The Sunnybank Collies
Albert Payson Terhune owned Sunnybank Kennels in the early 1900’s. He loved the nature and the attributes of the Collie breed. As an author, he wrote many books and stories about his beloved dogs. The many tales of loyalty, intelligence, nobleness and wisdom of these dogs entertained his readers. He was loyal and passionate to the Collie breed. It seems they were loyal to him as well.
Each year at an event called the Gathering, Collies and their owners gather at the Terhune-Sunnybank Park, in Wayne, New Jersey, to participate in many events. Seminars and training are offered, as well as a puppy matching each year. There is also an event that is called the virtual puppy match where each puppy is judged on their best feature to put together the perfect collie. It’s fun for owners as well as puppies.
The actual house is no longer there but there is the opportunity for all collies and their owners to share their history at The Gathering.
Many of our modern day Collies have the Sunnybank line in their pedigree. The Sunnybank dogs have contributed some very positive traits to the breed. This event is sponsored by the Collie Health Foundation. It will be held on August 21 – 22, 2010. The website, www.sunnybankcollies.us, offers many links you can follow.
Sunnybank was the family’s summer home and became Terhune’s permanent home in the early 1900’s. His estate, Sunnybank, is currently maintained as Terhune-Sunnybank Park. It is open to the public and visitors can visit the graves of many of the dogs mentioned in Terhune’s works and view a collection of Terhune’s books and dog awards at the Van Riper-Hopper Historic House Museum. Historical and family items from the Terhune home, “The Place,” can be found at the Pompton Lakes Historical Museum. Many of these books were in our own libraries as children. It brings to life many of the dogs represented in The Place.
Included is an excerpt from Terhune’s book Wolf: “There is a fire-blue little lake in the North Jersey hinterland; with soft green hills that encircle it as though they loved it. On its eastern shore, facing the sunset across the water, a point of sloping land runs out; a point that is a hillside lawn, girdled by gnarled and mighty oak trees, more than two hundred years old.
On a plateau framed in giant oaks, above the Point, is an old rambling vine-clad gray stucco house, red-roofed and trimmed with black-brown timbers. Behind the house and behind the barns which lie in a hollow a hundred yards from it, the oak-grove hillside rises gently again, for a furlong, with the driveway winding through it; until it ends in the stone wall that borders the highroad. Beyond the wall and the road stretch anew the meadows and the woodlands of The Place, with the mountain forests behind them.
Here, with the Mistress and the Master whose chum he was, dwelt Sunnybank Lad; glorious mahogany-and-snow collie, whose eyes had a soul back of them.
Here Lad lived out his sixteen years of staunch hero-life and of d’Artagnan-like adventure. Here he died, in the fullness of serene old age. Here he sleeps, near the house he loved and guarded.”
The Sunnybank Collies