Just her registered name will tell you she was old. The game show "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? " was popular when the litter hit the ground. Maggie was anything but my final answer! With Cosmo for a sire, she proved to have his more "energetic" traits... I was hoping she would have the line manners more like mom FC AFC Northwind Gale Force (Liddy). But, you get what you get and Maggie was a hellion right from the git-go!
My friend and training partner used to tease my wife for spoiling the puppy... Called her princess. I always called her prissy for her habit of almost prancing like a TN walking horse when she was happy.
I'll never forget the first derby I ran her in... Wild as a March hare... She placed... I was dumb and ran her some more... The next week she pinned 8 marks in the derby in Fairbanks... But, had a controlled break in every series! Judges called her back and I kept going to the line. And she kept breaking!
Never really got her under control... As far as trials go. She became an excellent waterfowl dog and would stare holes through the sky all day long. She would mark birds flying so far off that I couldn't see them at all. I'd have to wait... Eventually they would fly within my eyesight and we were in business. Maggie would get upset if nothing was flying and whine. More of a whimper, but it annoyed me to no end. She only did it if there was no action at all... But, she did it her whole life and I never stopped it no matter what.
I hunted at a duck club in western WA state. When I first joined the guys told me that any birds that fell across this particular creek into a flooded tangle of trees and brush were just lost. No dog had ever been able to recover birds in there according to them. There was a current and cripples would use it to their advantage. Well, Maggie was so tenacious in her desire to retrieve, that she made a living in that swampy tangle and by the end of our first season at that club had recovered many birds from that mess that otherwise had been lost in years past. Gave those guys a whole new perspective on dog work. She would not quit on a cripple, no matter how cold the water was or how much brush and trash was in the water.
I had many great memories hunting along the coast at the Nisqually NWR in WA. I understand it has changed now. But she retrieved many ducks and some geese there. For a small dog, she could fight the tides as good as any. Several times she swam all the way across the mouth of the Nisqually chasing cripples. Not exceedingly far, but heavy current and a good many sea lions swimming around... They never bothered the dogs...
Maggie could smell water. No matter what you were doing, she wanted to be in the water. Once, we were flying out of Anchorage in March. March in Anchorage is still winterish usually and in this occasion it was. Snow on the ground and ice on the lakes. I stopped next to Lake Hood to air her out before going in to the airport... Then I hear a big splash! I look around and she is paddling around in circles next to a float plane (ice melts around the planes first) with something resembling a grin on her face! She always did stuff like that when you were dressed for work or going out to dinner... Or to the airport! What's a little wet dog smell among friends anyway?
Four days ago she was going up and down the stairs at my house. Saturday she started acting uncomfortable and would not climb any stairs. Yesterday, I took her to the vet for a work up and X-rays. She's been on a kidney diet for over a year... So that has been borrowed time anyway to a certain extent. We knew her kidneys were failing. But we didn't know what the X-rays would reveal. This little 65 lb ball of fire that was unstoppable for almost 13 1/2 years, had been stopped like so many others, by cancer.
I brought her home with some pain pills so my wife could say goodbye... (And selfishly I wasn't quite ready to let go either). This morning when I asked her if she wanted to "go for a ride?", she wagged her tail and looked to the door. I'm really going to miss her. She can break all she wants now.