the sheltiechick blog

Payton is six!

Hard to believe it has been six years since my little guy was born.
I love my Payton so much. We have had six years of struggles and I anticipate those struggles will probably continue – at some point, maybe he will become an easy dog to own; maybe he will become a dreamily simple agility dog; but more than likely, he will challenge me every step of the way. If difficult dogs make great dog trainers, he will transform me into a master.
As my journey with Auggie was summed up by the Garth Brooks song “The Dance,” my life with Payton can be described with “The River.”
Each day a constant battle just to stay between the shores.
None of it matters, because I the beauty is that we get to sail our vessel together.

Blue cupcakes for my big boy. The frosting came with these fish sprinkles, so why not? I went ahead and put them on.
The cupcake papers are that same sheep design that is hidden on the plate.

Here are three dogs who are very aware there are cupcakes sitting up there on the railing.

Rizzo wearing a hat… yep. That’s a good thing.

A verrrry good thing.

KK has this down now. He knows cake is coming and he’s totally on board.

Okay, so, back to the birthday boy. Happy birthday my big man. Time for your cake.

Do you think he was anticipating this release to his cupcake at all?

Aaaaand he tried to eat the whole thing in one bite.

Licking crumbs and icing and fish sprinkles.

You should try to find someone in your life who looks at you like Kaner is looking at his cupcake.

Kane had a bit more sense to chew his cupcake rather than inhale it whole but it was still intense for a minute there.

Yeah I eated it.

Rizzo has no idea what’s happening but he wants to eat his hat thing on his head and also the other dogs seem happy so okay.

Waiting for cupcake… waaaaaaiting for cupcake.

Eating cupcakes is easier to figure out than hunting Easter Eggs.

Happy birthday my awesome little P. I love you very, very much.

Easter 2017

Real talk guys – I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do an Easter egg hunt this year. Auggie was so boss at it, and I knew I would be remembering him the whole time.
But it was also Rizzo’s first Easter, and it didn’t seem fair not to let him play the game… so I sucked it up and got everything ready.

Waiting outside the gate while I hid eggs.

Inside the gate, and I’m armed with three baskets, one for each dog. Payton thinks he’s ready… pretty sure he remembers this game… here we go.

Yes. Yes this is the game.

Rizzo, meanwhile, is like “Wait what we do?”

Kane found one!
But has no clue what to do with it, so he runs off.

Rizzo also found one!

And picks it up…

And figures out how to open it!

Payton, meanwhile, is channeling Auggie for once in his life.

Bing bang boom findin’ all the eggs

Kane is basically just running around behind Payton trying to figure out what everybody is so excited about.



Kane is staring really hard at this one, realizing there’s got to be something… SOMETHING… involving these things… but what?!
I felt bad for him so I opened it for him to get the cookie, and put it in his basket.

Payton rockin’ it.

Rizzo, meanwhile, is also pretty good at this…

…but he also would like to carry around and chomp on the empty eggs once he has the cookie out. Noooo no no, let’s not do that.

And Payton likes to lie down while he opens his egg and enjoy his treat. It’s a good thing the other two are kinda slow or he would miss out on a bunch of eggs.

Kane can’t figure out how to open them. He just keeps pushing the egg around with his nose until I come over and open it for him.

Rizzo doesn’t have that problem.

I PUTS IN MOUTH? But he never got this one open either.

Egg hunt done! Payton is the clear winner, but Rizzo did an amazing job for his very first time playing the game! Kane got several in his basket, but not enough for them to peek out the top. Maybe next year kiddo.

Each dog also got special Easter baskets with a bag of treats AND some bunny ears.
Two dogs think this is funny and one does not.

But first, lemme take a selfie

Payton has taken way better selfies than this before. I guess he just wasn’t feeling it that day.

Big smile from Rizzo!

And Kaner who is doing a shoulder stall also, winning the selfie game for the day.

Shed Hunting

A few years ago, I found out what shed hunting was. I found the idea fascinating, so I leashed Payton up with his harness and we went prowling out and about in the woods. Our timing was probably off, though, and we found nothing.
Last year, I remembered this, so leashed him up and away we went again. But again, we found nothing – and probably, again, had some bad timing.
This year, I remembered a bit earlier, and off we went!

