Daisy was a Good Dog
May 03, 2010
It was a sad day for us, but something interesting happened, so I'll tell you about it.
Daisy, our German Wirehaired Pointer, was 15 and ailing, yet still stalwart and affable, as ever. Today was her last day. Time has its downside, but Daisy had a good long run. We had a cheery goodbye party for her.
But, first, here's a story about when we first met her. We got her as a rescue dog from an abusive situation. She was 1.5 years old and didn't know her given name. But she was sure glad to see us. A few days later we went on a winter camping trip. We couldn't leave her with anyone and we didn't know how it would go, so we made sure to keep her on a leash as we set off to pull our loaded tobaggans deep into the U.P. forest. While I sorted out my pack I tied her leash to our biggest tobaggan, an 8-footer loaded with maybe 200 lbs of boxed gear. I was nervous. I was rather dreading this haul -- I'd never tried pulling such a big load before. How would Daisy even respond? I'd pull the sled and she'd be leashed to it. How would that work? Would she try to run away into the woods? We put a bell on her collar, but we just didn't know. How would she react to our friends already at the cabin? Suddenly I noticed the tobaggan was moving. I looked up and Daisy was starting to trot down the trail, pulling the tobaggan. I yelled at the others to grab my gear, I was headed out. Daisy kept trotting and the tobaggan glided faster and faster. I caught up and ran alongside. She was in rapture. I was shouting for joy. The trail went over a mile into the cabin (McKeever cabin near Munising). Daisy hauled the tobaggan the whole way just by her leash. She seemed to make easy work of it and sat down smiling when we arrived. I tell ya, that was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
In the next year or so she eagerly learned 34 commands and the details of several areas of dog-work: obedience, bird-dog, tracking, multiple-fetching, blind-waiting and sled-dog. Of course, before she could do that I had the privilege of taking a dog training class which taught me the marvelous skill of communicating with our eager friend. She wanted to learn in several areas every day. And when it was time to fetch she didn't want to just fetch, but instead wanted me to throw out 3 different things and have her fetch them in different orders.
She never bit anyone, but she was pushy around other dogs, which got her into trouble. Sadly, she was gun-shy, probably thanks to her original owner, although we worked a long time at overcoming her fears. Oh well. She even had nice twilight years, a good final act, as the kids got old enough to really warm up to her. Even though she was achy she didn't resent them treating her like a doll.
So, like I said, today was her last day.
It hasn't rained much this spring. It stormed hard as we waited for the vet at his office. We had set it up for him to meet us outside at our van.
The minute of our appointment the rain stopped and a huge rainbow came out, arching completely over us. A minute later Daisy was at peace. As the vet returned to his office the rainbow disappeared.
Then, as we drove home to lay her to rest, a stout stub of rainbow appeared over the direction of our house, visible from the fields all along as we drove.
So, thanks again, Daisy.
Here are a couple tiny pics from the old OYB story I did about Daisy's big "I'm here!" entrance to our lives... (link to old story: http://outyourbackdoor.com/OYB8/gooddog.htm) ...
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