Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sad News to end 2008

We received some sad news this evening from Sue Coutts that her Whitegates Diva CD CGC St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog, passed away today at 13 1/2 years of age. Diva was born June 8, 1995 to our Ch. Whitegates Deja Vu ("Bunny") by Am./Can. Ch. Trevanne's Windswept ROM/ROMC. She was one of a litter of just two, in Bunny's typical small litter style. Her litter brother was Ch. Whitegates Windfall ("Rocky"). "Diva" was originally retained by us in co-ownership with friends out West, where she was shown to 8 or 9 points in one weekend, later going over. Sue and Dave added Diva to their family of Shepherds and their other blue Sheltie from us, Ch. Storm. We were very sad to hear that Dave and Sue had also lost one of their rescue Shepherds "Bear" at age 12 1/2 just this past Saturday. With Diva's passing today, they have lost four dogs this year. Hopefully next year will be an easier one for them. It's so difficult to lose the older ones in rapid succession and I dread going through that yet again ourselves.

Diva had the very best life possible, as do all Sue & Dave's lucky dogs, which, since Diva joined them, came to also include several rescue German Shepherds and a blue rescue Sheltie. Diva had a lively and fun personality and she will be missed.

Diva as a youngster winning a Puppy Group, BW & BOS.

Diva at home with her buddies Bear, Jewel and Spook.

Diva's only littermate, Ch. Whitegates Windfall - "Rocky"

Diva's dam, our beloved "Bunny", Ch. Whitegates Deja Vu - July 29, 1992 to November 23, 2003. By Am. Ch. Tall Timber Far Out Frisco ROM/ROMC ex Calabar Opening Night ROMC

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy Holidays/New Year!!

We've had a busy Christmas holiday, I'm back to the computer now, it seems that's the first thing to go when life speeds up! We had Joan here for four days, and we also had Christmas Eve and Christmas dinner here. On Christmas Eve we had Sandra, Paul, Jamie and Andrew as well as Mum, Dad and Joan for Mum's delicious tourtière dinner. Tourtière is a meat pie originating from Quebec, usually made with ground pork and/or veal, or beef. It's a traditional part of the Christmas and/or Christmas Eve réveillon. This is our way of celebrating our Quebec French Canadian roots. We'd just had our new handmade dining room (and bedroom) sets delivered that we had ordered in August, so it was a real treat to have the whole family group at one table for our holiday meal. No more "kid's" table....good thing, as the "kids" are both over 6 feet tall now!! On Christmas day, we opened our toys and later had the traditional complete turkey dinner with Joan, Mum and Dad.

I've included a picture of our tree, I did try to get one or more of the Sheltie girls to sit in front of it but they wandered off in disgust...

We had all manner of weather over the holidays, from snowstorms, freezing rain, regular rain, fog, windstorm, complete with power failure and a big melt. Now the snow is coming back. Yes, the weather widget you see on the right is accurate. When I first put it up there I would watch it. It would say "snow" and I'd think HA!! no it's NOT snowing....then I'd look out the window three minutes later and it is snowing... I've learned to trust it! On the right is a picture showing a bit of our kennel building and runs in the snowfall just before Christmas. Yes, we had the entire kennel painted this summer and did a lot of other work on it including a new roof and new doors.

Lots of birthdays coming up in January, our "birthday month"! In the meantime, all the very best for 2009 (wasn't it just 2000 yesterday??) to all our friends and family!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Talented Girls

This a.m. I received some pictures from Lori Leslie and her girls! I am so proud of all of them! I met Lori at the vet clinic I used to go to, she's on staff there. At the time she owned a much-loved, elderly Toy Poodle. Lori really liked the Shelties, and got to know our Sheltie family well. When her beloved dog passed away and it was time for another, Lori decided to get a Sheltie from us! I knew Lori was the ideal home so I was quite anxious for her to get a nice puppy. We sent our "Sizzle" - Ch. Whitegates Icy Hot, off to be bred to BIS/BISS Am./Can./Jap. Ch. Pop Star SS Of Northern Farm C.D. Unfortunately, Sizzle only had one puppy, a blue girl. But WHAT a girl she is! (pictured here at 7 weeks). Lori had an excruciating wait to see if she could have her or if we would be keeping her ourselves, but as luck would have it all around, Lacie went to live with Lori at 8 weeks of age. Lacie was a really special personality from day one. A smart, smart, sensible puppy. The entire staff of the clinic was waiting the day I brought her in for her first exam/shots, as Lori already knew she was hers if she decided she wanted her. I put her little six week self down and she ran right to Lori and covered her with kisses. The deal was sealed!

Some time later, Lori decided to get a second Sheltie. We had just bred Lacie's dam Sizzle again, to Ch. Imperial Aberdale Bold Image. This time there was a litter of 5, all girls, three blues and two tris. Lori and Chris had their pick of the available puppies and while tempted by the blues, wisely decided on the larger tri girl, who would match Lacie better in size. "Jovi" went home with Lori, Chris and her half-sister Lacie at 8 weeks old. Our own Ch. Whitegates Icing On The Cake, "Sugar" is from that same litter.

