This & That
Highcroft Spinner 2/19/92 – 12/20/10
Spinner was put to sleep today. He was an amazing dog, full of life, character and presence. From the day I picked him up from the rabbit hutch at Harold and Bob’s I knew he was special. We spent 2 weeks traveling around the UK and then he flew home in cargo, none of which seemed to faze him and after 13 or so hours in a crate/plane he wandered around a bit and then proceeded to lay down out of his crate chew on his dog chew while everyone at SFO moved around him as we waited for our ride home. He was 16 weeks old. His confidence and ability to take life in his stride always amazed me.
He learned tricks amazingly fast — no clicker back then, just placement of rewards and his love of learning. However learning that fast came with a price if you messed something up as he never forgot what he learned first!
I loved to take him on walks where he could be sent on his long long sendaways/go outs until he ran into a change of topography, the others would run after him with Trump following in hot pursuit. Spinner would get to some type of border and turn around running back past Trump who still had to get to the turn around point! He was a great companion for Whist. He was a good puppy raiser too — for years I’ve never had to tell a dog not to take food from a table or counter, chew my plants or furniture. If they tried he’d be right there standing over them until they moved on!
He wasn’t perfect though and there have been a few puppies on the receiving end of his wrath, which was swift, to the point and over with in a flash! Even at nearly 19 years old he still attempted to control the behavior of the others in the house and RV, especially Gifted who was truly respectful of him.
I have so many fond memories of him. He loved to swim, play with toys and hold things in his mouth……something he passed on to many of his puppies. As he grew older his mouth/eye co-ordination let him down and a few people’s limbs became confused with his toys……Suzanne’s stethoscope and hands, Mary Ellen’s feet and socks — after all they were woolly and were moving around and last but by no means least Kathy Morgan’s fingers and the shuttlecock — alcohol played a part in that though didn’t it Kathy!
It truly was my privilege to have known him. He was Michael’s and my companion for so many years and we will love and miss him always.
Highcroft Whist 3/5/94 – 9/22/10
Whist died as she had lived without fuss. She had been eating intermittently and sleeping longer and longer. There had been some other changes over the past couple of months probably caused by the developing kidney disease and finally renal failure.
She was the sweetest dog I will ever own, I guess the word unassuming describes her best. In the 16 years I had her I cannot remember her ever doing anything bad – except she once ripped up a dog bed during a lesson with a very barky Aussie. She wanted to run over to it and put her mouth over its muzzle to shut it up but was in a crate and couldn’t. I’m not sure I would call that ‘bad’ she was just trying to help out!!
She acknowledged very few people over her lifetime and I believe Jim Basic was her favorite, Sharon Freilich a close second and in recent years she invited Jen Pinder into her select group.
Whist spent much of her older years playing with Trump and Stuie, destuffing toys and quietly keeping everyone in line. She truly was a kindly lady and as I think back about her she was always around but never in your face, you never had to call her twice if you had to call her at all and in 16 years I believe I never heard her bark. Despite her low key and unobtrusive nature she was playful, loved to train and her agility career speaks for itself.
I believe every dog we have leaves us with a gift. Whist’s gift to me is the agility career I love today. She was a delight to live with, train and compete with and I miss her. A perfect dog with a great heart.
Whist on the beach in Cambria
Whist and Spinner
Whist with her first of three Mach Bars
Whist and Trump
Whist in 2004 age 10
Whist, Spinner and Trump
Whist’s 16th Birthday
Not quite the milestone that Spinner reached in February but Whist was 16 in March 2010. In general she is doing well although is starting to lose some sight and hearing. She still enjoys her strolls around the property although she has some soreness in her front leg and the rough ground makes it worse. She is an easy dog to live with, who takes things in her stride and doesn’t demand for much. Unlike her friend Spinner who has become VERY demanding in his old age. .
Spinner’s 18th Birthday
Photo courtesy of Erika Maurer
February 19th marks Spinner’s 18th Birthday. When I announced his 17th Birthday I never thought I would be celebrating his 18th but here we are. He is just as active as he was a year ago and continues to go for walks around the property twice a day. The only obvious change is some deterioration with his eyesight, but he can still see.
January this year he had his first “Dental” and we put him under and cleaned up his teeth. My thanks go to his vet Dr. Suzanne Hennessey and the staff at Pismo Beach Vet Hospital (especially Julie). We did extensive tests and x-rays of heart etc. before venturing down this path and anesthetizing him. His mouth was in need as he was no longer getting the bones, etc. to clean his teeth naturally. It would be completely irresponsible of me if he became sick from a bacterial infection that I could prevent. He came through just fine. I am supposed to brush his teeth and for those of you who know his propensity to play with ANYTHING (including stethoscopes, Mary Ellen’s feet, etc.) using a toothbrush requires the element of surprise before he grabs it and tugs with those vice like jaws he has:)
I attribute his longevity in part to his unwillingness to give up his throne. He continues to boss Gifted around and chases him down the driveway every chance he gets. Gifted is content to stay out of his way and thankfully doesn’t rise to the bait. There was one incident when I did have to intervene, but Gifted backed down when I told him to and there has been peace since. I see no point in Spinner and Gifted getting into it as I believe Spinner will not go down gracefully and as Gifted is content to be in a subordinate position I will help maintain the status quo between them.
With the passing of so many of his generation recently I feel really lucky and honored to still have him with us.
Happy Birthday to a really special dog!
USDAA Cynosport Games 2009
4th place for Fable’s Team with Bill Pinder and Cajun and Mary Ellen Barry and EZ
10th place for Stuie’s team with Jen Pinder and Taser and Neta Jones and Toast
I was especially thrilled with the continued progress Stuie has been making since August this year. Our summer expedition seemed to help her confidence. Working in different locations, inside and out, different equipment and coping with being a demo dog some of the time. I am really looking forward to seeing how much more she can improve in 2010. It was just wonderful to step to the line knowing that she can run the same Gamble and Snooker course as Fable and has put up faster times than Fable.
Fable had some great runs too and but for an uncharacteristic slip after the long jump where she was unable to recover for the next jump she put up the 5th fastest time in Steeplechase semis. That may have rattled her as she crashed the first bar in GP semis – an even more unusual error (maybe twice in her career) but not unlike her to be affected by the slip – so no individual finals for her this year but maybe next year for both of them…..
Spinner and Whist turned 17 & 15
Despite a 2 1/2 week long episode of vestibular disease at Christmas, Spinner is back fighting fit chasing his son around the property—trying in vain to control him… failing that when he is too tired to get up and organize him, he barks his loudest at him (funny coming from a dog who never made a sound)…
Spinner and Whist continue to exercise around the property going for two walks a day. Although both can still make it around the whole trail, we now only take them for 3 laps of the lower path as the steep hill at the back of the house is a little dangerous when they come down.
Whist is not quite as steady on her back legs (but considering she has mild Hip Dysplasia—she’s not doing too bad). She still has some hearing and good sight. This evening she was playing with Gifted.