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About Our Family

Ours is not a large family. There are just the four of us. My wife Tamy, Lucky and Thunder our two Collies, and myself. Neither Tamy nor I ever had any children, and so we were a match made in heaven. Both of us are avid dog lovers, and our Collies are, to us, just like children. Each one has a distinct and individual personality of their own.

Our late Oscar, “The Big Schmooze” was the needy one. His sole focus in life was to be loved, held, and cuddled and to do what ever we ask of him. If I am on the couch, you can pretty well figure that Oscar would be laying there with his head in my lap. At 72 pounds, he’s a pretty large lap dog. We got Oscar, at the age of 14 months from a good friend of mine Dr. Jeff Abelt DVM.  Dr. Jeff and his wife Dr. Susan are veterinarians in Franklin, Tennessee http://www.leipersforkvets.com/Home.html who have been breeding award winning Collies since the early 80’s. Oscar was slated to be a show dog, when at the age of 14 months his bite went “off”. As a result Oscar could not be shown.  We were lucky because Tamy and I had just become “without kids” as a result of the passing of our two dogs, Shadow and Weaver, just a month before Oscar became available, and so we were able to adopt him. Oscar passed on peacefully in our den in the early morning hours of May 15, 2014. Oscar was 11 years and 9 months when he passed on. Oscar had been slowing down over the last 2 years of his life and we believe in the end his heart gave out.

Our late Atlas, was the “The Brain”. He was pretty much a thinker. He coould figure stuff out, and he figured out that I am the leader of the pack, so as a result he wanted to be beside “the Boss” all the time because that is a position of power in the pack. Atlas was also a water dog. Up at our lake cottage, we have about a half acre of fenced front yard that is only open along the 210 feet of shoreline. Being the “brainy” fellow that he is, Atlas figured out that if he swims out into the lake he can go around the end of the fence at the shoreline, to escape the fenced area, and take himself for a stroll around the neighborhood.  Collies have a natural propensity to roam, and so we have to keep a constant vigil to prevent them getting away.  We adopted Atlas through Minnesota Wisconsin Collie Rescue. http://mwcr.org   Tamy and I were very active with MWCR for about 5 years, helping to find new “forever homes” for Collies. Atlas likes to chase cars. His previous owner let him roam free and as a result, he was hit by a car. The previous owner was too poor to afford proper care for Atlas’ broken arm, and so poor Atlas was left to hobble, with his right forearm dangling, with a compound fracture, for 6 weeks before he was surrendered to MWCR.  MWCR sent Atlas to Dr. Abelt, whose specialty is veterinary orthopedics.  Fortunately, Dr. Abelt was able to prevent the amputation of Atlas’ forearm, by using a bone graft from Atlas' shoulder, and placing metal plates and screws in his arm. Today Atlas has a slight limp, but he can run and play with his brothers to a limited degree. In late November 2015 Atlas was diagnosed with lymphoma and on December 5, 2015 we humanely euthanized him to end his suffeing. Atlas was 13 years 2 months and 21days old when he died. Atlas and I were the best of buddies and I will miss him until the day I die. Atlas and I were attached at the hip. He was a happy-go-lucky fellow who's main goal in life was to be right by the side "his master"

