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The Sunnybank Collies

Lad, Bruce, Wolf, Bobby, and Gray Dawn | Treve, Sandy, Thane, and Jock | Sigurdson, Explorer, Chaeroplane and, King Coal
Fair Ellen
| Jean | Lady | Bunty | Beth | Andeen


Sunnybank
Fair Ellen

Daughter of CH Sunnybank Sigurd and Sunnybank Alton Andeen, sister of Sigurdson and Explorer

(February 25, 1922 - July 1, 1933)

 

 

"She was the downiest and goldenest and prettiest and strongest of all that baby collie family; the greatest litter of pups, taken by and large, we have been able, thus far, to raise at Sunnybank."

 

 

 

"I make no apology for letting Fair Ellen live. The less so, because she has led a gorgeously happy little life."

 

 


Fair Ellen

 

 

"There are dogsa few of themthat need to be told a thing only once, in order to remember it forever. Such a dog was our great old Sunnybank Lad. Such a dog was his dashing gold-red son, Wolf. Such a dog was my big auburn chum, Bobby. Such a dog, from another angle, is Sunnybank Fair Ellen. But it was experience, and not mere human precepts, which taught Ellen."

 

 

 

". . . she obeys by instinct, uninforced by human scoldings or punishment or insistence. These penalties she has not known and never shall know."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Fair Ellen outlived either of her brothers (Sigurdson and Explorer)she who had almost been put down as a puppy. But soon even she was gone. On July 1, 1933, she died in her sleep while napping in the shade of her yard after a romp with her Master."

 

Fair Ellen
Daughter of CH Sunnybank Sigurd and Sunnybank Alton Andeen, mother of Bunty (II)
(February 25, 1922 - July 1, 1933)

From The Way of a Dog, Chapter 15: "Fair Ellen; Sightless—and Happy":

She was the downiest and goldenest and prettiest and strongest of all that baby collie family; the greatest litter of pups, taken by and large, we have been able, thus far, to raise at Sunnybank. There were five of them. She was the only female in the lot. I named her "Sunnybank Fair Ellen" and I dreamed of a great future for her in the show-ring.

She was born February 25, 1922. Her sire was my flawless Champion Sunnybank Sigurdthe Treve of my book of that name. Her dam was my Sunnybank Alton Andeen, a Canadian collie of rare beauty and wealth of show points. Behind the golden baby glittered a long double line of champion ancestors. Do you wonder we hoped grand things for her when the fuzzy puppy coat should become rough and luxuriant and the pudgy baby body should grow and should shave itself into strongly graceful maturity?

On the tenth day, Fair Ellen's biggest brotherlater to become my Champion Sunnybank Sigurdsonopened his eyes. Next day his fiery brother, Sunnybank Cavalier, followed suit. Champion Sunnybank Explorer and Sunnybank Jamie, on the twelfth day, displayed beady black eyes where puckered lids had been.

The fourteenth day—and the twentieth day—came and went. Fair Ellen was sturdier and cleverer than any of the others. She learned to lap warm milk from a dish while they were still hopelessly puzzled by the mystery of that new form of feeding. But—her eyes did not open.

Then, when she was a day or two more than a month old, the lids parted. But no hatpin-head pupils shone forth. Instead, the entire eye was covered by a thick mem­brane, known as a "haw." That meant I must wait until she should be old enough and strong enough to stand the simple—yet perilous—operation of having the haws removed.

Meanwhile, she was queen of the broodnest quintet. She romped in clumsy vigor with her four less agile brothers, and she demanded and took the lion's share of the food-dish's cargo. She throve mightily, and she began to develop a trick of finding her way around the nest by sense of smell and of hearing.

When the pups were graduated to the big puppy-yard, it was the same. Fair Ellen explored every inch of the yard before the others could muster courage and strength to toddle halfway across it. There was no awkwardness, now, in her step. But there was, daily, more and more of caution in it. This, after she had collided painfully with water-dish and feed-pan and runway corners and with wire-swathed tree-trunks.

I was watching her with ever-increasing interest. I noted that she never collided a second time with the same thing. Always, thereafter, the wisely sightless baby knew enough to come to a halt before she could run into it, or else she made a wide semicircle around it.

Now, this implied not only brain, but a certain reasoning power. And I augured more and more for her future qualities as a housedog and chum. It is by such seemingly trivial traits that I decide what puppies are going to show the true collie cleverness, and which are likely to grow up less brilliant. There was nothing stupid about Sunnybank Fair Ellen.

I noticed something else-her brothers, Sigurdson and Explorer and Cavalier (Jamie somehow had found and swallowed a piece of glass on one of his rambles around the grounds, outside the puppy-yard, and had died) were as rough as young bears in their romps with one another. But, for some occult reason, they were queerly gentle with their eye-veiled little sister.

