I had a hard time sleeping last night thinking about Mootsie. In part because of my grief. In larger part because of all of the great memories of Mootsie that were flooding over me.
This morning, as I was going on my morning walk, obedience, and marking session with Dicca, who is about to turn six months, I had some time to reflect on the cycle of life.
First, isn't it a pity that it takes the loss of a loved one for us to reflect on what is meaningful in life? We get swept up in work, debates about entry limits - you name it. Our day to day concerns take us away from those things that bring a smile to our faces. Like watching Dicca tear across the field for her hand thrown marks, fully pleased with herself. I need to take more joy in those simple pleasures every day.
Second, isn't it great how friends and strangers reach out to you? All day long I have been fielding phone calls, texts, emails, and PM's from friends. And the out pouring of support on RTF has been great. All of us recognize how fleeting our dogs' lives are, how important they are to our lives, and the sadness that comes with their passing. And so we reach out to people we have never met in person. Both friends and strangers, I thank you all. Kindness is a great salve.
Third, as I sit at my desk looking at Molly's photos of Mootsie from the 2011 National Amateur in Klamath Falls, I think about some of the great memories I have of Mootsie:
Some National memories
- At the 2003 National Am, in which Zowie was a finalist, Cherylon working between series on Mootsie's water forcing. That was Cherylon, never resting, always working to get her dogs better.
- At the 2010 National Am, Mootsie and I in the holding blind, the best seat in the house, watching Pete Hayes and Buster, smoke the 9th series on the way to their win.
- At the side of the road at the 2011 National Am, when I rolled my truck, opened the crate door to see Mootsie staring at me with a "what the hell was that look" on her face
- Driving with Pete and Buster, who rescued Mootsie, me, and my puppy to the rental car agency. Pete amazed I was unhurt, me laughing about my good fortune.
- Checking into the La Quinta in Casper, and getting a room with two queen beds. Putting Mootsie on one bed (she was too restless to sleep with), getting in the other, and waking in the middle of the night with Mootsie pushing me out of my bed.
- Having to pet Mootsie at night (I put an inflatable bed on the floor) until she was willing to go to sleep
- Driving down the road with Mootsie standing on the console, so she could be close to me
- Mootsie stealing sandwiches, cookies, and crackers from unsuspecting victims. If someone new came to train with us, and we forgot to warn them, Mootsie would be in their cars or chairs in an instant - and they would be without lunch.
- When I wasn't training, everyone in the group got to drive Mootsie - Ed, Lainee, whomever. Hell, even Mike Baker got to run her. Mootsie could make a bad handler look good, and a good handler look great. She was that good on the line.
- Mootsie hunting bumpers with disdain. She really hated bumpers on marks. But because she was so good on short birds, we threw her bumpers instead of birds to make her work for her keep. She would find the bumpers, and make a circle or two before she would deign to return with one.
Mootsie had a very distinctive, irritating and piercing bark. I can remember walking 200 yards from the truck to the line in the Open, listening to her bark, hearing the judge say "what the hell is that?", and looking for a rock to crawl underneath.
I'm certain more memories of Mootsie will pop up, and I'll smile when they do.
Mootsie really was special. Not because of what she did in competition, but because of who she was.
Thanks again for all the kind thoughts.
I know each of you have your own Mootsie - a special dog with a special place in your heart.
What a wonderful thing for each of us to cherish