Lucky “The Lucky One” was a Collie that was being fostered in MWCR by another member of our group who lived nearby. Lucky's foster parent needed to leave town and needed someone to take care of Lucky, so Tamy and I volunteered to take Lucky in. We don’t know much about Lucky’s background, except that he was an unclaimed stray at the Racine, Wisconsin shelter and his time was up. (Lucky was slated to be euthanized if not claimed)  The shelter contacted MWCR and he was saved at that last minute.  When Lucky came to live with us it was apparent right from the start that he had some fear issues. We placed him in our back yard and with the back door wide open, it took over an hour to coax him into the house using pieces of Oscar Meyer wieners. We later discovered that his fear extended into fear-aggression (which is probably why nobody claimed Lucky at the shelter) We suspect that Lucky was the victim of some abuse when he was a puppy and his natural defense mechanisms kicked in. After about a week in our home, Lucky was sitting on the couch next to me.  I reached up to pet his head, and he turned and bit me a good one. It was at that point we understood that Lucky was going to need a lot of re-socialization, love and understanding. A good friend of ours, PK Shader, a life long animal behaviorist, helped us immensely in the re-socialization of Lucky.  You can contact PK at  http://www.forloveofdogs.jigsy.com  With time and training Lucky became a model citizen of the dog world.  Because Lucky needed a lot of special attention over a prolonged period of time, and because we believed kicking Lucky out of our “pack” might bring back his fear behavior again, Tamy and I decided the best thing for Lucky was to adopt him and let him live with us in our “forever home” On April 17, 2017 Lucky passed away. He was 14 years 2 months old. For the last 2 years of Lucky's life he was afflicted with a progress disease that causes the slow degeneration of the nerves that control the muscles in the rears legs and other muscles in the back of his body. He eventualy became so weak that he could not stand any longer. It also became difficult for him to breath in the last couple days and was suffering so we called our vet and had Lucky put to sleep. Lucky was a mentor to Thunder (the collie below) during Thunder's first year of life. Lucky was a good older brother to Thunder and Thunder learned many valuable life lessons from Lucky. And they were great playmates together. We miss Lucky in a very special way because of the way he transformed himself from an unruley young brat, to a well socialized adult Collie who we were very proud of.

Our most recent collie is Thunder. After Atlas passed on, we contacted the lady that bred Atlas, to inform her of Atlas' passing. A few months later she called us to let us know that she just had a litter of puppies, asking us if we were interested in one. So Tamy and I drove our Corvette from Milwaukee to Grande Junction Colorado and brought little Thunder home with us. This photo of Thunder is taken in December 2016 at the age of 10 months. He's a very smart dog, and full of high energy. We wonder if there is some Boarder Collie mixed into his blood line in some far back generation. He has beautiful conformation, and has the most perfect ears of any collie we have had thus far.

Last, but not least, is my dear wife Tamy. She's the best thing that ever happened to me. After my first wife left me, I was separated for 7 years, during which time I tried to salvage my first marriage. It was not to be and in 1992 we divorced. At that point I started dating again.  Man, what a culture shock. I dated a number of ladies, and once again ended up with another broken heart, from one of them. Then, through a stroke of luck, a long time customer of my beauty supply company, gave my business card to a young lady who was working for her husband in his freight forwarding firm. That young lady was Tamy. After some prodding by her boss, Tamy picked up the phone and called me.  We went out on a blind date, and had a wonderful evening together.  We went to a movie and then talked for hours in a secluded booth having a pizza at Dino’s pizza parlor. Next day I woke up with a bad cold, and after a week, because I was so sick, I still had not called Tamy back.  So Tamy called my office, and found out from my secretary, that I was very ill.  A few hours later Tamy showed up at my office with HOME MADE CHICKEN SOUP. We have been inseparable ever since. It’s a match that was made in heaven.  We dated for three years, during which time we traveled extensively to many events in our Corvette, and spent many fun times with fellow members of The Wisconsin Corvette Club. http://www.wisconsincorvetteclub.com  

Tamy and I married, July 18, 1997 at the annual convention of the National Council of Corvette Clubs, which was held in Cleveland, OH that year.  After that we went on a two week honeymoon sight-seeing along the east coast, and of course we stopped at Niagara Falls on the way back home. With Tamy by my side “Life Is Good”.

Shortly after getting married, Tamy and I realized that we both had a dream to have a lake cottage. So in the early spring of 1998 we started traveling to the Great Northwoods of Wisconsin looking for a bit of heaven that we could call our own. We searched in vain until early fall when we finally found the perfect place. It is located in northern Vilas county, on Rock Lake, In Winchester Township, just below the Wisconsin/Michigan state line. It's 286 miles from hour home in Whitefish Bay, Wi. The trip takes about 5 hours, and of course our Collies just love being up at the lake. If you have the Google Earth program installed on your computer you can see a satellite view of our little bit of heaven by clicking on this link.