Abby Sunshine

Duck Toller

4-30-10 Book Recommendation

Nubs The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine & a Miracle

by Major Brian Dennis, Kirby Larson and Mary Nethery

This book got my attention right away. When I saw it, and got the gist of the story, I remembered that I had heard about Nubs on the news. How many books would be about a dog without ears, finding a friend in the military? I knew right away it was the same heart-warming story. I didn’t realize they were making a book about it, but what a good idea! In this case, I glanced at the pictures and knew the story would be great- especially when it is true. What a dog- what a friendship.



Nubs, an Iraqi dog of war, never had a home or a person of his own. He was the leader of a pack of wild dogs living off the land and barely surviving. But Nubs’ life changed when he met Marine Major Brian Dennis. The two formed a fast friendship, made stronger by Dennis’ willingness to share his meals, offer a warm place to sleep, and give Nubs the kind of care and attention he had never received before. Nubs became part of Dennis’ human “pack” until duty required the Marines to relocate a full 70 miles away–without him. Nubs had no way of knowing that Marines were not allowed to have pets.

So began an incredible journey that would take Nubs through a freezing desert, filled with danger to find his friend and would lead Dennis on a mission that would touch the hearts of people all over the world.

Nubs and Dennis will remind readers that friendship has the power to cross deserts, continents, and even species.


4-28-10 Dori and Sport

Meet Dori and Sport. They are Abby’s relatives, well, through her human family. You’ve met Dori before (Abby’s grandma), but Sport is someone that neither Abby nor I ever got to meet. Sport was one of Dori’s childhood dogs. Sport was around during the 30s and 40s. (1930s and 1940s)

Doris and Sport From what I’ve heard about Sport, he was a good dog. Just look at him!

What makes a good dog?

1. Sport was loyal. From what I’ve heard from Sport’s human family, you could always count on Sport. Sport was playful, energetic and generally good-natured.

2. Sport was obedient. There was a threshold at Sport’s human house. Sport was not to cross that line. He was a farm dog. Sport was coaxed; Sport was tempted, but he would not cross that line. He knew the rule and he followed it.

3. Sport was fun. One day, Sport was passing gas- probably in that porch, because as the story was told, it was in the house. Anyway, shortly thereafter, he was let outside. Little to Grandma’s dismay, a visitor came to the door- someone who did not see that Sport had just been there. Grandma was left with the smell and nobody to blame it on! What did the person think? Apparently, Grandma was not pleased with Sport that day!

Who is a dog that you’ve been told about from days gone by?

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4-24-10 Abby and her buddy

Nova Scotia Duck Toling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - With Renae - 4-22-10

Abby sits stoically by her buddy. After enduring some days of minimal exercise, Abby’s paw is healing well. Luckily it was a minor injury. Those can heal pretty fast.

What’s in store for this beautiful, sunny day? What would you do with a dog on a bright, sunshiny day?

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4-23-10 An Ode to an Uncle

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal,

Love leaves a memory no one can steal.

John and Kenny

This has always been a favorite photo of mine.

My uncle John, above left, passed away this week. It was sudden and sad news for those of us who knew John. One of the memories that came to mind when thinking about John (when someone has gone, you often begin to remember things– pleasant memories seem to jump out). Anyway, when Abby Sunshine was just a young pup, we stopped by John’s home, and before being formally invited in, Abby just dashed right in! I remembered how warmly John greeted her and allowed her to visit, petting her and talking with her (in Norwegian). He was a dog lover, obviously. I’m not sure how positively I would greet a dog that dashed into my house. . .

Thinking of you today, Uncle John. Thanks for the memories.

When can you remember a time that someone treated you with kindness, even when they didn’t have to?

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4-22-10 Boy of Hallett Family with Dog

While perusing fine art, and looking for art with dogs, I found this image in the art collection of The Art Institute of Chicago. Take a look. . . What do you see?

Boy of Hallett Family with Dog,

Boy of Hallett Family with Dog

Unknown Artist

American, 1766/1776

Where shall we begin? Well, what do you see that would suggest this painting was done in the past? What makes you think it is in the 1700s rather than 2010?

I would definitely go with the clothing. I’m imagining the boy to be around the age of my 3rd graders, and I’d be very surprised to see them dressed like this.  For one thing, the collar looks very different than we see now. It looks like lace going around the neckline, being tied in a bow in back. Also the satin vest with buttons underneath a maroon jacket looks different than what I see now. It seems more formal to me, like how I’d imagine things to be back in the 1700s, or at least how they might dress to pose for a painting. Also, the boy is not smiling, or at least not much. I feel like now if I took a photograph, or had a photograph painted, there would be a much broader smile, one that looks like it is fun to be with a dog! I don’t know- what do you think??

