Posts Tagged ‘beardie’

Bayley, our 5 month old Goldendoodle, has overheard us discussing the fact that she is going to be much larger than her 50 pound parents, and has gotten the mistaken idea that we won’t love her as much if she gets too big. I caught her on the computer last night writing this song:

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Anyone who knows us, knows it is apparent that we prefer animals with a lot of hair. We have Bearded Collie dogs with 12 inch long hair and we have llamas with loads of wooly fur.  Our recently departed cat was a main coon cross, and had at least 4 inch long hair. She deposited hair on every horizontal surface in the house. As I’m thinking about it, there was cat hair on most vertical surfaces as well. Tim even succumbed to the pressure and decided to grow a beard several years ago. We burn out vacuum cleaners on an annual basis.

The odd thing is this. With all this hair blowing around, it is inevitable that occasionally a hair will appear in our food. We joke that dog hair is a condiment in our house. And when I find a hair on my plate, I will pull it out of the food and identify it. “Oh, that’s Mayzie’s hair” or “that must be a llama hair”, and I think nothing of it and continue my meal. But if I see a human hair, even if I’m positive that it is my own, I suddenly lose my appetite and dinner is a done deal. Go figure.

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Mayzie and Bonny (1997-2011)

Mayzie and Baylie (4 mos old)

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How a mix-up lands us with the perfect pooch

Baylie at 8 weeks

Being a touch OCD (obsessive/compulsive), I rarely make impulsive decisions. Even when it comes to something as emotional as choosing a dog, I spend days scouring the internet; poring over articles about breed characteristics, behaviors, physical appearance; the good, the bad, and the ugly. Having shared my life with bearded collies for the last 25 years, when my sweet Bonny crossed over at Christmas time, I started exploring the possibilities of a different breed. The one prerequisite that a dog must have is a fuzzy face and shaggy coat. Just having a long coat doesn’t cut it. Breeds such as collies, Australian shepherds, spaniels, and setters, don’t have the awww factor, as they have clean, pointy faces. I’ve never cared for smushed faced dogs, disproportionate dogs, and mini dogs. I’m not averse to a pound dog, and I followed the various pet finder sites for a couple of weeks, but there was a preponderance of pit bull mixes and other short haired bully breeds. Ever since I saw the Goldendoodle introduced on the Westminster Dog Show about 15 years ago, I have been enamored with the look.

Poodles get a bad rep. They are one of the smartest breeds, but the smaller versions are over-pampered and the show cuts are frankly, ridiculous. I’ve known a couple of standard poodles that sported a simple “puppy” cut, and they look fine, but, still, they have a very sharp, clean cut face, that doesn’t appeal to me. But the doodles have the perfect, cute, wooly faces that make my heart melt. So, I started researching all the attributes to see if they were, indeed, the perfect breed for us. Other than having high maintenance grooming requirements, they seemed like the perfect dog. They are being bred in a variety of sizes, determined mainly by the poodle father. Put simply, a mini poodle and a golden retriever produce a mini doodle, and a standard poodle and a golden retriever can produce a dog ranging from 50 pounds to over 100 pounds.

Finding a reputable breeder is a little more problematic. Because of the upstart popularity of this new hybrid pup, a lot of puppy mills and less than responsible backyard breeders have started breeding these dogs and selling them for prices that exceed the prices for pure bred dogs with a championship pedigree. I wanted to find a breeder that was within a 4 hour drive so that I could go visit the kennel, evaluate the living conditions and see the parents. I could never buy a puppy and have it air shipped without ever having laid eyes on it. I also wanted to buy a puppy that was already born. It is amazing to me the number of breeders that sell puppies from future breedings.

After weeding through a dozen or more kennels that just didn’t feel right, I found a kennel that was only about 30 miles from home. In business breeding doodles for over 20 years, and many more years experience breeding purebred dogs and show horses, they are a large volume breeder, but seemed very reputable. I emailed for availability of a medium sized golden doodle and received photos of 2 puppies born October 31, making them 10 weeks old. They were both lethally cute, and were both expected to grow up to about 50 pounds, so I made an appointment to visit them the following day. I had very good intentions. I was going to check out the kennels, meet the breeders, take a look at the doggy parents, and just “view” the puppies. If all checked out, I might bring home a pup.

The kennel was on an equestrian estate of undetermined acreage and the dogs were housed in one of 2 converted horse barns. Surrounding the barns were about 10 radiating paddocks of about ¼ acre each where the adult breeding dogs got to romp and play. I saw about a dozen adult and adolescent dogs. The manse sat on a hilltop above the barns. The two pups I had come to see were being carried out of the kennel/barn by the kennel manager and an assistant when I arrived. Being a cold rainy day in January, I was shown into the other barn where we settled into the heated office. I spent about an hour playing with the pups and going through my list of pertinent questions, but I knew within about 5 minutes of setting eyes on these pooches that I would be taking one of them home.