Lori has been doing agility and other things with the girls all along, they also often accompany her to work. She had told me about Lacie's skateboarding, but I really didn't give it a whole lot of thought until I got these pictures of Lacie skateboarding at KidzFest in downtown Toronto!!! Lori has been doing demos with a group with her girls, and Lacie's skill at skateboarding is a real hit! Jovi is learning to skateboard, Lori tells me it's hard for them to understand the "pushing" they need to do to start and keep going. These are pictures of the girls at the demo for KidzFest at Yonge Dundas Square! Note Lacie's form on the board and how she sets herself up perfectly on it. How great is this that these girls are showing the public what well-bred, well trained, predictable purebred dogs can do! AND I do have to say they are also great PR for blue and black Shelties! I could NOT be more proud!

Okay Lacie...Ready...set....


Jovi learning...

Jovi & Chris, Yonge Dundas Square, in front of the Eaton Centre

A perfect recall

Lori tells me that Lacie loves her skateboarding so much, that when she sees kids skateboarding out on her walks, she gets beside herself with excitement. So much so that Lori often asks if Lacie can ride a board and Lacie does a few zooms around on her borrowed board, dropping a few jaws! I've asked Lori if she could video her, and when she does, I'll be posting it here!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Last One Out, Turn Off The Lights

Dog Shows. For so very long, such a big part of my life. However, what I loved, what I sometimes miss and always think of fondly, doesn't exist anymore.

Today I went to the Credit Valley Dog Show. For many years, the largest show in Canada. They even used to have it in the Skydome! In those days, in that huge venue, the crowds were so thick, if you didn't elbow your way to ringside early, you couldn't get there in time. Entries of 60-70 Shelties and close to 300 in the Herding Group. Now I know today was Friday, and yes, the entry is bigger the next two days, but it's still a completely changed show and atmosphere. At first, I thought I had my days confused and maybe it was really Thursday (set-up day), not Friday. But no, this was the show. Here are pictures of the grooming area at 11:00 a.m. No problem finding a space!

The Groups kind of look like Sanction Matches did in the old days, more than a bit thin. There are still some very nice dogs being shown, usually Specials with handlers. It's the end of the year though, and some of them are looking pretty tired. Not much in the classes in any breed. There was supposed to be 10 Shelties entered, six were shown. But at 10 dogs, that was the second biggest breed entry in the show!! Too many class dogs in many breeds had no business being in the show ring and are extremely unlikely to contribute to the advancement of their breeds. It was actually really very sad. How depressing it must be to judge these shows.

Here are pictures of the ring area taken at 1:30 in the afternoon!! Unbelievably empty. I was at this same show last year on the same day and the difference is MARKED. The judging panel was really quite good!

I did enjoy talking to people I haven't seen in a really long time. Best In Show was just about to go in but I decided to leave and get home to the dogs (who I must say, looked pretty good to me!) instead of staying to watch BIS. I had planned on going again on Sunday, which has the "biggest" Sheltie entry at 13, but I'm not going to bother going back.

At this rate, how long can it last?

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Tonight I found out that the CKC member-proposed amendment to the Canadian Kennel Club By-laws, voted on by the CKC membership, did not pass. I was one of the proposers of this by-law and helped to wordsmith the amendment with the principal proposer. A very interesting process that started well over a year ago. Among the proposing CKC members were many CKC Life Members, judges, a former CKC Chair of the Board of Directors, and the current Honourary Chair of the CKC Board of Directors. A blue chip group, not a bunch of fanatics.

This was an amendment to prevent mixed breed dogs from competing at CKC events, or in any way being "registered" by the CKC. It would keep Canadian Kennel Club events and the registry for PUREBRED dogs only. And the members of the CKC voted against it. I'm stunned.

Now, before all the oodles and oodles of doodles and poo mixes appeared on the scene, I would have been somewhat open to mixed breed dogs in CKC performance events...MAYBE. I would have to consider the fact that people WOULD and DO put breeds together just to get the fastest flyball dog or the best agility dog or whatever. Border/Borders, Border/Jacks etc. are nothing new to flyball. Maybe it isn't "wrong" to breed JUST for faster/higher/stronger and nothing else.

But the proliferation of "designer dogs" .... two usually POOR specimens of a breed put together and labelled with a cutesy name and a big price tag, is just irresponsible and indiscriminate. Usually touted as "non-shedding" and healthier than purebred, they are often neither. But they sure are popular with JQP! Apparently, the majority of voting CKC members are okay with them also.

All the pictures with this post are apparently Sheltipoos/Sheltidoodles OR what we used to call them, MUTTS. The "breeder" (designer?) of these Sheltidoodles used to breed Shelties, but now sticks to these, 'cause ya know, they sell.

