Abby Sunshine

Duck Toller

4-30-09 Book Just around the Corner!


A Day with Abby Sunshine is just about ready to be printed! The final proofs are coming out today. What is a proof? Well, my best description would be a “test” copy of the book. It won’t be an exact copy of the book, but it will have all of the words and pictures and the color should be very close to how it will look after being printed. Once we find this to be OK, it’s time to schedule the printing! The printing also involves putting the book together, pages, cover, everything! When it gets scheduled, we plan to put a countdown icon here on the dog blog and you can see exactly when it will be done!

P.S. Happy Birthday, Liz!! I must acknowledge the birthday of one of our top Abby Sunshine readers! Have a great day.

happy birthday fortune cookie

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4-28-09 Dog Wrangling


Visiting places with your dog requires a fair amount of dog handling. We know the rules of a library, right? It’s considered to be a quiet, focused environment where people are expected not to interrupt others. Abby Sunshine doesn’t know about these expectations. In fact, she is not even allowed in all libraries. Her idea of a good library experience might be bringing a ball to a student and have them throw it and a grand game of fetch could suddenly happen! Why not, the walkways between bookshelves are nice and wide???? How would you handle a dog in a place meant mostly for humans? 


Step one, make sure you are handling a dog who will listen to you. Notice Abby turned around and “smiled” for a picture. This is crucial to a good visit. Make sure your dog is obedient. Step two, make sure you give your animal some good quality time before and after your visit. Abby and I went for a nice walk and played a while before our visit, we took a short walk at a break in the middle of our visit, and we got more exercise after our visit. Doing this helps a dog get through the times that aren’t as dog friendly. She is content to sit and listen to the story and do a few tricks for the kids! Her needs are being met.

Wrangling isn’t just for ranch hands any more!


4-23-09 Stop to Smell the Roses


How often do you take a moment to actually stop and smell the roses? In this photo, perhaps it was a tulip, but nonethe less, we took that moment. Does Abby look like she is fully embracing this time? I don’t think so, I believe she is distracted. I guess she noticed something different than the flower, which is actually doing just what that saying means! Taking time to smell the roses is all about taking a breath and noticing what’s right there.

Sometimes we get very busy with our activities, running here and there, driving to classes, being dropped off and picked up from sports, practicing our instrument, doing homework and getting to bed on time. With all of these details swimming in our head, we sometimes look past special things that are right in front of us! One great place to take a breath is when we’re outside. Try this. Go for a walk with your family. Every couple of minutes, stop, look up, look down. See what you can see. Are there interesting clouds? Is there a tree that is shaped in a way you hadn’t noticed before? It’s amazing all of the discoveries we can make while taking a moment to observe. It’s fun and it feels good, too!

I’m not too concerned about Abby taking time to smell the flowers. She, being a dog, lives very much in the moment. (and literally likes to smell everything!!) I guess we can take another tip from a dog:  appreciate the moment.

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Book Reading

Title: Book Reading
Location: Roslyn, South Dakota
Link out: Click here
Description: Vinegar Days
Date: 2009-06-20

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Book Reading

Title: Book Reading
Location: Robbinsdale Spanish Immersion
Link out: Click here
Description: Read A Day with Abby Sunshine, Writer’s Workshop
Start Time: 09:00
Date: 2009-05-28
End Time: 11:00

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4-22-09 Park Spanish Immersion

abby-tiles1 Abby and I were guests at a Spanish Immersion School yesterday. While we walked down the halls to get to the library, we admired some beautiful tilework . These animal designs were particularly interesting to Abby Sunshine. Oh, I nearly forgot, she’s a dog, so I don’t actually  know what she was thinking, but I really liked them. 


We visited 4th grade English classes. The students had just been taking standardized tests, so a creative session with a dog seemed to be OK with them! We did writing and shared many clever ideas.


The students worked on two different writing exercises. One had the students thinking about an animal they knew; next they brainstormed five activities that their animal would do during a typical day. These story starters could be the start of some great books! They were full of ideas. 


The second sheet involved students coming up with new tricks to teach Abby. They could choose “fictional” or “non-fictional” ideas. These were really exciting to read! All sheets were rough draft/brainstorms. We wanted the creativity to flow, not to be concerned with perfection.


Cute dog!


Wouldn’t Abby love to be able to climb trees to chase those squirrels! And then learning to use an iPod! What could be better??


