Join Our Community of Dog Lovers

Champion of My Heart is an award-winning dog blog. We've created many important resources that people from all over the world continue to access. Like this post? Get an email alert when new content goes live by subscribing. Plus, look for info on sales and bonus discounts from our affiliates.

Subscribe !

Category Archives for Puppy Pix

Happy Gotcha Day to the Best Puppy on the Planet, Clover Lee Hawn

Sunday, September 13, we’ll celebrate the first anniversary of Clover’s adoption from Blue Ridge Border Collie Rescue. It took fate and many major feats to get her from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Plans for festivities this weekend remain in the planning stages, but I’ll bake canine cupcakes, probably take her on a hike, and otherwise spend the entire day marking the occasion (as if we aren’t always in constant awe of just how blessed we are to be raising this incredible puppy). Let’s begin the party with this 2-minute video slideshow commemorating our first year together. (Video also embedded below.)

Continue reading

Look Before You Leap – Dangers to Enthusiastic Dogs

Now that Clover is a year old and demonstrating more maturity, we’re giving her a bit more SUPERVISED independence — like letting her run around a little bit in our front pastures. This independence nearly landed her in the Emergency Room over the weekend. I’m still astounded she didn’t get hurt. When you see the photos, you’ll understand.

Continue reading

Happy 1st Birthday, Clover

Even though we adopted Clover out of rescue, thanks to her Origin Story, we know today is her 1st birthday. Her actual birthday — not just a day we picked as such. I had big plans for doing a fancy birthday video, showing the best photos from the last 8 months and maybe some video clips of her best tricks, but I’ve been so busy trying to finish the book, that I ran out of time. So … enjoy these 5 favorite photos from last weekend, when we began gearing up for Clover’s very special 1st birthday (along with a photo from the day we met)!

Happy Birthday, Clover Lee Hawn. Your momma LOVES you!

Continue reading

Check Out (Yes, this is #sponsored.)

When our new border collie puppy Clover arrived in September 2014, we hadn’t had a true puppy-puppy in the house since Ginko … way back in summer 2000. A lot has changed since then, so I’ve been busy catching up with all the latest thinking on what’s what when it comes to puppies and training and other topics (such as when to spay or neuter). Plus, it’s easy to forget all the ways a puppy can make you worry. I certainly have some strongly held opinions, but I like to think that I’m open to other / newer ideas as well. If you or someone you know recently brought a puppy home, I humbly submit the new site created by Purina Puppy Chow as a starting point for all things puppy — puppy planning, health, nutrition, behavior, training and such.

And, yes, this post is sponsored by our friends at Purina Puppy Chow. (More on that below.)

Continue reading

Happy 15th Birthday, Ginko!

For a large breed dog, 15 is downright ancient. It has always been our goal for Ginko, though. He is officially the oldest dog I’ve ever had. With 3 potentially fatal health conditions, our time with him could be short. Or not. Today? We simply celebrate our handsome, sweet, goofy Old Man! Happy birthday, buddy. Here are 8 GREAT photos of Ginko! Continue reading

The Future is So Bright — I Need a Nap

So, here’s the thing. I’m tired. Really tired — between working, raising a puppy, caring for a geriatric dog (which means we see 2 am, 3 am, and 4 am quite a bit), and lingering grief. If I could, I’d take a long nap every day. I can’t, though, so I do the most with each day’s top-top-top priorities, and I tell myself it’s “enough.” Otherwise, I’d work too much, neglect my family, and never sleep. That leaves the blog, which I really would like to continue, and the book, which I really need to finish, in a state of limbo. I’m trying, kids. I really am.

Continue reading

Clover’s Story – Puppy Goes WEST!

Puppy COMES HOME! This is post #5 of 5 in the story of adopting a border collie puppy from 1,600 miles away >>>> The puppy’s journey home began Friday, September 12, when Dr. Beth and Beth met halfway between Beth’s dairy farm in Virginia and Dr. Beth’s home near Washington, DC. They sent me photos so that I knew the handoff was complete.

puppy transport, border collie puppy

Our little sweetheart spent Friday night with Dr. Beth and her puppies.

border collie puppy, dog blog, champion of my heart

Then she had an early adventure Saturday morning with Dr. Beth, Teresa and Mark who brought her to the cargo facility two hours before the flight. They called me at about 5:30 am my time to let me know she was now in the airline’s possession. As I told them, “I won’t be sleeping anyway, so please call.”

I was a nervous wreck, but I tried to be brave. Everything else had worked out. It had all fallen into place. Surely, the flight would be uneventful. Surely, I told myself.

We watched the flight’s status and progress online and left our house about an hour before it landed. We parked in the “cell phone lot” at Denver International Airport and waited for news from Teresa and Mark.

They texted us when they landed, and they texted us when they were on the curb. We drove through the passenger pick-up area to get them, then all four of us drove to the nearby cargo facility to get our puppy.

As we signed the final paperwork, Tom and Mark could see her through the window in the door. She was hollering. Barking, barking, barking.

We carefully cut the zip ties that held her special airline crate closed, and I quickly fitted her into a puppy harness and leash. After her long day and long journey, I was NOT going to be the girl on the news whose puppy got loose on airport property.

Having to be at the cargo facility two hours before her flight, plus a long direct flight, and another hour getting from the plane to the cargo facility, our little sweetie had been crated for like 6-7 hours. At just 15 weeks old and with a UTI, we were worried, but she was dry on arrival. No accidents at all. Good puppy!

