Friday, September 17, 2021

Our Sheltie, "Levi" is ONE!!! And...We Lived to Tell You!

 What a whirlwind of a year! Today is our Levi's FIRST BIRTHDAY and all three (make that four, if you count Roary), have lived to celebrate it!  


The above photo was graciously taken by sweet Annika at Bloomfield Pet Grooming

Let's take a look back....

Losing our beloved Dakota and Cody in 2020 was horrific, but having Roary and then Levi join our family definitely was a kick in the butt to start living again!

Before Roary joined our family I had started a search for another Sheltie. Due to COVID there weren't any rescues near us that had any Shelties available, so, as I did with Dakota, I decided to go through a breeder. A few that I was interested in at first  proved to be less than desirable for a host of reasons, none worth mentioning here.

Then I found Greyfyre Shelties, (actually, Lenny may have found her first, then I found her when I searched). As luck would have it, when I reached out, her beautiful Sheltie Myka was due to have a litter of pups! We were over the moon!

Levi and his siblings (there were 2 other boys, Riki who the breeder, Sue Sharp, decided to keep, Stormy, who lives in Ohio and we keep tabs on him through his Dad on Facebook, and 3 girls whose names I do not know). Levi and Stormy look the most alike. As pups it was hard to tell them apart! Levi was the first born of the litter of 6 on September 17th, 2020. 

He was the largest of the litter:

The above photo was taken by Sue Sharp, Owner/Breeder Greyfyre Shelties.
Levi is smack dab in the middle nursing from his mother, "Myka" whom he has grown to look nearly EXACTLY alike!

I was lucky because  Sue kept a diary on her website from the time the puppies were born until we picked them up. We could see how our puppy was growing. It was exciting (as well as frightening when we realized how large Levi was going to be!)  to watch them grow, learn about their personalities and watch videos of the puppies coming into their own.

That little nugget was Levi! (photo taken by Sue Sharp of Greyfyre Shelties, unless otherwise mentioned all of the tiny puppy photos were taken by Sue)

He soon began to grow:

And grow....

(One of Levi's siblings resting their head on their HUGE brother) 

And grow!!!

When we look at Levi now it is so hard for us to believe that he was ever this tiny!!

When our Vet first met Levi, I remember him saying "I expected to see a dog the size of a guinea pig come into the room, not a dog THIS big! Are you SURE he is a Sheltie???"

Yep, he is! 

Shelties are usually either quiet and discerning like Dakota was or loud and boisterous which is Levi. Levi grew fast, and while his mind was still in puppy mode, his body was BIG (for a Sheltie), he is definitely like the proverbial bull in a china shop. The meaning of which is below:

  • extremely awkward, clumsy person (in our case, make that DOG!)
  • to be aggressive when in fact the need of the hour is to stay calm
  • to handle a delicate situation badly
  • to not be able to manage a light situation
  • to act in a clumsy manner thereby causing destruction unintentionally
  • Source:

    Levi has a definite seriousness about him (whereas his brother Stormy, takes photos that are more "smiley", Levi has always had a more serious expression, even when he was a puppy)

    Our serious Levi....(photo taken by sweet Annika from Bloomfield Pet Grooming)

    Contrary to what I have read about most dogs born under the sign of Virgo, Levi is highly impulsive and reactive. There isn't a shy bone in his body. He LOVES people (but has a strange way of showing it with our neighbors!) He is super affectionate, playful, mischievous and constantly keeps us on our toes.

    It didn't take Levi long to jump this baby gate, the same one that  Dakota had for 13 years without EVER attempting to jump it, not even once! (Observe photobomber Roary in the background above)

    Our "Ironman" Sheltie soon needed an IRON gate! (Truth be told he could probably still jump this one if he really wanted to!!)

    Levi's relationship with Roary is still a work in progress. These photos are from when they were younger. They love each other but Levi hasn't yet learned proper "doggy etiquette" that must take place when playing with a cat. He thinks Roary's swinging tail is a toy, and he thinks Roary is a meal. 

    He is super protective of our family and our home and has a bark that is DEEP and MENACING, one would think a Great Dane was living in our condo when they hear him from the hallway!

    Levi is highly food motivated, saying that he loves food is an understatement! He is so food motivated that the Vet even has that noted on his chart!

    Levi thankfully is good at our Groomer, and I am beyond grateful that when I asked if they would take some birthday photos of him in the hat that I bought, that Annika one of the hardworking assistants there, graciously complied:

    When Annika came to the car to get Levi to be groomed, I actually noticed a difference in him that I attribute to his almost being one (on that day). Instead of walking beside her like the Tasmanian Devil like he used to do, (when entering the groomer AND our veterinary practice)

     he actually walked next to Annika in a normal fashion! I was also proud when I texted Annika thanking her for the photos and received the text below in response:

    "We loved having Levi with us! He is such a sweet boy-very handsome too! I'm glad we were able to get the pictures you wanted, he was a very good boy! Happy early birthday Levi!! 
    With much love, 
    Bloomfield Pet Grooming"

    It meant a lot to me because Dakota had been groomed there his entire life and was always the perfect gentleman. Then, along comes Crazy Levi!!!

