Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Goodbye sweet boy

A good friend had to make the decision to say goodbye to her best friend this week. Perhaps one of the finest agility dogs that many of us will ever see, one of Dustin's many achievements was representing the US in the World Championship in 2001, shortly after the attack on the World Trade Center. He entered the ring to cheering crowds from every country.
Unfortunately, Dustin had already retired by the time we started agility, so I never got to see him compete, but I've seen video clips, and I've seen him race through tunnels, just for the fun of it, even though he was old enough to be curled up on a crocheted afghan. Despite being very sick from chemo, he would trick us all into bringing him every treat from every store north of the Panama Canal. We were like groupies trying to get the attention of some rock star, opening ziplocs and unwraping packages of buffalo, chicken, liver, heart... you name it. And after we would beg him to eat them, hoping that it would be OUR treat that he would eat, he would turn up his nose and go for the Pupperonis. Bless his heart... I'm still not sure it wasn't an attention-getting game, and he played us all.
He became like a fixture at agility events and you could count on him to swagger through and give you a wag and maybe honor you by napping at your feet. It won't be the same without him.
But if Dustin's life has done nothing else, let it serve as a reminder to us all that some day our teammate will retire from agility and leave us. So the next time they break a stay, leap over a contact, kick up their heels and go for some free-style agility on the course, remember that it is all about spending time together and having fun. That little green ribbon isn't all that valuable in the grand scheme of things, and you won't be able to measure your love for him/her by counting them. Remember that when you are on the course, you are out there to win the ribbon, and your dog is out there to win your love. Show him that he already has.

Goodbye Dustin, thanks for teaching me stuff. I hope that you find the Pupperoni stash.

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