Laureate Shelties Blog

A bit of this, a bit of that...with a lot of free spirits.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Year in Review

I thought I'd start this entry with my favorite picture taken this year of myself with the dogs. That day was memorable as the snow was so hard I could walk on the surface. The thick crust of snow was also on top of our enormous hedges. Bridgit had walked up on top of the hedge and I didn't realize until we were out in the field that she was stuck. Pete heard the commotion and came out to have a look. This is what he saw:
Little Bridgit high in the air on a nearly six foot hedge! After Pete showed her how to get down, this was Bridgie catching up to us in the field! I have nicknamed Pete..."Paparazzi Pete" for having his camera handy and taking pictures of us. The great thing about having a website and now a blog, is that I can go back and see what happened during the year. It is like a journal; it helps me remember all the details! With Cocoa finishing her Canadian Championship over the weekend, I thought I'd look back and see what titles the Laureate bred/co-bred dogs achieved this year:

*Obedience Trial Championship for OTCh Laureate Delicate Crystal, Am CD, CGN (owned by Lynda Morrissey)
*NADAC Top Ten again for Laureate Dancin' Chimney Sweep (owned by Lin Battaglia)

*American Championship for Am Ch. PaRay's Make A Splash (owned by co-breeders Tray Pittman/Paul Flores)
*American Championship for Am/Can Ch. Laureate Givalia (Pittman/Flores)
*American Championship for BIS/BISS/BPIS/BPISS Am/Can Ch. Shelhaven Pop'n Up At Talisker (owned by Sharon Ayers)

*Canadian Championship for Am/Can Ch. Laureate Givalia (Pittman/Flores)
*Canadian Championship for Ch. Laureate LaPerla (Aston/Culumovic)
*Canadian Championship for Ch. Laureate Jivara (Aston/Culumovic)

*ROMC for BISS Am/Can Ch. Laureate Gabrielle, ROMC

A pretty good tally. Thank you to the owners and co-breeders for all your efforts.

With the Holiday Season well upon us, we wish all our friends the happiest of Holidays.

Kim and Pete and the Laureate Shelties

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Dogs Breakfast

I have been making soup for the dogs for years. Mostly in winter; it makes me feel good. I buy whole chickens on sale; last week they were $5.00 each at our local grocery store. I will put one in a stock pot and add sweet potatoes, carrots, apple, cranberries, tomatoes, blueberries, a green vegetable (today it was spinach) and some whole wheat pasta. Once the chicken is cooked, I allow it to cool and de-bone it. I'll include the cartilage, as the dogs love it. The recipe varies, but it is always a hit at dinner time. This was their dinner today. (Tira picked out the cranberries.) Other days I might add a hard boiled egg to their meal, or yogurt. I've also found a product that is a balanced meal that is raw and in the freezer section of Global Foods. It is called Nature's Variety. I've bought the venison, and I'll add three medallions to their food on those days. The dogs we're showing are getting flax seed and salmon oil added to their meals as an experiment. I figure it won't hurt, and I want to see if it makes an improvement in coat quality.

Here is Bunny lounging after her is good.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tira: a good day

We're taking it day by day with Tira. Today was a good day. She wanted cheese, and I gave her about six pieces and she also ate her dinner hungrily.

I took her out with me and the gang while I cleaned the snow off the gazebos. Afterwards, I let them all out for a run.

I like this picture as on the right are two of Tira's daughters. I had to check and re-check as Mais Oui looks so much like Tira in this photo. Paris is on the right, Mais Oui, Bunny and Taboo is in front.

Bridgit...too cute for words!

Stormy (Laureate PaRay Per Se). I'm not sure if you can tell, but she has the most amazing ear set. She also has the best blue colour of our blues.

A funny colour balance on this shot, as it was completely in the shade; but I love this picture. That is 13 year old Gabi trying her hardest to keep up, and miss Bunny Foo leading the pack.

Tira doesn't like snowballs between her toes.

Heading for home.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Some very sad news

When we have the dogs in the house, I have a large entourage. All of them will follow me except for Tira. Tira chooses Pete. She follows him and sleeps by his side of the bed. She adores him, and Pete just loves her to bits. Her nicknames are Tira-MA-soo, or Tip-toe Tira, which was shortened to Tippy.

Tippy has been not quite right for a little while. She was a bit pear shaped in her body...her stomach seemed droopy. When we returned from Toronto her stomach was huge, yet we could feel her spine. Mark, our Vet, was concerned when he saw her and weighed her in at 22 pounds. Not overweight, but her stomach was distended. On exam, he was guarded. It didn't feel good, he said. He felt a mass on one side, but wanted to confirm with X-rays and ultrasound. I left her there for an hour and returned to the news I didn't want to hear. Tira has about 7 tumors and has very little time left. They are inoperable as they involve the spleen, the small intestine and maybe the liver. I saw the X-ray and her body is full of very large tumors. She rode home on my lap and I drove with tears in my eyes. So for the rest of her days, she will be loved and spoiled...she'll have all the treats she wants, even ice cream, that's her favourite.

