love for collies
author, historian shares
her enthusiasm for famous collie
showcase stars from Lassie TV show
Lela Jane Bradshaw
(July 2008) When Karen Pfeiffer of Colliehaven
Ventures LLC placed the winning bid for a rare Lassie collectible, she
knew she was adding a unique item to her already impressive collection
of Lassie and collie memorabilia.
by Lela Bradshaw
Pfeiffer has turned her
devotion to collies into a business.
What she didnt know was that the auction would lead
her to a friendship with two of the people most responsible for the
beloved television series.
After winning the auction for a book stand used in stores to advertise
a book on the history of Lassie, Pfeiffer learned that the sellers were
Jon Provost the actor famous for playing Timmy from 1957-1964
and his wife. This chance encounter was especially fortunate
since Pfeiffer was working on a book on Lassie collectibles and had
until then been unable to contact Provost to get him involved with the
I had wanted to write the book, and I wanted Jon Provost to write
the foreword. We started e-mailing and he said he would love to do it,
Through Provost, she was introduced to dog trainer Bob Weatherwax, who
assisted on 360 episodes of the Lassie television series
and who bred and trained the two most recent dogs to portray the beloved
Pfeiffer, 52, of Hanover, Ind., is in the early stages of setting up
a 2009 event that will bring the famous stars to Indianapolis. Working
in association with an area collie club, the event will feature trainer
Weatherwax, actor Provost, and the current Lassie. Lassie fans and dog
lovers will have the opportunity to hear more about the classic television
series and learn about dog training techniques used for the movies.
Colliehaven Ventures LLC began in 1996 as Colliehaven Kennels, but Pfeiffers
love of collies and Lassie stretches back to her childhood. Growing
up, most of my dogs were collies and collie mixes. Lassie was my main
incentive, she fondly recalls.
Colliehaven initially served as a collie breeding and rescue operation,
but now Pfeiffer is focusing her efforts on writing and Lassie history.
Pfeiffer has shared her knowledge of the famous collie by serving as
a consultant to Animal Planet specials and the Maryland
ASPCA Annual Awards Program. She works with Provost and Weatherwax setting
up appearances for the Hollywood stars, giving old and new fans a chance
to meet those who knew Lassie best.
Pfeiffer also helps those interested in connecting to the magic of Lassie
through her books. I was collecting Lassie, but there was no book
to go back to, says Pfeiffer.
In order to fill in the blanks for fellow collectors, she worked for
six years compiling the research and photographs for The Legacy
of Lassie. Pfeiffers personal collection of approximately
1,200 Lassie and collie pieces, including the wall phone used as part
of the set from the Lassie series, provided the basis for the collectors
guide. The 343-page book includes pictures and market values for items
ranging from Lassie related books and toys to star autographs and movie
A new edition with color photographs and information on other collectors
is currently in the works. Pfeiffer encourages those interested in Lassie
to get involved in collecting saying, The research and hunt is
fun. Its amazing how many collectors are out there.
Pfeiffer is presently completing her latest book, The Romance
of the Collie, and expects it to be available next year. She describes
the upcoming collection of stories as a nonfiction work that I
think people will enjoy even if they dont have collies, dog lovers
can enjoy it.
The book showcases a variety of dogs that exemplify the collie breed
traits of love and loyalty toward family. One of the stories tells of
an elderly couple from Anderson, Indiana whose collie, appropriately
named Lassie, saved them from a house fire. The book features a forward
by Weatherwax and includes information on the dogs who have played Lassie
on television and in the movies.
As new generations continue to discover Lassie, Colliehaven Ventures
LLC is sure to help these new fans appreciate the history of this special
dog. At one home in Hanover, the magic of Lassie is alive and well.
For more information on collie dogs and
Lassie memorabilia, visit www.colliehaven.net.
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