At last, when Ellen was three months old, I sent for a skilled veterinary to operate on her eyes. More than once, partial haws have been removed carelessly or awkwardly from a collie's eyes, and blindness has followed. I was resolved that this misfortune should not befall the little golden dog I was growing so fond of. So I chose a veterinary who was preeminent in his profession. He came and looked Ellen over. Then he said:

"I'll operate. But I warn you there isn't much chance of success. See, she carries her left eye half shut, while her right eye is unnaturally wide-open. Unless I am mistaken, there is no sight in either eye. I believe the optic nerve is dead in both of them."

An expert from Cornell's Veterinary College was sent for. He made a careful examination of Ellen's eyes. Then he corroborated what the local vet had told me. I bade the two doctors go ahead with the operation.

Skillfully, they removed the whitish membranes. Then I saw they had been right in their glum forecast. A thick gray film covered each eye. There was no sight behind the film. The tests showed that.

My beautiful little golden collie was stone blind.

She had always been blind. Always she would be blind. The springtime world around us was vivid with blue and gold, and ablaze with sunlight. But Ellen was living in eternal blackness. Ahead of her stretched a future without a glint of light in it. The thick haws had masked total blindness. From birth, no trace of sight had been in those mismated eyes of hers. To death, there could be no hope for her to see.

There seemed but one thing left for me to do. And, sick at heart, I prepared to do it. I had grown fond of the gallant and gay golden youngster, and I hated to shoot her. Yet

"I am going to put her out of her misery," I told the Mistress.

"She has no misery to be put out of," answered the Mistress. "She is having a beautiful time in life. She doesn't know anything better. She thinks everyone and everything is like herself. Why should you kill her while she is so happy? Wait till she finds out she is afflicted. Is there so much happiness in the world that you should something that has found it?"

Perhaps that was maudlin sentimentality. Perhaps was splendid wisdom. In any case, it was enough to make me take the shells out of my gun, with an odd sense of  relief. The Mistress has a habit of being in the right. More and more, during the past thirty-odd years, I have discovered that.

So Fair Ellen lived on.

I make no apology to you or to myself for letting Fair Ellen live. The less so because she has led a gorgeously happy little life of her own, for these past ten years, and she gives every sign of keeping on in much the same way until the end.

I say "life of her own" because ever since puppyhood she has lived to herself and by herself two-thirds of the time. Sometimes, of course, she is with the other dogs or with us humans of Sunnybank. But for the most part, she is alone. Alone, not lonely, for she has a score of odd interests and pursuits and games which she shares with none of her fellows. I will tell you more about these in a few minutes, if I may. For, to me, they are keenly interesting and unusual.

Having doomed the blind puppy to live, I felt responsible for her future. I set to work trying to teach her to navigate the huge unseen world lying outside the wire meshes of the puppy-yard. I looked forward to a tediously long and hard task. It was absurdly easy.

I began by going on short walks with her, around the grounds, trying to familiarize her with the lay of the land. Just at first she bumped into countless obstacles before I could come between her and them. But I noticedas earlier in the puppy-yardthat never did she collide with the same obstacle a second time. She had an uncanny memory for locations and for the spots where she had suffered collision. Also, she learned the topography of the grounds with startling swiftness.

Having traversed any route once, she remembered where were the trees and rocks and other things into which her furry head had banged on her first experience with them.

There are dogs—a few of them—that need to be told a thing only once, in order to remember it forever. Such a dog was our great old Sunnybank Lad. Such a dog was his dashing gold-red son, Wolf. Such a dog was my big auburn chum, Bobby. Such a dog, from another angle, is Sunnybank Fair Ellen. But it was experience, and not mere human precepts, which taught Ellen.

In a very few weeks, she had learned the layout of our forty acres of landon what portions of it she might romp or gallop with no danger of collision, and where she must needs pick her way slowly and with infinite caution.

I remember the first day when she and I came to the foot of the lawn at the lake's edge. She sniffed the imperceptible (to me) odor of the water. Then, step by step she made her way down into it. The average collie does not care much for swimming. But Ellen did not hesitate as she moved farther and farther out along the gentle sloping bed of the lake.

Presently, she was swimming, and swimming calmly well; straight out. For perhaps two hundred feet swam; seeming to realize there was no obstruction anywhere in front of her. Then she hesitated, lifting her head high and in evident confusion. I could guess why. In water, of course, there was no way of scenting her direction, nor of guessing whither she might be going. Thus by her overdeveloped sense of hearing she was trying learn her whereabouts.

I called her by name. At the sound, she wheeled about and swam back in an absolutely straight line toward me, unerringly conning her direction by that single quietly spoken word. As her exploring feet touched the gravel and she started to walk inshore, her toes came in contact with a somewhat sharp under-water rock. She swerved and walked around it.

Nor, from that day, has she touched this rock, in wading ashore or in launching herself for a swim. Again and again I have taken her down to the lake at that point. Always she moved to one side of the sharp rock.

Next, I took herfirst alone and then with the rest of the dogson increasingly long tramps through the forests back of Sunnybank, and among the mountains. This was strange territory to Ellen, and I made it as easy as I could for her by picking trails instead of direct cross-country walks.

