Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas

We wish all of our Blogvile friends a merry, happy, healthy, and safe Christmas. Hope Santa was good to all of you.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Christmas Card Wreath

Our first wreath is filled and our second wreath is filling up. We don't have a card count, but Mom and Dad have had a slight increase in cards this year. Clearly Blogville has them beat, but Mom is pleased her card count is up as well.

This is one of Mom's favorite Christmas decorations every year. It is familiar but different every year based on what people send. It also makes her smile as she looks at it during the season.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Santa, I'm Sorry

Ernie I really need your help. Mom says eating her snow boots has me on Santa's naughty list. I need a lawyer to get me off. Leather L.L. Bean boot tops/bully sticks it really is hard to tell the difference. We met Santa and he seems like such a nice guy. I just can't risk being on his bad list. I really need your help Ernie. I know you can win this case.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Annie and Thomas the Tank Engine

Katy here. Recently Annie had her first experience playing with Thomas the Tank Engine. I had to explain to her why small humans are so fascinated with these big wooden tracks and the little trains that travel on them. I also had to explain it is a banning offense to try to chew on the tracks and thankfully she didn't even attempt to use any of the tracks as chew toys or she'd have been banned from Thomas time for life.

After you've overcome not chewing on the wood, the next step is to realize your only job is the safety of your kid. The trains must fend for themselves. You are not to panic if Thomas and Percy have a crash up. This is not a Sheltie problem to resolve. They've survived far worse and likely will continue to pursue even more amazing crash ups in the future. While you may find this disturbing you should not attempt to stop this behavior. Percy and Thomas are built to handle this kind of behavior. Interference is also a banning offense.

Lastly you may be tempted to try using your nose to move the trains yourself. This is handled on a case by case basis. Sometimes little humans are cool with this. Other times this could result in a Sheltie time out.

While I am now a master of Thomas play, Annie did well on her first outing. She did not interfere with any play and showed appropriate interest in the boy's toys without any negative interactions. She will be welcomed back for another session of Thomas play.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Turkey Cookies

We wanted Mom to post these after Thanksgiving, but once again Mom never got to do it. However we wanted to preserve this memory. Every year Mom sends Dog Dad to the store to find us Thanksgiving cookies so we can participate in the holiday celebration. Sadly Thanksgiving seems to be a very neglected holiday in the dog world. There are very few toys and until this year, we'd never gotten a holiday specific cookie.

This year Dog Dad surprised Mom with Turkey cookies. It seems someone is as crazy about the holiday as Mom and we got to have our turkey's while everyone else was having pie.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Christmas Cards are on the Way

Despite snow and icy roads Dog Dad got to the post office and mailed out all our Christmas cards yesterday, so they should be coming to Blogville houses soon.

Turns out it is a good thing that same day service really means same day service at the photo department. We pushed Mom really hard to work through all the card lists in one day. That is something of of a record. She normally does the cards over a couple of days.

We hope you are enjoying your Christmas preparations. We are doing our best to keep everyone safe as they keep moving stuff around to put up decorations.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Putting out the Outdoor Decorations

Mom has been slow getting our pictures up we had hoped to post this last week. We spent an afternoon helping Dog Dad trim the Holly bushes and supervising Mom getting all the outdoor decorations out.

You really have to watch these elves, they can get into all kinds of mischief.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Christmas Card Wreath

Christmas Cards began arriving right after Thanksgiving and Mom and Dad brought out the wreath holders to organize our paper cards. We've been getting e-cards, too. Along with sending and receiving cards from family and friends, Mom participates in 2 online card exchanges every year and she loves watching the card wreaths take shape. We want to thank all our Blogville friends for taking the time to remember us at this very busy season and tell all of you that no matter what kind of cards you send we read and appreciate all of them.

We mention this because we got a disturbing email from someone who perhaps thought they were trying to help, but was kind of insulting. We send paper cards to all the people on both our card exchanges that live in the US. We just got our picture taken for our Christmas card on Saturday, so don't be surprised that you haven't received our card yet. We did send out e-cards, though. Only our Blogville list has residents outside the US and we send e-cards to those on that list. We use e-cards instead of scanning our Christmas cards or creating picture cards to attach to our emails. It is our choice and our preference. I've gotten both over the years and understand everyone chooses what works for them. We received an email from someone upset that they couldn't print our card and therefore had taken a picture from our Blog and created their own Christmas card from us so they could print it and display it I guess. Then they sent me a copy of the card so I could use it.

