Sunday, December 20, 2015


It's nearly here, that joyous, tiring, tension-fraught, hopeful, WONDERFUL time of year . . .  CHRISTMAS!  Part of the special magic to me, is that most people are celebrating a special holiday within the boundaries of this time frame, so all people can unite in celebration, even if they are celebrating different things.
Here at Sheltie Hollow, preparations are well under way.  I have the ice candle made and waiting in the freezer for Solstice night when it will go out in the garden to be lit and shine through the longest darkest night.

With the weather this year, it's a toss up as to whether it will burn out or melt first, but out it will go anyway, to mark the shortest day/longest night of the year.  This is the day that Winter officially arrives, and I hope he hears our welcome and wanders our way soon.
In the kitchen,  the animals are helping me bake cookies and make the Tourtiere for Christmas Eve, except the one I make is my Irish Grandmother's recipe, more of a meat pastie than a French Canadian Tourtiere.  It's all about Tradition.
I really am the world's worst pastry maker, but every year I feel compelled to actually make the pastry, not just open a box.  It's about not letting my Grandmother and my Aunt down.  So every year I say a little prayer before I begin, asking for their help in this monumentally difficult task.  Every year they look down on me and help me get the pastry rolled out and in the pie plate without too much trouble.  But this year, I have a feeling they were sitting together on a cloud, sipping angelic Sherry and laughing together, because this time, a series of mini disasters overcame my pastry, culminating in the top layer suddenly going limp in my hands just before it collapsed in a ball on top of the filling!   As they say, try, try again, and finally a new circle of pastry landed where it should, smooth and white and ready for the oven.  I was left happy, but  a nervous wreck.
The animals are a great help with the baking, keeping me company as they sniff the good scents coming from the oven and offering to taste just about everything.  But it wouldn't be half as much fun, baking without them there.

So now the cookies casseroles and the tourtiere are in the freezer, the tree is up (miraculously Still up despite a kitten in the house) and the coloured lights shine through the darkness.  All that is left is for me to wish all of you a Merry Christmas, a Happy Holiday, and PEACE TO ALL ON EARTH.

Til next time,
Heather Anderson

Tuesday, December 1, 2015


It's three am  in the Emergency Vet Hospital, and the people around us are sitting with strained faces and  the dogs and cats sitting on their laps or close beside them are all too quiet.  As awful as it is when we are ill, it is somehow worse when it's one of our beloved pets because they can't tell us exactly what's wrong, or where the pain is, or how badly they actually feel.  It is SUCH a helpless feeling.
We have been in this position too many times and we will be again.  Where we often tend to adopt a wait and see attitude when it's us feeling poorly, when we notice something is amiss with the dogs or cats, we rush to see the vet, never mind what time of the night or day.  Sometimes we leave the hospital feeling wonderful because it has been a false alarm, but its always better to have had the "something" checked out, and sometimes we leave worried to the core of our being.
Thank goodness for the wonderful vets and techs we have now, and thank goodness for the new detection methods and medications that allow our dogs and cats to come home to recover their normally good health.  Yes of course it costs - sometimes a LOT, but if we have taken on the responsibility for an animal, we also have to honour the responsibility to care for it, and for many people, ourselves included, it's an act of love more than a responsibility.

Although it can be tricky giving the required meds, it's good to see them recovering at home, where the other pets take turns sitting with the invalid.

And when a recovery is complete, the joy for everyone is immeasurable! Energy and joy return to the house and everyone is wearing a smile.

The little dog in the photos spent many hours at the emergency vet.  He had a knack for becoming ill around 3 am, and recovered from way too many illnesses.  His indomitable spirit carried him through until he was 13 years old, when the struggle became too much.  But we remember his joy in every day and strive to make sure that all our other dogs and cats share in that joy by giving them the best care possible.  That's what we signed up for, to give them the best possible love and care in sickness and in health. 
Til next time,
Cheers,   Heather .