One more slide down the slippery slope for the purebred dog.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


I've never thought of myself as a particularly political person. With what's going on everywhere though, who can really help it. Last week I received several e-mails from people, urging me to sign a petition "Our Right to Vote on the Coalition Government". Um, WHAT? We *DID* vote for all those people that would form the Coalition Government. At least the dismal few of us that voted at all! Then I was told but look, they have SEPARATISTS in there! No, the Bloc Quebecois is supporting the Coalition, they aren't part of it. Not everyone who votes for the Bloc is a separatist. That our PM uses FEAR (hate?) by calling them Separatists (in English, at least, he called them Sovereigntists in French...BIG difference), that the PM would rip open the almost healed wound of National unity to save his own job (while tens of thousands of Canadians are losing theirs) is at the very least, IRRESPONSIBLE. He *KNOWS* the Bloc aren't part of the Coalition, they're supporting them. His radio ads make me clench my teeth every time I hear them. Am I the only one who is totally insulted by how stupid he assumes all of us are??

It's been a LONG time since whatever grade we studied parliamentary government in school. Like most people, "prorogue" wasn't in my vocabulary. So, I've spent a lot of time this week reading and watching so I can decide for myself what's really going on and how I feel about it. I hope everyone does the same, because whatever side you might find yourself on, you need to know why you're there.

Mr. Harper makes the Coalition out to be some sort of "coup d'etat". IT'S NOT. It's exactly what happens in a parliamentary democracy. Perfectly legal. Not only merely legal, but considering we had an election just six WEEKS ago, it's also the most (only) responsible way to handle the current situation the government finds itself in. Minority governments have fallen on non-confidence votes before. Many times. That usually means an election. Well, just weeks ago we had an election that put the same minority Conservative government back in power, at a cost of $300,000,000. That very same election put the *majority* of SEATS in the House in the hands of *other* parties...the Coalition. Since we are in an economic CRISIS, at a time when our government needs to co-operate and get things DONE, it's NOT the time for an election or frankly, for prorogation of government. The Coalition was (is) a way to make things work in this very CRITICAL time for our Country and the world, until such time as it's prudent to spend another $300,000,000 and have another election.

I understand that people don't want Stephane Dion as PM. I agree with that, no argument. I think the man is smart, but he's lacking image. (Yes, he's a geeky nerd). But, he's the leader of the opposition so he's the one (or maybe not, if he steps down before the end of January). I can live with him on a temporary basis. I really do believe he has the interests of the country at heart. I *KNOW* that Stephen Harper does not. He has forgotten his words "I promise not to govern as though I have a majority." To shut down Parliament at this critical time for six weeks is grossly irresponsible. As Justin Trudeau said, it's like "pulling the fire alarm when you're about to write an exam you know you will fail". He is putting the importance of his own job ahead of the welfare of the Country and the people of Canada. He has completely alienated any support he had or will ever have in Quebec.

There is no-one out there that is pointing the finger of blame for all of this anywhere but squarely at Stephen Harper. Listen to what the elder statesman Ed Broadbent had to say. People like Mr. Broadbent have been in politics their entire lives, I found them to be worth listening to. I didn't just read and listen to left wing politicians either, I read and listened to some of the bluest material I could find (and realized I am firmly on the left side of the line).

It's important, it's historical. The election in October had the lowest voter turnout in Canadian history (I hope those who sat at home and didn't vote aren't the same ones who now want a "vote" on the Coalition!). There is a global economic crisis going on, we owe it to ourselves to get it right. Mr. Harper has at the very least been firmly warned that his bullying is not going to work. I can only hope he will radically change his tune. We need a stable government that can work together, now more than ever.

Friday, November 28, 2008

"Fowl" Weather

When we arrived home from the Bahamas on November 15th, it started to snow on our drive home from the airport. And kept snowing.....and it's still snowing. I've finally, reluctantly, accepted the fact that winter is here to stay. Yes, I see all the Christmas decorations and hear the music (please help me!). We've never gone away in November before, I really enjoyed it at the time, but maybe it was too much of a tease! I was *so* not mentally ready for instant winter in mid November.

