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This quote has helped me a little so I added it to a photo of my Jill that I always thought showed God looking down on her. I always felt the closest to God sitting in a duck blind with Jill.

 

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I got you at 6 weeks old and you slept on my chest/neck for the first few weeks. I had you for 9 wonderful years where you proceeded to sit in my lap any time you pleased. You were my first purebred dog. I know I did things wrong with you as we were learning together but I wouldn't trade any amount of our time together for anything. I love and miss you so much my Big Girl! RIP Zoe.
 

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View attachment 18949

Here's my first chessie that I ever owned. She was a great friend and hunter. Didn't matter what it was, if I asked her to fetch it, she would. Very loving, yet protective of me and my family. My daughters were like her puppies, which she never had any. But she was very motherly to my girls. I miss her very much. Fetch 'em up Sugar!!!
 

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Wow - what a thread! What a feeling of brother(and sister)hood to see so many of my own emotions reflected on the screen. My most genuine and heartfelt condolences to you all. Similarly to some others, I joined this forum because of this thread. I lost my yellow female "Ruby" to osteosarcoma at 9 years old earlier this year. I just got a new pup, but that's an introduction to make in another thread. For now, I'd like to share some of what I wrote previously. On the day that I found out, I felt the need to write, and poured out the following:

How could this be? When I look at you now, 90 pounds of muscle and Fundy-proof fur, led at one end by your big block head bearing an infallible nose, wise brown eyes and impossibly soft ears. Bringing up the rear is that thick ever-thumping rudder of a tail. Yet inside that muscular shoulder, just infront of your strongly beating heart-of-a-lion, it's eating you, they tell me. And it's eating you fast.

This was not the outcome that I expected when I brought you to him yesterday. I was so sure. A limp in that same dodgy shoulder - surely just those problematic tendons flared up again? No problem, I thought ,cortisone injections and a month of leash-rest and you'll be good as new. Well, good as any "new" 9 year old lab can be. In my mind’s eye I had you sitting in my canoe a month from now, as we paddled up the meadow to the portage trail where you'd be trotting along ahead of me. Once in a while I'd tilt the canoe up to see you looking back, checking on me to make sure that I was still coming. I can see you now at the top of every steep rise, between the huge mossy rocks, looking down at me with a panting smile as I stumble my way up, panting and smiling a little myself.

So when the vet looked your over and you yelped and flattened your ears at his gentle touch, the furrow in his brow was not lost on me. My stomach did a little flipflop when he said that he wanted to do a quick x-ray before proceeding with the cortisone injections. I don't understand - you can’t SEE tendons on x-rays, can you? Oh well, nomatter, it's only money and nothing is too good for my Fur Kid. I went along to help the techs to get you comfortably and calmly onto the x-ray table. You were compliant as usual, as I nuzzled my face against yours while they positioned you for an image of the offending joint. I looked up and we watched the magic of the digital x-ray slowly appear on the screen. And then we were quiet. Even my untrained eye could see it plain as day - a matrix of honeycomb throughout the top of your humerus. When the vet was called to look, and he said quietly, 'Come with me'. No 'flipflop' this time - more like a punch in the guts.

I follow him and we sit. And the news hits me. Hard. And as he keeps talking, and I keep asking, it keeps hitting, as each tendril of hope snaps and rocks me back in my chair. In the silence that follows, I am left with very little to cling to. I have a few palliative drugs to try to make you comfortable. I have the looming knowledge that it will be up me to understand, and to listen to you, when you need me to bring you back here for the last time. And I have the knowledge that that day will be soon. All that I can give you is the promise, because while you owe me nothing, I owe you everything, that I will help you.

Back home, we move a bed downstairs so that we can live together on one floor, respecting the fact that you've always preferred to be within a few feet of my ankles at any time, and that the stairs, like our steep portage to the trout lake, are now off limits for you.

And time with you now is a rollercoaster. At times, lying splayed on your side in an opiate daze, you stare at the wall and I want it to be over. But then you drift off, and all five limbs (because if a lab's tail isn't a limb then what is it?) twitch and thump as you charge off after a pheasant flushed and tumbled to the ground in a field of dreams. And then you wake and wince to your feet while I leap to mine. Outside, I curse the snowy remnants of the longest winter in recent history as you stumble around painfully trying to get positioned. When you wince and I see the whites of your eyes, your velvet ears pinned back against your big yellow head I am shattered. I hope that no neighbors happen by at that moment to witness my grief. But a moment later you're snuffling your nose happily into the snow, flushing some ghost of a peanut deep beneath. Then, we both freeze at once and cock our ears to the sound. Clear as a bell in the cool spring air, even over the swish and splash of springtime urban traffic, we both heard it. Ga-HONK. I turn to look at you, and I'm gutted once again by your bird-stiffened stance, strong neck stretched upward, ears forwards, with that gleam in your eye as you focus on the sky and wait for them to appear. When they do appear you glance quickly at me, then back at the geese. Yes, I saw them too! As the nine of them glide right overhead, their own long necks stretched northward over the neighbourhood rooftops, I can see the slight tremble of anticipation that you always get. If you heard the click of a safety you'd flinch a bit and coil yourself for the retrieve. And if I shot one, you'd make that retrieve I'm quite sure - three-legged and osteosarcoma be damned. And this shatters me too. Once again, no neighbours to
witness my heaving shoulders as I kneel and gather your big head into my arms. You pull away - I'm blocking your view of the departing geese dammit
!