Well, clearly they thought they were trying to be helpful and I am trying to respect that. However, if I'd wanted to send a picture card, I could have done that. I didn't choose to do that. We don't print our e-cards, it is just too crazy this time of year to get to more than just reading them. However, we do enjoy the various types cards we get every year. The cards have ranged from hand made works of art to very simple cards and each is a sign that someone remembered us and thought to send us a card. As far as e-cards go we also get a variety from funny or sentimental e-cards to picture post cards and again all are welcome and appreciated. Each person does what he/she can.

The Blogville community is a very special one. However, all successful communities are based on people being considerate and thoughtful of one another. The Christmas Card Exchange is a gift we give to each other and we all participate in the best way we can. The simple reaction to a gift is thank you, not you didn't give me what I wanted in the format I wanted. These are the kinds of reactions that do eat away at the goodwill of a community.

So we end this on a positive note by thanking all of you for all the cards you send each year. We love seeing our Christmas wreaths fill up each year with cards people send. We also are grateful for those who remember us by email as well. There are many people who feel lost and left alone at Christmas. It is an amazing gift we give each other just in remembering and reaching out in what ever format that takes.

Monday, December 5, 2016

New Friend

Mom went over to a friend's home to help her put a crochet edging on a blanket. Her friend surprised her by inviting us to come with her. She packed us up and put us in the car and we got to enjoy a really big backyard and make friends with Otis her 13 year old Golden.

Otis and I became very good friends. He showed me his yard and he was quite the gentleman. Annie has a wonderful time running around the yard chasing squirrels, chipmunks, and other critters. She was exhausted at the end of the day. We went inside to rest a few times and Mom left our leashes on in case we decided not to behave in a stranger's home and were hard to catch. She said something about a greased pig, but I'm not sure what she could have meant by that.

However, as you can see I was taking no chances. I really like Otis and I want to be invited back again. I wasn't taking any chances of Annie getting into trouble while we were in the house. Therefore, I sat right down on her leash, literally keeping her on a short leash during our time in the house. Yes, I did this more than once. You have to keep the young ones under control.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Friday Funnies

Hi Katy here. We are off to see Santa this weekend and then Mom can finally get going on the Christmas card list. I'm an old hand at talking to the big guy, but Annie has no idea what all the Christmas stuff I'm struggling to explain it all to her. Annie is going to just have to wait and see because nothing really explains Santa Paws.

Thanksgiving worked out well for us. I convinced Annie to take over Bailey's position as meeter and greeter. Dog Dad's family hadn't met Annie yet, so they were quite excited to spend time with her. Dog Dad's niece is going to a high school where she is studying dog and animal care, so she's even more interested than before. This left me to approach only when I was ready. We got a surprise when Dog Dad gave his niece turkey cookies for us. Last year the dog baker failed to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Annie has decided she doesn't need a dog bed, Mom and Dad's bed will do nicely. Since she refuses to jump up on the bed Dog Dad picks her up every night and she settles in for the night. I'm not sure how she manages to deal with people moving in the bed. Bailey and I liked to visit, but it's like sleeping on an ocean wave when Mom and Dad move. Annie doesn't seem to mind though.

Annie's helping me with my moon issues. Mom has called me her moon child for years. New moon, full moon it doesn't matter, if we are close to one, I can't help myself in the middle of the night I go nuts. It drives Dog Dad and Mom crazy. Poor Bailey tried to help me but nothing worked. This time exhausted, Mom picked me up and deposited on the bottom of the bed next to Annie. I flopped on top of Annie snuggling as close as I could get. Annie moved up the bed and I followed her. The moon madness was passing with Annie close and I wasn't letting her get away. That's never happened before.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Thankful Thursday

We wanted to post this on Thanksgiving, but it got too busy to get it done. It has been a very busy year for us at Sheltie Times and we have much to be thankful for here.

We are truly thankful for the time we had with Bailey. It was so very painful to lose him, but we were blessed with more time than anyone predicted we'd have.

Katy was truly a blessing to Bailey as a life companion, but even more so until the very end. She was so encouraging and loving to him when he was sick. I truly believe her love and encouragement was a big part of why he stayed with us so long.

We are so very thankful to the breeders who helped us in our time of grief to find Annie. She has been such a wonderful addition to our family.

We are so grateful that Katy has finally started to move beyond her grief. Annie has truly helped her move beyond her grieving process and Katy has provided help for Annie as well. We could not have asked for a better match.