Now I'm wondering about "my" turkeys. I haven't seen any turkeys anywhere since October 11. Last winter I fed 14 turkeys for the winter. They would come every single morning and spend the entire day. I could see everything they were up to (trying to stay warm and alive) from the kitchen window. At dusk they'd leave to go to wherever they were roosting. They got very, very bold, they would come RUNNING if they heard the garage door going up and would all be standing right in the entrance of the garage, jockeying for a front row position! I could get really close to them. I know they did come to trust me somewhat but I'm also very aware that starvation makes a shy bird bold. I also knew that once I started to feed them, I had to keep it up or it wouldn't be fair. I even had the dog sitter feed them if we were away, so they wouldn't miss out. I fed them cracked corn once a day, twice if it was a REALLY bad day. I don't know how they didn't freeze to death with those skinny, bony feet in the snow all winter. I watched them their pull their feet up to their bodies one foot at a time, tuck their bare heads in under a wing, jump up into low branches and sit on their feet. If there was a strip of sunlight to be had anywhere, they were in it. In a snowstorm they hunkered down until they were
white mounds. I learned to feed them BEFORE I crossed the road to get the mail, or 14 turkeys crossed with me! I would worry if less than the 14 showed up, but the core 14 always seemed to make it eventually. One morning I got a bit of a shock to find 23 of them out there! Terry said it was like "The Birds" and if I kept feeding them, we might wake up one morning and 200 of them would be staring at us! But the core 14 were the ones who stayed. Except for the MESS (turkeys poo... A LOT), I really did enjoy them. Last winter was one of the most brutal on record and I felt very sorry for them. When spring finally arrived, I was treated to the males in the flock fanning their tails and dragging their wing tips on the ground, strutting for the hens. Mating season was starting.

Much to my horror, I found out turkey hunting season was starting at the same time! Now, I'm not anti-hunting (although I will never hunt). But how completely unfair that finally, after freezing for months and barely making it through, when the sun has just started to warm them up and the snow melt, mating season begins, AFTER all of the long winter struggle they just managed to survive....let's shoot them NOW! Really, why not in the fall?? Spare them the effort and the pain of suffering through winter if you're just going to shoot them at the end of it anyways!

For whatever reason, THIS year was the first year that Ontario had a fall turkey hunting season as well as the spring season (Oct. 14-26). I hope they knew what they were doing when they decided to go ahead with that. In June, there were only three babies in the entire flock, compared to the six per hen I had seen the previous year. Later in the season, there was just a single very late born poult among the flock. I saw in the paper they did have some concerns about the double hunting season because of these observed young in flocks at this very late stage of the year. A second, late hatch had happened because so many poults had died in the spring because of the very cold/wet spring we had.

So where are they? I've been watching here, and also looking out for turkeys where I've seen other flocks when I'm driving around. I haven't seen any at all. I have to figure that the turkeys are either too dumb to remember they ate here all last winter, they're dead, or they've been moved out of their range by hunters or ? and can't/won't come back. I'm betting on the latter. I'm really going to miss them!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

45 Years Ago Today

November 22. Forty-five years ago today that John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. No, I don't remember where I was or what I was doing when he was shot. I was six years old. What I do remember vividly is watching his funeral on TV. My mother had the ironing board set up in the room, ironing and watching. The TV was black and white. A horse drawn cart (many horses) with the casket, processions, ceremony, the little boy saluting. The little girl and her mother walking up and touching the flag draped casket. Lots of questions from me. I thought everyone's funeral was or would be on TV. People were sad and upset. But what about those kids?! Mum told me Caroline was my age. And she was...just 3 months younger. But how COULD it be that she could be only six (or almost six) and her Daddy was dead? That's the part my child-self just could not wrap my head around. The day of JFK's funeral, November 25th, was John Jr.'s third birthday. His sister Caroline turned 6 years old two days later on November 27th. What a tragedy any way you look at it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuesdays with Joan; another Porky picture

On Tuesdays I visit Joan at the nursing home. We do different things, I do her nails, read to her (she can't see well enough to read anymore), look at magazines (pictures she can see no problem) and whatever else we feel like doing or talking about. Today besides nails and reading, we looked at photo albums. There were a few we hadn't looked at in a while and I found an old dog album I know I've seen several times before but not for a long time. In it I found this picture that I didn't remember. I just had to borrow it to scan! This is a picture of Can. Ch. Ridgeside Star Wars, ROMC with his handler Linda More winning Winners Dog under Mary Van Wagenen (Sea Isle Shelties). The sign says Eastern Dog Club and the date is 1980. I have no idea how many points Porky had in the U.S. Joan doesn't remember either but recognized him right away, he was a favourite of hers! I have to assume this was a Specialty or supported entry as the winners ribbon is a rosette. I know I already did a blog entry on Porky but I just HAD to post this picture!

Joan continues to amaze me. I knew she wouldn't know I was coming, and I was wondering because we were away, did it seem a long time to her? Or short? Luckily, the answer was short. She was surprised we were back. As usual, although not expecting anyone, she looked like a million. Silk blouse, jewlery, hair done, everything co-ordinated. At age 89, over 1o years after a stroke, if I could manage as much....well, I don't think I could. Some things about a person never change! Joan always looked great in her clothes and still does. She still thinks about everyone else first...when I was doing her nails, she felt spoiled and noticing my long but unpainted nails said "what about yours dear?". I've included a picture of Joan at our house from Christmas 2007. In the picture with her is her constant shadow when she is here, our 12 year old bi-black girl Ch. Shadypines Viennetta. "Netta" is *very* fickle about people and WILL NOT tolerate some people. She "puts up" with others, and a few she really likes.......and then there is Joan who she adores. Netta never leaves her side when Joan is here, even with the walker or wheelchair. Sometimes they just "know".