And just a short week later, I composed this, posted on a local hunting forum for a close-knit community of hunters, many of whom had met Ruby in person, and all of whom had watched my first gun dog "grow up" on the forum:

Over the years I have subjected you guys to a bombardment of pics and stories from Ruby and I's adventures together, so I figure I owe it to you to pass on this sad news since you "watched her grow up".

It's with a broken heart that I have to tell you that we had to put our beloved Ruby down yesterday evening.

Last Wednesday Kelly and I took Ruby to the vet to arrange for cortisone injections to try to solve a re-occurence of lameness in her left forelimb (after a wonderful 5 month reprieve). We were hoping for a month of leash-rest and then May would find her scampering along the portage route with us on our way to a 10th summer of adventure. Sadly, we received much worse news. Ruby had advanced osteosarcoma (cancer) in her upper left humerus - a painful and fatal disease. Amputation followed by chemo/radiation is a treatment option that is sometimes attempted, but this generally buys only a further 4-5 months. In Ruby's case, it was clear to Kelly and I that sensible and unselfish treatment options were strictly palliative.

Unfortunately, none of the available drugs appeared to be effective. We tried a cocktail of anti-inflammatories and a powerful opiate until Friday, but aside from sleeping a lot she was clearly still in a lot of pain. We added a nerve-calming agent to the cocktail over the weekend but it quickly became very clear to both of us that the available treatments (which we had by now exhausted) were not providing her with sufficient pain relief that we would consider humane.

So last night at 5 our vet shed tears alongside us as Ruby's great soft head sank heavily into my hands while Kelly and I held her and talked softly to her as she slipped away. She went as calmly and softly as we ever could have hoped and with all the dignity that she so very much deserved. As you can imagine, we're shattered, but we take a measure of comfort in the memories of the 9 years of wonderful adventures that we had with her. But she leaves behind a big hole in our home and in our hearts.

Thanks to all of you who shared your feedback over the years, it helped a newby bird hunter with his new dog along to a fantastic 9 years and some of what where the happiest days of my life. Thanks OldDucker and Chezz for inviting me along on some of my first "classic" ducks hunts, to work alongside the noble Beau and the mighty Timber to see how it's done. Thanks also to Mainlander- a man with infinite patience for Ruby's early bad habits of getting out of range! We sure SAW a lot of roosters on his generously shared covers, even if some of them were 100 yards away as we sprinted along trying to keep up to her! Thanks especially to Take'em, who has been along on more adventures afield with myself and Ruby than I'd care to count. With Jake the savage cover-buster alongside Ruby, we made for an unstoppable team. With "the Tank" and "the Nose" on their case those poor roosters never stood a chance!












A first rooster each for my old buddy Jaydog and his lovely missus


Her last roosters - a quick pre-workday limit (her specialty!)


Dave
 

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Dave Nice story. Thanks for sharing your story. It is heartbreaking. You have really good memories. Love the pics!
 

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Thanks Mary. She sure took a big piece out of us when she went! As much as you remind yourself that it's an unavoidable part of owning every dog you'll ever have (except maybe the last one), it sure stings when it happens...
-Dave
 

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RIP Britton's Gold Ginger Spice JR 02/18/2002 to 11/07/2014

She will be missed. As a young pup, she was quirky about pretending not knowing how to swim at a new pond, to trying to get out of work. She matured into a nice retriever. She loved her kids, and would check on my daughter Lindsey when she was born in 2003 on command. Ginger's training and tests slowed down in 2005 when Austin was born. She was diagnosed with a heart murmur as well, so I just hunted her when I could. She held up and kept the kids entertained as I wrapped up an MBA from 2009 to 2011. By 2012, she wasn't in much shape to hunt or go on walks with my wife. In 2013, she had a couple of tumors removed. Her symptoms showed up again last week where she wouldn't eat, and just laid around. So, we took her to the vet where the ultrasound confirmed her stomach was blocked by a tumor, and was throughout her whole digestive track. We had her put to sleep Thursday night as I held her head, and massaged behind her ears with her whole family there.

Ginger will be missed. I will try to come back and add a few pictures.
 

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March 3, 1999 - December 5, 2014
Lost the best damn dog in the world today. She was my first dog. We competed in 4-H for a few years before I aged out. She was the most rambunctious, happy go lucky, dog ever! I was told I would have my work cut out for me. We worked hard and my Senior year we purpled in Obedience and I took Top Senior Handler. A few years later we passed the CGC test. She was about 10 years old. She had settled down just enough to pass. Up until about 2 years ago she was a little trouble maker. She would still stand at the door and bark. Walk back and forth across the yard and bark. Try to get into the garbage every day. Eat anything you give her. Loved to bark at cows. Used to get out of the yard and run and run. Taught her to play basketball, wave, and believe it or not she could count! During the dog shows at 4-H she would belly crawl out to me during the long down. Many other stories as well. She was my everything. My heart dog. My best friend. It feels like she was supposed to live forever. Britt I love you with all my heart and miss you so much. Run free my Booger Butt.
 