Monday, November 2, 2015


November creeps in softly here in the country, with a cool breath and silence.  It doesn't matter whether the day is dark or sunny, November has an air of waiting that stills the senses.  It's a between time . . . .  between the pumpkin and night-dark fun of Halloween and the red and green, silver and gold utter joy and energy of the Thanksgiving/Christmas Seasons.
The fields are bare, the trees make spare, elegant lines in the sky, and the road side grasses spear up in Chanel shades of bleached ivory and ochre, and black.  The evenings are filled with fog and mornings glitter with frost.  How can one not love this take-a-breath month of classic colours, moody skies and silent fog .

People are out with their dogs, enjoying the bright days and crisp but not yet biting air.  It's a great time for Dog Sports like tracking and the Retriever Trials. Late Autumn and the Sporting Dogs just go together.

And the Shelties?  They keep busy telling the crows what they think of them - from a safe distance of course.  Wishing all of you a peaceful November.

Until next time,
Cheers,   Heather Anderson
The Dog Art Shop on Etsy

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


        October is one of my  favourite months of the whole year.  The weather varies from gently warm to crisp, and the colours are  enough to make you stop and stare. I used to love to go riding in the early evening during October, up through the back fields where the corn was being cut and the big iridescent bowl of the sky glowed with dusky pastels and goose music was all around us.  Equally enchanting are the walks in the garden with the Shelties in the October gloaming when everything takes on an amber glow.

October is filled with gifts to enjoy and celebrate.  In Canada, we have Thanksgiving, there is a rich sweetness in the air that only comes at this time of the year, and at the end of the month of course, is Halloween, filled with fun and chocolate treats.  Leaves drift down lazily with the Autumn breezes, silently, one at a time like slim golden jewels or in a torrent when the wind shows its temper.  They lie thick on the ground, tempting me to shuffle through them, or blow just out of reach of the jaws of a young pup, determined to catch one.

There are enchanting surprises too, the frosts of early morning and dew sparkling on the pumpkins, the return of the winter birds like the Cardinals with their flash of scarlet and distinctively beautiful song, an unexpected autumn rose blooming, and a tiny mouse dashing across the front step in his hurry to put his house (and pantry) in order before winter.
I hope all of you can find the time to pause in your busy lives and take a moment to close your eyes and listen to the October sounds, to inhale the special woodsy sweetness of this month, then open your eyes and take a few moments to drink in the splendour of Autumn.
                                                                                                                                                              Cheers, til next time,
Heather Anderson                                                                    The Dog Art Gallery on Etsy

    Please note, all images are in the copyright of the artist.                                                                                                                     

Monday, September 28, 2015


One of my very favourite things is an early autumn Twilight, or as I love to call it, harkening back to another time, "the Gloaming".  The light has an opal quality to it, and there is a breathless hush, filled with mystery and magic.  The air smells rich and soft, and you can feel the coolness of evening creeping in. 

                           And then you hear a BARK!  
The first one comes softly, almost a question. . . .  'Is anyone else outside?'  
Then the answering barks begin.  Big barks, little barks, high pitched yips and basso profundo BARKS.   There is even a baying howl, letting everyone in hearing know that yes, there is a DOG here.

Our village is full of dog lovers, and we see and hear every size,shape, and colour, from wonderful, loving 'just plain dogs' through to representatives of a great many breeds.  Our neighbour's dog, who just recently crossed Rainbow Bridge was our Angel of the Evening, usually the first one to begin the chorus, and everyone who knew her is missing her so much.

We are a farming community in large part, and many people hunt in the Autumn for part of the family food supply through the winter,  (we are not hunters) so there are a lot of hounds in the area, and their unique music fills the Twilight.

There are sparky Terriers and entitled lap dogs - just ask them and they will tell you how important they are.                                      

We have some of the big, big dogs around here too,giant dogs with huge, gentle hearts whose purpose it is to take care of the family and perhaps pull the youngest along in a cart.             

There are sleek, short haired dogs, and dogs that have such a wealth of hair that they can barely see, or so we suppose.

