Who is in the photo at right?
Ah! A day in the park with my boys! This is Reilly (black head), Denny (red head) and myself Bree. Reilly is 4 years old, Denny is 7 months and me I am cough cough cough! Reilly and Denny are both AKC registered color headed white Shetland Sheepdogs or Shelties as we call them. Reilly is also a registered therapy dog and does agility. I hope to work with Denny so he will do the same as well.
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
Well actually I only drink tea – it’s an Aussie thing of which I am one even though I live in the USA now. It is kind of our daily ritual to go the park, sit by the lake, listen to the wind in the trees and the birds – the boys just enjoy a good sniffing session! It’s also a great place for some socialization – the boys get to meet lots of people and other doggies.
Hot tea – I like the real stuff! PJ TIPS – Special Blend that I get from England. It is strong tea (the kind a spoon can stand up by itself in!) and I have it with a little 2% milk – not creamer!
Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?
I always have little training treats in my pocket – even a walk in the park can be a good place to practice sit, wait, recall, heel and so on. There are also bottles of water in the car - waiting at the end of our walk too - Reilly always loves a big drink at the end of some exploring!
How were you and your dogs united?
I got both Reilly and Denny from registered breeders. Reilly is from Wisconsin (a cheesehead, as my husband calls him) and Denny is from Kentucky. I got both of them at 10 weeks of age although I visited them a couple of times before picking them up to make sure we were right for each other.
How did your dogs get their names? Any nicknames?
Shelties are originally from the Shetland Islands so I wanted good Scottish names for them and of course they had to end in ‘Y’. Every dog I have ever owned in my life has had a name ending in "Y". Reilly means outgoing which is what he is – he is very laid back and just takes everything in his stride. Denny means “red headed one” and he is the total opposite, full of nervous energy and scared of everything but will also take on anything too. Reilly’s nickname is ‘the big dog’ because he is over sized for a Sheltie and Denny’s is ‘the honey badger’ because at times he can be totally fearless even though scared of something.
Do your dogs have a favorite place to go for walk?
By far the parks and around the lake although they are quite partial to the pet store or more precisely the treats they get at the pet store. We also check out the neighborhood on a weekly basis too.
Squirrel, postman, cat...?
The dreaded ninja squirrels! Reilly doesn’t like them at all and has been known to pull me off my feet when he takes off after one of them.
What is each dog's best quality?
Reilly is just such an amazing dog, he’s the ‘perfect’ dog. He is calm but confident, is happy doing his own thing, a joy to walk and be with. He is also my therapy dog – he just has such a calming presence. He’s not a cuddly dog though, he loves having his ears and back scratched but that is about it. He's extremely intuitive and always picks up on how I am feeling. He does like to stay close to our feet though. Denny is still developing his personality; he is skittish but likes being close. He will sit in a chair with me but doesn’t like being held. He also hates ‘change’ and he gets most upset if we move something from it’s ‘usual’ place.
If your dogs could change one thing about you, what would it be?
Hmmm..... I think that I could take them to the park every single day. I have RA (rheumatoid arthritis) and some days I just can’t manage a long walk or even a short one.
What is each dog's proudest / most embarrassing moment?
For Reilly – it was learning over twenty sign language moves. He can do many of his tricks with just the movement of my hands. In total he knows over 100 different tricks and is still learning Most embarrassing – I can’t think of any - (he is the perfect dog, afterall).
Denny’s proudest was learning to use his interactive dog toy in less than 5 minutes. (It said on the box it takes me a couple of days to figure it out - yeah sure!). He had the slides open and had pulled out the pegs to reach the treats in the blink of an eye. His most embarrassing is barfing up his breakfast whenever he get nervous.
If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dogs could speak, who should do their voices?
For Reilly – it would have to be Sean Connery, that calming, mellow Scottish accent! For Denny – it would almost have to Steve Urkel!!! "Did I do that?" - is Denny's catch cry when you see something he has 'found' and took outside.
If your dogs could each answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?
Just a simple question, I think: “Are dogs ticklish - there has to be some reason for all that foot movement when you scratch their bellies!”
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