Laureate Shelties Blog

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

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!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


A friend of mine has a saying, "We're all a bit funny (except you and me!)". The same can be said for the dogs! Every dog has a different personality. Living with our dogs we enjoy their quirks…their idiosyncrasies. LuAnne is perhaps our “quirkiest” girl. She has always been this way, it is just that the idiosyncrasies have evolved over time…some are subtracted, and others added! As a baby when we bait trained her, she would stomp her feet and bark at us to demand the food! This was a very cute habit, but it didn’t last too long. I remember showing her as a puppy, and while she is one of our most correct Shelties, she didn’t have the Sweeps wins of some of our others. Perhaps it was her habit of jumping over cracks in the mat as she gaited, or cutting off the corners…or her problem of gaiting next to a wall! Jumping over the cracks she got over, however her cutting the corners and problems with gaiting next to a wall persisted. We were very lucky at the CSSA National in Winnipeg that the judge watched the dogs on the opposite side of the “wall” or in that case, boards of the hockey rink. As on that side, LuAnne was not gaiting on the mat, but slip sliding along on the concrete in the center of the ring! When we would get to the mat on the short side of the ring and join the others, she’d seem happy to once again be on solid footing and away we’d go…moving nicely along the long mat for the judge! She did take Best of Breed that day, showing well when the judge was watching. She continued that habit right up to her retirement at ASSA 2006. She did show very well outdoors in grass, but the Nationals were always indoors and we'd always hope that the rings were carpeted!
Now the anxiety with footing isn’t restricted to show rings. LuAnne is like that in our home. There wasn’t a problem at our previous house, as it was mostly carpeted. It is when we moved to Fox Hill. Our home has tile floor, save for a small area carpet in the living room. LuAnne will race for that carpet as if it is an island in an ocean of sharks! Sometimes to get from the bedroom to outside, she’ll hop from sofa to sofa and then run as fast as she can until she gets into the garage! If there is something blocking the corner to the laundry room, she won't go any has to be all in one shot! Once there you can see the relief on her face! The other thing about LuAnne is, and perhaps this is her best “quirk”, is she is the one in most need of love and affection of our group. There could never be enough contact for her! She loves being hugged and scratched. We adore LuAnne, for all her eccentricity!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Cody Creek

With our home overlooking Cody Creek, there is always something to see with each season. There is a cycle for each animal, bird, reptile and amphibian. Insects also…we are in Canada after all! Early spring brings merganser and mallard ducks. There are usually one or two pairs of each. They will often chase each other up and down the creek, vying for space. The muskrat appears at this time and often if the water is high we’ll see a beaver. The beaver may stay for a week or two, but usually it will continue down stream. By June, the frogs are out in force. They say that is a sign of a healthy ecosystem. By then the level of the water is lower and there are tall grasses for the frogs and the turtles. We’ve seen large snapping turtles swimming and smaller painted turtles sunning themselves on logs. We’ve seen otters swimming by, and when we do it is a real treat. There will be deer and fawns. The last three years the doe has had twins and she’ll bring them down to the creek. In late fall it is the blue heron. It will come early spring as well, but not for long. We have photos of a heron perched on our bridge railing, covered in snow one April. It will leave for the summer, but by late August it will return. It is very shy. It will fly away when we go out on the deck. Even if we try to take a photo of it through the window, if it sees movement or a reflection, it will fly away. So these pictures, taken yesterday are about as good as we’ve been able to get.

Friday, November 7, 2008

A Poodle?

A Poodle? That is the most common reaction when I say to people we got a new breed of dog. They are incredulous. I'm not sure if it is that they don't think of me as a "Poodle" someone that can manage hair. Yes, I would understand that as I am not the world's greatest groomer. I get by. Our first Sheltie litters had ones with fitted coats. Starlight Express, Search Party, Poetic Justice. It was hard to mess up. You didn't have to take anything away, you just had to make up what was there. The Shelties in the ring today are done to the nines. Sculpted, scissored and shaped. I can't do that, I'm not that skilled.

Maybe the reason people are surprised is I told them we got a big dog that is going to be our "guard dog". They go, "a Poodle"? Bunny our white guard Poodle! The truth is, I wanted a larger dog, and realized that I am a bit allergic. The bigger the dog, the more allergic I am. So it had to be hypoallergenic. I may never have considered getting a Standard Poodle if it weren't for that reason...I think I was afraid of the maintenance! Now that she is here, I don't know what took me so long to "find" this breed! They are amazing! I am in love with Standard Poodles and I could see having another one day.

As far as the maintenance? They are high maintenance, especially if you want to show. Bunny needs to be bathed once a week and blown dry. So has had eight baths since she's been here. I scissor her, even though I shouldn't as I'm not really sure what I'm doing yet. But I am enjoying every minute and it is like doggie topiary! A change is as good as a rest, they say, and I'm enjoying the change! Adding a new breed hasn't taken away anything from the Shelties. They are still the loves of my life. The most beautiful, sensitive and EASY breed.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Indian Summer

It was a gorgeous day today. The sun was shining and the temperature was in the teens (Celsius that is). I spent some time this afternoon working on this field. We had it cut last week by a neighbor who has a tractor that is larger than ours, but it still needs to be gone over several times before it is manageable. This field is going to be fenced off next year for the dogs. The thing is, this is where the dogs will be...right by my feet! We could fence off the entire 48 acres for them, and they would be at the gate closest to the house! Oh well, it will be great to be able to open a gate and let them access a grassy yard.

A few photos turned out nicely today. The one of Bunny at the burn pile is actually a pretty neat picture...despite the charcoal. Luckily she didn't feel like rolling in it! I did want a black Standard, but not that way! The one of her jumping is the first time she went over the logs! That is the favorite thing for the gang to do at the beginning of our is like Sheltie steeplechase. Bunny is getting "Sheltiefied"!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

November Already

I used to hate November. It is brown, dark and cold. That was before we moved to Fox Hill Farm. It is a beautiful month here. The willows hold their leaves and the creek runs clear. There are still animals that travel up and down the creek and the blue heron is around for a while longer. It is a great time to go for walks with the dogs.
While leash training "Bunny" this afternoon, we came upon a partridge. Both of us stopped and watched as the bird wandered into the trees.

I have been working on making a video of the dogs in action. So far my filming hasn't worked out. We snapped some shots today, but I had Cheerios in my hand, and they were more interested in getting a snack. This is a cute shot though.

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