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A Gathering of Collies – Virtues and Tradition

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356 – November/December, 2017

by Joan Harrigan

Much has been written about what is wrong in purebred dogs today, so it is a pleasure to find an event that embodies the fellowship, tradition, and simple joy that is the best of our sport. Since 1997, collie fanciers have celebrated their breed at an annual “Gathering” in August. This is not the Collie Club of America Nationals, though it draws entries and attendance from all over the country. Hosted by the Collie Health Foundation (CHF) and the Collie Club of Northern New Jersey, the Gathering is a major CHF fundraiser, as well as a chance for collie breeders and owners to get together for match shows, education, Canine Good Citizenship and therapy dog testing — and friendship.

This year’s Gathering, on August 19 and 20 in Wayne, N.J., was the 21st. Originally, Alexander “Sandy” Draper, hosted the Gathering at his Cyn-San kennels in New York. When Draper passed away in 2008, the Gathering moved to the breed’s spiritual home — Sunnybank, the estate of the late author and collie breeder, Albert Payson Terhune.

Few breeds have the geographic center that collies do. Ask a collie person (or a Sheltie fancier, for that matter), why they were drawn to their breed, and almost inevitably, they mention Terhune’s books.

One Man’s Legacy

Albert Payson Terhune was born in 1872 and died in 1942. He was a journalist, author, outdoorsman, and dog fancier who began writing about his collies at the urging of Redbook editor Ray Long. Terhune lived most of his life at Sunnybank, an estate built by his parents on Pompton Lake in northern New Jersey. Lad: A Dog, published in 1919, was a collection of stories about the first of his collies; its popularity led to a long series of books about the Sunnybank collies, as well as novels featuring collies whose adventures were based on Terhune’s observations of canine behavior. These dog stories made him one of the top-selling writers of his time and greatly helped to popularize the breed in the U.S.

Click here to read the complete article
356 – November/December, 2017

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