Deciding between the two was difficult. One pup was “to die for” cute, red curly hair all over, and very playful; VERY energetic, jumping hurdles over the other puppy, which was a smidge smaller and had more of a wavy, rather than curly coat. Since I wanted a medium sized dog, and I was springing this puppy on my 7 year old bearded collie that was grieving the loss of her big sister, I opted for the slightly smaller pup with the calmer personality. I did get to meet the parents of the October 31 litter, and the standard poodle Dad and the Goldendoodle Mom were both medium in size and very attractive dogs. I felt good in my decision.

The business portion of the meeting concluded, and I was handed the pedigrees with all the health certifications and puppy medical records, and Babydog and I were on our way home. Within the hour it took to drive home, I was smitten. Mayzie, the beardie, was less impressed. But I knew from experience, that once the annoying puppy phase passed, they had a good chance of becoming fast friends.

Two days had passed as we acclimated to our new living arrangement when I received an email from the breeder apologizing for any inconvenience that may have been caused, but they had “sent me home with the wrong paperwork”. My puppy came from a litter born on November 15, an interesting spin on the fact that they had sent me home with the “wrong puppy”. Apparently there were pups from two different litters that were playing in the same enclosure, and they grabbed the wrong pup. There was no discussion of exchanging the puppy, and I never would have entertained the thought. We were in love. The fact that my pup, Baylie, at 8 weeks was only a smidge smaller than the 10 week old puppy, had me concerned that we would end up with a dog much bigger than we anticipated, but I was assured that Baylie’s parents each were just under 50 pounds and the grandfather on Mom’s side was a miniature poodle.

Baylie at 15 weeks

But now at 16 weeks and 30 pounds, I think Baylie is going to be an overachiever in the size department. But, what the heck…. More dog—More to hug. It’s kind of like a box of chocolates. We won’t know what we have until she’s “all growed up”.

Baylie is maturing into the most wonderful dog we have ever had. She blazed through puppy school, and her instructor said that at 4 months she was more advanced than many of her adult dogs. She is an excellent candidate for the Canine Good Citizens Program, and is going to start training for Rally. I hate to think about what we might have missed out on if we had actually brought home the “right puppy”. At any rate, Baylie and I are joined at the heart.

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I lost my soulmate, my 15 year old Bearded Collie, Bonny, about 6 weeks ago. I have wanted to write a tribute, something that would be worthy of her indomitable spirit and her zest for life, but all my attempts have fallen short.  I decided to write some notes to Bonny. Hopefully she will feel the love and know how much she is missed. She was never critical of my writing, never critical of anything at all.

Bonny, I still look for you on my quiet walks through the woods. Could you be just over the bank, wading in the creek as you were wont to do?  You always were one to sneak off when my mind was diverted, and it takes me a moment to remember and realize that you won’t be coming back this time.

Is there a creek where you are? Are there deer to chase? Buzzards to bark at? You so loved to chase the buzzards. You’d run like the wind beneath them, lifting your front feet into the air as if to say, “Please, oh please, I want to fly with you. Your long ears would be flapping like the wings you wished you had.

Is Cayce there with you? I hope that you have found her and that you are romping in the fields as you used to do. I remember how it broke your heart when she passed away. Mayzie is also broken hearted and misses you so. She knew that you were very ill, and somehow, she understood that when we took you away and you didn’t come home with us, that you had gone to a better place. She is not the goofy puppy (even at 7 years old) that she was. She seems to have lost the sparkle in her eyes. Please tell her to be happy.

I’ve tried to spoil her and make her feel special. She actually has learned to catch a Frisbee. Can you believe it? Now that she’s not under your shadow, she finally got the confidence to claim the Frisbee as her own. But I think we have created a monster. She wants someone to throw the Frisbee all day long.

I know that another pup can never fill the void that you left in my heart, but we got a new puppy a few weeks ago. I can’t help but compare her to you when you were a pup. You were a willful imp, but you were the most endearing dog one could ever hope to have. God, I miss you so.

Mayzie is struggling to keep her sanity with our young Baylie. She has infinite patience with the pouncing and hair pulling, which you, as you remember, did not have. I’m hoping that in time they will grow to be good friends, just like you and Mayzie eventually were.

You were the most beautiful dog on the planet. Never have I seen a more gorgeous dog. You were a high maintenance blonde. Everything was about you. You doted on attention, and never met a stranger. You had the greatest gift of all. You made everyone smile. I am smiling through my tears.

