My condolences to Vicki Worthington and Dave Sniegowski on the loss of Worth-It's Yosemite Sam this past Friday. Sam was a product of a breeding between Jim Dorobek's FC AFC Cornerstone Wizard of Oz and my FC AFC Hardlabors Do It Nikki, MH. Oz was in the midst of his awesome 100+ point career when Vicki asked Jim about any upcoming litters sired by Oz. Jim directed her to me, and since she was familiar with Nikki's breeding (we were running Quals at the time), she purchased Sam.
Sam began his field trial career with Pat Burns and Merry Lake at Esprit Kennels, where he finished out his Derby career with 17 points. He became qualified all age by winning a Q that fall - the same weekend and trial where Nikki won her first Open. What a photo opportunity!
Sam later moved to Joe Harp and Scott Harp's Twin Oak Kennels, where he won the first Open they handled him in. One of my favorite photos published in the field trial news was taken following Nikki's Open win with Joe the next weekend -- it depicts son and son (Scott with Sam) and father and mother (Joe with Nikki) with back to back Open wins. Vicki later won an Amateur with Sam.
Unfortunately, health issues cut short Sam's field trial career, and he was retired as Dave and Vicki's house dog, and on occasion, Dave's pheasant hunting dog.
I was fortunate to see Sam the last two weekends of his life, the first during a training trip where I met up with Vicki at their property in Michigan, then the next weekend over the long 4th of July holiday when Vicki came out my way while Dave was recuperating and catching up on his work following his gunning assignment at the National Amateur. Sam was definitely struggling even more so then and had slowed down considerably.
On Sunday prior to Vicki leaving for Illinois, I captured photos of Nikki (still alive!) and Sam lying together under a shade tree while they watch us run some water blinds in my back field. Vicki -- I promise I will get you copies as soon as I have the heart to look at them again.
Sam passed away in his sleep last Friday evening. According to Vicki, he struggled all day. He had been to the vet earlier in the week, and they could not find anything definitely wrong with him. His big heart must have just given out. Sam occasionally spent time at my place when Vicki and Dave were out of town, and I have always had a very soft place in my heart for him. He will be missed.
Sam was just a good guy . . . .