Six miles of trekking around in the deep woods later, we still had nothing. I came home and researched and wondered if I was too late, but heard of a lot of people saying deer were still holding where they were.

Well, circumstances happened and we weren’t able to get out again for several weeks.
But then.

WE FOUND ONE! Our very first shed. I searched the surrounding area methodically but was unable to locate the partner. It’s not very big, but it’s still a shed!

Life then got back in the way, and by the time we headed out again, green grass had sprung up several inches across the woods. There might still be sheds out there, but we’ve missed our opportunity again for the year.

Next year – better planning? More sheds?
In the meantime, we have a lot of fun hiking and spending time together, just the two of us, sheds or no sheds.

Family Photo – Rizzo at 30 Weeks

Just a quick family photo to track how the baby is growing…

Weirdos Sleep Funny

My dogs are weird.

First of all, you have this puppy with a bedtime.
One night he actually stayed up past his bedtime and it was pretty earth shattering.

Like he was tired but also he wanted to play maybe?

“I know I should go to sleep and I kinda want to but also I want some belly rubs.”

Happy little guy up past his bedtime!

And then sometimes this happens…

For some reason Rizzo is totally cool with Kane sitting on his head.

Also, there’s this.

Like I feel like this is how drunk people sleep when they’re afraid they might vomit.

This may have been past his bedtime and it was just too bright in the living room so he needed to bury his head under a pillow…

Or maybe just curl up on top of the arm entirely…

Yeah, that’s obviously what the arms of sofas was intended for.

Also sometimes he does this thing where I’m working and he rolls over and rests his head against my shoulder. Possibly because he loves his mommy.

I love him too so I guess it works.

February Snow

Snow! The most significant snow event this winter. Actual snow instead of ice. WOW.

Kaner likes it.

Payton appreciates it when you throw snowballs at him and he gets snow all over his face (no, really.)

Also I know you really just came here to see a cute puppy with snow on his face, so here you go.

Kaner on his tippy board like “Look I’m at the bottom, gimme cookie!”

Family Photos – Rizzo at 21 Weeks

More time to play outside! Today I wanted to get a family photo like we did with Auggie and little Kane, so I let everybody run around and get their crazies out first.

Aaaaand more ganging up on Kaner.

Pretty Payton!

Rizzo sitting on the steps… kinda. Sorta. Like somebody I used to know, Happy.

Family… photo. Ha!

There we go, that’s better!

Looking like real, actual dogs who know how to sit and stay…

Happy baby Rizzo!

Winter Romp in Coats

Another light dusting of snow, but this time it brought bitter cold with it. It is January, after all. Poor naked Rizzo needed a winter coat, so my sister came to the rescue again with some cheap coats she found at Target.

Kaner got a nice black Hurtta on clearance for Christmas.

Perfect for running and playing in!

Payton joins in the game – frequently the game is Brown Dogs Chase The Tiny Black Dog.

P has his beautiful blue Hurtta I found at TJMaxx a couple years back. I like it so much I ordered Kane’s online. It’s a shame they don’t make this style anymore.

More brown dogs chasing the little black one.

Rizzo’s coat doesn’t quite fit and it’s not nearly as warm as the Hurtta, but for a growing puppy, it works totally fine!

Pretty Payton.

Rizzo studying his point of attack…

And little Kaner.

Rizzo beating up poor little Kaner, haha!

More chasing and proinking through the snow!

And more ganging up on Kaner. At least Payton and Rizzo are bonding.

December Playtime and December Naps

Christmas is over and the snow has all melted. I still have a few days of Christmas vacation left, so we enjoyed our time together while I developed a new addiction to Supernatural.

Kane found a nice stick, as usual.

And proceeded to run around with it as his prize.

Rizzo thought he might check out the dog walk and I quickly was like NOOOOOPE TOO LITTLE.

So he just ran around being cute instead.

Kaner being really fluffy and a little handsome.

Where did all this fluff suddenly come from?!

Cute Rizzo butt, checkin’ out the agility field.


Also lots of running with Kaner.

CSN Chicago replayed the World Series game 7, which I definitely watched again feeling much less calm this time, and included some Rizzo-watching-Rizzo action.