I loved to stare into your eyes, infinite pools of green. I could feel how much you loved me. I hope that you know how special you were to me. I can hardly bear to look at your photo. It brings so much pain to know that I can’t stroke your ears and play with your golden hair.
Do you visit us? Are you able to come back to our world from yours? I often sit still and try to feel your spirit. I’m not sure how to know if you are with me? Can you give me a sign?
They’re calling for snow tonight. Not much, just an inch or so. Do you get any snow there? You were always so happy when you could run and play in the snow, until your feet turned into snowballs, and you’d beg to be carried… all 52 pounds of you.

I remember all the good times we had at the beach. It was your favorite place to be in the world. Even as you aged, you always became a puppy when we walked in the sand on the beach. I am so glad we had one last trip to the beach before you left us. It’s hard to believe that it was only two months before your death that you were prancing along the shore and riding on the prow of the little john boat as we putted around the marshes and inlets.

You were not a ditzy blonde, you were a rugged and brave defender of your territory. You remember tangling with the raccoon and getting bitten on the nose? You scared me to death. There was so much blood everywhere, I thought you had been ripped apart. A face washing revealed only two small punctures on your nose. And the time you grabbed the possum from under the fir tree and shook him till he died. Only to find him mysteriously gone 10 minutes later. That’s why they call it “playing possum”. You even chased a bear out of the yard after he broke into our chicken coop. And the worst of all was the night you took on the skunk. At 2:00 am. AND, Mayzie got sprayed, too. What a night.
Life was never dull with you, Bonny. You were pretty as a cover girl, but a farm dog at heart. You loved helping with the chores. I miss having you ride at my feet in the Kubota RTV. Mayzie still claims the front seat, so we’re training Baylie, the pup, to ride in your place on the floor.

I think even the llamas miss having you around.

Goodbye, Bonny. I hope to be reunited with you someday over that Rainbow Bridge. In the meantime, I will still look for your sign that you are looking over us. I love you.

Post Note:Thank you Bonny, I got your sign. Shortly after putting the finishing touches to my notes to you, I put the puppy, Baylie, to bed in her crate. We keep the crate in our walk-in closet, and when I settle her down for the night, I lay a faux mink throw in front of the cage and lie down with my fingers through the wire. She nuzzles up to my fingers, and when she has dropped off to sleep, I sneak into my own bed. Mayzie is jealous of the extra attention that I’m giving the puppy, and she generally sulks on her settee at the foot of the bed. Last night, as I lay on my mink blanket, I felt a warm nuzzle at my ankles. Mayzie came and lay down in the doorway of the closet and put her head on my feet. Maybe Mayzie was being empathetic and sensed my grief and was coming to comfort me. I’d like to believe that you came to Mayzie, and through her, gave me the sign I needed, to let me know that you were with me and all was well. Bonny, love, be at peace.

Mayzie and the new pup, Baylie

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Too Cute for Words

Mayzie the bearded collie with her new baby sister, Baylie the Goldendoodle

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Thanksgiving morning we awoke to a white hoarfrost decorating the landscape like an iced Thanksgiving cake. There was a sheet of ice that had formed on top of the patio table and when DH removed it, he discovered that it lent an interesting effect to the world as view through it. Here are three photos that are taken through the “ice camera filter”. They resemble a bad attempt at using photoshop, but they are untouched photographs.

Bonny the Bearded Collie

View of pond


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The photo says it all. IT’S TOO EARLY, DAMMIT!

8 inches of the wettest, heaviest snow possible fell on October 29. Last Saturday, we enjoyed a llama hike in the Shenandoah Valley and the leaves were at their most perfect.


Had this snow happened 30 days from now, it would have been a non event. But the leaves on the trees were great snow collectors, causing huge, beautiful trees to break under the weight. We were very fortunate in that we didn’t have any big damage. But we were diligent. During the height of the storm, after about 6 inches had already fallen, we spent 3 hours walking around our 20 acre property, shaking the snow off all the trees that we could budge. Our  dogwoods and newly planted birches and willows were bent to the ground, but after we unburdened them of their load, they popped right back up.

Morning Coffee with Mayzie

Despite losing power for 8 hours, the snow was quite beautiful. Even as it fell, the temperatures were above freezing, so it was melting and falling at the same time.


Sublimation “The process of changing from a solid to a gas without passing through an intermediate liquid phase”. Quite eerie, and appropriate for the Halloween weekend, the melting snow creates a fog over the pastures.

Crop Circles in the Snow

Even with 8 inches of snow on the ground, the mowing tracks are still visible.

