Quinn turned twelve on the 8th of November. He has no clue. Seriously. Outside of exhibiting some signs of going deaf, it’s hard to tell he’s a ‘senior’ now. He still tears across the yard with his brephew (brother-nephew), makes snow angels, barks at me in his big-dog bark, and hops around like an absolute fool when he thinks we’re going to do something fun. Or when he’s in a good mood. Which, with Quinn, is almost always. He is the most mellow, relaxed dog I’ve every lived with; at ease just about everywhere, with everyone. And yes, as a puppy we swore he was narcoleptic because any time you picked him up, he fell asleep. I remember him as a tiny guy, laying in the palm of my hand, legs draped over the sides, happily snoozing away.
Last month, I officially retired Quinn from the trial arena. I had hoped he would retire with his WTCH*. He didn’t. But he came damn close. We needed one Advanced Cattle leg to accomplish my goal, and we would have likely had it at the Coyote Classic in October had I not made a very conscious and deliberate choice to cross the handler’s line. I made that choice for reasons. I’ve thought about it many times since and, if given the opportunity, I would likely do the same thing. For the same reasons. None of which are really important to anyone but me.
And, at the end of the day, a WTCH doesn’t mean anything to Quinn. It’s a human thing. But don’t think for one second it was easy for me to give it up. It was something I’d been working hard at for quite a while. Something that took me on a roller coaster ride of highs and lows, and tested my partnership with my dog. Something that, at one point, almost cost me that partnership. But it also, ultimately, taught me a lot. It wasn’t always the best journey, but it was one that, like Quinn himself, I wouldn’t trade for the world.
And so, to celebrate Quinn’s retirement, and our partnership, some pics over the years of him just being him.
Thank you, Mr. Quinn. Here’s to many more years of snow angels, and big dog barks.