I slowed my pace, to enable her to keep up with me in the funny exploratory gait she had taught herselfa choppy wolf trot, the head a little to one side and with the forelegs thrown far forward so as to give warning of any obstacle. (At even the light touch of some weed, in her line of advance, she halts at once, to avert collision.) Soon she mastered and vastly enjoyed the art of making her way through woodland and up and down hill, at my heels, guided by scent and sound of my step.

When the other dogs went along, their scent and their multiple padding tread made it infinitely easier for her to keep the trail or to go through light undergrowth.

On one of these tramps I entered Sunnybank by way of a patch of oak woods whose ingress was a high gate. I unlocked and opened this gate, calling the twelve or fourteen collies through with me. They trooped into the woods land, and I shut and locked the gate behind us.           

Two or three hours later, one of the men came to me at feeding-time, to tell me Fair Ellen was nowhere to be found. On a hunch, I went to the patch of woods and on to the gate of the fence which forms the northernmost boundary of Sunnybankthe gate I had locked behind the dogs and myself.

There, close against the gate, on its far side, stood Fair Ellen; head and tail adroop, the picture of patient misery.

Evidently she had stopped to investigate some sound or scent while we were tramping, and thus had fallen behind the pack. I had not noticed her absence from the bunch of collies which romped through the gateway with me: She had followed, easily enough, until she had reached the locked gate.

There, deserted and unable to proceed farther, she had come to a standstill. Instead of retracing her steps and thus crossing the furlong-distant highroad (and possibly coming to grief under a motor's careless or pitiless wheels) or otherwise trying to find her way out of the quandary, she had stood still for nearly three hours, unhappy, lone some, but with sense enough to know it was the only safe or sane thing for her to do.

I opened the gate for her and she frisked up to me in half-delirious delight. At distant sound of my steps, the drooping misery had departed and she had stood vibrantly alert. To me there was something rather touching in the helpless little blind dog's long vigil there in the woods. I have taken care that such a thing should never happen again.

Of all the Sunnybank dogs, Fair Ellen is the only one not taught from puppyhood to obey implicitly and on the jump. One cannot discipline a blind dog. At least, I can't. No, she has never been taught to obey nor to do anything else. It is enough for us, here, that she is happy. Thus, she has gone wholly uneducated by us.

In spite of that, she has educated herself, along her own queer lines and to a very marked degree. For one thing, she obeys by instinct, uninforced by human scoldings or punishment or insistence. These penalties she has not known and never shall know. She comes, immediately, at call. That is all I have asked of her, and I have not insisted on that.

But, by reason of her wonderful memory, she comes to me in a roundabout fashion and with seemingly unnecessary detours. There is reason for these detours. I have told you her avoidance of any object with which she has collided. A workman, perhaps, has left a wheelbarrow standing somewhere in the space between the house and the stables. Ellen has run up against it, to her pain and chagrin. (She is morbidly and increasingly sensitive about such collisions, and she moves her blind head from side to side, as though to find out if anyone is laughing at her mishap; which nobody has the remotest impulse to do.)

The next time she is trotting along that particular spot where the wheelbarrow was left, she detours widely, to miss it. Of course the wheelbarrow no longer is there. But she does not know it has been removed and she is taking no chances.

Suppose she is near the upper kennel yards and I call her to her own kennel down by the stables. She will set out in a curving approach, detouring where once she ran into a box of groceries left near the kitchen door, detouring again to avoid the aforesaid non-present wheelbarrow, and yet again, perhaps, as she passes alongside the wood. pile where once a displaced fallen log cost her a bad bump.

A stranger, seeing her, would be at a loss to guess the cause of her erratic course. Butlaugh at this, if you likethere are far fewer farm utensils, and the like, left carelessly out of place here by my men and myself than there used to be.

This because everyone at Sunnybank hates to see the blind dog smash against something in her path, and to note the ensuing cringe and that piteous sightless look to every side to learn if the accident has been seen and laughed at. Thus, there seldom is any out-of-place article left lying where she can collide with it.

When things are in their rightful place, she knows by experience how to steer clear of them. It is up to us humans to see none of these are left in her way. The result is an added neatness, or, rather, orderliness, out of consideration for Ellen. As I said, you may laugh at this sloppiness of ours, if you like. I admit it savors somewhat of sentimen­tality. But the grounds look the better for it.

From "Fair Ellen of Sunnybank," The Book of Sunnybank, Harper and Brothers, 1934, Pp. 260 - 273

Sunnybank Fair Ellen is dead.

For twelve years she lived under a suspended death sentence; a sentence never put into effect.

She was a strange little golden collie; a dog that never saw a glimmer of light. She was born blind—as are all dogs—and she remained blind throughout more than a decade of such gay happiness falls the lot of few collies or humans.