Serving Breakfast

Yea! Hay!

Frosted Flakes for Breakfast

I layed out flakes of hay on top of the snow since there wasn’t any grass visible. The llamas were quite non-plussed when they stepped out into the snow, but soon spyed the hay and so starts a new day.

Frost on Leaves

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In retrospect, my defensive position during the biggest earthquake in east coast history, 5.8 on the Richter Scale, was not well executed. First of all, what the heck is an earthquake? I’ve never felt one before. I was sitting at my desk when the house shook violently and I heard a boom. My first reaction was that something had exploded, but the house continued to move. After several seconds, it became apparent that we were having an earthquake. Our farm is situated only about 60 miles from the epicenter of the quake in Mineral, VA, and this earthquake was felt as far north as New York City and as far south as South Carolina, so it really shook the house good and lasted for a full minute before the last rumblings faded away entirely.

I jumped up and went into the kitchen. I had left the kitchen door to the backyard open as it was a perfectly beautiful afternoon. Elder Dog, Bonny, was freaked out and heading for the door. My first impulse was to protect her, so I grabbed her and lay down on top of her. As the seconds ticked by and the house continued to shake, I started to consider my situation. Where we were huddled was right beneath the wine cabinet, a five foot high cupboard filled with bottles of wine and hanging racks of glassware. Definitely not a good place to be if things started jumping off the shelves.

But by that time, the worst of the shaking had subsided, though it seemed like an interminable time that the house continued to rumble. We held our positions. I could hear Younger Dog, Mayzie, barking out in the backyard.

I got up to assess the damage. Thankfully nothing of any consequence was damaged. The big boom that I thought was an explosion turned out to be our antique oak wall phone that had tumbled to the floor. I had a shelf full of hand carved African animals that all fell to the floor. A couple lost their heads, but can be repaired. All the pictures were askew, but none had taken a kamikaze dive.

My husband battled the traffic home from DC and as a victory celebration; he stopped by the store and picked up a pint of oysters for oyster shooters, 2 pounds of spiced, steamed shrimp, and as an extra special treat, 2 large clusters of snowcrab legs. While at the liquor store buying Vodka for the oyster shooters, he picked up a bottle of the daily special, a cinnamon Liqueur called “After Shock”.

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I have no scientific proof to back this up, but recent developments lead me to believe it is true. I recently reported that my two dogs got skunked in the middle of the night. Not realizing that my younger dog, Mayzie, had been sprayed, I put her in the house while I drove 30 miles, roundtrip, to the store to get the ingredients for the deskunking recipe. (Recipe below) My older dog, Bonny, stayed outside on the deck. When I returned an hour later, the house reeked of skunk. We opened all the doors, turned on fans, sprayed deodorizer throughout the house, and within a short while the upstairs was clear. Mayzie never had access to the downstairs, but three days later the lower level still smells like skunk and we can’t get rid of it. So there you have it. My conclusion is that stink molecules are heavier than air molecules.

On a positive note, the recipe works. It’s practically miraculous. Granted it did take just about all night long to bathe the dogs, but they do not smell at all. I took Mayzie to the groomer the following morning to be detangled, and she was astonished that I had done such a good job of removing the skunk. Apparently, the sooner you get it off, the better your success rate. My recommendation, if you have a dog, and there is even the remotest possibility that he might encounter a skunk, go ahead and get the ingredients and have them on hand. I have. I don’t ever again want to drive 15 miles down dark, twisty, mountain roads at 3:00 in the morning to get to the store.

Deskunk recipe

This recipe is available online. Apparently it is attributable to chemist, Paul Krebaum, of Molex Inc. in Lisle, Illinois. The recipe was published in the August 1995 issue of Popluar Science.

1 qt 3% hydrogen peroxide
¼ cup baking soda
1 tsp dishwashing soap

Sponge over the dog, lather in well, let sit for 10 minutes. Rinse well and repeat until the smell is gone. I did it 3 times.

Be careful not to get it in the dogs eyes. To protect the eyes, apply ophthalmic ointment. I used “GenTeal lubricant eye ointment” which was available at the grocery store.

Put cotton balls in the ears.

Wear rubber gloves.

I tripled the recipe and had enough to do two 50 pound Bearded Collies, three times each.

Use soon after mixing as the solution will degrade quickly. Also check the expiration date on your peroxide, as it weakens over time.

I read that your pet’s fur could lighten, but I had no problem with either dog.

NEVER, ever store the mixed solution. The pressure will build up and the container could burst. This could cause serious injury.

May you never have to use this.

Ingredients and supplies to deskunk your pet

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