Sunday, November 16, 2008

It's Better In The Bahamas!

Just back from our trip to Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas. We had a great time and the weather was perfect, very lucky for us as Hurricane Paloma was in the area just before we arrived, just to make things interesting! Atlantis was on my "bucket list" of places I want to visit before I kick it, and it was all I expected and more! The marine exhibits are world class. To see the Manta Rays close up was incredibly impressive. They are HUGE rays (adults can be up to 3,000 lbs.) and so most aquariums don't have the tanks required to exhibit them. The Mantas at Atlantis are the only ones on display in the Western Hemisphere. They release them into the ocean when they reach about 1,000 lbs. (lifted out by helicopter on a special "tray"). The ones we saw were 2 years old and about 850 lbs. You can't get the size impression from pictures, and close up, you can't fit them in! I've included pictures of a Moray eel (with food?) and a shark...of which there were all kinds imaginable. (Double click on any picture below for larger view).

The resort itself is really huge, many pools, incredible water slides and a "river" of rapids and currents that you can do on an inner tube. We did that, and even did a (large!) water slide on a tube where we had no idea what we were getting into until we were on it! Pushed me to my limit (not a ride person!).....whipping around down a four storey waterslide, partly in the dark so you couldn't at all tell where it was twisting or which way you were facing. I did it! And kept my breakfast down! If I were younger, I would have tried more of the slides!...(maybe...). Below are pictures of the resort from the ferry to Nassau, a view of part of the resort from our balcony (16th floor), and the Royal Towers (that we stayed in) with the "bridge room" in between (yes, that's one room).

We really liked the fine dining restaurants at the resort, in particular the Bahamian Club was as good as anywhere, with fantastic service, 4 waiters for each table!...and the best atmosphere. The Bahamian people are the friendliest we've met in the Caribbean, always smiling, ready to help, answer questions and just chat. They're fun and interesting to talk to and the accent is great! A treat that English is the official language. It's a very civilized place, a Commonwealth country like Canada except they drive on the left side of the road, and lots of roundabouts like England or Bermuda...confusing! Also strange because so many of the vechicles are American made with the steering wheels on the left like we're used to, but then other vehicles have steering wheels on the right like most countries that drive on the left have exclusively. So we had no interest in renting a car!....too much thinking required!

We went into Nassau (capital) one day (short ferry ride from Paradise Island) and bought fragrances (very cheap there) and also rum at the Bacardi store! Two big bottles for $15.00 (for both), how's that for duty free?! The main street is Bay Street and there's also an Adelaide Street, just like Toronto. Two of the biggest banks we saw were a huge Scotiabank and a Royal Bank of Canada branch.

Another nice part of the resort was the Marina Village. This has shops and restaurants and also connects to the large Atlantis Casino. The marina has many private yachts pulled up to slips. At night they're all lit up and really something to see, you can even see inside many of them. Some are HUGE. They all carry extra vessels (like speed boats, etc.). All are named, of course, with their names in lights. My favourite yacht name was "Incognit'eau". What a way to see the world!

When we arrived, at least a week AFTER the U.S. election, we were so surprised to see all these Obama/Biden signs from the airport bus window. Then, we saw these Obama bumper stickers on taxis, etc. that I had to get a picture of (as it was driving off and I'm crouched in the road!). The old Bahamian woman who saw me taking the picture of the bumper sticker on the taxi shared her feelings, saying to me "Now there will be peace in the world". Then we saw this old fishing boat that the owner had decorated with his own personal inside the boat was the same bumper sticker and the front page of U.S.A Today from November 5th taped up underneath it. In Nassau there was a whole store dedicated to Barack Obama, with t-shirts that said "Bahama for Obama" and you-name-it. It really brought home how people outside of the U.S. feel about the election.

Dogs! What did we see? All street type dogs. You know, medium/large sized (Sheltie x 2), all short haired, usually prick-eared, curled tail, usually yellow colour. Like "Selvakumar" the street dog that saved his young master from the tsunami in Sri Lanka in December 2004. The dogs that sleep while traffic is buzzing around them. Always relaxed.

And dogs, so happy to see ours when we got home! Not happy about the snowstorm we got that night nor the power failures or phone being down. It's better in the Bahamas!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Happy News!

Nothing but good news today....I woke up this morning and Terry said to me, "I have just two words...Barack Obama"!! We were pretty sure when we went to bed last night but it was so nice to have it confirmed! I couldn't be happier about it as I feel this is a positive thing for the whole world!

Then, I heard from Cynthia Charbonneau of Cynchar Shelties near Edmonton, Alberta that her girl Ch. Cynchar's Blackeyed Pea just had a litter of EIGHT puppies by our Willow Cove's Prize Patrol - "Mason". There are *SIX* girls and 2 boys!