I don’t know how many people came to Sunnybank, first and last to see our queer little blind dog—daughter of Treve—and to marvel at her jollity and at her uncanny cleverness. But the number ran high into the thousands. Many persons—myself among them—have written about her. (In my book, The Way of a Dog, I tell the tale of the first part of her life far more fully than I can tell it here.)

In her way she became something of a celebrity; though she did not know it. Any more than she knew she was blind. Yet she knew that she was happy and that everybody made much of her; and that the other collies were gentle with her, even in their roughest romps.

As when great old Sunnybank Gray Dawn died, five years ago, I forbade anyone at Sunnybank to speak of Ellen’s death; during such time as it still could come under the head of news. I didn’t want reporters sent out here to ask well-meant questions about our sightless chum.

Most of Ellen’s horde of friends will read now, for the first time, of her passing.

As the years crawled on, Ellen's jollity and utter joy in life did not abate. Gradually her muzzle began to whiten. Gradually the sharp teeth dulled from long contact with gnawed bones. Her daily gallops grew shorter. But ever the spirit of puppy fun flared forth as when she was young.

She would romp with me, wildly, as always she had done. The seemingly noiseless slipping of my fingers into the side pocket of my leather coat, where always lie a handful of animal crackers, would bring her rushing up to me from many feet away; in gay expectation of the treat.

One after the other, two of her brothers, Sunnybank Sigurdson and Sunnybank Explorer, won their championships in the show ring; and gained national fame among dog-fanciers.

Another brother of hers, Sunnybank Cavalier, won a series of sensational show victories.

All this time Sunnybank Fair Ellen, most beautiful of the litter, stayed quietly at home.

One by one these renowned brothers of hers waxed old and died. But Ellen lived on.

On the afternoon of July First, 1933, Ellen and I went for one of our daily rambles—walks whose length was cut down nowadays by reason of her increasing age.

She was in dashing high spirits, and she danced all around me. We had a jolly hour, loafing about the lawns together. Then, comfortably tired, she trotted into her yard and lay down for her usual late afternoon nap.

When I passed by, an hour later, she was still lying stretched out there in the shade. But for the first time in twelve years, the sound of my step failed to bring her eagerly to her feet to greet me. This was so unusual that I went into the yard and bent down to see what was amiss.

Quietly, without pain, still happy, she had died in her sleep.

I can think of a thousand worse ways of saying good-bye to this thing we call life.

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Sunnybank Jean

 

"She was a strangely loveable little collie, was Sunnybank Jean; with a hundred pretty ways that were all her own."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jean
Daughter of Sunnybank Goldsmith and Sunnybank Lass, mother of Jock
(December 23, 1917 - August 28, 1930)

From His Dogs: by Kristina T. Marshall, The Collie Health Foundation, 2001, Pp. 28 -29

Just one registration number behind Bobby in the AKC's Stud Book was his sister Jean. She was a slender little sable bitch built along athletic lines. She, too, had Bruce's expressive eyes, and a thin stripe of a blaze ran up between them onto her backskull. She was feminine to her core, the "gentlest and friendliest of my Collies" in Terhune's opinion, "mighty well-bred and ladylike." An excellent mother whose instincts would drive her to raid the kitchen to provide food for her already overfed pups, she would produce more litters for Terhune than any other bitch he owned.

Unlike Lad and Wolf and Bruce and Bobby, she loved to meet people. "At sight or sound of a car coming down the furlong of winding driveway from the highroad above, Jean would run to the foot of the drive at the verandas edge and stand wriggling with jolly anticipation, thrust­ing forward one of her white forepaws in an effort to shake hands with approaching visitors—even while their car was still many yards away," said Terhune in A Book of Famous Dogs. Though this trait would many years later be her undoing, it was also endearing. Mary Siegrist, writing about a visit to Sunnybank for the magazine Suc­cess, described "deep-eyed" Jean's hospitality in this way: "She lay down at my feet and laid her head against me. As I stroked her she smiled up at me with an affectionate glance that plainly said, 'By some magic of understanding you are one of us.'"

Though never the star of a dog story, Jean came into more than one of her Master's works, a quiet background character. Something that happened to her also gave Terhune an idea for one his tales about a better-known dog, just as her brother's adventures did. Terhune came home to Sunnybank after a short time away to find her with "alarming signs of what was declared to be dumb rabies."

She had all the book-and-veterinary symptoms. Her jaws were wide open and would not close. She was in evident agony. Hour after hour she had stood over a water trough, trying vainly to drink.... At first she had foamed at the mouth-and foaming at the mouth is one of the least important things a sick or worried dog does-but now her mouth was dry and blackening and her bloodshot eyes were glazed.

She was ready for a pistol bullet. My orders alone had been awaited before she should be put to death. But the orders were not given. I asked how long she had been stricken. I was told the attack came on in the very middle of a hearty meal. Even the local vet did not catch the absurdity of that symptom.

I took hold of her hot jaws and examined her mouth. A chorus of protest warned me against such folly. I pointed out that if she could not close her jaws she could not very well bite me or anyone else, and I went on with my exami­nation. I had a pretty certain idea what I should find, and I found it.

