Stories of our better selves...
369 days... just over 1 year had passed since my Boomer was diagnosed with Hemangiosarcoma. That evening I had to say goodbye to my soulmate, heart dog , right hand man, protector, BEST friend & winner against all odds. His ability to come back from death's door, more than once, was inspiring again & again. His body was tired & his spirit needed to be set free. The couch was now empty, the bed was cold & my heart was both...
Boom came into my life as a new agility partner. I put my trust & confidence into his breeder to pick a pup for me. Boy did she pick a winner! I wanted a pup with confidence, structure & drive. Boom fit the bill to a tee & then some; He showed me how much I still needed to learn. Going from working with a Manchester Terrier who ran "for me" to a mighty mini-aussie who knew there was a job to be done was quite an eye-opener. Boomer wasn't afraid to yell at me on course if I happened to be late with cues &/or embarrassed him with a handling error. As I improved in my skills, Boom held his tongue on course - until he hit those weaves! Weaves were Boomer's stress reliever!
btw... Thank you so much Sharon for that wonderful class of Weavers; Boom & I came out of that class with confidence & have enjoyed every second of every run.
Boomer's life was full of special moments & events, and Agility was a first love for both of us.
In 2004 we competed at our first NADAC Champs in Castle Rock, CO. It was just 2 weeks after my dad had passed & my family & friends were very supportive of making sure I went out West. My boy came through & we finished 2nd overall. My emotions were just too much for me to hold up my end of the team, but Boom was awesome!
In 2006, in Gillette,WY we came back & won the 16" Proficient Division! I remember Susan Perry won with Lacey that year. It was a special moment to stand next to them for a picture at the end of the competition. I was on cloud nine for what seemed like forever after that.
In the spring of 2008, Boomer was diagnosed with PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy . He was given a year or less before he lost all his vision. Being the fighter that he had always been, Boomer defied the odds & went on to earn his NATCh 5 & Versatility NATCh 5 by the end of December 2009 with Pat Daggett as our judge at a RACE Agility trial in WI.
I retired Boom soon after that. His peripheral vision was failing & for Boom's safety I didn't want to take any chances out on course. He had already gone above & beyond my wildest dreams. We would play in the occasional Weavers class just so Boom felt like he was still in the game. That boy could ALWAYS get his entrances! Once in, his body just went into auto-pilot & away we went
On November 13, 2010 Boom just wasn't acting right. The night prior he seemed disoriented & confused. I attributed it to his sight issues, but when Boom wouldn't finish his breakfast I knew something wasn't right. As the morning progressed Boom became more stressed and uncomfortable; he was also getting larger. To make a long story short, he was bleeding out from his spleen. Thanks to VCA Aurora and their excellent surgeons and staff, Boom survived the night AND the emergency Splenectmoy that was performed.
Thank you Dr. Peacock for performing the surgery and thanks to Dr. Greene for being the best Oncologist we could ever have asked for. Chemotherapy was our next step. There were hard times during that phase but God Bless him, Boomer was a trooper & a fighter through it all.
On March 2011 Boom developed a cough. The chemo that helped him fight off the cancer had taken a toll on Boomer's heart. His Grade 2 heart murmur that he had prior to cancer & chemo had developed into congestive heart failure. Entering into VCA Aurora once again Dr Orr was the cardiologist that helped us through another hurdle, and with the help of new medications, Boomer was once again back in the game! The head of the "Play Police Squad" was back on duty!!
Boomer was always my rock. Never a "touchy feely" pup; he enjoyed a good scratch behind the ears or a scratch on the butt, but he was never pushy about attention. But he always knew when I needed an extra "Boom Fix" and would give me the support and time that I needed. I'll always miss running my fingers through his coat.
For all the attention Boom "tolerated" from my family, friends & me, he absolutely loved the role of Therapy Dog. He went on his last visit around Thanksging time to a local grade school with Kruzer & Driven, and Manny. The kids gave him all his usual hugs, kisses & pats - Boom took it all in & loved them all. When one of the kids asked what I was "thankful for" this year - my God, it took all the strength I had to hold myself together. I said with pride and unconditional love that I was most thankful for having Boomer in my life. It was a difficult time few weeks later when school returned to session and I had only the blue boys with me. I did my best to help the kids get through the loss, but in fact it was they who helped me.
I had the opportunity to bring Boomer with me last weekend to LaCrosse,WI. Thank you Linda & Leo Fuerst for taking such excellent care of Boomer while I was in the Agility Ring. Boomer always had a soft spot for Miss Maya! She always had that wigglebutt movin'!! It was a special time for Boom and I, with quiet times in the hotel room I recalled privately, all the times I cherished with him and how much I loved him. The time in the car was another opportunity to just talk to Boom. He slept the majority of the time, but just being able to reach over & touch him was worth all the gold in the world.
I was in the fine state of Oregon in October to judge a trial and the WAG club gave me a banner made from a picture of Boomer coming out of the weaves. That picture is the epitome of all that Boomer was. It depicts the intensity & drive that Boomer had both on & off the field, and the strength of his spirit - May his spirit continue to guide & support me.
