So Little Time….
“If All the Dogs On My Truck Had Half of Gavel’s Heart, I would be doing well”
“Gavel is the quintessential Labrador. He is just perfect.”
~ Harold Richardson, DVM~
While your adult size may have looked like you could keep Order what you really kept was “Fun”… you were my sense of humor. Gavel’ s world was a Happy Happy World. Whether it was gathering up shoes, playing ball, retrieving a bird, or eating a “sammich”, the world was a happy place. You were 6 ˝ weeks old when I flew to Virginia to pick you out…. But I had no choice in the matter, as you picked me. I sat on the ground and watched you and your brother run around…. And pretty soon, during one of your fly-bys, you climbed on my lap, kissed me, and off you went! So many smells, so little time!
Your dad, GMHR Kingston's Zulu Raider approving my puppy pick
We started your training. I got your through part of the yard, and through FF. Your nose was so strong, I trained you in parks and cemetaries until you were almost a year old. We worked to teach you to use your eyes! But what fun we had! We then went to Jim Van Engen’s seminar. We had been training by setting up chairs in the park with white coats on them. I would run out, throw the mark, run back and send you…. Gav was a puppy at the seminar, and the other dogs were far advanced over us. We were the demo dogs for how to do, or not do in our case, yard work. Then Gavel saw his first 250+ marks..... my park distance was 50-75 yards. His eyes were as big as saucers. I'll never forget how he did ins and outs, ran around water, etc, to get to the big mark on the hill - unschooled, but a natural marker. Gavel ended up staying with Jim for a bit, and then joined my dogs in Texas at Ridgeview Retrievers. After bringing my dogs back home, you spent some time with Paul Sletten, and became QAA’d at a 50 dog qualifying in Memphis! You then went to Andy Attar’s. You weren’t at Andy’s very long until I entered you in the Amateur at Mississippi Valley. While Andy felt it was a bit early, I entered you anyway, and you and I finished that AA stake together! And, that made you the first dog I ever finished an AA stake with. I will never forget how you front footed all those marks in the first series on some very difficult terrain at Busch Wildlife – here many nationals were held, and you made it look so easy!
You had some health issues along the way caused by a couple of accidents. You overcame all obstacles and continued to rise to the occasion. Then, just as you were starting to make it into the 4th series of opens on a frequent basis, you got colon cancer. So, after you had surgery, I decided to retire you. You owed me nothing, and only gave me Love in return. Needless to say, you loved being at home. As a puppy, you always brought me my shoes, never chewed. (Course, sometimes you wouldn’t bring me two alike, but you always thought it was more fun that way!) I would tell you what a great retriever you were. As an adult dog, if I wasn’t awake, you would place the shoes around me in bed, so when I woke up, I would tell you what a great retriever you were!
Your favorite pastime was to play ball. You could make someone’s arm fall off. And if I was working on the computer, you would ever so gently place the ball right above the keyboard on my laptop. Then you would look at me, look at the ball, look at me, look at the ball…. And tell me I only needed to throw it “just once.”
But now you have a cancer you can’t beat. And you are leaving the world with your tennis ball and your waggy tail. Time has gone way too quickly. I run into people from that Van Engen seminar, and they all remember Gav with a smile.... The way Gav feels life should be - happy and smiling.
So Heaven got a perfect one today… a big beautiful dog that never met a person or cat he didn’t like, never saw a shoe that didn’t need to carried, or a ball that didn’t need to be thrown, or a retrieve that didn’t need to be made. You can yawn loudly all you want in Heaven’s holding blind, pat your feet for the birds, and kiss all the cats.
Many thanks to all those who cared for and about him….. Dr Jeff Schuett (who I wish were wrong just one time), Lydia Fekula (who knows how to really make a “sammich”), Dr. Harold Richardson (who gave you back your feet to run on when they were chemically burned in a kennel accident) Dr. Mitch Robbins (who saved your life from colon cancer), Dr. Rhonda Feinmehl and Dr. Tiffany Leach (who did the best they could trying to give you more time with mom), Eryn, Kaitie, Thom and Auntie Mar Paker who has loved you like one of their own over the past 10+ years, and helped me feed you on days you didn’t feel like eating, and “Aunt” Lainee who gave me a wonderful drawing to always remember you by… (but how could I ever forget you?) and all of your other friends who have shed a tear with me today.
Love my boy, my Gavel, my Gav-Man…………… Always in My Heart. Love, Mom. (P.S. I know you realize you were one of my favorites).
Love you G-Man
The powerful you...