Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tuesday Tails

We are joining the "Tuesday's TailsBlog Hop," which helps shelter and rescue dogs find their forever homes!  Our pick today is a gorgeous black lab.  This young man is calm and sweet and likes other dogs!

Meet Shadow, a ~2 year old Black Labrador Retriever. He is very calm and very friendly, as you can see. He loves to play fetch, and REALLY LOVES to be touched (BEWARE he is a leaner). He walk well on a leash and knows a couple basic commands, like sit and down. He also seems very calm around other dogs, big and small. If interested, please contact the East Haven Animal Shelter at 203-468-3249 or email us Tashmoo5454@comcast.net

Meet Holly...

The next one of our collies I wanted to introduce is Holly.  She is our only tri-color collie, and like Abby, she is also a smooth coated collie.  Holly was born on Christmas Day, in 2005, which is how she earned her name.  Holly belonged to my sister, but my daughter was her handler.  My daughter started showing Holly when she was six months old, and they quickly bonded.  At that first show, a professional handler was showing Holly.  But Holly wouldn’t “show” for her, and the handler turned Holly over to my daughter.  She took Holly into the ring, and they ended up winning Winner’s Bitch!  They later went back in for the Puppy Herding Group, and they won a Puppy Group 3!  After that my daughter became Holly’s only handler and she put all her points on her, and finished her championship.  When my daughter’s junior handling collie, Mariah, was ready to retire, Holly was the logical replacement.  Holly loves to compete at dog shows, she is one of those dogs who thrives on the competition and hates to be left home.


When Holly still lived with my sister, my daughter would go over their house to give Holly a bath.  She would groom her the day before a dog show, and then leave.  Holly would sit in my sister’s front window and wait for my daughter until the next morning.  She would maintain this watch until we returned to pick her up for the dog show.  At the shows, Holly would bounce with excitement while waiting for her ring time.  Holly thinks dog shows are fun, and win or lose, she always dances out of the ring with a wagging tail.  It’s as if she believes she just won Best In Show. 

Holly at Westminster - Feb. 2012

My daughter and Holly qualified to compete at Westminster twice, and while it is an overwhelming experience for most dogs, Holly seemed to enjoy all the attention.  Holly never fails to draw smiles from onlookers, as her enthusiasm in the ring is always evident.  Her nickname is “Holly, the happy collie.”  Holly is always focused on my daughter, and she changes her position in the ring with just the slightest movement from my daughter.  They are a perfect team, and have been from the start.  Holly is now old enough to compete in the veteran’s class at dog shows, and she is very happy to be back in the ring with her girl. 

On the train, coming home from Westminster, 2012
After competing in Westminster in 2010, Holly came to live with us full time.  She had stayed with us in the past, and traveled with us to dog shows on weekends, but she officially joined our family in February 2010.  In November of 2010, the week before Thanksgiving, Holly became very sick.  She had emergency surgery and was in the animal hospital for a week, we almost lost her.  I don’t know if it’s because I helped save her life, but she and I have bonded, and she is now my shadow.  She sleeps curled up against my legs every night, and follows me room to room.  My daughter is still her girl, and her best friend, their relationship has not changed, but I am “her mom.”  At dog shows, she is still focused 100% on my daughter, and even though she is a veteran, she flies around the ring as though she were still a puppy.

Christmas 2012


At home, being the oldest collie in the house, she has taken on the role of disciplinarian.  If the young collies are getting too excited, or too rambunctious in their play, Holly steps in to calm things down.  My daughter gave her another nickname, “the fun police,” because she is very serious about keeping Ryder, Kori and Scarlett in line!  But she isn’t always disciplining them, she will still play with them too.  Among the dogs, Holly seems to be closest to Abby, they sleep next to each other, and have never once quarreled.  They have a quiet, calm, sort of friendship.

Winter 2012
Even though Holly has only lived with us fulltime for a few years, it feels like she has always been a part of our family.  She is a real character, and brings a lot of joy and laughter into our lives.  But one of her most unique characteristics is that Holly has a sense of humor.  When she looks at you, you can see the laughter in her eyes and in the wagging of her tail.  She has claimed her place in our hearts, after all, who couldn’t love a collie who lives her life with joy and a sense of humor?  She is a special girl!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Another Park Day visit!