I was looking through my files for pictures of her on our walks, but couldn't find many. That is because she's usually by my side or a little behind. So this was taken a half hour ago in the kitchen with her grandmother Gabrielle...looking for some cheese.

Damn this is hard.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Farewell field sculpture!

Winter 2007-2008 - buried in the snow.
Fall 2008

All-season tires couldn't get the car out; had to call a neighbor to come with his tractor.

A final push and it is on the trailer. After two years, our nephew's project car found a new home - yay!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Eli and Bunny

"Eli" is bathed and ready to go to his new home.

Weighing in at ten pounds at 8 weeks of age, Eli is no pushover.

He can hold his own with "Bunny" now.

And even on occasion get the upper hand! I'm going to miss the little "bulldozer", but today was his lucky day. Good luck to Lise and family with "Eli".

Bunny is sure going to miss him.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Week in review

Well there isn't too much dog related in this blog, except that Pete and I took a trip down to Toronto on Tuesday to drop Cocoa off to her handler. (We learned today that she won a Best Puppy in Group, so that is a good start.) We stayed downtown at the Royal York and Tuesday afternoon I had a pedicure and a soak in the deepest tub I've ever been in! That night we had the tasting menu at Canoe Restaurant high above the city in the TD tower. It was a great day!

Wednesday I made my way underground to do some shopping. Costco aside, I'm not much of a shopper. If you've never been to Toronto, there are miles of tunnels with shops and restaurants under all the banking could live underground all winter if you wanted! So I began at the Royal York, went to the TD tower, turned right and into BCE place and back to the Royal York. Hmmm... that wasn't what I wanted to do! So I start out again. This time at the TD tower instead of taking a right I went straight...good, new territory. Into First Canadian Place...past the fountains into a food court and ...????? LOST...again. Hmm I find a map, but I can't find the YOU ARE HERE on the map. So I look up, looking for a sign, back to the map. I am pretty lost. A woman comes along and asks me where I want to go. "The Bay" I said. She said I had to go to the Eaton Centre to look at the tree. I hadn't planned to, but since she thought it was worthwhile, I figured, what the heck. She led me to the corridor and pointed me in the right direction. Ten minutes of walking and four Starbucks later, I found it! They had a Christmas tree decorated with Swarovski crystals. The tree had no lights that I could see, but it just twinkled and was beautiful, and worth the trip. I went into one store, Abercrombie and Fitch. I have never shopped there, but it was full of young people, and their logo was a moose so I thought it would be a great place to buy gifts for our Aussie relatives. (They won't know it is an American moose and not Canadian) I found some things and made my way back.

Heading back to the Hotel, I noticed a crowd and some TV cameras. It was Don Cherry giving an interview. Some people were taking pictures with their cell phones and one guy asked me what he was doing. (I would I know???) So I said to him...I think he's selling suits! ha ha. If you don't know who Don Cherry is, he's a hockey commentator who is flamboyant and makes his own suits. This one was a yellow plaid number.

Thursday I woke up to breakfast in bed. I then ventured back underground looking for some nail polish (OPI Vodka & Caviar) to touch up one of my nails that had chipped during my marathon shop. I came upon another happening. This time it was the "Canadian Tenors" practicing...sort of the Canadian version of Il Divo. They sounded pretty good. We made our way back Thursday afternoon.

Friday I spent baking my grandma Hilda's traditional Christmas cookies and squares with my cousins and father. It was a super day. I saved some crumcake for my Mom if she gets here fast enough...
Pictured left to right: me, Gisela, Judy, Chris, Dad. Taking the photo is our hostess, Karen.

The little oil painting above I painted in is me in our claw foot tub at our first home. My nails are about the same colour!

Monday, December 1, 2008

More Cocoa

The lighting yesterday morning was nice and soft, so we invited Rachel Pratt (Bancroft Shelteis) over for a photo shoot. By the time we were ready for pictures, the light had gone flat. We took some snaps of her Am/Can Ch. boy "Wrigley" and she helped with "Cocoa". The better ones of Cocoa are on the hopefuls page. A good portion of the early photos on our website were done with Rachel's help. It usually takes a "team" to get a good shot...a talented photographer, a skilled groomer and handler and a good runner. I was the runner yesterday, but it was more of a shuffle in the snow!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Unexpected visitors

Pete and I hosted a dinner party for ten last night and we had a fair bit of preparation. We spent the day cleaning, prepping the food and then just before our guests were to arrive, Pete shouted excitedly...LOOK OUT THE WINDOW!!!! And this is what we saw...