You see, not only did Terhune have the clue that she had been stricken when she was eating, but Jean often had the same trouble, though those other times her Master was there to fix the problem for her right away. Terhune's guess proved right:

In the far-back hinge connecting her upper and lower jaws, on the left side, I saw a bit of mutton knuckle bone, half as large as the first joint ofmy thumb. It had become jammed there as she was gnawing it, and it had held the jaws apart with as merciless thoroughness as a fitted wedge in a hinge would hold wide a door.

Poor Jean's torment would become the story "Dog Days," but with Lad in the role of victim.

Jean was one of the constants at Sunnybank. Other Collies were bought and sold, were born and grew old and died, but Jean remained, a solid link between Terhune's earliest days in Collies and the future of the Sunnybank Kennels.
 

From A Book of Famous Dogs,   The Sun Dial Press, Inc., New York, 1939 "Some Sunnybank Dogs," P. 133

She was a strangely loveable little collie, was Sunnybank Jean; with a hundred pretty ways that were all her own. The Mistress, whose property she was, used to say: "Any burglar could steal Jean if only he'd pat her while he was doing it."

Unlike most of our collies, she loved petting, even from strangers. And she delighted in the arrival of guests.

At sight or sound of a car coming down the furlong of winding wooded driveway from the highroad above, Jean would run to the foot of the drive at the veranda's edge and stand wriggling with jolly anticipation, thrusting forward one of her white fore paws in an effort to shake hands with the approaching visitors—even while their car still was many yards away.

Two minor mishaps were forever befalling Jean. One was the wedging of some fragment of bone into the hinges of her jaw at the very back of her mouth. This propped her jaws wide apart and she could not close them or get rid of the obstacle. The other was throwing her shoulder out of joint during a gallop or a romp.

Both these things happened again and again. But they did not bother her. Invariably she would come straight to me with a flatteringly trustful expression on her visage; an aspect which said as plainly as could any shouted words:

"Boss, I’m in a jam again. But it’s all right, now that you’re here. You’ll fix it for me. You always do."

With plumed tail awag, she would stand patiently and even gaily while I pried loose the lump ok knucklebone from between her jaw hinges, or pulled the dislocated shoulder back into place.

One morning, when she was let out for a run, she went as always to Jock’s grave. On her way back to the house she heard a car starting down the drive from the highroad. In her role of Reception Committee, she raced to her usual place of welcome and stood with forepaw outthrust in a handshaking gesture.

Perhaps the driver did not notice the beautiful little collie near the veranda; the canine reception Committee with waving tail and politely extended forepaw, waiting so happily to welcome the newcomers.

She must have been in hideous agony during the few minutes before she died. But not so much as a whimper escaped her. She was as plucky as they make them.

When I ran out of the house, toward her, Jean lifted her head and turned it toward me with the same flatteringly trustful expression that always had been hers when her jaw hinge was blocked by a bone or when her shoulder was out of joint; the expression that said:

"It’s all right, now that you’re here. You’ll fix it for me."

From Buff: A Collie, "The Sunnybank Collies," P. 339

His little mother, Sunnybank Jean, had never cast Jock off, as do most dog-mothers when their pups are weaned. To the day I quarantined him for distemper, she and her son had been inseparable.

A week after Jock's death, Jean came running up to me, shaking with glad eagerness, and led me to the grave where the puppy had been buried. It was far off, and I had hoped she would not be able to find it. But she had been searching, very patiently, whenever she was free.

And now, when she had led me to the grave, she lay down close beside it. Not despondently; but wagging her plumed tail gently, and as if she had found at last a clue in her long search, scent or some other sense told her she was nearer her baby than she had been in days. And she was well content to wait there until he should come back.

All of which is maudlin, perhaps; but it is true.

Perhaps it is also maudlin to wonder why a sane human should be fool enough to let himself care for a dog, when he knows that at best he is due for a man's size heartache within a pitifully brief span of years. Dogs live so short a time; and we humans so long!

August 31, 1930, New York Times Article

TERHUNE COLLIE MOURNED

Author Gets Letters of Sympathy After Visitor's Car Kills Dog

Special to The New York Times

POMPTON LAKES, N.J., Aug. 30. —Albert Payson Terhune, writer of dog stories, announced today that he had received many letters of sympathy, including one from the president of the National Humane Society, in connection with the death of his collie, Sunnybrook (sic) Jean, which was killed by an automobile driving up to Mr. Terhune's house Thursday.

The automobile was driven by Caleb Norris of Detroit, who first stopped at the gate lodge and then drove on to the house, at the request of his young son who wished to meet the author. The dog was hit as the car rounded a shrubbery-lined curve in the driveway. Mr. Terhune had Mr. and Mrs. Norris arrested for malicious mischief, but withdrew the charge upon Mr. Norris's payment of $100 to him. He later turned the money over to charity.

Mr. Terhune said he had been annoyed by persons who trespassed upon his property seeking to meet him or to see something of his grounds.