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deepest condolences. saw your post and was afraid it was Bear.
 
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Redshoezoo. I'm sorry for your loss . Bear was put down on Tuesday and it hurts so bad. My prayers are with you and everyone that has lost their best friend
 

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there have been many dogs in my life but you were the first that was "mine". I remember picking you up in Mississippi like it was yesterday. You will always have a place in my heart and I miss you more than you can imagine. the bed will never be the same without you in it next to me. You weren't the most talented or the most well behaved but No future dog will ever hold a candle to you and the life I had with you. no one is ever ready for losing their four legged sons/daughters but this was especially hard because of the short time we had you on this earth. RIP Roux's Blazin Chocolate "Moose" March 26, 2012-May 7, 2015

Dog Mammal Vertebrate Dog breed Canidae
 

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there have been many dogs in my life but you were the first that was "mine". I remember picking you up in Mississippi like it was yesterday. You will always have a place in my heart and I miss you more than you can imagine. the bed will never be the same without you in it next to me. You weren't the most talented or the most well behaved but No future dog will ever hold a candle to you and the life I had with you. no one is ever ready for losing their four legged sons/daughters but this was especially hard because of the short time we had you on this earth. RIP Roux's Blazin Chocolate "Moose" March 26, 2012-May 7, 2015

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Oh gosh, I'm so sorry. It's a gut wrenching experience, but when they're that young you feel like something has been stolen from you in the most painful way. My sympathies to you and Moose's family.
 

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I joined RTF, 7 years ago shortly after I found Maggie. A friend purchased her litter mate and when a placement didn't work out I contacted the family. I arrived to find a family that genuinely loved her but were overwhelmed by her energy level and decided to make the responsible decision to find her a permanent home that had the patience and energy level they felt was needed to ensure her happiness. After talking with them about the situation and inviting them to my home, although I was a college student at the time, I earned their confidence and with tears in their eyes, they said goodbye and our relationship began. Along with this relationship my interest in training grew significantly at this time to the point where just about all the time I was not devoting to school was spent reading, listening to, and learning hands on everything I could find on the topic. Looking back on this time, although it wasn't for lack of effort, I made more than my share of training mistakes when advancing beyond the basics. With age comes wisdom and increased respect for the great trainers who are so in tune with their dogs that they make it look easy at a test or trial. Although Maggie and I would never enter competition, the relationship her and I developed was unlike anything I had experienced previously. The same overwhelming dog, was one of the calmest, sociable, and upbeat dogs I have ever interacted with. This relationship continued with her by my side everywhere I went for the next 7 years. Last Thursday I got the phone call we all fear. While away on business the family that takes care of my dogs while I'm away,and has for some time, failed to lock the deadbolt on our exterior door and did not realize the door did not close enough for the bottom latch to secure. Sometime in the night the dogs were able to get out. Thankfully my 9yr old male stopped in a yard down the street and was taken in by the family over night and brought back the following morning. Maggie walked a little further down the street and stepped into the main road where she was hit by a car and did not make it. Returning home to a house without her in it has been extremely trying at best and this past weekend was rougher than I could have ever imagined. A walk with my other dog, usually one of the most enjoyable parts of my day, has been a heartbreaking experience without her walking at heel to my left. Opening the door without her their to greet me is an experience I still am not completely over. While awards and titles are something we would have loved to experience with each other, the time spent together trying to figure it all out and the wonderful companion I've had for the past 7 years as a result is something I will treasure forever. Although I was able to teach her things, I eventually came to realize that she taught me far more about myself during this time than I could ever teach her. I've always known that our time with them is short, far shorter than we would like it to be. When that time comes to an end much before you had accepted previously, it is a more difficult experience than all but a select few can understand. Miss you Mags.
 

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Dedicated to my dear sweet Gyro (and Rudy,Max,Tara,Jessie,Kate,Shani, Pronto,Chip) and with apologies to Willie Nelson and Julio
To all the dogs I've loved before,
Who traveled in and out my door
I'm glad they came along, I dedicate this song
To all the dogs I've loved before
To all the dogs I once caressed, and may I say, I've owned the very best,
For helping me to grow, I owe a lot, I know,
To all the dogs I've loved before
The winds of change are always blowing
And ev'ry time I tried to stay
The winds of change continued blowing, and they just carried me away
To all the dogs who shared my life, who are at the rainbow bridge
I'm glad they came along,
I dedicate this song to all the dogs I've loved before
To all the dogs who cared for me, who filled my life with ecstasy;
They live within my heart;
I'll always be a part of all the dogs I've loved before.....
 

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HRCH Fairwinds Lucy MH

January 2003 - November 2015. Lucy was a good dog. We had some really good times and she produced some pretty nice pups. She will be missed.
 

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