While we had steak on the menu, these guys dined on frogs legs!!!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Jeff the plumber

I love men at work (or women…for that matter). It's not the muscles, the sweat…no, it's not that (except when we had the off duty firemen installing the dog tub at the other house…then it was about the muscles)…it is the fact that things are getting done! Once I was so distracted by a worker putting shingles on the roof, I backed into his car in our driveway! Oops.

This morning we had Jeff the plumber and his helper, Eric here. (I don’t think that is a really good title…plumber’s helper!) Ha ha. There were saws, drills, more saws; it was a symphony of tools. I was utterly delirious with happiness. The coffee helped also. Coffee always helps my mood.
So while it took them all day to install, we now have a tub. Bunny is not so thrilled...she was the first to christen it!

It was a good day...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The weather report...

The forecast calls for...

...wet dogs! (Bunny says, "let me OUT!!!")

Sorry my blog isn't more exciting! We have a dinner party for ten on Saturday and that is on my mind...will it be steak or short ribs? Anyone have ideas?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Shep has been found!

I just got a happy phone call from Carolyn that Shep has been found! The flyers that were distributed helped to bring him home. A fellow saw him by the side of a road, curled up asleep. He called the number on the flyer and said he'd stay there until they came. I had tears in my eyes when she told me the good news. I am so pleased he is back home.

(Another) one of those days...

We're just waiting for a plumber to arrive to see about installing the dog tub. While Pete normally does all the handyman type of jobs around the house, he just doesn't have time to take on this project. We've called four different plumbers, and made the mistake of starting the inquiries during hunting season! We've finally been able to reach one that will come out and have a look...that is a start.

I haven't been out yet, except to bring the dogs in for dinner, but this is the view from the kitchen window; it is a grey day, and the creek has iced over. Pete has put up the Christmas lights on the railing. We keep them on all winter, it brightens our mood...and the deck. I look over into the family room, and Bunny has the right idea. She's gone back to bed...or is going to hibernate (on her new bed from Costco).

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Lost Sheltie

I was on one of the Yahoo lists and was scanning through the posts. I read about a lost Sheltie in Harrowsmith ON, and it didn’t ring any bells until I noticed the owner. This was one of our Shelties that we placed as a puppy and is now four years of age!

We had a very public loss (and found) of one of our Shelties. It is a traumatic experience no owner wants to go through. We were at the ASSA National when one of ours slipped her collar. Within seconds there were close to 50 people looking for her and even so, she was spotted only once during the week of the National. She was captured in a live trap nine days after her disappearance. "Christie" took WB/BW at the ASSA National several years later…quite a Cinderella story.

What we learned from our experience is that you have to get other people involved to help in the search. This can be achieved through flyers…the more eyes looking for a lost dog, the better. Shelties can become feral, and in flight mode. A once loving companion will be very frightened and not likely to come when called. A cell phone is a must, as if you get a call, you need to get to the area of the sighting. A live trap is also a good way to catch a Sheltie that on the loose.

Todd Foley has compiled a guide that every Sheltie owner should read. It could make the difference.
So anyone in the Harrowsmith ON area, in particular North of the Wagarville Road, please be looking for a red and white male Sheltie named Shep. Pictured above at seven weeks of age.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

We should have hired a sitter...

Pete and I have been together since 1984, but Saturday date night came to be a weekly event in 2005 when I started dialysis. We'd pack a snack and he'd sit beside me for almost four hours at the hospital while I was dialysed. Luckily our dates have improved since my transplant! Tonight it was rack of lamb, salad, braised cabbage and mushrooms and a bottle of Australian Shiraz. The dogs were underfoot while I was cooking, and at one point I dropped the container of sea salt. It landed upside down with the contents on the floor. Cocoa and Bunny quickly grabbed the container and off they went in a great game of chase.I put the dogs outside while we had dinner. It was marvelous. Good conversation, candlelight, wine, and a wonderful meal. When it was over I asked Pete to bring them back in. I knew there was trouble when I heard Bunny galloping in as soon as he opened the mud room door. They (Bunny) must have jumped on the door handle from outside and got into the garage. They had a grand time, and Bunny got hold of the insulation between the walls where Pete had made a hole for our dog tub installation. At least I think it was Bunny...(she's not telling) ha ha.