There was also some quality napping going on.

Rizzo curls up so cute and tiny!

And Kane… well.

On to a new year.

Happy Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 2016

If it seems like time has just flown by since Rizzo joined the family, it’s because it has. Just one week later and it’s already Christmas!

Big P sits in front of the tree for annual Christmas photos first.

Also he wants a cookie so he tries offering a head-down, as usual.

KK next!

He does a down, not because he’s offering it, but because I asked and he said okay. That’s cool too.

Next, something with the baby. Who doesn’t really know sit or down yet and has no idea about stay. Can you tell? Oh well…

A family shot! Rizzo lay down so I cued the others to down as well. Only one of them did what I asked this time before the baby stood back up…

And we got something that appears like a family photo in front of the tree! Hey, I’ll take it. That’s my family, guys.

This time I got all three down, except now Payton is definitely trying to offer head-down again. Oh Payton!

And then it is Christmas morning, and while the breakfast casserole is in the oven, we open stockings.

Payton first – without the enthusiastic cramming his head into the stocking.

THERE IS A SHEEP. Also a bag of cookies (Zukes Christmas Trees!)

Posing with his new sheep toy.

Kane is next and he looks like he has no idea what he’s supposed to do with that stocking.

Trying to tempt him by revealing cookies… Not pictured is his FLATTIE REINDEER from the stocking (although it appears in the background of other photos later.) He immediately grabbed the toy and ran off playing with it. Okay then…

Rizzo goes next!

Cookies! Yay!

Also this snow monster guy.

Now it is time for PRESENTS.

These are Payton’s presents. A nice blue gator, a brand new holee roller after we finally tore the old one to pieces, and a couple bags of cookies.

Kaner next! (With his flattie reindeer in the background.)

Kaner presents! Treats, a brand new baby rhino with a bottle inside, and a Blackhawks-colored version of his beloved donut toy.

Rizzo also gets presents and he’s really excited about that.

Another snow monster!!

Also, a platypus with egg babies and some cookies as well.

This is my baby dog and these are his Christmas presents.

And then there was much romping with new toys and nobody played with their own toys because everybody else had one that was way better.

Happy Christmas!

Rizzo Road Trip

December 17th dawned with a thin sheet of ice covering everything outside and a winter storm warning for the next day or so.

Sounds like a perfect day for a road trip.

My car is in need of some work to make it long haul road trip ready, and I haven’t been able to find a suitable replacement to buy yet… but no worries! My sister has a lovely new hybrid, and road trips sound like fun!

Driving south, at first we were playing a game of spotting the cars in the ditch. But then it started to clear up a tiny bit after we got about an hour south.

It was about 70 degrees and quite lovely by the time we rolled out of Kentucky.

I think we’re supposed to #MadeInTN here.

We’ve retrieved our item! It’s now dark and we stopped to eat some dinner before turning around and driving back.
Once in Kentucky the rain returned, and as we came further north, the winter weather started to make a return. Thankfully, having been raised in Illinois, we both were comfortable and confident in slowing down just a bit and taking it easy and returned home safe.

With our brand new puppy, who has no idea what he thinks of this white stuff.

Rizzo was born in Florida and after I put out the feelers to try and find another dog to bring our household back to three, his breeder and I connected. Turns out she owns Kaner’s sister! The sheltie world is a small one.
This little guy is fun and rambunctious and was shaping up to be a great little sport dog, so after considering flights, we decided instead of meet halfway and make the exchange.

Once we got home, he was nice and cranky, and wanted nothing to do with his new brothers. I tucked him safely into his puppy crate and we all went to sleep for a good night’s rest.

Happily, the following morning he was much happier and excited to meet his new family.

Our first new family photo!

Also, he sleeps like a dream. I don’t remember what it’s like to have a puppy who willingly takes naps outside of his crate without having to be super tired first…

Bonus: he is super cute.

We explored the new cold white world a little bit.

I think he likes me.
I think I like him too.

Visit with Santa 2016

It’s Santa time!

Surprise – Kane is really good with Santa! He wasn’t exactly sure what to make of him, but he wasn’t really scared either.