Finally we are so very thankful for all our Blogville friends who are always so supportive and helpful. We are not as active as many, but we are always here in our heats.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Still here

Hi everyone. We are still around and things are going well, we've just been crazy busy. We've been reading blogs, but just haven't been able to get to Blogging. However, for the first time in years we managed to sign up for the Christmas Card exchange just before our reminder from Lassiter, Chase, and Benjamin who never forget to remind us, so we don't miss out on one of our favorite Blogville activities. Thanks guys!!!

Mom and Dad updated phones and computers and Mom is still adjusting to working with the new tech. She misses some of the old features which seemed to be a bit easier for down and uploading pictures. Dog Dad is much faster adapting to new tech.

This has been a busy summer and fall. Katy had her first dog vacation. Annie came to live with us and has been having an awesome time making her place in the family. Mom and Dog Dad had two weddings to attend and there always seems to be something going on.

For those of you who might be worried we haven't been writing about Annie because things haven't been going well with her, rest easy. Annie is everything we could possibly have wanted. While the breeder felt Annie was too shy for show, she is a bold and brave as we could possibly have wanted. Where Katy is shy and reserved Annie boldly steps forward, as Bailey always did shielding Katy from too much stranger attention. She is funny, loving, mischievous, and has been incredibly successful in drawing Katy out of her grieving. She has been everything we wanted and more.

While Katy has always been something of an introvert, what we feared would happen when Bailey died did, she withdrew into herself when he died. It has taken all of Annie's energy and determination, but she has Katy playing, running, and becoming more like the dog she was before Bailey got sick. Katy has also developed a protective streak towards Annie She does her best to keep her out of trouble and that is quite a bit of work.

Annie has reintroduced toys to Katy who gave them up when Bailey died. Annie is constantly pulling toys out of the toy chest to explore. She loves to play and in the last month I've noticed Katy returning to some of her old favorites. I even saw her steal Annie's favorite Platypus the other day. Stealing toys from each other was something she and Bailey did all the time. This was the first time Katy had taken the initiative with Annie.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: What Lurks behind the Fence?

Both Annie and Katy are certain something lurks behind the fence. Since we've had sightings and fence interactions with a groundhog and a gopher nothing would surprise me.

Friday, September 9, 2016

The Crate

Mom read about a new to her technique for getting your pet to want to use the crate. She decided since Bailey and I both were not huge crate fans that she'd try this new technique with Annie to make her feel more comfortable with using the crate when Mom has to be away from the house. Annie is not yet ready to be "home alone" as she's curious about everything and many of these things find their way into her mouth.

Anyways the technique suggests you put a desirable treat in the crate and shut the crate door leaving the dog outside the crate. This encourages the dog to want to get inside the crate. Later you open the door, allowing the dog to go in and have the treat without shutting the door. Eventually you work up to crating the dog with the treat. Well it worked I really wanted inside that crate.

Ok I kind of lost it. I wanted in that crate, despite the fact Dog Dad gave me the same treat without having to go into the crate. He's fair like that, but there was something about the crate bone I had to have. I tried everything I could do to break into that crate. I used paws, nose, and brute force, but I just couldn't get at that bone. Oddly Annie showed little interest. However, when it came time to be crated she had little issue with being crated either. She went in, had her cookie and settled in until Mom and Dad came home. I had my cookie and then tried to steal her crumbs by sticking my nose through the crate.

Mom was convinced I was going to stage a jail break, but I knew Annie was safer in her crate than running around and getting in to stuff. I do what I can to keep her out of trouble.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Tuesday Toys

Mom mentioned my new puzzle toys during the Maine posts and then never got back to posting about them. After Bailey died I haven't been interested in any of my old toys. Annie is exploring them, but I really haven't played with anything other than an old treat ball Mom picked up some place.

While visiting Scalawags Pet Boutique she found two puzzle treat balls that I love. We paid full price for these balls and are getting nothing for our review. We just thought others might be interested.

The first is the Wobble Ball that reminds Mom of an old Fisher Price toy she had as a child. With my lack of interest in toys, Dog Dad was skeptical about buying these toys, but Mom said it was a vacation so we were going to splurge a bit and have some fun.

Well the Wobble ball is so much fun. I began playing with it at the Bed and Breakfast, rolling it and batting it around to get the treats out. I have literally rolled this ball through several rooms in the house trying to push the treats out. I've even worked it out of walls when I've wedged it into a corner. I've never done anything like this before. Dog Dad was impressed that I'm actually engaging with a toy. The reason there is a link to Scalawags is Mom searched for these toys online when we got home and it appears the ones currently being sold online are "updated" with lights and sound. Mom wasn't crazy about the upgrades liking the older version. Honestly, I think the link is there so she has a quick link in case I break my ball and she needs to buy another one.