Now, Cynthia even put on her website ahead of time "I'm hoping for all girls", and I almost choked when I saw that, because it would surely mean an all male litter for me if I were to do the same! But obviously Cynthia's luck is far better than mine and someone is listening to her! The puppies are all black of course, and all tris. Maybe that's why I never did get the black girl I really wanted, because of being reluctant to do an all black breeding. So, good for you, Cyn, for doing it and getting exactly what you hoped for (and then some!). Cynthia says some of them are even flashy! We're excited to see how they mature. Proud papa Mason will be 10 years old on February 1st, he's produced some really nice puppies and we hope Cynthia's pups follow suit! With mom of the litter being the dam of the RWD at CSSA National 2008, a bright future should await them.

This beautiful Indian summer day is only half over, but it's already a good one!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Blogging, American Politics, Margaret and Helen

What exactly is this, blogging? It's kind of like an open door journal....or not. If you choose to share it, it's there for anyone and everyone to read. Kind of a mini website/journal/scrapbook/soapbox.

So now, I've been looking at, and reading, some other blogs (a lot are photo intensive, I like those too). If you look up above here (dark blue strip), and click on next blog, and next blog, well, you don't know what you might find. Some are on a particular topic. Some are a cyber-chronicle of a family. Or even on one facet of a person or one single topic. Some are anonymous, and some, the authors are totally public. Many are really beautifully set up. Some are *really* well written, and I do appreciate and envy that! So with that last thought in mind, check out . Particularly if you have Democratic leanings!! This blog is allegedly written by two female friends (really one to the other) in their 80's, one in Texas and one in Maine, about the current U.S. Presidential race. Supposedly the blog was set up by Helen's grandson.......but see what you think! Whoever is behind this blog, and wouldn't it be wonderful if it really *IS* the old girls, I've really enjoyed it and have been reading it since the beginning. Don't forget to read the older posts first! I mean it. Really.

I found another blog I really like through a link on the Margaret and Helen blog. Many pages of some absolutely fantastic photos! These will make you smile!!

Enjoy looking at blogs? Try blogsurfing at . Check out the winner in the Best Blog of All Time category - a talented pair of wedding photographers right here in Toronto!

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Ever lose a dog, even for a little while? There is nothing worse! My neighbour called today, two of her Collies were gone, a tri Rough male and a tri Smooth girl. I headed over there pronto, first combing the road beside her place, where I braked for a large black and white Border Collie, but that's all I saw! You see nothing and everything all at once when you're looking, and it all seems so vast and hopeless. When I got to her house, she was of course frantic! She lives on a VERY busy highway, intersected by another quite busy highway (the one we live on). We spent the afternoon looking for her two. I've lived here 10 years and discovered places I've never seen! She had printed off some flyers, I suggested page protectors and tape, and we were off taping up notices and looking for the two! She was so concerned about the roads; me being a Sheltie person, I was saying they won't try to cross the highways (fingers crossed behind my back)....she knowing they probably would! Her saying they would follow anyone they managed to find, me thinking few Shelties would do that! Getting so worried as it got later and dark would come soon. I drove, we both looked, stuffed mailboxes, put up flyers. Then, on the ground, walking, calling, listening. No Collies. Back into the house to make up more flyers...BINGO...the local vet clinic called (and we had missed flyering them!) .... someone close to me had found the two Collies (still together!) and these wonderful people were SMART enough to put both dogs in their garage, call the vet clinic who said they would try the closest Collie breeder they knew.....and it was over! The dogs HAD crossed Highway 50 in rush hour traffic...! But were also quite happy to do whatever was asked of them by the people who found them. My friend was beside herself with joy and I was thrilled with the happy ending!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fat Rain and Old Girls

One week and one day after the weekend of shorts and t-shirts and it's snowing!! Well, it's not staying on the ground, but it's visible, definitely fat rain and then some! And cold, wet and windy...BLAH...! Never ready for this...

Today we received the nicest and most complimentary note from Barbara Linden in the mail. We had sent her a picture of Tiffany's win and she wrote to thank us. In her note, one of the things she said was "I have to say that her movement and soundness is, without a doubt, one of the most impressive I've seen in this special breed of ours." How very nice of her and such an uplifting note to receive on a really dreary day!

Now a little bit about the "girls" that share everything with us! We have the four oldest girls with us in the house. Netta (far right), her two daughters, Holly and Brooke (the blues), and Tiffany, the orange sable amid all the bi's. They're all getting on in years and they're most definitely set in their ways! Dinner time (5:00 p.m.) is the big event of their day. So big, they start getting ready for it at 2:30 p.m. Any movement around the house, particularly around the kitchen, is closely supervised by all. The closer to d-i-n-n-e-r-t-i-m-e it gets, the better my chances of being tripped by one of them, as my every move is closely monitored. Daylight savings time requires extreme patience for all of us as we try to wait that extra hour! For all those hours of anticipation, the noise level and excitement while dinner is actually prepared, to the 2 minutes it takes to eat it, to the mad scramble afterwards to lick someone else's empty's all over until the next day.