Yesterday was overcast, with occasional rain showers.  I don't like the rain, but I still wanted to visit one more park, before Memorial Day, because soon the parks will be crowded.  So I told Mom to grab her camera, and we headed out.

Here I am at the entrance to Wadsworth Falls State Park!

Mom wasn't holding the camera straight, but I looked so cute in this one I had to share!

Here Mom, aren't the Falls prettier now that I am in front of them?

It was a nice trip, even though it took an hour to get to the park.  What's the longest you have traveled for a hike?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Meet Abby...

Our friends at Tales and Tails are writing posts this week about each of their dogs, and what they learned from them.  We thought that was a nice idea, to feature one furry, family member each day, so people can get to know them a little better.  So we decided to feature one of our collies each week, and share their stories with you. 

Abby as a young puppy

Today’s post is going to be about our smooth collie, Abby.  She is a 6 year old, sable and white, smooth collie.   Abby is the quietest of all our collies, and she is also the sweetest.  She does not demand attention and will not compete with the others for it.  Abby is very sensitive, and the slightest reprimand will have this girl acting as if her heart has been broken.  Her personality is considered “soft,” and only positive training methods will work.  (Personally, I think positive training methods should be used for training all dogs.)

Abby becomes upset when she hears raised voices, and quickly leaves the room.  One time a broom tipped over while she was walking by it.  The handle landed across her back, startling her.  She now leaves the room whenever I use the broom to sweep the floor. 

Abby and Lad

When Abby was a small puppy, and first came to live with us, we already had a collie named Lad.  She became very attached to him, and followed him everywhere.  She adored her “big brother,” and she would hold the tip of his tail in her mouth as she followed along behind him.  When we lost Lad in 2011, Abby grieved for him just like I did.  I think she still misses him, even though we have other collies in our family now.  We recently had a large, smooth, sable and white male collie spend the night at our house.  The dog, Sam, was staying with us so my daughter could handle him at a dog show the next day.  When Abby first saw him coming in the door, she became very excited and happy, and ran up to him with her tail wagging.  When she got close to him, and smelled him, she dropped her head and slowly went back to her dog bed.  She looked dejected, and I think she believed Sam was our Lad, finally returning home to us.

Abby is special to me for a few reasons.  She is my first champion, and her mother was one of the top smooth collies in the country.  Abby is also the mother of both of the litters that I bred.  Without her, we wouldn’t have Ryder, Kori and Scarlett.  And while she loves my daughter, Abby has chosen me as her person.  I am the one she runs to when she is in need of comfort or reassurance.  If I leave the room, Abby will be right behind me.  She will curl up with me on the couch, but if my daughter or anyone else tries to sit next to her, Abby will get up and leave.  I don’t know what I did to inspire such devotion, but she will do anything I ask of her.  And Abby loved Lad as much as I did.

Abby has a talent for herding sheep, and I was told by people who compete in herding with their collies, that I was “wasting her talent!”  Unfortunately, there are no farms or facilities in our area where we could learn how to compete for a herding title.  I think Abby is fine with that, as she is prefers the comforts of a couch or bed to running around chasing sheep.  She doesn’t like to get dirty.  When she was going for her herding instinct test, the person giving the test had a staff.  When Abby spotted the staff she immediately stopped herding the sheep.  I think it reminded her of a broom, and she didn't want to get too close to that! 

Abby on the banks of Sunnybank

When we take the collies to the dog park, they all avoid the muddy areas, while watching the other dogs running, splashing and playing in the mud.  I think most collies prefer to stay clean, it’s rare to see a collie without four sparkling white paws!  But Abby in particular, avoids all mud and rain puddles, it makes me smile watching her navigate around them.  While we are at the park, Abby is the one all the young dogs are drawn to, I think it is her calm, friendly manner.  She also seems to enjoy playing with the puppies, and will play with them while the rest of our collies run all over the park with the other big dogs.

Abby was a very good mother, and took excellent care of her puppies.  But after two weeks or so, she was once again trying to follow me around and I had to stay by the whelping box with her so she would remain with the puppies.  (which is where I spent most of my time anyway!  Watching puppies grow and develop is a wonderful experience.)