 And there are several of the breed we hold dearest to our hearts, the Sheltie.  I have to confess that our Shelties are only allowed a quick 'Hello there' during the Twilight Bark because the Mean Old Witch they live with,  (That would be ME) doesn't like a lot of noise.  But they get  their two bones in there anyway,  It is a joyous sound, the Village Dogs coming alive as the sun goes down, heralding the news that MUM and DAD are HOME!  Evening can    begin.                                                                                                  


 Til next time,                                                                                       
Cheers,   Heather                                                                                   
                                                                                Please note, all                                                            images are in the copyright of the           artist                  

Monday, September 14, 2015


I LOVE September and October!  I love the feel of it and the look of it, all those warm, brilliant colours bursting out in the garden, doing their best to warm our spirits for the cold months ahead.  Even as a child, I found this time of year exciting, but it was only   in the past number of years that my true enjoyment began, and it was my dogs who taught me how to really live in the moment and savour these gorgeous months.
First, you have to close your eyes, and lift your face to the sun, Feel the warmth blessing your skin?  Take a deep breath of the spicy, rich air and smell the sweet/sharp essence of summer distilled into leaves that are breaking down to feed the earth.  And listen.  Listen to the tall grasses of summer, dry now, and rustling in the breeze, sharing whispers of summer secrets that they will take into their deep winter sleep. Listen to the leaves, muttering and softly chatting among themselves, and the slow lazy spiral and soft thud as one by one, they drift down to earth.  There, now you are enjoying this season the way a dog does, and like myself, you may find it the very best way to partake of Autumn.  And it's even better if you enjoy it with a friend.

Til next time,  Cheers,
The Dog Art Gallery on Etsy

Monday, August 31, 2015


I am crazy nuts about Puppies!  All of them, but especially Sheltie pups, just melt me.  I love their quick little pink tongues, the bright shining, shoe button eyes, the little pink bubble-gum toes, the pudgy teddy bear fluff bodies and the T-tiny shark teeth.  But most of all, I love Puppy Breath, an ephemeral pleasure that vanishes all too soon.  
They are amazing little critters - so fast, and they seem to have at least a dozen paws that they keep getting tangled so that they fall in a heap.  Then they are up and running again, so much to see, so much to do!

I love the the great joy they have - everyone is a friend, and everything is to be investigated.  Their world is enormous and everything is new.  Watching them learn is a joy all it's own.

 It's fun watching them figure things out and find ways of getting what they want.  Some are bold and brave, some are quiet or reserved, and some just want to be cuddled, but all demand that you fall in love with them.
I've heard people say that after their one beloved dog goes to Rainbow Bridge, that they will never get another dog.  It would be disloyal to the dog they no longer have.   Part of me understands the feeling, but personally, I have to disagree.  Think of the Shelter dogs that  end up being put down because there is no one who will take them, or the registered breeds that more often than you'd like to believe, end up in a less than decent home where they will not be properly loved and cared for.   These are dogs who could have had a great life if the person who is heart-sore over their lost dog (or cat) could find a way to honour their departed loved one by opening their heart and home to another dog.     It is my belief that the heart is expandable, there is always room for one more to love and care for.  If I had not believed this, I   would have missed out on the wonderful dogs we have had through the years.     I  would have missed having our Once-In-A-Lifetime dog, Skye!    I shudder to think of it!    Granted, it takes an emotional toll to own and love a dog, and way down the road, we pay for all the love, fun, and companionship.  As author Albert Payson Tehune said, 'All dogs die too soon'.   But for we who love them, the price in pain is soothed by welcoming another little pup with their funny, bouncy, pretzel-dog ways, into our hearts and homes.  We never forget the loved ones who wait for us on the other side of Rainbow Bridge, we just increase the crowd waiting  to lead us Home.

Til next time,
Heather                            The Dog Art Gallery on ETSY

All photos and artwork are copyright Heather Anderson.