Jean was buried beside her father, Bruce, near the spot to the south of the house where Bert and Anice spent their evenings side by side with the sunset.

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"Her father was Bobby, who Terhune called 'a dog with too much brain.' Her mother, Fair Ellen, had an amazingly accurate mental map of the estate grounds that let her travel the length of Sunnybank without a misstep."

 

 

 

Bunty . . . "was small, . . . she was honey-colored, and . . ., like Bobby, she could sometimes be too smart for her own good, especially because she also had Fair Ellen's inventive sense of humor."

 

 

Sunnybank Bunty (II)
(May 10, 1924 -  )
Daughter of Sunnybank Robert and Sunnybank Fair Ellen

From His Dogs: by Kristina T. Marshall, The Collie Health Foundation, 2001, Pp. 71 -72

Like her mother, Bunty had a disqualifying fault. No she was not blind. She was born with only part of a tail.

But even though Bunty was not perfect, she was happy. Even the guests who visited Sunnybank could tell. One interviewer remembered" "Next [in the row of kennels] came BuntyBunty to whom the gods had somehow denied a tail. They had, to be sure, given her a rudimentary one, but as for a perfectly good appendage, Bunty had somehow fallen short. Yet she has managed to get on very well as she was. If the defect caused her any complexes, they were not visible."

Her father was Bobby, who Terhune called "a dog with too much brain." Her mother, Fair Ellen, had an amazingly accurate mental map of the estate grounds that let her travel the length of Sunnybank without a misstep. "There was nothing stupid about Sunnybank Fair Ellen," Terhune once wrote. Both of Bunty's parents were also brimming with personality, and each had invented little games and rituals that made them stand out from the rest of the pack. There was Bobby's rowdy good-morning greeting to his Master, for instance, and Ellen's teasing of the kenneled Collies when she herself had been left loose. It is easy to see why such a match would have appealed to Terhune.

In Bunty, Bert got what he wanted from the breeding. She inherited her parents' brain and heart. She was such a character that he immortalized her in his thriller, The Secret of Sea-Dream House.

There are few first-hand descriptions of Bunty because she never had a chance to show herself off in the ring, and what information we do have about her only makes us want more. Bunty is a dog we wished we knew better, because she seems to have been a fun dog to know. We know that she was small, we know that she was honey-colored, and we know that, like Bobby, she could sometimes be too smart for her own good, especially because she also had Fair Ellen's inventive sense of humor.

From My Friend the Dog, Harper Brothers, 1922: "The Dogs of Sunnybank," p. 315

Bunty was a roly-poly collie, of Sherlock Holmes tendencies. She found things nobody else could find.

It appears that most servants have caches −hiding places where are buried broken china and glass and such garments as are too badly torn or burned by the laundress to be sent upstairs with the clean clothes. Our own Sunnybank maids, of one vintage, had such a cache. None of the rest of us knew where it was. But Bunty knew.

Picking, by choice, a time when there were guests on the lawn, Bunty would canter up to them, bearing in her mouth some humble−not to say intimate−garment that she had resurrected from the cache. This she would display with chaste joy, to all beholders, in every detail of its ragged and grimy unloveliness, and would end the performance by depositing the horrible prize in the Mistress's lap. We were never able to track the collie to the cache, but to her it was an inexhaustible treasure house.

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Lady
(1905 - ?)
Mother of Wolf

From Lad A Dog E.P. Dutton & Company, 1919

Three years earlier, when Lad was in his first prime (before the mighty chest and shoulders had filled out and the tawny coat had waxed so shaggy), Lady had been brought to The Place. She had been brought in the Master’s overcoat pocket, rolled up into a fuzzy gold-gray ball of softness no bigger than a half-grown kitten.

The Master had fished the month-old puppy out of the cavern of his pocket and set her down, asprawl and shivering and squealing, on the veranda floor. Lad had walked cautiously across the veranda, sniffed inquiry at the blinking pigmy who gallantly essayed to grown defiance up at the huge welcomer—and from that first moment he had taken her under his protection.

First it had been the natural impulse of the thoroughbred—brute or human—to guard the helpless. Then as the shapeless yellow baby grew into a slenderly graceful collie, his guardianship changed to stark adoration. He was Lady’s life slave.

And she bullied him unmercifully—bossed the gentle giant in a shameful manner, crowding him from the warmest spot by the fire, brazenly yet daintily snatching from between his jaws the choicest bone of their joint dinner, hectoring her dignified victim into lawn romps in hot weather when he would far rather have drowsed under the lakeside trees.

From My Friend the Dog, Harper Brothers, 1922: P 315

Then there was Lady, at one time the only dog, except Lad, allowed in the house. Lady had a favorite corner of the fireplace, where she was wont to drowse on cold evenings. Once in a while Lad, coming indoors earlier than she, would chance to pick out this nook. Lady had too much finesse to rout her mate out of the nest. Instead, with fur abristle, she would rush toward the front door, growling menace to some to some imaginary tramp. Lad, at the sound, would spring to his feet and dash doorward. As soon as he was well underway, Lady would slip back and take possession of the vacated hearth corner.