The maze ball is not listed online, but it is also cool. This one forces me to keep the ball rolling in different directions to get the treats out through the maze. Mom has been alternating my toys to keep me engaged.

Annie doesn't get the puzzle toy attraction. I get it. Until Bailey passed, I didn't get the point either. Suddenly I'm hooked. She has however, adopted an old hamster toy that Mom just repaired for her.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Meet the Newest Member of Sheltie Times

Katy here to announce I have a new sister, Annie. Her breeder named her Katie, but clearly that wasn't going to work. Mom and Dad worked up a list of names that ended in an long "e" sound and finally settled on Annie. We took a two hour trip to visit her and I was frustrated that she didn't come home with us. Mom thought I might be jealous because she got lots of Dog Dad's attention, but instead, I laid down in front of her pushing her closer to Dog Dad. I was sure this would mean we'd take her home with us that day, but Mom said it was more complicated than that. First Annie, had to heal from her spaying surgery. Then we went to Maine. However, soon after that her breeder brought her to Mom and Dad. I couldn't be at that meeting because I had a spa appointment. I will say I looked good when we met.

With the help of the New England Sheltie breeder informal network we found the newest member of our pack. Annie, formally Katie, is a 2 year old sable Sheltie. After several conversations with her breeder we met her on August 14th and fell instantly in love. She was still recovering from her spay and we were headed to Maine so we spoke to the breeder about a date that would work for bringing home our new girl. We had to work around our vacation and the breeder's schedule, but it all worked out and Annie came home August 27th.

I'm teaching Annie lots of new stuff. Just like Bailey helped me, I've been teaching her about stairs. I've also been teaching her the basics of bunny flushing and dog snuggling. She loves to zoomie and she might be even faster than I am. She is incredibly curious about everything. She's sniffed almost every square inch of the back yard. I though I was thorough, but she sniffs even more than I do.

We are all settling in, but are sure to have stories to share soon.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Happy 6th Gotcha Day Katy

Six years ago on another Labor Day weekend we made a long trip to Conneticut to bring home a sweet Sheltie girl from her foster rescue home. While Bailey wasn't crazy about visiting the place he'd started his foster experience, the minute we left the house you two were instant friends and it lasted until his very last day.

You were so brave, loving, and caring while Bailey was sick. You kept him with us for far longer than anyone believed possible.

This summer you explored new adventures on your first vacation.

We love you Katy girl and we are so glad you came to stay with us.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Using a Breeder When You Aren't Looking for a Puppy

As those of you who follow this blog know we started looking for another Sheltie last fall when we realized Bailey was sick and Katy would not be a happy only Sheltie. We returned to Sheltie rescue which had brought us two beautiful dogs. Sadly, the third time wasn't a charm. We were left frustrated and at loose ends. We filled out an application for another regional Sheltie rescue in the area and never even got the courtesy of an acknowledgement that our application had been received despite our attempts to confirm. We were at a loss as to where to go from here. Thankfully another Sheltie owner suggested contacting Sheltie breeders.

This confused me. I knew we didn't want a puppy. Puppies are adorable, but having raised one we knew we wanted a slightly older dog. Our friend informed me that breeders sometimes have dogs they need to place in pet homes. This was news to me, but it made sense. Even promising puppies don't always end up having success in the show ring. Show dogs are sometimes retired after their breeding days. I had no idea.

I started with the American Shetland Sheepdog Association ASSA which provides lists of member breeders by state. I wanted to make sure I didn't end up dealing with a puppy mill and I'd never worked with a breeder before. My experience had always been with rescue. This list was a great help. Most breeds have similar organizations that can be incredibly useful in finding an ethical breeder and avoiding the puppy mills.

I have to say this journey has been amazing. I began contacting breeders by email explaining my situation and that I was looking for a dog between the ages of 1-3. I shared information about our dog history, what we were looking for, and our home situation.

The first contact I made was with a breeder in my home state. She was amazing and the kind of breeder people should meet when they bash breeders. She didn't have any dogs available, but she went out of her way to help me make contact with other breeders in the area by contacting breeders she knew. We received information on dogs between the ages of 6 months to 8 years old. What was amazing was how fast some of these dogs were placed. It is important to think through your decision, but you don't always have lots of time to make the decision before someone else decides to take the dog.