Ah, yes, to fly. Wouldn’t that be lovely. I love the action sketch.


Even a frog made the list of chosen animals to write about. . . There was pleasing variety in the writing.


Here we have some agility exercises for Abby to learn–and the beginnings of a story about an amazing rabbit!


I like how this student lined up the Abby Sunshine sticker with the image of Abby on the paper! It looks like modern art. He had a clever idea based on a trick that he has seen before- making Abby sit, leaving a treat on her nose, making her stay, then letting her eat it! Maybe we’ll try that one.


It was a great day!

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4-20-09 Rainy Days and Mondays


Abby is sitting just under cover from the rain, looking out into the yard. You can see that this rain is bringing the grass to life; it’s a little bit greener. What is Abby Sunshine thinking about? What’s on her mind?

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4-18-09 A Good Friend


This is Charlie. He is our neighbor across the street. He is 14 years old. What is that in dog years? I’ve heard different thoughts on that. Anyway, he’s led a long life. Golden Retrievers generally live to be about 12. What is Charlie’s secret to a long and healthful life? Is it nutrition? Is it exercise? Is it attitude? I wonder if it is lifestyle?? Charlie has led a very adventurous life. He has had escapades that sound like they are right out of a movie. He has so many funny stories, I hope his family writes a memoir.


I must admit, I wasn’t always as fond of Charlie as I am now. When we first moved into the neighborhood, we had a small baby and a spirited, young Golden Retriever came bounding into our yard. Being a protective mother, I immediately felt I had to guard my child. I thought, “what’s up with this dog?” During those first years when I was so busy guarding Renae from dogs, she was actually bonding with dogs, and she and Charlie became fast friends! I came to learn what a good friend he’s been to all of us through the years. He also warmly welcomed Abby into the neighborhood almost three years ago. That’s more impressive than how I greeted him. I guess that’s why dogs are considered such good friends- they don’t hold a grudge, don’t take things personally, and live in the moment!


What’s also cool about dogs is that they have friends of all ages without blinking an eye. Abby Sunshine has played with Charlie since she was a little tyke. She appears to show Charlie a bit more respect than some of her other friends. Charlie shows an added spring in his step when he comes to play with Abby. 

What can we learn from good dogs? How can we all be a little more like Charlie? He’s clearly one “top dog.”

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4-16-09 Open Wide, Say Ahhh


Look at that mug! Or is it a close-up of some chops? I don’t know, but I do see a long dog tongue hanging out, and I feel like I can hear panting.

Dog mouths are very interesting if you look at them closely. Do you notice in this shot, her teeth don’t show. Look at a dog while it pants, what do you see?


In this photo from the right, check out her gum line. Does this look like yours? I hope not! How is it different than a person’s gum? Here we see her lower fang tucked neatly under her tong. Note the whiskers on the upper and lower jaw. I don’t think about dog whiskers that much, but look at them. They are important, too.

Taking a close-up look at something gives new perspective. What can you look at that is very different when you look closely and focus on the details? 

Check out these close ups.

See full size image      

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4-15-09 Spring Playtime

Abby Sunshine’s favorite Grandma Dori is visiting this week. They have been having a lot of fun together with walks, treats, and such. Yesterday, as Grandma was out in the yard with Abby, she turned to find herself suddenly in a pack of dogs! Luckily it wasn’t a pack of wild dogs. It turned out to be Abby’s friends. They had come over to play!


As I hope we all do when entertaining company, the first thing is to greet the visitors. Perhaps sniff or lick them if you are a dog.


Allow me to introduce Pete. He is a Welsh Terrier, full of energy and runs fast like Abby!


This is Jack. He and Pete live next door. Jack is a beautiful mixed breed with a warm and calm disposition. While Abby and Pete are running like maniacs, Jack may sometimes stop to smell the roses.


You may recall meeting Bailey last winter at the ice rink. She is a Yellow Lab and another neighborhood friend. She looks so sweet and innocent, but she loves to tease Abby and knows just how to egg her on. 


What did I tell you? Look at her playful posture. She is trying to get a game going with Pete.


It doesn’t take long for the running to begin.


And they run, and they accelerate, and they make quick turns. . .


Now they are running in a straight line- headed for a particular destination.




Not bad. What do you do when you are entertaining guests?