    The past year has been a blur, it's been wild, fun, awful, terrifying, exciting, rewarding and every conceivable emotion you can imagine having a puppy. It's a wild ride that I pretty much doubt I would ever undertake again. But...we wouldn't have wanted it any other way. Our boy is growing up, he  is maturing right before our eyes.

    I have faith that one day he WILL calm down!! In the meantime I call him my "hunka hunka burning love Sheltie"...... Levi lives hard, he plays hard, he barks hard, he eats hard, he slams into walls, he slams into baby gates, but when he settles down and wants kisses and cuddles, he becomes the sweetest dog on the planet. He is also INCREDIBLY intelligent too!

    Saw the above  photo  in the Sheltie group I am a member of and it's perfect! The shirt is made by Tee Chip and I have a sneaky feeling I will be ordering a couple, SOON!!! 

    Happy Happy FIRST BIRTHDAY to our Levi "Rowdy!!" (I realized once we knew Levi's personality that I made a huge mistake with the name I chose for him. He should have been named "Rowdy", "Rowdy" is his middle name.

    Thank you for bringing so much love, excitement (and TERROR lol), into our lives!!!! We can't wait to celebrate your "Gotcha Day" in November!!! Will share more info about our crazy Levi then!!

    Happy Birthday you "hunka hunka burnin' love" Sheltie!!!

    Photo was taken by Levi's main trainer, Dylan (September 15th at Canine College!) They had a Fall scene set up and they took this cute photo. Our boy is really growing up!!

    Even if you sometimes drive us completely crazy, we love you more than you could ever imagine! We are forever grateful that Sue allowed you to join our family!!!!! HAPPY HAPPY FIRST BIRTHDAY LEVI ROWDY!!!!๐ŸŽ‚๐ŸŽ‚๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿ’•

    Thursday, August 26, 2021

    National Dog Day 2021: 4 Paws UP for Canine College of Michigan!!

     It's National Dog Day 2021!! National Dog Day was started in 2004. 

    "National Dog Day is a holiday dedicated to celebrating all things dog, of course! Sure, it seems like a pretty simple concept, but it’s as complex and deep as our love for the dogs in our lives. The bond between a pup and their person is life-changing, after all; our dogs’ support, comfort and, yes, hilarious antics make our lives immeasurably better. They keep us active with their daily walks. They ease our minds with their snuggles and loving looks. Many of them even do jobs for us, like therapy dogs who help PTSD survivors and service dogs who assist people with disabilities." 

    National Dog Day is a day where we honor all things DOG!! (Yep, as with cats, it's what our household does every day, but today is the official day to honor  all things dogs! )

    While celebrating our nearly one year old Levi, (and of course the memory of our beloved Dakota),  and ALL DOGS, I wanted to take a slightly different spin on this day and honor a place that is enriching the quality of Levi's life, each time he visits. That place would be:

    (***Providing mental and physical enrichment for your canine pal is just one of many ways to celebrate this day! I also would like to say that I am not being compensated by Canine College of Michigan in any way by featuring them today, I had planned on featuring them for MONTHS, but am finally just getting around to it).

    ABOUT CANINE COLLEGE: "Canine College is the largest, premier indoor / outdoor dog daycare, boarding, training & grooming facility serving Farmington Hills, Michigan and surrounding communities since 2007. Our service offerings are designed to utilize the latest expertise, best practices and products available in the pet-care industry for a happy and healthy pet"

    The above photo was taken March of 2021 on Levi's first day at Canine College

    When Deb Watkins opened Canine College in May of 2006 it was part of a franchise. In December 2007 she decided to separate from the franchise and opened Canine College (Michigan).

    As stated in the handbook that they give the parents of the "students",  Canine College offers "exemplary customer service." Not just to the pet parents but to the DOGS too!! It is their dedication to customer service, particularly an incredible man named Dylan (who was my FIRST contact at Canine College when I called for info), that sealed the deal on our decision to send Levi there.

    Dylan gave me permission to post this photo,
     see how Dylan and Levi have matching manes???

    That's Dylan in the photo with Levi!! Lenny and I ADORE Dylan (as well as the entire staff at Canine College), but  more importantly, Levi LOVES him and we can tell that Dylan GENUINELY loves Levi as well. Levi started at Canine College when he was about 6 months old (he will be a year old in September), and the fact that he is a puppy, as well as being larger than most Shelties, and is MUCH more boisterous, stubborn, determined and out-going than many Shelties, makes training him that much harder. (Being incredibly smart doesn't always help the equation either!). 