You guys have been good? Then maybe, just maybe, you can have a baby brother for Christmas.

A little bit of winter fun…

Not much snow to speak of, but we still got outside and played a bit in it!

A little family photo – no longer counting in weeks of course, but here we are!

Kaner, showing off his 2o2o he likes to work on.

A little snow-dusted Payton…

and a teensy bit of dust on Kaner, too.

Maybe later this year we’ll get some real snow!

Christmas Professional Photos 2016

It’s time again! Our annual professional Christmas photos. As usual, there’s quite a few. And continuing our new tradition, I got props for mine.

Festive headbands?! I think so.

Kandy Kaner thinks this is GREAT.

Payton doesn’t want you to know he also thinks it is great.

Yes. One of my best ideas yet.

Okay okay, let’s get real now. Just some handsome boy dogs.

This is a Payton who is super handsome and super good. Even if he is drooling because he smells girls.

And Kane… well, Kane is Kane and he wants everybody to know that.

My boys!

Oh look at how cute this Kaner is in a photo with me. What a good boy!

And this may or may not be a good representation of my entire relationship with Payton.

(I still love him lots though.)

Payton refuses to look at the camera now. Fine. Jerk.

Georgie next!

Like the beautiful little pro she is.

And then we brought out Stormie and… well.

But hey, we managed a good one anyway!

And then we put the baby in the sleigh because why wouldn’t you?!

Because it’s ADORABLE right?

Okay, so maybe I believe she is a tiny bit trouble.

My mom didn’t want a photo of her with the girls so I took one with the tiny baby Stormie!


Just kidding just kidding. We can reign this in.

And one with me and G.

Love my little girly!

And that’s the team for this year… or at least… for right now.

Happy 1st Birthday, Kane!

Well, he made it – Kane turned a full year old!
I decided to go ahead and enter an agility trial over his birthday. This would have also marked one year since Auggie was diagnosed with CHF (and I was told “maybe a year…”) so it was going to be a bit of a difficult day. I could have stayed home and cried and felt sorry for myself and missed my dog, OR I could go and do agility and make it a big Kaner party.
I chose the latter.

First, I found some great 1 year old party supplies at Party City (50% off!) so I bought those to decorate the crate.
Then, I ordered a cake, some cupcakes, and a Blackhawks hockey puck to put on top of the cake.

And we partied.

All the goodies!

Another shot of the decorations set up on the crate.

Yellow cupcakes with red frosting, and chocolate cupcakes with white frosting. Both got red and white sprinkles. I picked whipped topping instead of buttercream, because it’s ridiculously good.

Mmmmmmmm. Somebody brought some kind of fancy gourmet cupcakes to the trial, also, but mine were gone first. Because delicious.

The cake! They did an awesome job. I asked for red lettering and they did it with a black base to match the icing job on the cake and it really popped. Super super happy with it. It was a white cake with, again, whipped topping (because the dogs really care what their frosting tastes like.)

Baby dog!!

Looking super cute with his birthday hat on. He got a SPECIAL “Look Who’s 1” birthday hat.

Posing with his cake… trying to figure out how he could just eat the whole thing.

Mmmm slice of cake.

He’s a pretty good cake-eater.

Payton next! Even though Payton was being horrible at the trial, he still was allowed to eat cake. Notice how his hat is not the special hat; these are the regular hats for the non-birthday boy.


Yes cake.

Georgie has no time for your shenanigans, make with the cake immediately.

Yep that’s what I wanted.

Georgie got red icing all over her muzzle. I have no possible idea how.

Happy birthday my baby boy. I’m so glad you’re here with us.


Fall Leaves 2016

So many leaves.
So much time raking and mowing and mulching and bagging.
So much time dragging lawn bags to the curb for the city to pick up on yard cleanup days.
So much time wondering if that’s poop or a leaf…

But both of the boys really, really love fall, so I guess it’s okay.

Fast shutter finger got this one just in time before he moved and the leaf fell.

The happiest Payton to ever Payton.

Seriously like I cannot with how happy he is to play in the leaves. At five years old.


I tried to get these cute photos of KK holding a leaf and it didn’t work because he just wants to eat them.

Surprise: the tiny black dog looks really nice in fall leaves too.

