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Monday, June 30, 2008

The end of an Era: Good-bye to Dasher

Last week we lost a very special little sheltie called Dasher. He was one of those special four pups out of my first ever sheltie litter. Dash was litter brother to Joy, Bell and Brandi and the last of the four to pass onto the Rainbow Bridge. It is so hard to believe that those 4 shelties are gone; I am so lucky to have had a litter as special as that first one.

Here is a photo of Joy and Dash with their mother Holly. They were only around 6 months old. Joy is on the left, Holly in the middle and Dash on the right.

Here is later photo of Joy and Dasher from an agility trial in 1997. They must have both won first prizes but it is not the prizes that matter now. When I think of that day now I remember the amazing feeling I had running Joy on the day. What great memories! It was so nice trialing the littermates together and watching them each develop their own unique personalities.

Dash was not only a link to my special girl Joy but also a link to my amazing rescue German shorthaired Pointer Tess. Tess brought Eleanor and I together when Eleanor was fostering Tess for Eastern GSP Rescue. I not only adopted Tess and but also made a great friend in Eleanor. Because of our friendship; I was so happy when Eleanor asked me for a sheltie as I knew what a special home Dash would have with her. Dasher starting a love of shelties for Eleanor and I am proud to say that she is almost as much of a "sheltie person" as she is a "German Shorthair Person"!

I do not think that Eleanor would mind me posting her words about Dash.

O'Bay Dunstanburgh Dasher
May 4, 1992 – June 23, 2008

I said goodbye to my faithful Dash today. He could no longer keep anything down and he was not drinking either. He had become confused, too. I took him to the vet’s this afternoon and he seemed to know that it was time to go see his pal, Sage, and his siblings. He was not nervous at my vet’s and he lay on the table quietly and slipped away peacefully and easily.

He was 16-years, one month and 19 days old, the oldest dog I have ever owned. He arrived at my house almost exactly 16-years ago, my first Sheltie, three lbs of adorable fluff. He grew to weigh 17 lbs, a calm, determined soul, master of all he surveyed, at least in his own mind! He was never sick in his life and he lived happily and contentedly until he could not live anymore.

Dash never liked competing as much as he enjoyed meeting people. That being said, he was my first MXJ agility dog and only my 2nd CDX dog. He was the first dog I took to an obedience tournament. He traveled with me to the Bahamas and Canada for dog shows and to Illinois and New Hampshire for dog camp. He loved going to Maine, to Cambridge and to Sherborn and would sit up in his crate in the car miles and miles before we arrived and start to bark and whine. He had the most incredible sense of where he was. He never met a person he did not like. I have many snapshots of him sitting with various friends and relatives.

He was a devoted dog, following me from room to room, upstairs and downstairs. He would bark nonstop if I left him alone anywhere but in his own house or car. (This habit drove my brother crazy! He loved my late Sage and they were great buddies. He never really bonded with another dog after she died, although he would play with Presto on occasion. He had a terrific life. I knew this weekend that his time was running out. Presto ran his heart out all weekend and someone even asked me if Presto were Dash.

Thanks to all who helped make his life so special – those of you who were and our my friends, his admirers, those who comforted me as he aged, those who were his teachers and his babysitters when I was away. And to Bernadette who, all those years ago, told me Shelties and Shorthairs would be a perfect mix and she was right! I am pretty sad right now, but I know I was lucky to have him for so long. My dogs make my life complete and along with the joy comes the sorrow, but I would not have it any other way. He lives on in his two cousins, Presto and Ozma.


Eleanor sent me some photo of Dash in his later years. I love this photo of him on a sailboat with Eleanor's sister and niece. He was such a family dog; the perfect companion as shelties should be. Dash will always have a special place in my heart as the one puppy who, no matter how long in between our visits (even years!), would remember me with such enthusiasm and joy! Good-bye Dash, you will be missed.


Anonymous said...

Dash was truly a special boy. He will be missed.


Hudsondoglets said...

How lovely and how sad at the same time - it's made me cry. How lucky Eleanor was to have had Dash and how lucky he was to have had her. I am sorry for Eleanor's loss but happy to know of their wonderful time together for all those years.

Karen said...

What a very special litter of much loved dogs, they will be truely missed.

Eleanor said...

Of course I started crying again. Thank you for the wonderful tribute to Dash and to his littermates. I was so lucky to have him for so many, many years. Now, to make us all smile again, I wonder how many realize that Dasher was named for Santa's reindeer!? It was your Christmas theme litter, despite being born in May. We had barely heard of agility! I even have a photo of Dash wearing some silly reindeer antlers one Christmas!

Dawn said...

So sorry to hear of such a huge loss. What a great dog he was, and what wonderful memories you all will have of him.


Mary-Anne, Bryce, Jayda and Raven said...

So sorry to hear about Dash - He was a great little guy and one of the last ones from that whole generation of our early agility/obedience dogs. Sad to know he's gone - it truly is the end of an era - but what a wonderful long run he had!

Lian said...

Such sad news but he gave you and Eleanor so many sweet memories. Sleep tight, Dasher.


How sad.... :(

Ann Marie said...

I have many happy memories from my early days in dogs of Eleanor & Dash, Bernadette & Joy and myself and Barney. Especially those UKC obedience trials. Remember how we laughed at Eleanor and Dash's "slow" heeling technique - the bungie dog!!! Those times contributed a great deal to my love of this sport and the people involved. Dasher will always hold a special place in my heart.

And yes, I knew they were the Christmas litter! :-)