Friday, November 21, 2008

It costs “oodles” to be a Breeder

I don’t know when it happened, but some time in the last ten years, “purebred” became a bad word. Designer dogs or hybrids (aka mutts) are the latest trend. They are touted as being healthier and hypoallergenic (as most of these "breeds" are Poodle crosses) and yet this isn’t necessarily the case. Since they are mixed breeds, the heritable traits are a mixed bag. Genetic problems that can affect purebreds can also affect mixed breeds. Thyroid, bloat, skin disorders, epilepsy, hip dysplasia, slipped patella are just a few examples. The difference is that breeders of designer dogs are unlikely to test for any of these problems. They will also likely charge more for the mix than Breeders of purebreds that have spent years of their lives devoted to one breed. We wanted a large non-shedding breed. We didn’t even think of getting a doodle…only a purebred Poodle would have the coat we needed and the predictability of traits that PUREBREDS offer.

(If you notice, I use a capital “B” to denote a Breeder that has dedicated their lives, finances and time to produce puppies that are healthy and that conform to the breed standard for their breed. A Breeder will screen the breeding stock for problems that are common to the breed.)

In Shelties, we test for hips, eyes, thyroid and VwD (a bleeding disorder). The dogs have ample space to exercise, are fed quality food. They are groomed regularly and they have regular check ups at the Vet. As you can see from our blog and our website, our dogs are happy and they are healthy. Visit OFA site ( and you will see the results of twenty years of testing hips. Other tests are done, but not registered on the OFA site. Today I brought three of our girls to the Vet for hips and thyroid tests (only half of the testing). And the bill was $1,285.00. But this is a small price to pay to produce puppies that will hopefully give 10-15 years of happiness to their new families. Testing of breeding stock is what Breeders do. Purebred shouldn’t be a bad word.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


It is cold this morning. There is the first sign of ice on the creek, and when I looked out the window to see the temperature it showed minus 11 C. I knew Bunny wasn't going to be able to stay out too long this morning. With her shaved feet, tail and face she doesn't handle the cold. My routine is to put all the dogs out, and I wait five to ten minutes and bring Bunny back in for breakfast. This morning she was out for maybe three minutes and then as I was bringing the water to the dogs she slid out the gate.

Bunny is a fussy eater, so unlike all the others. She picks at her food, and will usually pick up a piece and then drop it on the floor. I have sometimes resorted to just putting it on a towel by her water bowl to save her a step. She seems to like Royal Canin German Shepherd formula, which is the food we use for treats. So this morning she had a bowl of treats...she isn't too spoiled! She ate and when I realized it was too quiet, I went to have a look to see what she was up to. This is what I found...she'd gone back to bed! It has been a rough morning!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Cocoa-Bean and Coconut Cupcakes

It is the third day of a three day show weekend and I’m exhausted. I’m out of practice going to shows and waiting around for the group judging. I drove home after a long day yesterday and then had a party to go to. Then this morning I’m preparing dinner for my Mom’s Birthday party tonight. So far I’ve made The Barefoot Contessa’s coconut cupcakes (which if you haven’t tried, are to die for) and I’ve prepared the roast. (So Mom if you’re reading this…surprise!!!) All Pete has to do is put it in the oven while I’m at the show. I went to bring in Cocoa after being out in the yard for half an hour and she was wet and muddy. So she’s been bathed and blown dry. Writing the blog is my way of relaxing a bit before I have to hit the road.

Little "Cocoa-Bean" has been terrific. This is her first time at a show, and she is a natural. She uses her ears non-stop and moves out beautifully. She is a lot of fun. She has won her class of 5-6 both days and taken reserve to a lovely mature tri girl. She also took best puppy both days. She reminds me most of our Gabrielle, who was this way as a baby…confident, happy and game for whatever you ask of her.

I brought Bunny along for the ride yesterday. I wanted her to get used to the noise of a dog show, and I also wanted some grooming advice from the Poodle handlers. She was fine with the noise and trotted beside me confidently and wanted to meet everyone. She was a hit with my Sheltie friends, who can relate to her beauty. I got some really great grooming tips and one of the handlers did a great trim on her…on one side! She said, now I have to make it match on the other side! The transformation is amazing…she looks like a show puppy. I had her in a nice rounded out “pet” look, and now she is angular and dramatic. Pictures of both Bunny and Cocoa will have to wait until the sun is out.


This is for Rui! Wish you were here...too much food for us to eat. My Mom took a "doggie bag" home with cupcakes and icing.

Had a successful day at the show today. Cocoa once again won her class and went on to win WB/BW and Best Puppy in Group. Great prizes today, we won $50 worth of gas cards and a Tim's card. What a fun little puppy, shows non stop, not worried about the noise or all the shenanigans that were going on behind her in the puppy class. We had a LOT of compliments from non-Sheltie people, which makes me think we're on the right track with soundness. Also compliments from Sheltie breeders, so that feels good as well. Cocoa enjoyed a cupcake when she got home!

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