OK, moving onto the dog. Tell me about this boy and dog. What is their story? What kind of a dog is it? How old is it? What would Abby Sunshine think of this boy and dog? How is Abby Sunshine like this little dog?

I answered the other question first, now it’s your turn. You tell me!

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4-21-10 The Cone

Did you pay attention to the last section of the blog from yesterday? Well, perhaps this picture will bring you a little closer to it. . .

Nova Scotia Duck Toling Retriever - Abby Sunshine -The Cone2 - 4-18-10

“For pets who chew and pick at the bandage, an Elizabethan collar, also known as an “e-collar” or “lampshade” can be purchased from pet supply stores or from a vet’s office. New inflatable e-collars (they look like a human neck pillow) are another great option to prevent the dog from licking the injured paw.”

Yes, Abby Sunshine immediately removed her delicately wrapped bandage, so we had to find “THE CONE,” much to Abby’s dismay. She is quite humorous in her misery. She doesn’t know what to do while wearing it. Here she has backed herself into a corner, looking almost straight up. Otherwise, she has been seen looking straight down, so the cone is flush with the floor! When I entered this room, I didn’t realize she was in it. I heard a thumping on the wall, but didn’t see her at first. The sound I heard was Abby’s tail hitting the wall. She was wagging her tail to greet me, yet she was motionless because this contraption was on her collar! Normally, she wags her tail and comes over to greet me, but here she was like a little statue.

Eventually she warms up to it – it’s just awkward at first.

The side view:

Nova Scotia Duck Toling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - The Cone - 4-18-10

Her wound is healing quickly. I don’t think this will take very long.

Be patient, Abby Sunshine. It will soon be OK!

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4-20-10 Abby’s got a bum wheel

Little Pupper Wupper was walking along, and surprisingly, we noticed that she was limping. Picture this, Abby is bringing the ball, wanting a game of fetch, but as she walks, with tail wagging and a perky look in her eye, she is favoring her left front leg and protecting her right leg. Of course, we had to get a better look and we found that on the pad of her foot, there was an abrasion. Poor little dog. She must have stepped on something that cut her foot. Luckily it didn’t look bad, but it did look like something we must care for properly to avoid damage. She uses those paws a lot.

I found this information about taking care of a dog’s paw pad.

Treating a Paw Pad Injury at Home – Cleaning the Dog’s Wound

One of the first steps in treating a cut on a dog’s paw is cleaning and removing debris from the wound. First, if the dog has a nail injury, this should be dealt with before proceeding. If necessary, trim back the broken nail to help prevent additional pain and irritation. If a dog’s nail is broken at the very base, this will require veterinary attention.

The next step for handling an injured paw involves cleaning the wound and removing debris from the pad, as it’s not uncommon for debris to become embedded inside a cut or other similar injury. Soaking the foot in a bath of warm water with Epsom salts for a period of ten to fifteen minutes can serve to soften the skin and flush away debris.

Nova Scotia Duck Toling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Soaking in Epsom Salts - 4-18-10

Swishing the dog’s injured foot back and forth through the water can help to dislodge debris painlessly.

Following the foot bath, paper towels can be used to pat the foot dry.

Nova Scotia Duck Toling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - The Owie - 4-18-10

Owners should then examine the paw pad injury for remaining debris, which can be removed from the injury site using tweezers.

Disinfecting the wound site using Betadine (or Providone Iodine) will kill bacteria is cleared away, lessening the chance for a potentially painful infection in the dog’s paw. The Betadine should be poured over the wound or dabbed onto the injury using a sterile gauze pad.

Nova Scotia Duck Toling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Applying the Iodine - 4-18-10

Allow the Betadine to air-dry while the foot is held off the ground. It’s best to avoid hydrogen peroxide, as this damages the tissue, resulting in slowed healing, and other antiseptics, like alcohol, sting and dry out the wound site.

During the first couple days post-foot injury, antibiotic ointment (we used Bacitracin) can be dabbed onto the paw wound to help prevent infection.

Bandaging a Paw Pad Injury on a Dog

The dog’s feet are one of the few areas that are routinely bandaged following an injury.

Nova Scotia Duck Toling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Putting on the Gauze Bandage - 4-18-10

Veterinarians usually prefer to leave wounds uncovered, as bandaging decreases the airflow to the wound site, resulting in ideal conditions for the growth of anaerobic bacteria. But bandaging a wounded paw pad will allow for less irritation and the maintenance of a debris-free cut.

Rolled gauze is ideal for bandaging a paw pad injury. Two or three layers of rolled gauze can be wrapped in a figure eight pattern around the paw and ankle.