Monday, August 17, 2015


I called him Bob, although his registered name was SUMMIT'S LITTLE WIZARD, and when I first picked him up, we looked at each other, and it was mutual love at first sight.  He came from the famous Summit Sheltie Kennel owned by Ruth Lane in  Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  But how did I get from Collies to Shelties?
It was time for me to leave home, and I couldn't take a huge Collie into an apartment, neither did I have the heart to separate my dog from my Father.  So with much sadness, I left Gareth safely at home, with his green lawn, his spacious house, and the person he loved most in the world - my Father.  But I couldn't imagine life without a dog anymore, so I went looking for a small dog who could live in an apartment.  A dear friend said it was clear that I needed a Sheltie, and she gave me the name of a Kennel to contact, and off I went.
I would visit home often, with Bob in tow, and Gareth appointed himself the puppy's guardian.  For Bob, it was a case of serious hero worship.

I was still in the early stages of learning about everything, and was busy making my first 3,000 mistake on the road to understanding, and I made a few with Bob.  He taught me to never take my eyes off a pup on the loose.  One day, I was upstairs at home, and Bob, unseen by me, was getting closer and closer to the edge of the second floor stairwell.  But Gareth saw and acted, snatching the silly puppy back from a disastrous fall, and teaching me to look after my pup better.

When Gareth passed on, Bob took over as guardian, all 14 inches of him.  He guarded me from people he didn't like, and to my horror, from large dogs whom he didn't approve of, as a German Shepherd discovered when a tiny sheltie latched onto his cheek because Bob felt he was too close.   What a good tempered Shepherd.  His only reaction was surprise, while I grovelled in apology to the  owner.  I also made sure that this sort of thing never happened again!
Bob was my loyal and brave companion through good times and some very bad ones, including a ruptured disc in his spine that left him slightly lame.    He was always ready to cuddle  and make me smile by curling his lips back in a silly smile that he saved for me alone.  Our living space was quite confined at times (small living space, all exercise on leash) due to life's curves, but he stayed cheerful and helped me do the same.
The little guy enthusiastically joined the cast of a local production of 'MAME', playing the Fox, and he rode out on stage on Mame's shoulder, (yes, I trusted her completely) with Mame herself on the shoulders of a couple of dancers.  He grinned happily as the full orchestra blared forth, just a few yards in front of him, and he graciously greeted 'his public' back stage where he handed out pawtographes.   He had the time of his life.
One of the happiest days in my life came when I brought him into our own hard earned  home and turned him loose to run in a big, fully fenced back garden where he happily put the run on racoons and skunks.  Our Brave little Sheltie, Bobbie Lion Heart, had years to enjoy his kingdom, and he left such an impression on our hearts, that he made it impossible for us to be without a Sheltie or two . . . or three, or  . . .

Til next time,
The Dog Gallery on Etsy

Monday, August 10, 2015


When I was a young girl, I discovered the marvelous dog stories of Albert Payson Terhune.  I was enscorcelled!  In my imagination, I lived at Sunnybank and had a flock of beautiful Collies around me.  I made a life decision that someday, I would live in the country, work from home, and have multiple dogs, a cat or two, and a horse, just like it was at Sunnybank.  And of course I wanted Collies.  I begged, pleaded, and generally drove my parents crazy until I got my first, and to me, totally wonderful, Collie.   His name was Liberty Bell Black Gareth, and he was a very large and handsome Tricolour.  I was at the time, also deeply involved with reading about King Arthur and his Knights, and Sir Gareth was my favourite of them all.  So my dog had to have his name.