    While ALL of the trainers at Canine College are fabulous, as I mentioned, it was Dylan's customer service BEFORE we ever enrolled Levi that was exemplary, (and continues to be so, as well as every other staff member we have dealt with since Levi was enrolled. )

    Those that know me KNOW I ask a zillion questions and I talk A LOT. Poor Dylan!! Dylan answered every question professionally, warmly, enthusiastically and patiently (and trust me, there were NUMEROUS phone calls and questions from me!). He never acted annoyed. 

    Why Daycare? The Benefits of Daycare:

    Being at Canine College provides exercise and activities that are vital to Levi as well as other dogs. It helps with their longevity, it provides socialization, mental stimulation, absence of boredom and more. Many of these things we can't always provide at home since we live on second floor of an apt/condo complex.

    Canine College offers:

    Daycare: All-day play, Monday through Saturday from 6:30am to 6:30pm Monday thru Saturday. (Levi attends once a week, for a half day and we also have him enrolled in Training.) Hoping to increase his day care visits this Fall.



    I took these photos when we had a tour on Levi's first day.

    "Your dogs do not spend their weekend locked in a crate at Canine College! Dogs who have successfully passed our temperament test will be playing in our doggie daycare on Saturdays and Sundays!"

    "Your furry student will retire to a private room to find it prepared with a sling bed, fresh water and his or her favorite toys or treats. We will tuck your student in tightly, impart a warm hug, turn the lights down low and allow them to drift off to sleep and dream of their victories on the playfields that day."

    This guy greets you in the entryway of Canine College

    "Our 24 hour security system is activated should anything go bump in the night plus we have a team of trained faculty members who stays late and even into the wee hours of the morning walking the Dorm Halls, cuddles those students that need a little extra tuck-in, watches movies with lucky students whose parents have ordered Snuggle, Snack and a Show, and taking care of those “last call!” late night potty breaks and so much more."

    We are excited because we already booked some overnight stays for Levi during the football season, so he doesn't have to be crated all day! They also offer grooming, training, a bark shop that is to die for!! It is stocked with all sorts of treats, toys, leashes and so much more! 

    The training classes include evening obedience classes, (which I forgot about until I started working on this post!), Board & Train, Brain & Fitness (which I believe is what Levi is enrolled in), and Puppy Development.

    In order to attend Canine College you must have all of your vaccinations and you must pass an admissions test.

    Levi can't believe he passed!! HA!!

    They also have PetExec  an online software system where you can log in and among other things, watch your dog on their College Vision Webcam. (Everything at Canine College is college oriented, their play fields are broken down by Puppy Freshman, JV, Sophomore, etc., you get the idea) and the Playfield coaches are attentive, often pet and play with the dogs and are certified in First Aid, etc. The dogs are assigned "playfields" by their temperament, size and play style.

    I took the above photo when we were on the tour (I think), and they gradually introduced Levi to other dogs so he wouldn't be overwhelmed when he reached the playfield.

    Here are a few other photos from various other times I watched Levi on camera while he was there:

    Levi is standing on the left

    Levi is also on the left above. On warmer days, they fill a dog-bone shaped "pool" and many of the dogs play in it. Because Levi has so much fur and it has been quite warm, he seems to prefer being inside rather than outside.

    Levi absolutely adores his time spent at Canine College and I am hoping to add more daycare days to his schedule because it is a huge benefit to him. He is a "work in progress", trying to get him to stop jumping and more......but those things will come in time.

    The above photo was taken on August 4th, before one of Levi's visits to Canine College. He is so much larger than he was when he started!!

    Lenny and I are thrilled that Canine College of Michigan exists and we couldn't be happier with the staff, etc. If you live in the area or know others who are seeking daycare/training etc., that live here that could benefit from Canine College, visit their website, follow them on twitter or give them a like on Facebook!!!

    Thank you Canine College for always taking such good care of Levi!! See you soon!!!

    (Photo used with Permission from Canine College)

    Dedicated with love in memory of our beloved Dakota on National Dog Day 2021. 

    Friday, August 20, 2021

    Fun Friday: Shiba Inu Celebrates His 4th Birthday

     Hi furiends! Sometimes the cutest blog posts turn up unexpectedly, THIS would be one of those blog posts!

    On August 15th my younger brother and I were texting and he told me it was his Shiba Inu's 4th birthday (Casper),  and that he and my sister-in-law would be celebrating. I told him to be sure to send photos and a video if he had one. 

    Here is a photo from that day:

    He looks thrilled doesn't he? Get ready......this video TOTALLY made me laugh (turn up your volume), the video is super short and I must have watched it 50 times already!

    The expression on his face and how Casper is sitting there sooo politely just letting his humans cater to him, totally cracked me up! Levi would NEVER sit still like that if we sang to him!

    Happy, Happy 4th birthday again Casper!!!! You are definitely one WISE woofie and we love you!!