Nova Scotia Duck Toling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Gently Wrapping the Gauze - 4-18-10

The bandage should be applied in a manner that’s taught but not tight, as an overly tight bandage will decrease circulation and inhibit healing.

A few layers of self-adhering bandage applied over the gauze will provide a more durable covering that’s suitable for walking. Self-adhering bandages are available in the first aid section of the drug store alongside Ace bandages and joint braces.

Nova Scotia Duck Toling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Putting on the Sock - 4-18-10

It’s important to avoid a large bulky bandage, as dogs are more apt to bite and chew at a bulky bandage. No more than 2-3 layers of gauze and 2-3 layers of self-adhering bandage are required; this will be sufficient to keep debris and bacteria off the dog’s injured paw.

Nova Scotia Duck Toling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - All Wrapped up, let the healing begin - 4-18-10 All done!

Caring for a Wounded Paw

For visits outdoors, plastic wrap or a sandwich bag can be placed over the dog’s, and secured with a piece of tape around the ankle. This will prevent bandage soiling. In addition, walks should be limited to bathroom trips only for at least one week; this will allow the paw pad injury to heal.

The wound should be washed using antibacterial soap, like Dial, twice daily. After each washing, the paw cut or wound should be disinfected using betadine and wrapped as mentioned above.

For pets who chew and pick at the bandage, an Elizabethan collar, also known as an “e-collar” or “lampshade” can be purchased from pet supply stores or from a vet’s office. New inflatable e-collars (they look like a human neck pillow) are another great option to prevent the dog from licking the injured paw.

In the days following a paw pad injury, it’s important to monitor the wound for signs of infection, continued limping and non-weight bearing, which warrant a visit to the vet for an exam.


4-19-10 Book Recommendation

Once I Ate a Pie

by Patricia MacLachlan and Emily MacLachlan Charest

illustrated by Katy Schneider

Just yesterday I came across this book. When I first saw the cover, I immediately fell in love with the beautiful illustration! That little pug is adorable and the style of painting is warm and attractive. Next I did a quick flip through the pages and before reading anything, I knew I wanted it- simply for the pictures! Of course, my next objective was to actually read it and I really enjoyed the poems. The book captures small moments in the life of a variety of dogs. They are entertaining and tug at the heartstrings.

Once I Ate a Pie


Every dog has a tail to wag. . .and a tale to tell. The authors asked a collection of canines to speak up — and so they do, in words, barks, and yips. Captured here are accounts of happy days filled with squeaky toys, good smells, plenty of naps and the very important jobs they do for the people they love to love.

The following is a page spread from the book:

Page from Once I Ate a Pie

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4-18-10 The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Bird

What has Abby Sunshine found today?

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - In the wood pile - 4-17-10

She has perched herself atop a pile of sticks and looks like a little bird on her nest.

If Abby were a bird, what kind would she be?

Cardinal A cardinal? People refer to them as red birds, like Abby is a little red duck toller.

Chickadee A Chickadee? This bird is sure a cutie, kind of like Abby.

Robin A Robin? The early bird catches the worm like Abby catches the tennis ball.

Wren A Wren? These birds have a beautiful song- well, Abby can bark in a very high pitch at times!

Big Bird A Big Bird? This bird likes teaching kids and so does Abby- she’s been to lots of classrooms!

Tell us your thoughts! Maybe you have another bird in mind. What kind is it?

What kind of bird would YOU be?

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Abby on a spring day

Spring is here . . . yes, spring has sprung!

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Wind in her hair - 4-16-10

Flowers are a sure sign of spring. The beautiful bulbs come to life, bushes burst with color.Now where will Abby decide to take her mid-morning nap?

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Gazing at the daffodils - 4-16-10

Should it be near the daffodils? They are a lovely choice. They are attractive, yellow and poems have been written about them. . .

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Turning away from daffodils - 4-16-10

No sirree. Abby just turns her head away.

How about the rhododendrons?

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Gazing at the rhododendrons - 4-16-10

Come on, Abby. These are a stunning shade of lavender. The bushes burst only a short while during these early spring weeks. What do you say? Will these be grand enough for you?

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Turning away from rhododendrons - 4-16-10

And again, the canine turns her head. What does she want? Why don’t these flowers do the trick?

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Sniffing the dandelion - 4-16-10

Say, what’s this? Abby has found a keen interest in this little yellow gem. Wow- right in the middle of the grass! Hmmm. . . comfortable and a great location. . .and they are very pretty.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Gazing at the dandelions - 4-16-10

Yes, a dandelion. That’s just right. A weed? What? This thing is beautiful! How can you call it names?

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Napping by the dandelions - 4-16-10

May you find a place just right and enjoy your day!