So what has Abby taught me?  She has taught me to slow down, and just enjoy watching the world around me.  Through Abby, I learned both the joy and heartache involved in breeding a litter.  Joy, when the healthy, strong puppies are born, and sadness when one is stillborn.  Joy in watching them grow and discover the world around them, and heartache when it’s time to let them go to their new families.  And Abby has reminded me that dogs can be more than just companions to each other, they can also be best friends.  She is an absolute sweetheart, and one of the most calm and gentle collies I have ever met.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Collies issue a Challenge!

This month many of the dog blogs are participating in Park Day challenges, and the get fit Friday blog hop.  The hope is that more and more people will choose to get up, get outside and get active with their dogs.  A sedentary lifestyle is not good for humans or for canines, so by taking a walk or hike, you are helping both yourself and your best friend.  In keeping with this idea, the collies have put their heads together and created a Fit Dog Challenge.  To participate in the challenge, all you have to do is complete at least 10 of the 15 activities listed below.  The challenge starts today, and you have until June 15th to complete the activities.  Once you and your dog have finished the challenge, write a post, including pictures, and let us know what activities you did.  It’s that easy to play, so grab the award, and post it to your blog once you have completed the Fit Dog Challenge.  Happy Trails!


Hike by a Waterfall – enjoy the tranquility!

Get your paws wet! - Show your dog cooling her paws in a river, lake, pond, ocean etc.

Up High!  - Show your dog climbing on rocks, logs, etc. during a hike.

Intrepid Explorer -  Explore a cave or meadow during a hike!

Call of the Wild! - Show your dog doing his best wolf pose in the woods.

Do your ears hang low?  - Show your dog crawling under something. (logs, tree branches, etc)

You Shall not pass!  - Show your dog crossing a foot bridge, covered bridge, etc.

A Well-traveled dog  - Visit 3 different parks.

Keep hydrated -  Show your dog taking a break during a hike, and having a drink of H2O along the trail.

The Social Canine – visit 3 other bloggers who have joined this Blog hop, and leave them an encouraging comment.

Who let the Dogs out?  Visit a dog park, and make some new friends!

Stop and smell the roses – don’t forget to stop and enjoy the beautiful flowers!

Hit the Road! – visit a park that is at least 30 minutes from home, for a change of scenerary.

Entertain your inner puppy! - Visit a playground and show us your dog enjoying the slide, swings, etc.
I see a unicorn! - Don't forget to enjoy the scenery around you.  Your dog never forgets to relax and watch the world around him.  So stop and watch the clouds, and look for hidden shapes.  Or just sit and enjoy a sunset or sunrise with your dog, they will appreciate the company!

Also, if you haven't stopped by SlimDoggy's blog stop over and check out their Fitdog Friday Hop!  And be sure to stop by Finn's and Gizmo's ParkDay 2.0 posts!  They have created a fun game, that everydog can play!


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Ryder posts about Bingo! (A not so Wordless Wednesday post)

I have so much to bark about!  We have been very busy visiting parks, and enjoying as much sunshine as we can, because the rain is coming!  We are suppose to be getting rain for the next 4 - 5 days!

We have been very determined collies, and made sure Mom took us to a variety of parks, so we could win some more Bingo's!  We have now earned another 3 Bingo's, which brings our total to 6!  Unfortunately, we will have to wait until after the rain to try and earn more of them.

This Bingo card we actually won 2 Bingos!

1st Bingo on the card

Visit a park more 30 minutes from home - done
Scarlett by the waterfalls

Like Gizmo's Terrier Torrent on Facebook - done
Visit your nearest Body of Water - done!
Ryder at the beach near our house.

Find Picnickers - done (see below for the story)

Scarlett thinks picnics are the best!

Hike A Woodsy trail - done

Holly leading the way!

