Abby Sunshine

Duck Toller

6-30-09 Dogs on a Bridge

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Abby Sunshine and her little sister Luna Larkspur crossed a bridge in Aberdeen, South Dakota on a cloudy day. Do you think these two minded the overcast sky? As long as Todd kept throwing those tennis balls, they seemed to be in good spirits!


You may notice that these two have already been running quite a lot- Abby’s tongue is hanging out long!! They have been swimming in the creek below. And what swimmers they are! Excellent. Not only do they fetch by land, they fetch by sea as well.


Here Abby takes a moment to allow me to capture this picturesque scene. The waters are very calm.


Luna also took a moment for me to snap away! Often, at a glance, people think these two little canines look like twins, similar mannerisms, coloring, etc. These pictures (above) show how they look different. Though they have the same mother, they are from different litters, with different fathers. Luna is a bit taller than Abby, having a lean build and also more white on her face and body. Although she is only 1, she seems to be a bit faster swimmer than Abby. Abby has a stockier build, slightly shorter than Luna, and on land she gets to the ball quicker.


6-29-09 Fetching Sisters

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers

It’s a beautiful day for a game of fetch. Nice grassy field, plenty of space. . .


Above, Luna brings back a ball, below, Abby Sunshine prepares for a toss. . .


Abby and Luna both dash toward the tosses, each after their own ball. . .


Look at them go! Look at them return! Fluffy tails guiding the way, each carrying their treasured little tennis ball in mouth. Notice Abby’s prance in the photo below. . .she is very excited. . .


You can imagine what is next in this sequence. . .


Again, again, again???!!!

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6-26-09 There’s no place like home

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers


Abby and Luna are enjoying the bright sunshine as they “graze” in a meadow filled with tall grass and wild flowers. They are very peaceful and calm.


You may notice this meadow isn’t so “wild” after all. . .it is our back yard! We let wildflowers grow. I think the daisies are lovely. I wonder if Luna feels the same way. She seems to be sitting right next to a lovely, little bunch of them. In fact, isn’t that the message in the Wizard of Oz? Dorothy learned she could find all she wanted at home, in her own back yard! There’s no place like home; there’s no place like home.

Of course, Luna is not at home, so what does that make her? Toto?


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6-24-09 Day 7, Sisters in Fetch

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Wow, time flies when your hanging with the dogs.


I can’t believe it’s already Day 7 at Camp Abby Sunshine! What an active week for the dogs. Isn’t there a saying about “partners in crime?” Inspired  by Abby and Luna, I am creating a new idiom, “sisters in fetch.” I think it will really catch on; what do you think?

What other idiom ideas do you have for these two sport dog sisters?

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6-20-09 Dogs and Vinegar?!

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers

Well, I’m not sure what dogs and vinegar have in common, but these dogs are in a parade at a Vinegar Festival in Roslyn, South Dakota. The uses for vinegar are far-reaching, so I’m sure there could be some connection. Abby Sunshine and Luna Larkspur have joined together to walk with Gretchen and me, promoting story time following the parade.


Yes, this is a pickle leading the parade. What did you expect?


I had to include the next parade photo, even though it has nothing to do with Abby Sunshine, but yes, this is my sister driving a green John Deere tractor in front of a very green building. Gotta love it.


Now as we approach the most heavily populated part of the whole parade, Abby Sunshine decides to devour a Tootsie Pop. Right there! Right in front of the crowd. I didn’t even see it happening, Gretchen quickly tried to pull the candy out of her mouth, but to no avail. There was only a stick. Notice Luna watching as Abby gets “caught in the act?”


At least we provided a chuckle or two. That naughty little dog. I guess we didn’t account for candy tempting the Duck Tollers.


Next stop, story time. . .


There were so many great kids that came to listen to A Day with Abby Sunshine in the gazebo.


They listened well- even though there was accordian music in the background. What a coincidence–Roslyn, South Dakota was the home town of a very famous accordian player, Myron Floren. I guess it should be no surprise that accordian music would be part of the festivities.


The biggest compliment was when one of the kids asked me if I had more books to read! They were a fun bunch and gave Abby Sunshine some excellent attention.

vinegar-day vinegar-day-21 vinegar-day-3

vinegar-day-4 vinegar-day-5


Another successful Vinegar Celebration. By the way, what are some personal vinegar stories that you have? How do you use vinegar?


6-18-09 Day 1 Camp Abby Sunshine

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers

Labrador Retrievers


“Camp Counselor Gus” warmly welcomed our returning camper, Luna Larkspur, to her annual summer camp. Luna is a spunky, young Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, ready for some fun in the dog yard. It’s great to have Gus here to be playful right away. I think Abby was thinking that Day 1 would be a time to lay down the rules for everyone.

camp-abby-sunshine-2 Little Luna fit in right away, playing with her elders.


Gus watched as Luna may have been noticing how refreshed Abby looked as she basked in her pool.


You probably guessed this was coming! I think they are off to a glorious time together, wouldn’t you say?

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6-17-09 Cousin Gus is Visiting

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers

Labrador Retrievers


Abby’s “cousin,” Gus has arrived for a visit. He is a playful Black Lab that is nearly the same age as Abby. This is a typical image of the dogs at play. Gus is trying to get a game started while Abby begs the human to engage her in something other than Gus.


Gus doesn’t hold a grudge. He just keeps trying. Look at his beautiful, shiny coat. Look at his long tongue hanging out! He’s ever optimistic and very good-natured.


Here they pose for one last shot together, both hoping for more excitement than a camera.

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6-14-09 Meet the Puppies!

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers

Who do you think was more excited to meet the little, Duck Toller Puppies?


Renae or Abby?


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6-12-09 Abby Signs Books

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers

Abby Sunshine is doing what it takes to sign her books. As you may know, we are offering 100 special books that are signed by Abby herself. We do “signing sessions” of five books at a time. This takes only a few minutes, but feels long enough for Abby! Though she may not be interested, she is a good sport and responds positively to such a dull task. She looks forward to the playful game of fetch after each signing session.


I begin by demonstrating a good technique for placing your foot in the ink. Notice Abby’s attentive look. She is clearly watching my display of knowledge.

Now let’s get a close-up of Abby’s impression:


Ah, yes, doesn’t Abby look impressed? Or is she rolling her eyes at me? I can’t tell. If only we could know her real opinion, though I’m not sure it is in full support of the autographs!


Above, Abby watches as I place the non-toxic, acid free, fade resistant, waterproof, non-smear, jet black Archival ink.


Now Abby knows it’s time to sign. We are getting ready to print!


Look at Abby sign that book. Way to go Abby! Look at her expression–is she into it or what?


Got it.


Good prints, Abby Sunshine.


6-11-09 Winding Down at the Party

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers


Where was Abby during all of this? Here she is, peering in through the back door window. She and her sister, Luna, hung out in the back yard during all this “human” interaction. They had occasional guests greet them and pet them, but the party life just wasn’t for the dogs today.


People made final decisions on how many books to buy, who they were buying for, and what to say in the autograph.


A few final smiles and brief conversations before the evening came to an end. . .

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