I eat dis.

Meanwhile MORE HAPPY PAYTON who looks like he could just stay in the leaf pile forever.


The amount of leaves in my dog’s coat right now.

But stiiiill happy.

Stop Kaner stop TOO CUTE


“I know you like this trick, especially in the leaves, because I’m super cute.”

How about… a double head-down?

*high pitched screaming*


My boys.

Pumpkins and Halloween Costumes

Halloween was a bit tricky this year. For so long I had planned costumes with Auggie involved. Even though I knew there was a possibility Auggie wouldn’t be with us at Halloween, I was still sort of thinking about a group costume with Auggie. When it arrived, I just didn’t feel like really planning anything.
Thankfully, PetSmart came to the rescue…

But first! Hay bales and pumpkins!

Two bros on hay bales.

Payton, somehow covered in all kinds of stuff.

I mean he’s still cute though.

And this cute Kaner!

Georgie came over to play along too. Stormie also, but Stormie wouldn’t sit and take any cute photos…

If you’re wondering why Georgie looks so annoyed, it’s probably because, like baby brothers, baby sisters ruin everything.

Now costume time!

These went mega clearance before Halloween. Like $3. And they are stupid cute for as simple as they are.

They do need some slight modification though – they don’t really stay on well, which meant a lot of running around every twenty seconds adjusting costumes. And Payton being told “don’t move” once his was on and then he refused to actually get on the hay bale, because I said “don’t move.”

Kane had to sit on the hay bale first, get dressed, and then stay.

But, I mean. He’s already a monster anyway, even without the costume.

Boys in a Washtub

So I bought this really nice metal washtub because I wanted to use it for a Pinterest garden project.

But first I had to put my dogs in it.

Beat that, Pinterest. Way cuter than drilling a hole in the bottom and filling it with flowers.

Georgie Turns FIVE

Our little miss Georgie turned FIVE this year! At last minute, my mom and I went to Party City to pick out some party goods for her. I located the sparkley tiny cowboy hats… for 99 cents… and couldn’t really pass that up.
Also this awesome sequined bow.

Yes. Yes this is good.

Although I’m not positive Georgie agrees.

Payton got a lovely black sparkley cowboy hat (because they were out of the blue.)

And Kane got a silver one to set off his Tiny Black Dog-ness.


Also, this happened… yep. Payton knows some kind of secret.

This is the face of a dog who is ready for her birthday cupcakes.

Ohhhhh yaaaaaas.

A very good wait, even on her birthday.

The carnage happened after this. The photos are all blurry and there are cake crumbs everywhere. It’s terrible.

Then Payton got his cuppycake.

He is really rather good at the cake eating.

…sort of.

This one is still learning about cake. We gave him his on a plate because we weren’t positive he was going to know what to do, exactly. (He’s only done the birthday thing once so far!)

A good wait for a little baby dog! (Also, behold the adorable monkey plates.)

Aaaaaand he knows how to eat cupcakes.

Happy birthday my little Georgie, my good girl!

32 Week Family Photo

32 week family photos! Two this time, neither of which is really worthy of going on anybody’s wall…

Auggie. Forever the best at photos.
Kane and Payton. Forever ruining everything.

Payton thinks he’s pretty bloody clever though.

31 Week Family Photo

Well, at 31 weeks, this is much more like a regular family photo, right? Nobody is smiling and nobody wants to get that close and Payton won’t even LOOK at Kaner today.

30 Week Family Photo

30 weeks! The best part is they all look like they like each other here. Sitting so nice and close and everybody smiling.
Not at all like real families, right?

Fetching Tags for Kane and Payton

Kaner is old enough to have his very own Fetching Tag now – and while I was at it, I grabbed a second one for Payton. Payton has rocked the Kid Flash for a long time, but just like the time came for Wally West to take up the mantle of The Flash, it was time for Kid Flash to stop being the sidekick.

Kaner first! I hope I’m not asking for trouble with that nickname of Hurrikane and all that…


Next up, Payton’s new tag, inspired by one of the great quotes by Walter Payton. It really fits with all the training struggles we’ve had, too.
It’s okay to lose, to die, but don’t die without trying – without giving it your best.