Tiffany is the newest addition to the "house girls" ...much to their disgust. They put up with her, but they are the same family and she isn't, and it's very evident in everything that happens! Different things set them off, so that the three relatives will all react to the same thing while Tiffany lies there looking at them like they've lost their minds, the things Tiffany reacts to draws no response from the other three. Tiffany is a "close talker".....when she's excited she will bark, bark, bark inches from the the face of the other dog, follow them, close-talking the whole way. She does this almost exclusively to Netta, because they're both dominant and if Netta gives in to it, then it's an excuse to maybe scuffle a bit. If they do, Tiffany always ends up giving in to Netta.....but she just can't resist pushing her buttons!

Now the sleeping arrangements....there are 4 dog beds in our bedroom (crates?!! these girls have no idea.....oh wait, only for Holly and only during a thunderstorm so we don't end up wearing her all night). They pretty much stick to the same spot....although it is a bit of a musical chairs "scramble" over Brooke's bed...just a mat, really, but everyone seems to like that spot, especially Tiffany, who pretends she doesn't see Brooke standing there hang-dog if she doesn't get her mat. Miss Tiffany, who has her own "matching" couch in the kitchen in front of the fireplace. She arranges herself on a pillow she won at a dog show. If you want to sit there you definitely have to ask more than once! I guess Tiffany really is the stick that stirs the pot with these house girls! We do love each and every one of them dearly even with their sometimes neurotic little old lady habits.....the oldies have always been my favourites!!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Turkey Day!

What an amazing Thanksgiving weekend!! I can't ever remember sitting out on the porch in shorts and a t-shirt on Thanksgiving Day and being hot!! It got up to 26 C today! The weather all weekend was incredible!

Great news, on Saturday I *finally* saw the turkeys, with baby! again. It had been almost two weeks since I'd seen them, so I was getting a little concerned. However, for several years now they've "disappeared" just before Thanksgiving ....and usually not seen again until winter. I happened to see them going through the yard, just as I was taking the turkey out of the oven (oops!). Going in a different direction than usual for that time of day and moving quite quickly through. The baby is still small, but definitely growing, noticeably bigger! They did stop at this small crab apple type tree we have and to my amazement one of the turkeys jumped up into it, the whole tree was moving and the ones underneath were pecking away at what I later found to be really small apples, the size of the tip of your finger. My first thought was the turkey was purposely helping out the ones below, but really, I don't think they have that kind of sense of community! Then the baby flew up into the tree and was helping himself. Some of the adults were jumping straight up and down about 3-4 feet in the air to try to grab the lower branches, quite comical to watch! For some reason, although they fly quite well, it never seems to be their first or even second choice to use their wings.

We had Mum and Dad over for turkey dinner with all the trimmings on Saturday. Of course the talk of the night was politics and more politics, what with the Canadian elections tomorrow and the U.S. elections coming up as well. I don't think I've ever been more involved and certainly shook my head to find myself flicking back and forth between the Canadian leaders' debate and the U.S. Vice Presidential debate, live on T.V. at the same time the previous week!

Sunday we drove out to visit Joan. She's been quite down in the dumps since her friend Mary's death in the summer, as they were very close. We found her in good spirits though, and it was so nice out we sat outside for a while. She's not as happy there since losing her friend, which we can all relate to, as truly good friends are a rare find. We have a few ideas to try to make things better for her going forward. Happy Thanksgiving!!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Whitegates Who Me

As far as I know, this is the only existing picture of Whitegates Who Me. She is pictured in May, 1983 at the age of 10 months, RWB at a Specialty show, shown by Debbie (Moore) Vandyk of Fairfax Shelties. "Peggy" is behind many of the AOC Macdega Shelties, and some of the sables, through her daughter, Am. Ch. Candray Vanessa - dam of 3 Macdega Am. Champions - Am. Ch. Macdega Montana (Sultana, ROM), Am. Ch. Macdega Candray Cartel (Evergreen) and Am. Ch. Macdega Risque (Rendezvous, ROM). It would figure that one of your worst registered names ever gets into thousands of remember that when naming each and every pup!!! Who Me? Who knew? (ggg) "Peggy" was sold shortly after this picture was taken to Jan Wanamaker of Candray Collies (and back then, Shelties). Again, during the afore-mentioned "getting out of dogs" phase. She is by Am./Can. Ch. Macdega Mainstay ROM/C ex Whitegates Vanity Fair ROMC, two tri-factored sables, and obviously by their titles, both producers. "Peggy" left Canada as a puppy with 9 pts. towards her Can. Ch. It was unfortunate that she didn't have a chance to get that last one point, as she was very worthy. However, her real strength was her producing ability and being able to pass her producing ability on, especially through the girls coming down from her. "Peggy" herself was the dam of 4 American Champions: Am. Ch. Candray Mirror Image, Am. Ch. Candray Vanessa, Am. Ch. Candray Who's Who (all sired by Banchory Reflection ROM/C) and Am. Ch. Macdega Bandolero (sired by her grandson, Candray Volition - littermate to Am. Ch. Macdega Montana).

