'm Thankful for the new experiences my collies have brought into our lives.  I'm grateful for the opportunity to travel across the country with my daughter for the Collie National, multiple times.  And I'm thankful for the weekends where we attended local shows together.  Raising our collies and showing them was something we did together, as a team. (And still do) It also helped me create wonderful friendships with other collie owners, and to learn to compete in various dog sports.

And I am especially Thankful that my Abby is doing better, and that she seems to be feeling better.  We can't fix what time has done, but because of my daughter's job at a veterinary hospital, we can keep her happy and comfortable for as long as possible.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Do you know why Autumn holidays are the best?

Autumn holidays are the best, because of the all the delicious food!  From Halloween treats to Thanksgiving dinner, fresh picked corn and apples, and all those pies - we eat well this time of year!  As our dogs and cats are part of the family they also enjoy a special treat this time of year.  Last month we reviewed Blue Buffalo Boo Bars for our friends at, which are the perfect way to reward your best friend.  This month we are reviewing Merrick's Thanksgiving Day Dinner for, and the collies could not be more thankful!

Abby, our senior girl, deserves to be spoiled in every way possible!
I am a label reader, as I really like to know what I am feeding my collies.  Their health is very important to me, I'm actually more careful with their food than my own!  I was excited to read the label for this canned food - turkey, chicken, sweet potatoes, carrots, green beans and granny smith apples in gravy!  That sure sounds delicious!

Look at Scarlett's happy face!  

Deboned Turkey, Turkey Broth, Chicken, Chicken Broth, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Green Beans, Apples, Dried Egg Product, Potato Protein, Natural Flavor, Dried Peas, Dried Potatoes, Potato Starch, Calcium Carbonate, Sodium Phosphate, Guar Gum, Blueberries, Cranberries, Potassium Chloride, Gum Ghatti, Xanthan Gum, Salt, Sunflower Oil, Flaxseed Oil, Salmon Oil, Choline Chloride, Cassia Gum, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Minerals (Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Iron Amino Acid Complex, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Potassium Iodate, Cobalt Glucoheptonate, Sodium Selenite), Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Niacin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Folic Acid, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Biotin, Thiamine Mononitrate), Yucca Schidigera Extract

Ryder, patiently waiting to try the new canned food!

So far, this looks like a pretty good canned food.  There are even blueberries and cranberries in the ingredient list.  We love our Thanksgiving Day Dinner, so I think our collies should love theirs too!

Key Benefits

  • Inspired by Thanksgiving dinner, this meal features real deboned turkey and chicken as the first ingredients for a great blend of protein your pal is sure to love.
  • Contains a savory turkey broth for added flavor and moisture that will keep your furry best friend coming back for more.
  • Grain-free recipe is filled with a delicious blend of vegetables and fruits such as sweet potatoes, carrots, green beans, peas, apples, blueberries and cranberries that will keep your pal satisfied.
  • Complete and balanced nutrition made in small batches with the freshest, highest-quality ingredients available, and can be served as a complete meal or as a kibble topper for extra protein and moisture.
  • Cooked in the USA with wholesome, nutritious ingredients from trusted farmers, so you can feel good about using it as your go-to meal.

I was happy to see that it was made right here in the USA.  And I like that the recipe was created with both nutrition and taste in mind. 

I feed my collies a dry dog food, and I'm sure it can get pretty boring after awhile.  So I love to add toppers, like canned food, to make the meal more appetizing and to give the collies an extra treat.  While they are all good eaters, and devour their meals, I can always tell when they are really enjoying it.  Maybe it's the speed in which they inhaled their food, or the way they spent extra time licking their bowls afterwards, but I could definitely tell that they loved this canned food.  As I want to keep them both happy and healthy, I love when Merrick comes out with special foods for the seasons.  If you are looking for a way to make your dogs' or cats' dinners more festive this holiday season, the collies recommend you order some Merrick Thanksgiving Day Dinner from  Your best friends will thank you, and they deserve it!

We were sent this dog food for free, in exchange for our honest opinion.  The collies love to do these reviews, so they can share info about their favorite products with you.  You can order Merrick Thanksgiving Day Dinner by clicking HERE!

Monday, October 8, 2018

Abby pupdate...

This weekend was our Abby's 12th birthday, and I want to thank everyone for all the birthday wishes!  Abby had some real trouble walking this weekend, and at her age, this caused me some real moments of panic and endless worry.  But her veterinarian put her on some anti-inflammatory medications, along with her usual pain meds.

On Saturday she went for laser therapy, which requires the dogs wear goggles.

And she seemed to have some improvement on Sunday.  Since her veterinarian was at a dog event, they had me bring Abby, and she gave Abby acupuncture at the event.  Abby, who is the best dog in the world, was perfect for the demonstration.  Her vet was amazed, she told me dogs usually have to be bribed with canned dog food to remain still for the treatment, but Abby just stayed still the entire 30 minutes.

If you look closely, you can see the needles!

I think her happy face after the acupuncture says it all!  

She seems to be feeling better, so we are going to continue with the laser therapy and acupuncture.  We want to keep our sweet girl as happy as we can, because at 12 years old, every day is a gift.

And this sweet, beautiful girl deserves only the best! 

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Today is a special day...

Today my is my Abby's 12th birthday!  I don't know how 12 years have passed by so quickly, every day with my girl has been a gift.

Abby, last night

I wanted to do so much, to celebrate this big day.  But unfortunately Abby is having a bad couple days.  She is having back and leg pain, and is having a bit of trouble walking.  So today she went for laser therapy, and her vet put her on an anti-inflammatory.  She is going to have another laser treatment tomorrow morning, and possibly some acupuncture in the afternoon.

Abby, in 2016
Words cannot express what this girl means to me, but you can read more about her on the links below.  I'm so worried, I hope we can get her back to feeling better.

Abby part 1
Abby part 2
Abby part 3
Abby part 4

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

2 ingredient dog cookies

Last week we shared a recipe for 4 ingredient dog cookies, you can find it by clicking here.  With the arrival of Autumn, and Halloween just a couple weeks away, we wanted to share another limited ingredient dog cookie recipe.  This recipe could not be easier to make, and with just two ingredients it is a great choice for dogs with allergies.

Two Ingredient dog cookies

You will need:
2 cups 100% whole wheat flour
2 - 4oz jars of pureed baby food – you can choose any flavor - beef, blueberry, peaches, chicken, etc.  Just be sure to check the labels, as you do not want any foods that contain onions, raisins, etc.

I chose apple & pumpkin, in honor of the season.  And even though it wasn't necessary, I sprinkled a tiny amount of ground cinnamon into the mix for flavor.


Preheat oven to 350°.
Mix ingredients together to form a stiff dough. You may need to add a little water.
On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out evenly until it’s about 1/4 inch thick. Use cookie cutters to cut into desired shape.
Place the cookies on a non-stick cookie sheet, placing the treats about 1/2 inch apart. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes.
Allow to cool completely before storing or sharing with your dogs.

They look very similar to the treats we made last week, but they smell differently.  The collies loved these cookies a lot, and we are going to try them with blueberry baby food next time.