Every summer for 23 years there has been a gathering of collie folks and puppies in Wayne, NJ at Sunnybank- the former home of Albert Payson Terhune, his wife and their collies. Terhune wrote many heartwarming collie books inspired by his own collies such as Lad, Bruce and Wolf. Terhune is responsible for people of all ages becoming fans of this great breed.
I’ve never been to the annual “Gathering at Sunnybank” but always wanted to go. Top collie breeders and collie fans come to view and participate in the event which supports the Collie Health Foundation. Sunday August, 18, 2019 started with the Virtues Match where a panel of three judges conferred to select their choices in various categories such as Best Movement, Best Front, Best Expression, etc. Then- an overall winner is selected. The judges for the Virtues Match were Ron Keller of Marnus Collies, Judy Pitt of Kitleigh Collies, & Trish Blakely of Larkspur Collies.
Lynn Butler selected Carly from the Poppy/ Tyler litter as her stud fee puppy, and took her back to live at Milas. I think Carly is a beauty, but then I liked the whole litter. Lynn and Lotta really like Carly. Lynn took Carly and a couple of their other puppies to the Sunnybank puppy match for fun and practice. Carly and Lynn’s other puppies are not at the greatest age for showing. They are 18 weeks old- which is past the adorable fluffy baby stage, and in a more leggy, in-between, often gawky stage. Honestly, most collie puppies look their worst at 4-5 months of age. It’s like various parts of their body and head grow on different weeks.
When Lynn told me she was taking Carly to Sunnybank she said Carly is beautiful but don’t get your hopes up. She is not at the best age for this. I was so curious to know how things went at the match, not dreaming Carly would do anything. Lynn didn’t have Lotta to help her since Lotta had gone to a regular dog show somewhere else. Fortunately, Jeann Moisman, from Argentina, was visiting at Milas and helped Lynn with the puppies. I hear that Jeann was the one that groomed Carly for the show.
I was at home doing normal stuff when I got the message from Lynn that Carly had won Best Expression, and was runner up in other categories. Best of all- Carly was selected by the judging panel as overall WINNER of the Virtues Match. I was blown away! I couldn’t believe that a pup born in my bedroom had gone to this prestigious puppy show and done so well. I started bawling. It was wonderful. Days like that can sustain you through a lot of challenging times.
After the Virtues match there was a junior showmanship match where young handlers are judged on how well they present their dogs. That was followed by the Lad Match. Carly won her class at the Lad Match, but she was over it by then. Lynn said it was hot, and Carly had clearly had enough for one day. Lynn said Carly had been a real trooper through the heat and loud PA system –unfazed for hours. But four month old pups have a limit, and Carly was ready to go home and nap. I didn’t hear who lasted to win the Lad Match- but God bless them. Carly did her thing, and I could not be more proud! Thanks to Lotta for training Carly. Thank you Lynn and Jeann for taking the pups to New Jersey, and getting them shown on a hot August day. Thank you to the judges for appreciating little Carly.
I’m waiting and hoping as the other puppies from Poppy/Tyler litter grow up. So many things can go “off ” on a show prospect puppy, but I hope that six of these babies will be nice enough to get their AKC championships eventually. I know we got beautiful faces for sure.