What I've learned on this journey is to trust my instincts. Don't feel guilty, it doesn't help the dogs. Feeling bad for a dog isn't the reason to adopt one. It needs to be the right placement for you and the dog. If it doesn't feel right, accept that and realize there will be another dog. That has often been the hardest to accept.

Based on conversations I've had online, out on walks with the dogs, and at various rescue events, I know we aren't the only ones who have attachments to a specific breed and don't necessarily want a puppy. People are often surprised to learn about breed rescue as their only experiences with shelters are often mixed breed rescues, which rarely have the dogs they are seeking. However, there are many people who don't have breed rescues in their area and it turns out breeders can be an alternative for people like myself. It seems only fair to share this information as well.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Kennebunk Dog Park

This was one of the prettiest dog parks we've ever visited. The area is wooded which kept it cool. It has grass and wood chips and lots of trees. There is a pretty gazebo, but Katy refused to go in.

Mom got so involved watching me that she forgot to take pictures of anything but the sign until she was sitting in the car and she was too lazy to get out and take more pictures.

If you are in the area, it is a beautiful place to take your dog. Like all places it all depends on the others who are there how your experience will be for the day. My only real complaint was people who failed to clean up the dog poop. Katy loved exploring the woods. We followed her and cleaned up after her. Others let their dogs run and seemed not to notice that their dogs were pooping. It is this kind of behavior that makes it hard to get dog parks approved because somebody then has to go in and do the clean up.

If you are visiting the area, this is a great place to give your dog a chance to run off leash in a cool, beautiful area.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Goose Rocks Beach

There aren't many dog friendly beaches where we live. However, one of the first things we discovered when we were researching our Maine vacation was that Goose Rocks Beach was located close to where we were staying and was open to dogs before 9AM and after 5PM.

We weren't really sure how Katy would react to the beach. We'd taken Bailey and Katy to Hopkinton State Park and Bailey's reaction was similar to the Wicked Witch of the West's. He hated standing water. Katy followed Bailey's lead for a long time. We were curious to see how she'd react to a beach full of dogs.

We were surprised to discover Katy liked the water. The weather was warm in Maine. Perhaps the water felt cold and that's why she was willing to wade in the water this time when she had always refused before.

The only part she didn't like was when the waves splashed up on her and that is when Katy would retreat.

While the Inn doesn't allow inside bathing of dogs, they do provide hoses for outside cleanup. Katy got a paw rinse to get the salt water and dirt off her when we got back to the Inn.

Katy's still not hooked on water, but she is open to wading in it, which was a huge step forward for her.

Our experience was very dog friendly during our time there. People did have some dogs off leash, but they were being responsible keeping their dogs under voice control, which made the experience much more enjoyable.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Captain Jefferds Inn

Dog Dad and Mom decided in June they wanted to have a weekend away to celebrate Mom's birthday and their anniversary, both in July. After losing Bailey Mom didn't want to leave me behind, so she started researching dog friendly options near water. Yeah Mom was a bit obsessed about being near water this summer. By the time they got around to booking, August was the earliest they could travel.

One thing Mom learned during the research is the definition of pet friendly varies widely, as do the costs. Some are very restrictive, dogs must be crated at all times. Others are far more open to pets and provide a wide range of options for owners and pets.

Mom and Dad decided on the Captain Jefferds Inn, a bed and breakfast in Kennebunkport. The Captain Jefferds has several pet friendly rooms. We booked the Baxter room, which from what Mom researched was the nicest room in the inn. The description of the room says it is decorated as a Maine Camp. Mom did question what camp has a 2 person whirlpool tub, but it was nice sized room for humans and dogs. It has a bedroom, small sitting room, bathroom, and small private porch area, with a larged dorm sized fridge. (We realized this was a big deal when one of the other couples complained their room had no fridge.) Mom said she and dog Dad kept quiet about their porch fridge. Our room was at the back of the Inn.

Those stairs went right up to our porch and room. It was nice having a private entrance. We could head right out for our walks when we wanted. I could only stay alone in the room when Mom and Dad went to breakfast, as breakfast was served in the dining room in the main portion of the Inn and I couldn't go there. However, the Inn did offer pet sitters and I met a very nice boy who took care of me twice.

I had a Moose cookie waiting for me when I arrived along with a reminder letter reminding me of the rules of the Inn. I had no problem following the rules.

My porch

I settled in with my cookie.

Settling down and relaxing

Making myself at home.

We are planning a return visit to the Captain Jefferds. Our experience was amazing.

Just to be clear we got nothing for writing this review of Captain Jefferds. I love reading about my fellow Bloggers trips and appreciate hearing about different options for visiting different part of the country.