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Beth

"I bought her for a pal and for the joy of studying her wonderful head and expression and am well pleased with the bargain," Terhune wrote to her previous owner. "CH Arrowhill Azalea has one of the sweetest and truest Collie expressions I've seen."

 

 

Beth: CH Arrowhill Azalea
(November, 1928 - )

From His Dogs: by Kristina T. Marshall, The Collie Health Foundation, 2001, Pp. 107 - 108

Bert had now lost the last of Bruce's children and all of Treve's. No other dogs could replace them, and Terhune didn't try. He was slowly letting the kennels close down. In a 1931 letter to a fellow fancier, Bernice Unwin, he explained: "My kennels are much depleted in numbers; as I have been cutting them to the bone during the past two years. I am soft-hearted enough to keep my old dogs on in happy retirement, as long as they live; instead of shooting them or of selling them to some unsuspecting stranger. And as they die off, I don't renew them. I raise only about one litter a year; and sell it almost always. I don't show anymore or advertise; and I try to discourage breeders from sending their bitches here. But I shall always have one or two CHUM Collies at my heels, as long as I live. I am dropping out of the game, but not out of my ownership of a few dogs."

One of those few was CH ARROWHILL AZALEA. Although she was a winning bitch from an excellent family, Terhune purchased her not to breed, but just because he liked looking at her. "I bought her for a pal and for the joy of studying her wonderful head and expression and am well pleased with the bargain," he wrote to her previous owner. "CH Arrowhill Azalea has one of the sweetest and truest Collie expressions I've seen."

She was the first of two Collies to come to Sunnybank from the Oklahoma kennels of Bert's old friend Florence Cummings. After Mrs. Cummings had lost all of her dogs to rabies in 1924, she had been forced to start over. Helping her get back on her feet was Alstead Arundel. In 1930, his daughter Arrowhill Maid Marion became the first champion with the "Arrowhill" name.

Azalea was also an Alstead Arundel daughter, and she finished her title just a year later than Maid Marion did. She had been born in November of 1928, after J.W McGonagle had bred his Joaldes Jewel to Arundel. Azalea was registered in 1930 with Mrs. Cummings as her owner; later she lived in Connecticut.

Her original call name was "Peppy," which gives us a good indication of her personality. She was living at Sunnybank by 1934, in time for her picture to appear in The Book of Sunnybank. By then, the Terhunes had changed her name to "Beth," and everyone at The Place had fallen in love with her.

"She is a genuine delight to all of us. She is a beauty and a jolly chum," Bert told Mrs. Cummings. "She is an ideal housedog. Assuredly I have gotten my money's worth, several times over what I paid for her. I wish you could tell me more about her puppyhood. She is full of personality and fun, yet never obstreperous. A good watchdog too." She lived for car rides, and was an expert killer of rats (and pigeons).

She slept on the rug in her Master's room, and man and dog had a special morning ritual. When Bert woke up each day and opened his eyes, the first thing he would see was Beth lying and looking at him. "The instant she sees I am awake she begins wagging her tail violently and comes to the bedside to be spoken to," Terhune wrote. "Then she lies quietly until I am putting on my puttees. That is a signal for her to rush at me, rearing in mock fury and shaking my wrist between her teeth-with no pressure at all. After which she steals one of the puttees and carries it to the far end of the room and leaves it there for me to get."

She was a favorite not just with Terhune but with the entire estate—and she knew it. After saying good morning to her Master, she would go out of the house and up to the gate lodge. "There," reported Bert, "my Superintendent's wife, who idolizes her, gives her all sorts of things to eat and a pint of new milk. Then Beth strolls downhill to our kitchen where our maids secretly give her another breakfast. At 12 she goes back to the Superintendent's wife for more graft and at 1 p.m. she goes to our kitchen for another light meal. At 4:30 p.m. she gets her one authorized daily meal. When the 'night dogs' are let out she makes a round of their kennel yards and gobbles all the food left in their dishes. This besides the few morsels my wife and I toss to her during our own meals."

Beth put on a lot of weight after she came to Sunnybank (and fortunately also after the photos for The Book of Sunnybank were taken). In 1936, Terhune admitted that "from the back of her head to the tip of her nose she still has the most beautiful Collie head and the grandest and most changeable Collie expression of any dog now living. But from the back of her head to the root of her tail she looks more like a butter-tub. She is much the fattest dog I ever owned."

Still, that did not dampen her joy of life or her Master's enjoyment of her. "She is a queer and lovable dog and we are all devoted to her," he wrote to Mrs. Cummings.

Terhune would get no litters out of Beth—she was infertile by the time he bought her. Out of all the beautiful Collie bitches who had lived with Terhune, only Mons Meg was whelping puppies at Sunnybank in the early years of the 1930s.