Collie Confessions: 
"Mom and I met some picnickers, who had brought a pizza to the beach.  Oh Dog, did it smell good!  The family was enjoying their pizza, and gave some to their cute, older pug.  Mom had me, in a stay, so she could take my picture near the picnickers, and that’s when I spotted the pizza eating pug, and ran over.  I said hello to the pug, and then lost control of my doggie senses, and I promptly stole his pizza!  I couldn't help myself, because pizza is my favorite, it's pawsome!  I immediately dropped it when mom told me to “leave it,” so I did eventually remember my manners.  But when I dropped it, it accidently landed in the sand, and the pug’s owners had to toss it into the garbage.  What's a dog to do?  With the pug’s owners laughing, and the pug giving me some really resentful looks, we quickly left without the picture.  Mom and I decided it would be “safer” to take a picnic picture some other time."

2nd Bingo on the card

Visit a park less than 10 minutes from home - done
This is me, with my two collie sisters and my human sister.

Find Picnickers - see above
Like Deidre's K9 Naturals - done
Find a Sculpture - done!
My collie mom, Abby, and Auntie Holly sure look great in the light of the setting sun!

Follow Gizmo's Blog - done!

Next Card

This one we won one Bingo.
Hike a Woodsy Trail - done!
Follow Gizmo's blog - done!
Visit a park at sunset - done!
Holly and Abby gazing at the sunset!
Find a monument or sculpture - see above - done!
Visit a park more than 30 minutes from home - see above - done!
We have new Bingo's to post, so we decided to add them here, instead of creating another post.
Visit your nearest Body of water (see above) - done
Hike a Woodsy trail (see above) - done
Follow Gizmo's Blog - done
Visit a park at Sunset - done
Find Flowers - done!


Visit a park more than 30 minutes away - done! (see above)
Hike a Woodsy trail - done (see above)
Park Bench - done!
Find a monument or sculpture - done (see above)
Find a Butterfly - done!
We had to get a little creative with this one!

Done - see above

Done - see above and previous posts!  :)


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Sunset at the Lighthouse

It's suppose to start raining tomorrow, and not stop until Monday.  Knowing the sunshine was going to be soon disappearing, I took Abby and Holly to Lighthouse Park last night after work.  It was their turn to go somewhere, so we went to this park, as it's only 10 minutes from our house.

Holly and Abby, enjoying the sunset

It was a lovely evening, and the water was calm.  We even found a statue, for the Parkday 2.0 Bingo game!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Sunday's hike and our first Blogiversary!

On Sunday we visited Fort Hale State Park.  This park is about 10 minutes from our house, and is a very small park.  This park is rich in American history, and was the site of one of the battles of the American Revolution!  The Fort was part of the Battle of New Haven, and 18 soldiers manned the cannons to help fight against the British troops that were invading both East Haven and New Haven.  The American soldiers eventually ran out of ammunition and were captured by the British.  The Fort, originally called Black Rock Fort, has been rebuilt, because it was destroyed in the Hurricane of 1938, and through years of neglect.  But the bunkers, where the soliders lived, are still standing.  They were built to hold the entire garrison, and covered with dirt and sod.  During the Civil War, the Bunkers were reinforced, in case of bombing from Southern troops.

By the time we arrived at the park, in the late afternoon, it was already closed. But we didn't let that stop us, because collies are intrepid explorers! We parked at the nearby beach parking lot, and then hiked along the beach to reach the park.




Up until 15 years ago, visitors were allowed free access to the bunkers, they are now gated shut. This is because of the risk of them collapsing, but also because local teenagers were partying inside the bunkers at night.

Here we are, pretending to be on the lookout for British troops!

"One if by Land, Two if by sea!"

It was an interesting park, and we enjoyed exploring all the Bunkers.  They reminded us of caves, and had the same damp, earthy smell.  We wanted to stay a while longer, and pretend we were actually wolves, and the bunkers were our homes.  But the humans didn't want to play, so we had to end our game.  After we were done taking our Mom and Sister on a tour of Fort Hale, we decided it would be a nice evening to have a picnic on the beach.  Our humans get hungy when we take them hiking!  (Plus, we needed a picture of people on a picnic for Parkday 2.0!  So two birds, one stone!)

How did you spend your Sunday?  Did you take your dogs hiking?  Did you get outside and enjoy some sunshine?  And we also wanted to let everyone know that today is our 1 year Blogiversary!  Thank you for reading our blog!