Posts Tagged ‘Sunnybank Collies’

Want to listen to Terhune’s books? They are now online at Youtube!!!  Thanks to our friends at the FB group Sunnybank-Terhune Collies we were made aware of these books you can now listen too as you browse on your computer. 🙂

Lad A Dog at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=feCuLzbVcmM

Buff A Colllies at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OiE7G4LTCqw

Hope you enjoy!

Below is Lad on the left and Bruce on the right…..

Lad and Bruce

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My Favorite Terhune books;

Oh my,.,,, each of them are gems.  I have come to love the sections of many books where he would write about the collies in his life in just a everyday form instead of story form.  But, here are books I think stand out above the others;

If I have to choose a favorite it would be;

The book of Sunnybank which is republished now as  Sunnybank, Home of Lad.  This is about Sunnybank and many of the collies who lived there.  Also, it covers horses, the house, the “little” people such as Jack the Frog!!  This is probably my favorite!  If you want to learn about Sunnybank and the animals, house and Collies this is the one!

The Lad Books are amongst the best;

Lad, a dog-This is where it all began and it is a classic.

The Further Adventures of Lad or republished as Dog Stories Every Child Should Know (Note-I am not sure which title it is published under now. I have a recent copy with the original title so do check it out!)

Lad Of Sunnybank- Another classic about Lad!

The funniest of them all and another favorite is;

Gray Dawn- This Blue Merle was a character!  He created havoc and mischief everywhere he went.  However, it wasnt because he was a bad dog… he just had the most unbelievable bad luck followed by the most unbelievable good luck combined with his fun loving, curious and innocent ways led him into some of the funniest situations you will ever read about!  I probably laughed out loud at this book more than any other except perhaps a joke book. While Lad is a heroic good vs. evil book, Gray Dawn is just plain fun and I hate to admit it, but a few of these antics my collies, who are descended from him, have done.  You will laugh as Terhune describes Dawn dunking him in the Lake…… but beware.  At the end of the book Gray Dawn, like all good collies passes into the afterlife and I know I sat there with tears running down my cheeks as my heart broke.  But, Dawn was the epitomy of a collie, gleefully going through life and making the most of each moment!

Here is one more book I would recommend;

The Master by Litvag-

This book is about Terhune and unlike most bios today it is not all good or all bad either making him into a saint or a demon.  It is a very balanced book about him showing his wonderfully kind nature with animals and his disdain for many humans.  You will laugh at his younger antics… wince at his battles with people, admire his fighting for animal rights, feel sad at his relationship with his daughter, see him helping people in dire needs yet see him lose his temper sometimes rightfully, sometimes just because people rubbed him he wrong way.  I liked seeing him like this for APT was only a mere human like all of us.  I found myself that I could relate to a lot of how he saw things and could see why he and I loved collies.  However, some of his ways left me scratching my head.  This is a very good book and if you want to learn more about Terhune it is a must.  Between chapters the author relates a winter trip to Sunnybank before it all was torn down….

Picture of the two Hallies- It is a wonderful picture isnt it?  She is so much like her grandmother it is scary!

The comments about Ginger were very welcomed by Ginger.  She now has even a more swelled head and lets me know lots of other people love her… LOL

The train!  It has been a long tradition here of collies hearing the train and lining up getting ready to take on that behemoth!  Trevor used to relish it and especially after he was old and had a stroke.  He would bark and run best he could and stand out there big and strong!  When it rolled away he would grin and come strutting back to me so proud as I gave him high praise to heaven for chasing away that train!  I am still working on getting better pictures….  It does indeed go by everyday.  But we are out in country so it may run 2-4 times a day. Mostly 2 times.   Seeing the collies grab their toys and line up for battling the train is a delight.  Seeing them bark and run around and some of them jumping at each other barking their heads off is funny.  Yes, some of the engineers do look for them and wave and laugh… others not so much.  Ginger is swearing she will take the train down….
Terhune was a big traveler.  He did so in the winter months and when younger.  He wrote a lot of books and on top of that he wrote prolifically for magazines, radio shows and newspapers.  He spent 8 hours a day, 5 days a week writing.  it was his job he said and he was going to work 40 hours a week at it.  When one sees a list of everything known he wrote for all publications it is amazing!   It is early for a Christmas list but some do like to start early. 🙂

Yes, Skylight is a true blue merle just like Gray Dawn.  He meant no mischief by it all, but just wanted his loves! LOL…..  I’ve never seen him do anything naughty on purpose… like Dawn he sort of just stumbles into situations as he goes through life grinning and enjoying himself.

Okay, let me wrap this up by saying that as I wrote this on the 26th I sort of felt a bit blue.  You see, it has now been two months since my Trevor was called by the greatest Master of them all into the Great Beyond.   I sort of missed him all day…..