Thank you Deb Pierce and all the fine people of WAG. I will cherish that banner now & forever.
Thank you all for allowing my rambling. There is so much that so many people will never know about my Boomer. As I write, there are so many things that are swirling about in my mind. I know I can never put into words everything I wish I could. There are so many people I would like to thank for their extra support & words of wisdom. Let me just say Thank You now to one & all. Your love & friendships will be forever appreciated.
Hugs to all your pups! My Blue Crew, Kruzer & Driven (and now Rumor) have some big paws to fill. I know they can NEVER replace Boomer, but here's to Gratitude for helping me get through that difficult time.
He was known by many names, Astro D'Blasto, Bubba Stro, Stro Stro, Bun Bunny Butt. Astro has never been the most stellar of agility dogs. He may not have been the speediest or the flashiest out there. He fought through some pretty big odds suffering a severe shoulder injury at six months, stress, fear and even dog aggression issues. But somehow he was a champion none the less. You see Astro never did agility for Astro - he did it for me.
Astro earned his CATE on 10/10/10 and 15 days later was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He was a trooper through surgery and had an incredible recovery. Unfortunately the biopsy came back as histocystic sarcoma, the most rare and aggressive form of brain cancer. Astro had a good six weeks at home and had started chemo therapy, but he was no match for the cancer. The tumor regrew and spread only one month after a clean scan with the onset of a grand mal seizure on 12/18.
Astro was able to be home for one last Christmas. He has been spoiled rotten these last few days making every moment of his remaining days count. There are those of you out there that have lost dogs over the years, some to old age, some way to young such as Astro, and there are those of you that have yet to experience the loss of a beloved pet. If I can offer one thing up that Astro has truly taught me, is it is not about the Qs or the titles or whether or not your dog is a champ, it is all about heart. Astro had a huge heart and he gave every bit of that heart to me each and every day.
I will miss you terribly Bubba Stro, my heart is aching. You were sent to me to teach me a valuable lesson. Life is too short, and we should take every moment we have to say thanks and show each and everyone of our beloved companions what they truly mean to us. May you run happily at the bridge - free of pain and fear, until we met again.
~ Jen Rochedieu, Image, Wedge, and Zoom
~ Jen Rochedieu, Image, Wedge, and Zoom
She was born on Christmas and was the best Christmas gift of my life. I met her at 1-day-old. She had a big black dot on the top of her head that we laughingly called her "re-set button". The dot made her stick out from the rest of the puppies in the pile, and she was the first to catch my eye. When I picked her up for the first time, she screamed bloody murder -- a sign to things to come.
The fur around the dot eventually grew in and she lost her button, but as anyone who ever heard her at the end of an agility run can attest, Lizzie never lost her need to scream.
It was so appropriate that I brought the puppy who was to become my "Heart Dog" home on Valentine's Day. I liked to tell people that while Gracie "changed" my life when she and I found agility, Lizzie "saved" my life, coming to me just as a long-term relationship with the man I thought I would grow old with came to an end. Having that silly little Lizzie puppy is what kept me going through that most difficult time. With ZZ by my side, we moved on and never looked back.
One of the jokes about ZZ was that she came out of the womb weaving. That was indeed her favorite thing to do in the world, and early in our training, I would reward her with weave poles. Just weeks after she was old enough to do NADAC, we entered our first trial -- a games only trial. I'm pretty sure Lizzie didn't hit a single contact in Touch'nGo, lost her mind (and way) in Tunnelers, but she Q'd in all 4 Weavers classes and earned her Novice Weaver's title.
Lizzie went on to earn many more agility titles, and we had some awesome runs and some others that I liked to call "running ugly". And, of course, we had our share of humbling runs where we pretty much stunk up the course. But, no matter the outcome, I could always count on Lizzie to have a blast!
On Feb. 27th, Lizzie was diagnosed with stomach cancer. Surgery and/or chemotherapy were not an option, and she was given weeks to live. She and I decided to spend our time together doing what she loved best -- playing agility. We ran in NADAC, USDAA and CPE. Along the way, Lizzie earned NATCh-6.
Our final trial was the Paws In Motion CPE trial in Kansasville this past week-end, and Lizzie went 7 for 7. Our final run was our old nemesis, Snooker. Lizzie took a 1st Place Q, and ended her run with a glorious screaming bark. I will carry that "music" to my grave.
We had some wonderful support from our agility family, friends and fellow exhibitors during the past 6 weeks, and I don't know how I'll ever be able to thank them enough. It was important for me to have others touched by Lizzie's true love of the game as much as I was. When we ran those last runs, I believe we were both able to forget, for that brief time on course, that there was anything wrong with her. She certainly didn't act it. Just for that time, there was no cancer....no pain....just ZZ and me.
When I said my final good-bye to Lizzie on Monday, I whispered for her to look across The Bridge for the poles and told her to "go weave".
Rest in peace, my precious girl. I will love and miss you forever.
~ Bonnie, Annie and Fame