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Andeen

She was a daughter of Alstead Aeroplane, and her dam went back to Dr. Bennett's CH Tazewell Tantalizer. Her Master said she was "one of the three finest show Collies I have owned or shall own."

 

 

Sunnybank Alton Andeen
Mother of Fair Ellen, Sigurdson, and Explorer,
Daughter of Alstead Aeroplane

From His Dogs: by Kristina T. Marshall, The Collie Health Foundation, 2001, Pp. 49 - 50

In that first chapter of what would become Lochinvar Luck, Terhune put into words his vision of the perfect Collie. Let us spend a moment with those paragraphs, because more than anything else they show us how Terhune saw the breed... and they define his ultimate goal as a breeder.

Lying at lazily majestic ease on the straw of a double­size bench was a huge dark-sable Collie. Full twenty-six inches high at the shoulder and weighing perhaps seventy­five pounds, this dog gave no hint of coarseness or of oversize. He was molded as by a super-sculptor. His well-sprung ribs and mighty chest and leonine shoulders were fit complements to the classically exquisite yet splendidly strong head.

His tawny coat was as heavy as a bison's mane.  The outer coat-save where it turned to spun silk, on the head-was harsh and wavy. The under coat was as im­penetrably soft as the breast of an eider duck. From gladiator shoulders the gracefully powerful body sloped back to hips which spoke of lightning speed and endurance. The tulip ears had never known weights or pincers. The head was a true wedge, from every viewpoint. The deep-set dark eyes were unbelievably perfect in expression and placement.

Here was a Collie! Every detail—from the level mouth and chiseled, wedge-shaped head and stern eyes with their true "look of eagles," to the fox brush tail with its side-wise swirl at the tip . . .

Treve brought much of this to life—he had the expression, the coat, and the bone. To increase the chance of continuing those qualities into the next generation, Terhune knew that he needed a bitch who could match Treve in type. He found her in SUNNYBANK ALTON ANDEEN.

She was a daughter of Alstead Aeroplane, and her dam went back to Dr. Bennett's CH Tazewell Tantalizer. Her Master said she was "one of the three finest show Collies I have owned or shall own." Other experts concurred with Terhune's evaluation. Dr. Burrows, who was famous for his own fine bitches, called her "the type we should use to breed from." Judges remarked on her "good headpiece" and "very sweet Collie expression." One wrote that she was "an orange and white of extreme quality and difficult to fault anywhere."

Shortly after she arrived at The Place, she took a three­point major under John Gamewell at the Englewood Dog Show Association's annual event, going Winners Bitch at the same time Starbat Strongheart defeated Treve for Winners Dog. She would usually end up Reserve to Bellhaven's best bitches at later shows, however.

We know from Ed Pickhardt's 1923 Dog World ar­ticle on the Sunnybank Collies that Andeen was bought specifically to be bred to Treve. She was about eighteen months old when she came to Pompton Lakes from Canada. Her breeder is given as E. O'Neill, but the "Alton" in her name indicates that Alex Donaldson had something to do with her upbringing. Was she living at Alton with her father Aeroplane at the time Terhune purchased her? Bert surely must have communicated with Donaldson to get details as he was writing Lochinvar Luck, perhaps her sale came out of that contact.

However he found her, Terhune was pleased with his choice. He thought she was a Collie of "rare beauty and wealth of show points." Her temperament, however, was not quite something to brag about.

Her father had been distinguished by a fierce will to live. Andeen was simply fierce. "Her first adventure was when she was six weeks old," Terhune once related. "She was allowed to run free, and she galloped up to a cow who did not share her ideas of friendliness, but greeted her with a savage kick. Andeen retaliated by growling ferociously and gnawing at her hoof."

A visiting interviewer from a magazine was frankly intimidated by her. Touring the kennels with Terhune, the writer commented on how Andeen "glared at us and barked with unconcealed hostility. Like Shylock, she seemed to cry for her pound of flesh."

"She's savage!" confirmed the Master. "She does not care for strangers, and she lets you know her intention at once."

Fortunately, she did not pass her temperament on to her pups. She had few, but they were vitally important to Terhune's breeding program. Other Sunnybank bitches may have had more puppies than Andeen, but none had as much of an impact. There were 43 litters whelped at The Place after Andeen's purchase, and 35 of them traced back in some way to Andeen. Her children and grand­children were crossed and recrossed to create the Sunnybank line. She whelped two litters—and created a dynasty that lives even today.

Treve had made Terhune a fancier of the highest sort of Collie. But it was Andeen who turned Bert into a breeder. She was the last piece of the puzzle. Once she was in place, Sunnybank began to produce winning dogs of its own—dogs who consistently beat the best from other kennels. Her influence was undeniable. Ed Pickhardt, reflecting on Andeen's purchase several years later, recognized that "it was at this point that Mr. Terhune's ability as a breeder of the right type of Collies began to assert itself."

In sum, while there had been female Collies at Sunnybank before her, Andeen was Albert Payson Terhune's true "foundation bitch."

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