Two years you have been gone…….   It doesnt seem like it…. I sure miss you Trevor.  Someday my dear Trevor we will meet like this again, but it will be in the fields of heaven….. Thank you Trevor….. for everything for without you my life wouldve never came back together….  🙂

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This is a really nice picture of Terhune with Gray Dawn……..  I like this picture and Gray Dawn looks very alert and he reminds me of my Smoky with that blaze over his merle head.  Taken at Sunnybank with the lake in the background one has to wish they could’ve experienced Sunnybank during its heyday. terhune and gray dawn

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He was Terhune’s greatest champion.  He lived a tragically short life dying in a very sad way.  He is an ancestor of my collies and probably yours. He was bred to his grandmother who was also his mother and thus she was part of three generations on the line.  Who is this, the greatest of all Terhune’s Champions from Sunnybank? Well, he died tragically young and was a Champion before he was one year old.  Sunnybank Thane is considered the most perfect collie to come out of Sunnybank…. with good reason, he was beautiful!



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Sunnybank King Coal
1931-1943 Tri-color
His parents were Sunnybank Sandstorm (Sandy) and Sunnybank Misty. Of
the two lines at Sunnybank, one from Bruce, the other from Aeroplane (Treve’s Line),
King Coal is a mixture of both lines. Coal was born after the show
days so he lived at Sunnybank to be a companion to Terhune.

Coal was was Terhune called a “lock picker.” He would let himself
out of his kennel with ease with Terhune claiming he could open at
least 5 types of latches meant to keep him in the kennel. Apparently
Coal taught himself this and may have inherited the talent from his
ancestor Ch. Alstead Aeroplane.

Terhune wrote that Coal loved to get other collies to chase him at
high speeds and that he, Coal, would at the last second, turn sharply
at some object at the last second having the collie behind him smash
into the object. According to Terhune this was a old trick from the
wolf days when they would get large game to chase them only to break
their necks on a tree. Terhune broke Coal of this habit.

Coal loved to grab ppl by the wrist giving it a sharp tug which
Terhune claimed he got from Gray Dawn.

Coal fathered puppies with Sunnybank Chips, Sunnybank Mons Meg and
Sunnybank Southern Girl. His most notable offspring is H.R.H.
Sunnybank Sybil and Sunnybank Brown Bear.
Coal outlived Albert Payson Terhune, dieing in 1943.

Terhune feeding Coal, Sandy is next to him and the famous Chips to the left….. who is behind Coal I do not know..

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The collies are partying!  They found out that Allis Chalmers began building tractors in 1914. 🙂  Collies will celebrate anything to have a party.  Allis Chalmers is now part of AGCO, which also took over White which had the Oliver, Minneapolis-Moline and Cockschutt tractors.  A arm of AGCO is Massy-Ferguson also, so many great tractor lines are part of AGCO now, but none of the names are on tractors (they all have new names) except for Massey-Ferguson.  So, happy 100 Allis Chalmers!!!

100 years ago Lad ran across the lawn of Sunnybank and Terhune hadn’t even began writing about him yet.

A Happy 102 to Case Tractors!  While they had built Steam Tractors for decades before that, and had tried a failed gasoline tractor in 1892, it was in 1912 that Case came in to stay.   Case of course is part of Case-New Holland Company and the tractors are merged with International Harvester to build Case-IH tractors.  IH built Farmalls…..  While they still build tractors,  Case is part of a huge company now.  J.I Case and Cyrus McCormick would be in awe of how their companies merged to become an even bigger behemoth.  Happy 112th Case which was founded in 1842. 🙂

In 1912 Lad of Sunnybank was ten years old and Terhune hadn’t even thought about writing about him yet.





It was a different world back then, but these machines live on. I have seen one 1914 Allis Chalmers at the Henry Ford in Dearborn.  It was Green paint then……


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He was the hero of many of Terhune stories and had three books about him.  What did the real Lad look like?  In the above picture you see starting on your left, Bruce, then Wolf, the Lass and then on the far right Lad.  Yes, that is the real Lad.

In this picture in the front is the real Lad again. Behind Terhune is Bruce and standing up is Wolf.

