For all the Working Dogs who have left us . . .
Rowan ~ 2001-2017
Rowan leaned into her retirement for all it was worth and by my reckoning, she deserved it. The favorite part of her week became walking up to get the Sunday paper with Dave and Her Royal Highness Princess Fiona. A hard girl in her younger days, she turned into an awesome chore dog and was my right paw for many years, always happiest when she got to work cattle or boss the rest of the crew around.
Murphy ~ 1999~2016
He tried to tie his mom but came up short. Still 16 1/2 is a lot of years. He was always more a ladies man than a worker, and quite often we did not get along for that very reason. But he loved ducks with a passion. And he was always such a sweet, natural dog on sheep that I was able to use him as a lesson dog from time to time.
Quinn ~ 2002-2015
My Golden Boy ~ retired from the trial arena in 2014 just a few weeks shy of his 12th birthday, one cattle leg short of his WTCH. We called him the narcoleptic pup when he was little because as soon as you picked him up he fell asleep. Quinn, Quindogo, Quindallin — my token blue boy who was one of the most laid back, easy going, non macho males (human or animal) I’ve had the pleasure to be around. He was an amazing dog who proved to me time and again how much heart and forgiveness these creatures can have. The journey he took me on is one I wouldn’t have missed for anything. He taught me much. He holds a special piece of my heart no other dog will replace. His big dog bark and playful nature endeared him to many. He had an incredible sense of humor, a gentle touch with lambs, and was the best traveling companion I’ve ever had. Safe journey, Mr. Quinn, I miss your Big Dawg bark every morning.
Shaine ~ 2008-2013
Shainiac the brainiac, the insane maniac — that was Shaine in a nutshell. A lot of dog in a little package, Shaine blew out her knee when she was under a year old. Recovery was long so I didn’t get a chance to work her regularly. We had some issues, but we were working through them, and Shaine became my go-to dog in the pens. More than anything else, Shaine loved to run–no, she loved to fly! Flat out, for no other reason than the sheer joy of it. And she was a joy to watch. She left us far too soon and my heart still aches with the loss.
Run free, Shainlette.
Lace ~ Our Baby Girl ~ 1995-2012
Seventeen years is beyond a blessing in the world of dogs. Lace McCallister excelled at keeping me on my toes. We tried our hands in conformation, obedience, agility, and stock with some good, some bad, and some just downright hysterical results. At two years old she tried to assert her dominance by taking on Flynne in a knock-down, drag-out fight. After that, she begrudgingly played second fiddle until he left us and she was able to assume her role as Queen of the House. Nick-named Lady Humaplot by some because of her pension for mounting every dog she met, Lace taught me so much ~ mainly, don’t ever turn your back on a dog with a sense of humor. Miss you still, Baby Girl.
Flynne ~ The one who started it all ~ 1987-2001
Flynne was my Soul Dog and constant companion for 14 years. A tough dog who epitomized the “reserved with strangers” part of the breed standard, he was very protective of me ~ as well as being extremely opinionated about how he thought things should be done. I was never afraid with Flynne by my side. He was the one dog I shared my life with who I knew, without a doubt, would have given his for mine, no questions asked. It’s a very humbling thing. He never got to realize his potential as a working dog and I hope some day he will do me the honor of returning to my side. Until then, give ’em hell at the Bridge, Mr. Flynne.
Mozart ~ Obviously not a dog, but a part of our lives ~ 1992-2009
I rescued Mozart as a silly, worm infested kitten and he grew into one of the coolest cats ever. He was an avid hunter of baby rabbits and general varmints, often bringing back trophies for us. He’d hang out with just about anyone, and kept all the dogs in line. I know at least one of his lives was spent in his one and only venture into the world of squirrel hunting. Note to cats: Bad idea to enter a grey squirrel’s nest looking for dinner.
Happy Hunting, old man.