Sunny Shelties

Rainbow Bridge

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. 

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. 
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. 
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable. 

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. 
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind. 

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster. 

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart. 

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together.... 

-Author Unknown 



It is with the heaviest of hearts that I add my sweet Sunny Bear to this page. The world got a little darker when we lost our Sunshine. Sunny was the best dog and aptly named since she so brightened our lives.

Sunny was an excellent example of the versatility of the breed. She won 3 State champion titles in 4H obedience. At the county level she was champion in obedience 7 times, agility 3 times, and rally obedience once (she only competed once). She also earned many reserve champion ribbons. Later, she helped me teach numerous classes of 4Hers as an example dog. Sunny would down stay off leash in the middle or side of the ring until I needed her to show the kids a technique or sometimes Sunny would even act as a post for the students to heel figure 8's around. She was perfect and never budged even when another class had a dog get loose and literally jump over Sunny, she stayed where she was supposed to be and didn't even sit up.


Sunny was a highly intelligent dog who knew over 50 verbal commands and 30 hand signals. Including numerous tricks such as: bow, wave, crawl, beg, wave, play dead, roll over. She could fetch items based on their names (hats, gloves, balls, etc.), and she even read several words. She had a gentle, loving temperament and lived to please her family. Fortunately she passed these traits on to her pups.


 At 6 months old when most pups are still learning manners, Sunny was heeling perfectly off leash in busy neighborhoods, the only time she would waver was when a pit bull would run toward us on his chain and Sunny would move to heel on my other side until we were out of sight. Sunny went trick-or-treating. In the car she waved at bank tellers after one gave her a treat.  She loved fruit especially apples and would drool when she smelled them. She once went a day and a half without eating because we raised dish 6 inches off the ground but she though that food "on tables" is off limits to dogs. Tug games and retrievals we her favorite and caught frisbees with her paws. She loved to be brushed and blow dried but when I trimmed her nails she would close her eyes and turn her head away like she couldn't bear to watch. You could let her out without a fence, even in town, and never worry she would stray. She helped us garden and do yard work and when we moved to the country she "helped" build fences and clean stalls, always by your side but never in the way. She loved everyone and knew all of her family members by name. She was great with other animals from horses to newly hatched baby chicks, there wasn't a mean bone in her body. I could go on forever. Sunny was the best dog that has ever lived. There are places on the couch, on my bed, in my heart and by my side that are now strangely empty. She was more than just a dog, she was a friend and a family member. She will always be loved and never forgotten or replaced. 


"Gulstad's Golden Sunshine" will live on forever in our hearts and and in our stories as well as through her pups. Rest easy Sunny Bear you were such a good girl.


Pony was one of the world's best dogs. He pulled kids on sleds and rollerblades. He played tag like a pro. He was a master at hide-and-seek. And he made a great pillow. When he wanted to go outside Pony would seek out a buddy and whisper the word "out" in a little huff of breath. His favorite past time was to lay outside in the garden and smell the flowers. 

We lost Pony at the terribly young age of nine. He was always a healthy dog but had an adverse reaction to prednisone which severely ulcerated his stomach. The worst part was his original condition was a simple infection that should have cleared up easily. After a late night visit to an emergency clinic and several days of hospitalization the decision was made to relieve his suffering. The house has felt empty ever since.

His legacy lives on through his offspring. His daughter Sunny, has many of the traits that we loved about Pony. From his loyalty, even temperament, and trainability to the funny little grunts of pleasure that she makes when you scratch her back, Sunny resembles her father in innumerable ways.


Pony with his daughter Sunny (age 8 weeks) 



Rain at 13 years old 

Rain was our first sheltie. She was from lines of working shelties and was actually born in a barn on a sheep farm. She used to herd kids in the backyard and was terrible at playing fetch. She would run to the ball but instead of returning it she would either circle it like she was trying to herd it back, or she would lie down and bark at it. She was a clever little dog and on one camping trip she learned how to unzip the tent - something she never forgot, unfortunately.

Rain was our drama queen, at a young age she realized that limping = sympathy. The words "poor Rain" would cause her to lower her head and limp on one of her front legs - of course after a few steps the "injured" leg would change and she would limp on the other. One of her other idiosyncrasies was her trick behavior. If you told her to sit she would, but if you didn't reward her immediately she would skip to the finale and roll over on her back to play dead. It confused many of our visitors when they would pick up food and Rain would immediately tip over onto her back.

Rain was our little guardian and protector of the human "flock".  She kept tabs on everybody and if a member of the family was missing, she would lay by the front door waiting for their return. After the first kid went to college Rain kept a constant vigil at the door waiting for her to come home. As she got older, we made her a comfy dog bed, but she wouldn't sleep on it unless it was directly in front of the door - so we made a truce and purchased her a thick doormat.

We lost Rain at age 13. She had a stroke and lost the function of her left side on a friday morning. She hung on just long enough for me to make it back from college to say goodbye before she went to rainbow bridge. She will always be missed, but we know she's waiting for her flock by the front door to heaven.

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