Sunnybank Lad

Another picture of the real Lad.  To me he reminds me of our Anya in his face and ears. His fur reminds me of my Trevor and big Hallie with long curly hair that is thick. 🙂 So, this is the real Lad of Sunnybank, the collie who was the bravest, smartest and most heroic of them all.  As you can see he is not a perfect show dog, but more the old farm collie style…..   His line ended with Wolf who died a heroic death.  Lad lived to be over 16 years old, a nice long life for a collie who had so many adventures.  He has been gone for around 95 years now…  You can visit and see his grave at Sunnybank to this day.  Terhune liked to relate that once a General of the US Army, apparently a famous one, came to Sunnybank to see Lad’s grave.  I remember Terhune saying the General stood at attention and saluted Lad and said that Lad was the greatest soldier of them all.  At first it doesnt make sense, but think about how the stories of Lad he fought for good and for Sunnybank loyally and with true dedication all his life.. yeah, General (Pershing?) had it right. 🙂

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Blind Fair Ellen by Albert Payson Terhune-taken from Baltimore Sun Magazine 1933

Sunnybank Fair Ellen 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 as falls to the lot of few collies or humans. When the other pups of the litter opened their eyes, Fair Ellen’s lids remained tight shut. A week of so later they opened. But expert vets found there were dead optic nerves behind. There seemed to be but one merciful thing to do. I loaded my pistol to put her out of her misery. It was my wife who intervened, reminding me that Fair Ellen had no “misery” to be put out of – that she was the gladdest and liveliest member of the litter.

When the six-week-old family of pups were turned loose in the huge “puppy yard,” they began at once to explore this immense territory of theirs. At almost every fifth step Fair Ellen’s hobbyhorse gallop would bring her into sharp contact with the food dish, the fence wires or some other obstacle which her four brothers avoided with ease. Always she would pick herself up after such a collision with tail wagging and fat golden body wriggling as if at some rare joke. Not once did she whimper or fail to greet each mishap merrily.

Then I noticed that never did she collide with the same obstacle a second time. Coming close to food dish or the like, she would make a careful detour. In less than a week she had learned the location of every obstacle, big or small, in the yard. She could traverse the whole space at a gallop – without once colliding with anything. It was not a spectacular stunt, perhaps. But to me it seemed – and still seems – a minor miracle.

It was the same, presently, when I took her out of the puppy yard for a walk with me. Into tree trunks and into building corners and posts and benches and shrubbery clumps the poor little dog bungled, but never into one a second time. Bit by bit I enlarged our daily rambles. I was teaching her the lay of the whole forty-acre place. And never did a pupil learn faster. Within a few weeks Ellen could gallop all over the lawns and the orchard and the oak groves and could even canter along close to the many-angled kennel yards and stable buildings without a single collision. She had some nameless sense. I don’t know what it was; but by reason of it I often saw her stop dead, short not six inches from a wall or a solid fence toward which she had been galloping at express-train speed.

It was on one of these educational rambles of ours that her fast-running feet carried her into the lake up to her neck. With a gay bark she began to swim. Most dogs, on their first immersion in lake or river, swim high and awkwardly, buy Ellen took to water with perfect ease, as to a familiar element. She swam out for perhaps a hundred feet. Then she hesitated. I called her by name. She turned and swam back to shore, to my feet, steering her sightless course wholly by memory of my single call. Thereafter her daily swim was one of Ellen’s chief joys.

I noted something else in my hours of unobserved watching. That yard full of collie pups was one of the roughest and most bumptious of all the hundreds of litters I have bred and raised; play was strenuous almost to the point of mayhem. Yet when Fair Ellen joined in the romps, as always she did when she was in the yard with them, they were absurdly gentle, awkwardly gentle; very evidently they were seeking not to hurt her.

Ellen invented queer little games which she played, for the most part, all alone. One of these was to listen to the winnowing of the homecoming pigeons’ wings. The birds might be flying so high as to make this winnowing inaudible to human ears, but Ellen would hear. Always she would set off in pursuit, running at full speed directly under the pigeons, swerving and circling when they swerved and circled, guided wholly by that miraculous hearing of hers – the same sense of ear which told her from exactly what direction a thunderstorm was coming, long before we could hear thunder.

A veterinarian told me there was no reason to think Fair Ellen’s blindness would be carried on to any puppies she might have. He was right. She had several litters of pups during her twelve years, and every pup had perfect sight and perfect health in every way. I sat up with her all night when her first puppies were born. There were nine of them. She did not seem to have the remotest idea what or whose they were. The night was bitterly cold. Ellen for once in her life was jumpy, with taut nerves. For many hours I had a man-sized job keeping her quiet and keeping the nine babies from dying of chill. At last, long after sunrise, Ellen began groping about her with her nose, snuggling the puppies close to her furry, warm underbody and making soft, crooning noises at them. Then I knew that my task had ended; that her abnormally keen ears had caught Mother Nature’s all-instructive whisper. Thereafter she was an ideal little mother.

As the years crawled on, Ellen’s jollity and utter joy with 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 the spirit of puppy-like fun continued to flare.

One afternoon Ellen and I went for one of our daily rambles – the length of which was cut down nowadays by reason of her increasing age. She was in dashing high spirits and 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 her yard 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

You can read more about her in SUNNYBANK HOME OF LAD and in THE WAY OF A DOG by Albert Payson Terhune, two great books!