Gareth was patient, kind, and loved to have a job to do.  Every night, he would escort my Grandmother up the stairs to bed ( and she patiently allowed him to do so).  Then he would go about his "Butler Duties" as we called it.  He would very deliberately go around the house closing doors, the fireplace metal screen, and shoving in any drawers that might have carelessly been left partly open.  He took it upon himself to protect me during our walks, and not a single young man from the high school football team was allowed to speak to me as they passed us on their way to practice.  That did not particularly please me, but by that time I'd learned it was futile to argue with a Collie who had made up his mind.  He had a brief show career where he won a couple of minor ribbons, but I had so much fun that it didn't matter.  Gareth on the other hand, hated going into the ring, and the instant his paws hit the ring, he would pop up his carefully coaxed down ear, drop his head, slouch, and drag himself around the ring with a mournful look on his face, for the most part ignoring my hissed pleas to 'Straighten up for Heaven sakes!'  As I said, it was a very brief career.
Perhaps his strangest quirk was his love of Scotch.  I know, dogs should absolutely NOT have alcohol.  But this sweet Collie, who was kind, patient, and loving with all of us, and supposedly my very own dog, decided that he was really my Father's dog.  Every evening, the people who walked by our house and who often glanced in our big front window, were treated to the sight of a huge black Collie sitting in a chair beside the fireplace, apparently reading the newspaper and with a glass of Scotch by his side.  Gareth was so big that no one ever saw my father underneath and behind him, attempting to read his paper around Gareth and enjoy a pre dinner drink, but loving the dog too much to ask him to move.  And always, just before he got down, Gareth would lean over and take a little lap of the Scotch.  We came to understand "Eccentric" was his middle name. :D

We were so lucky to have him in our lives, and it never would have happened if not for Albert Payson Terhune.  And yes, I did eventually come to live in the country, on a little piece of land at the edge of a small village, where I work from home and have my flock of dogs, Shelties now, with the occasional rescue Collie, our cats, and until a few years ago, our lovely old Morgan.  Dreams do come true, especially Dog Dreams.

Til next time,
Cheers,    Heather 
*all photos and drawings are copyright of Heather Anderson.

Monday, July 27, 2015


        My Art and Home blog is back. It's been a while!

    This past year has had some challenges. I've been taking time to let life settle and get back to normal, but now, thank goodness, things are much calmer and I'm  delighted to be writing my blog again.  You can look for it probably every second Tuesday, but don't worry, I'll remind you. :)      If you are following me on Face Book, you won't miss a post!!  Today I thought it would be fun to go back to the beginning, when dogs first stole my heart.

                                      Liberty Bell Black Gareth

It Started With Dogs
    It actually started with any dog, cat or horse that crossed my path.  I wanted to hug and pet every single one, but cautious parents quickly thwarted that desire.  So the moment I could read, I chose books about them, and eventually a lovely Fate introduced me to Albert Payson Terhune's books.  That was it, I was in  love for life, and I began to plague my parents for a dog, and not just any dog, it had to be a Collie, just like Lad and Grey Dawn.  A cat and horse also figured  in my  perceived needs, but first I WANTED a dog.  . . . .. .. ....I wanted a Collie.                           When my parents decided that a dog of my own was not going to happen until I was older, and a cat and a horse were just NOT going to happen, I threw myself into drawing and painting them, so I had lots of pets, but they were all on paper.                                                                                    Eventually, as I entered my Teens, they broke down and allowed me to have the Collie I had been saving for, and a beautiful, quirky, totally wonderful Tricolour Collie came into my life.  But now my desire to draw and paint them better became a constant challenge, and eventually, as an adult who had already embarked unenthusiastically on a  teaching career, it  led me to Art School and a longed for career as an animal artist.                                                             I think I have the best job in the world!   Each morning I walk down the hall to my studio, accompanied by our Shelties and cats and I spend the day painting lovely animals. And yes, I did finally get my horse, and he was with us until he passed away at age 33, after spending 19 wonderful years with us.       
   In ensuing blogs, I will talk about the sometimes perilous joys of painting, life in the country, and about the animals I've known, my own and others that have made an impression on my heart, and I will post photos of them, and paintings in which they have been my models.  Many of these painting images can be found as small prints or note cards in my ETSY shop, THE DOG ART GALLERY.  I hope you will drop by  soon and have a look.                                                                                                                                       Til then, Take care, and Be Happy!                                                                                               Heather