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