Sunnybank Fair Ellen

Now, the first big selling book was Lad, a dog.  Here is a link to a photographic copy you can read online.  To read go here;


I hope this is helpful.  These books are from a different era.  But, I love them immensely.  Perhaps it is because I am a collie lover, perhaps it is because many of the collies he writes about were ancestors of the wild, crazy bunch I live with now.  Whatever it is, I love these books and I hope you may find enjoyment from them also or that perhaps someone you know who loves animals will like them too….

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gray dawn with childHere is one of my favorite collies from Terhune’s Sunnybank Collies.  Gray Dawn was a character who was a happy soul full of life and fun who had a true propensity to turn that fun into trouble in a innocent way.  A big Blue Merle who became a true buddy of Terhune’s.  He especially looked after Terhune after Albert was hit by a car.

Terhune%2018My favorite Gray Dawn stunt of all time is the day when Terhune and his wife were getting ready to go to a wedding.  Terhune was waiting for his wife wearing his Tux standing by the Lake.  Gray Dawn ran up behind him to give him a big hug greeting playfully like he loved to do.  He came from behind Terhune and was so quiet he hit him and knocked him face first into the lake!  Terhune later admitted that as he flew into the water his thoughts consisted of regretting he had saved Gray Dawn when he was a puppy! LOL…..

398059_206208216133805_100002338830497_454087_1749683708_nIn the winter Gray Dawn is in the center of the picture.   Gray Dawn was the son of Bruce who was a gallant collie pal of Terhune’s.  There were two lines at Sunnybank.  Treve’s and Bruce’s.  Born three months after Lad died Gray Dawn lived through the Golden Age and saw all the most famous and well known collies at Sunnybank live and die.  On May 30, 1929 Gray Dawn laid down on the rug to the left of Terhune’s desk and passed into the afterlife and with him passed the golden era of Sunnybank.  A bit of irony is that 9 years to the day of Dawn’s death, his son Sandy laid down in the exact same spot and passed away also…… having collies I can tell you that irony abounds with them as Terhune could tell you.

The only other day to be more ironic for Terhune was the date of June 24th.  On this date in 1922 Treve died, in 1923 Wolf the son of Lad was hit by a train saving a dog on the tracks and died and in 1925 Bobby died of meningitis.  Wow!!!

To the June toll we would humbly add our own Sunnybank descendent who on the 26th died two years ago… Trevor.

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On Sunday the man who was my High School shop class and other such type of classes and the previous owner of my old Allis, my 1944 Allis Chalmers Model B, passed away at 89 years old.  Another link to my past has passed away as well as the father of my childhood friend who was our neighbor and then a few days later his older brother both from Cancer. I watch as many whom I have known are now passing and more links to the past break away.

As we march on through life and many begin to fall it is a bit sad and reminds one of their mortality.  It is part of life, but a part of life most of us like to ignore or try to not pay attention too for it is heartbreaking and sad.  When one is young life seems to be endless and one takes comfort from those around them who have always been there. Death rears its ugly head in our youth and sometimes it is devastating but our own mortality seems to be a very distant future….  But, its not you know.  Its closer than one thinks.


No, we are not trying to be downers, just a word of advice. Make the most of your time now.  You don;t know when it will end for you or those you love.  So, hug them now, hold them…. have some fun and tell them you love them. That way the memories if you go are sweet and if they go you have no regrets of we should’ve,   we could’ve… for you did.  I know I still hurt from losing Trevor but there are no regrets… for we gave it all we had….. oh I miss him terrible and always will…. soon it will be the anniversary of his passing and I will once again weep at his grave…. but he knew he was loved and he passed surrounded by those who loved him.  No regrets…..

Make the most of your time…..

dscf9168-Old Allis’s owners have been three. The first was born in the 1890’s and served in WW1, the second served in WWII and both are gone now.  With tractors it is about preserving and passing along to keep a piece of history alive and taking care of something that was the family provider for decades and taking care of something ppl depended upon for a living and taking care of a machine they cared about and were proud of.. its sort of a legacy thing….


-with collies, children and other family members it is about loving, family and taking care to preserve our family for the future and to love and make the most of our time together. It may be a legacy but it is more about love.  Our children carry on without us, God willing…. and hopefully our collie lines continue on, but collies differ in that there is a bit of me that is preserving something that Terhune had at one time and passing their bloodline along into the future.  While children begat grandchildren and we watch our families progress into the future, our collies reach back and forward and we get to see many more generations of them.  But, unlike old Allis and other grand old machines… collies die…. we die, hopefully we make the most of it and pass onto our children and their children our love, family and if we are lucky the legacy of those things that made some important family time such as collies, tractors and other antiques. But, the most important thing is passing onto our children our love….. make the most of it while you can……. I don;t know if this is clear as to what I am trying to say.. I hope so…. collies 7

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