While the others gathered her things, I picked her up,
held her cheek to my cheek, her body to my heart,
and whispered my thanks to her
over and over again
for being so brave.

She traveled all that way and seemed entirely unfazed. I carried her to a nearby patch of weeds and set her down. We walked around just a little bit, and she happily peed. It was such a relief, for both of us, I think.

We loaded her back into her crate in the back of the 4Runner with a frozen puppy Kong, on top of Teresa and Mark’s luggage. Teresa took this photo in the car and immediately texted it to Dr. Beth and Beth, while I called them both to say she had ARRIVED SAFELY!!!!

border collie puppy, dog blog, champion of my heart

We then drove Teresa and Mark to pick up their rental car. That’s where Tom took this first photo of me and Clover. (We could have had someone shoot video of our first moments together. We chose NOT to.)

border collie puppy dog blog, champion of my heart

After expressing our thanks to Teresa and Mark that will never fully convey our gratitude for their help, we began the hour-long drive home from the airport.

That, friends, is the story of Clover’s arrival. MUCH has happened since this happy, Happy, HAPPY day in September. I promise to answer all the BIG questions people often ask us soon!

By the way, Clover is 6 months old today!!!

Happy Thanksgiving. We’re so grateful for your enthusiasm and interest in the new canine heroine of Champion of My Heart.

If you missed the earlier parts of the story, here are links:

Clover’s Story – Told in 5 Parts

Clover’s Story – Puppy Adoption Across 1,600 Miles

Clover’s Story – Hello, Fate!

Clover’s Story – Like Planning Military Black Ops

Clover’s Story – Puppy Goes WEST!

Clover’s Story – Like Planning Military Black Ops

More of the story!!! Post #4 of 5 about how we managed to do a border collie puppy adoption from nearly 1,600 miles away. For all the fate and destiny, we experienced some glitches as well. At various turns, we worried the adoption would fall through:

  • The puppy was diagnosed with a urinary tract infection Saturday, September 6, which put her ability to travel in question. (It’s also a medical saga that’s ongoing.)
  • Thanks to good food and lots of love, the puppy grew too much and was no longer technically small enough to fly in the cabin of an airplane.
  • If you’ve never done it, all I can say is that flying a puppy requires all manner of documentation and long lists of rules and regulations.

The idea of me flying to Virginia to get the puppy went away almost immediately. Once Dr. Beth spoke to our veterinarian, it got clear real fast that the puppy would fly to us – one way or another.

The next plan involved us paying for a plane ticket so that Dr. Beth could fly with the puppy to Colorado. With less than a week between our adoption approval and our hoped arrival date, the airfares were absurd. Truly absurd – jumping like $400 between Saturday night and Sunday morning, when we started looking at dates and times in earnest.

No joke. It totaled something like $1,500, but I was willing to do it, if it was the only way. I planned to dip into the money I inherited when my mom died, if necessary.

We toyed with the idea that Dr. Beth’s veterinary status might afford the puppy some size leeway about getting to ride in the cabin, but at nearly 15 weeks old, and growing like a weed, we figured out that just wasn’t going to happen. She was just too big already to fit in a carrier that could fit under the airplane seat.

That meant she would have to fly in cargo. Something I swore I would never do.

Then, a new plan arose that ruined Dr. Beth’s chances of getting a free trip to Colorado to visit her friend (our vet) while bringing us the puppy.

You see, a couple of Dr. Beth’s clients come to Colorado every few months, and they were ALREADY BOOKED on the flight we were trying to get Dr. Beth and the puppy on to. Funny enough, their names are Teresa and Mark (which are my siblings’ names too). Hello again, fate!

Suddenly, our puppy had guardians in the air willing to help shepherd her across the country. Yes, she would still be in cargo, but at least there would be two people on the plane who knew she was in cargo and who could speak for her needs, if the plane got diverted or something.

I won’t bog you down on all the planning, documentation (health certificates and such to allow the puppy to cross state lines), and logistics required. It was a lot. Many calls and emails between the various players. Lots of calls to the airline (some staff more helpful than others). An absurd number of details in Virginia and in Colorado to arrange.

Tom said it sounded like I was planning military “black ops.”

What kept me going were daily updates and photos from Beth of our puppy-girl. Beth even sent us a few videos, but they came as private messages on Facebook, and for the life of me I cannot figure out how to export them to share.

border collie puppy, dog blog, champion of my heart

border collie puppy, dog blog, champion of my heart

border collie puppy, dog blog, champion of my heart

It was a roller coaster of a week with all that plus getting the house ready for a new puppy. Again, an understatement. Remember our plan for having a new fence configuration for our next generation of dogs? Yeah … Tom did some serious speed-fencing. He got all the posts in before the puppy arrived, but he finished the fencing itself her first weekend home.

Together, we also hand-scrubbed (no kidding, on our hands and knees) every inch of tile in the house with enzymatic pet cleaner. We did a good job cleaning up all of Lilly’s accidents due to incontinence (and Ginko’s issues now too), but we knew that any lingering smells would do us NO good as we worked to housetrain a puppy. So, we scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed. And, we puppy-proofed the house, room by room. It was a ton of work in just a few days.

I could hardly eat or sleep, and trying to get any work-work done was a challenge.

Tomorrow … the final part in the story of the 10 days between when I saw Clover’s adoption profile and her arrival at home.



If you missed the earlier parts of the story, here are links:

Clover’s Story – Told in 5 Parts

Clover’s Story – Puppy Adoption Across 1,600 Miles

Clover’s Story – Hello, Fate!