Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Otterby Thane of MacDuff or "MacDuff", "Duff", "Duffer"

Happy Birthday MacDuff!

MacDuff celebrates his 14th birthday today, October 21st.  Today also marks the first birthday he celebrates without his buddy, Golly ( We lost the sweet little girl only a few weeks ago and I still cannot believe she is gone.

Happy birthday Golly, at the bridge, playing with your brothers Razzie and Whimsey.

Regarding MacDuff, he is my "old man" now.  I have to say that some of the names I come up with for him are less than complimentary and not so repeatable, now as time has changed him a bit.

These are times when he wants to simply sniff the ground and proceed at a painfully slow pace, 15-feet behind me on a walk.  He is still capable of walking faster.

He is hard of hearing now, but if I change the octave I speak to him in (making my voice higher-pitched), he hears it pretty well.

He has senior moments now and then when it is clear to me he is not sure what to do with himself.  He also has moments when he clearly cannot find a comfortable position to lie down.  The arthritis in his back definitely shows on cold and wet days.

How easy it is for me to forget the days when I brought him home from the Chicago "Christmas Cluster" in December 1995.  The little bundle of 5.6 lbs.  He cuddled up to me and both of us fell in love with each other from that moment.

I could not get enough of playing with the little guy.  He was bold as brass.  Jumping up on top of a crate like a goat at 8 weeks and startling his two Griffie buddies (Razzie and Whimsey).

I remember calling my friends, Fran and Hope, and lamenting that "he'll never be housebroken" when, in fact, he was practically housebroken in 3 weeks time.

I remember also hearing the phrase, "You do not deserve him" because he really was an easy puppy.

Duff was eager to learn and extremely biddable.  He was pretty bullet-proof, able to handle my raised voice and not shrink from it.  His attitude was always, "It's okay Mom, as long as I'm with you and we're having fun."

My family, friends and I took to calling him "Air MacDuff" after "Air Jordan" since he had a pension for leaping from everything.  Duff was about getting airborn and had a "reckless gene" firmly implanted from his doggie mom (Scarlett).

Duff earned his Canine Good Citizen title at 10 months of age and completed his AKC Obedience Companion Dog (CD) title at age 2.
One of our obedience instructors at the dog club I belong to ( suggested giving agility a try.

Duff was an enthusiastic worker in obedience and everything.  But that enthusiasm paled in comparison to his reaction to agility.  He found his sport and I found such joy in working with him at training class.

Our forays into competition could be a little difficult at times.  He was a wild man with a handler that was learning agility at a seemingly slower pace than him.  One big factor that actually helped our handling was the addition of Robbie as an agility dog.  Robbie required more precise handling and cheerleading.  It helped to hone my work with Duff.  The other factor was switching to a phenomenol coach and mentor who really helped me zero in on handling a fast small dog.  Joining the All Fours agility gang ( helped our game.

Suddenly, a Master Agility Championship (MACH) was a possbility, not somthing that my former agility assistants scoffed at.

I still remember that 1st MACH with MacDuff.  We completed his CDX (Open obedience title) earlier that November 2003.  We journeyed up to Minnesota to knock out his MACH and on the first opportunity, we nailed it.
I will never forget that feeling of buzzing in the clouds.  What a thrill that was.  Equally special was Duff's final MACH, his MACH4.  We ran that victory lap with furvor as I knew it would be his last MACH.  The arthritis in his back warranted me moving him to a lower jump height, still playing, but not in the regular program.

Duff is still game.  He still wants a job. But now it is up to me to get creative with him on exactly what job that will be.  Playing in agility, obedience or swimming in his makeshift "pool".

Tonight will be Duff's night.  Robbie and Ghilley may have a little extra crate time while I play with the dude.  My first dude, my sweet baby.


At October 21, 2009 12:02 PM , Blogger Hope said...

Happy Birthday, Duffer-Dude! Hugs and kisses from your Auntie Hope.


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