Debbie and I reminisced about how disappointed we were when Peggy was sold, but in fact, she ended up in the right place to make her lasting contribution to the breed.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Happy Birthday Billy!

I said I'd cover each one of our current dogs on their birthdays, and Max is first! Five years old already!! I found that we had no pictures of him except for his finishing picture when he was nine months old! (Not surprising for us..!) So....this one was taken yesterday afternoon with not even a brush run through him. Max wasn't originally intended to stay, but through many different circumstances and twists of fate he did stay, and it was soon evident that we couldn't be without him! He was a lot of fun to show. In my mind's eye I see him standing on the grooming table with his butt towel on, almost wagging it off, his face looking up at me "wow, this is great!!". He loves being groomed, the brushing especially. In fact, Max loves everyone and everything. He's probably the most even-tempered Sheltie I've ever had, the same happy boy in a loud, crowded, strange place as he is right here with us. Happy 5th, Billy-boy! May you have many, many more!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


For days now Holly has been skulking off to a remote area of the property and NOT coming back when called! Having to search for her we finally caught her in the area she is disappearing to. We figured the draw HAS to be either mushrooms or a carcass. Last night Terry and I checked the whole area and found no carcass and no mushrooms. This morning once again NO Holly while all the other old girls are on the back porch waiting for me. Call, call and call...nothing. So, in my nightie in the cold I go to the spot, and there she is, under some of the pine trees, head down on something. I yell sharply "HOLLY" and she jumps a mile, didn't hear me coming and her guilt is evident..! She backs off to expose all that's left, a HUGE white stem of an obviously HUGE mushroom....aaahhhh...these must be growing overnight, it wasn't there yesterday. I am thinking these are probably okay because she's been doing this for about a week on and off and no symptoms. I'll have to treat the whole area today. She is my worst for this, she knows she shouldn't do it but just can't seem to help herself. Netta (her dam) has been going with her sometimes too. Holly also has an iron gut, I have to give her SO much hydrogen peroxide to get her to bring them up. But good thing, as it turns out she's eaten about a half a pound of these giant mushrooms....!! We'll have to stand out there when she goes out now, to catch her before she can wander off. I had just yesterday checked the "usual" mushroom areas and was pleasantly surprised that they weren't bad at all for this time of year. All fingers crossed that whatever is out there is just food and not poison, although of course we have to "assume" all are poison. We never want to lose another like her half brother or like Bernadette Bay's special girl Be aware of the dangers of mushrooms, they are everywhere! We don't have any special or different types here, we just have (some!) dogs that like to eat them!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Can. Ch. Ridgeside Star Wars, ROMC - "Porky"

Porky at 3 mths - first 2 shots and at 4 mths, last shot

I've heard some comments lately, "we don't want to go back to the past, do we?" or even that the past doesn't matter. And while we can't go back to the past, and maybe it doesn't much matter, I think it's interesting and maybe even important to look at some of the dogs that have influenced the breed. Some of these dogs would be quite welcomed "back to the future" if it were possible!

Porky at 3 years
Porky at 10 months

Can. Ch. Ridgeside Star Wars, ROMC - "Porky" was a blue merle male born June 29, 1977 (31 years ago!!). Sired by Am. Ch. Chenterra Thunderation ROM/ROMC and out of Pixie Dell Indigo Melody, he was bred by Alfred W. Edlin, M.D. Joan Pavey and Terry Pavey acquired him from Steve Barger as a young adult, so most of his career was spent in Canada. His location probably prevented him from having even more of an influence than he did. He was a very moderate male, who stood at about 14 1/2". However, he does carry on in many pedigrees through several influential offspring. He is the sire of: Am. Ch. Macdega Proof Positive, ROM/ROMC; Am./Can. Ch. Cameo Farms Purple Rain; Am. Ch. Someday's Space Odyssey; Am. Ch. Whitegates Last Starfighter; Am. Ch. Whitegates Silver Frost; Can. Ch. Candega Reverie; Can. Ch. Cavatina Champagne Celebration, Can. C.D.; Can. Ch. Har-Mitch Shooting Star; Can. Ch./O.T. Ch. Harcourt's Empire Thumper; Can. Ch. Terobshe Tradition (ASSA Class Winner); Can. Ch. Whitegates Blue Horizon; Can. Ch. Whitegates On A Clear Day (dam of an ASSA Futurity Winner); Can Ch. Whitegates Once In A Blue Moon; Can. Ch. Whitegates Partial Eclipse, Can. C.D. and Can. Ch. Whitegates Rough Rider.
One of the several times Joan and Terry got out of Shelties (gg), a now older Porky retired and went to live permanently with one of his biggest fans, the photographer Gulie Krook. With Gulie he lived the best life possible! All the photos of him above were taken by Gulie. Many thanks to my friend, Bob Miller, for his help with the Champions list!