Monday, December 14, 2009

Farewell to A Great Dog

Today, December 14th, marks the day I ended my journey with my MacDuff.

What a wonderful journey it has been!

I remember going to Chicago's Christmas Cluster dog show on December 15, 1995 to pick him up from his breeder for good.

My friend, Fran, drove us so I could hold the little guy the whole way.  Talk about love at first sight, cuddle, hug.  We were set!

He was pretty perky at the show, anyway, greeting an American Pointer bitch to say "hi".  The woman came running back after her class and thanked us for letting her girl greet my puppy.  She won the class and picked up a major.  I chuckled, not quite understanding all that.

He came to greet his vet, Dr. Prunsky, who marveled over how healthy he was and gave me the new puppy lecture from the start.

We made a quick detour to show him off to Fran's sister, Hope, and their two Brussels Griffons.  They were game to meet the little guy until this 8-week old character jumped up on a crate to get a better vantage point on them.  That set them off.

Duff showed from day 1 with me that he would forever be "Air MacDuff".  He spent a lot of time with plenty of exhuberance jumping from one spot to the other.

I spent his puppyhood with marveling at his eagerness to learn and bold manner in life.  My friends continously remarked that I "do not deserve him" as he was such a remarkably well-mannered puppy.

I signed him up for your routine puppy class and then beginners obedience class.  The instructor talked to me about his obedience club and I checked it out to start training with them.

We went through beginners' class and then onto intermediate where, at 10 months of age, he passed his CGC exam.

We went onto to compete in Novice Obedience and Duff earned his CD at age 2.  He was eager to work and had a blast with everything he did.  When we started to train Open obedience, these cool new things appeared in his training.  Those were jumps.

My instructor for that class was Peggy Timm and she suggested trying agility.  I was completely unfamiliar with the sport but once it was explained to me, I had a feeling I would like it.

We checked it out and I saw an eager MacDuff turn into a wildman.  He found his niche.  He expressed his joy with barking, something I wanted to discourage.  Peggy knew other Border Terriers in agility and they barked so she indicated to leave him be and let him express himself.

Our forays into agility competition were fairly comical to begin with.  He was a wildman, wanting to do his course which could include a "HI!" to any jump setter.

We joined the All Fours training group in mid-2001 and Duff's agility game took off to a new level.  We started to seriously go after the pinnacle of agility competition, the Master Agility Championship (AKC's MACH).

We accomplished that feat, along with a CDX (in obedience) in 2003 and added 3 more MACHs before I moved Duff down to Preferred to jump at a lower height.

Arthritis in his spine was taking a hold of him and continuing at 16 inch jumps was not good for him anymore.

Duff continued competing in agility until his eventual retirement in late May 2009.  Looking back now, we could probably guess that his brain tumor (or whatever it was) could have been affecting him back then in his perception of jumps.  We had though it was simply eyesight (lenticular schlorosis).

The summer of 2009 was a bit funky with an injury to Robbie focusing my attention to him, relying on Duff to be the stalwart dog for me that he always was.

Ghilley was added to the household in mid-September and Duff taught her that he was the boss.  Her respect for him was immediate.

It was probably about a month after this that I first would say I noticed some things were off.  Most of the concerns were always arthritis.

I do not really want to regress into that other than to finish with the fact that while I hurt a lot today (and will for awhile), I know I made the right choice.  Duff had a major panic attack in his crate, in the car, Sunday night.  It made me realize that when I went to work on Tuesday, he would be pannicking more but I would not be there.

I know that when I held him at the vet, I made the right decision.  Any form of restraint or holding him set him off.  The Duff I knew for 14 years was not this pannicked old dog.  He had a tranquilizer to calm him as I held him until he fell asleep before we administered the final medication.

I will always remember the little puppy, the young dog and my superstar when I think of MacDuff.  He forever changed my life in such a positive way.

My last gift to him was peace.  Now, he can enjoy apricot crepes from my dad!

MACH4 Otterby Thane of MacDuff CDX RE MXP3 MJP4 OFP
October 21, 1995 - December 14, 2009


At December 14, 2009 7:27 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a beautiful and loving tribute to your dear friend,MacDuff. I feel as if I have met him.
I am very sorry for the loss of your dear friend, and celebrate your wonderful life togehter.

At December 14, 2009 7:34 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Betsy, I sarted crying when I read the title. I feel horoured to have sat with the both of you yesterday. He was a pistol in agility, but most of all he was part of your heart. He had a wonderful life with you and your love for him was awesome. Hugs,Ann

At December 15, 2009 6:14 AM , Blogger Michele said...

We send our love.

At December 15, 2009 11:07 AM , OpenID ripnpaws said...

I was saddened to hear about MacDuff. In my mind he is still frozen in time...back at AwesomePaws camp years ago. He was the comfy slipper you would sub in when Robby had baby brain. I thought MacDuff was wonderful!

Peace MacDuff.


At December 15, 2009 11:11 AM , Anonymous Whitbrits said...

I am so sorry to hear of Duff's passing but it truly was your last gift to him. I'll always remember him as the happiest little guy, running with you, so pleased to be your partner in a sport you both loved. My Brittany, Bill is 14 1/2 and I only hope I can give him the same gift of love when his time comes to leave me.
Marcia, Breeze, Punkin and Bill

At December 15, 2009 11:23 AM , Anonymous Pam said...

I am so sorry to hear of Duff's passing. He really loved agility and running the courses with you. He is running pain free at the Bridge now.
Pam Groves and the Westies

At December 15, 2009 11:26 AM , Anonymous James said...

He was such a great little guy and will be missed by all who knew him.
Sorry for your loss.
Jim w/ Jolie, Samson, Macy, & Pressure

At December 15, 2009 12:09 PM , Blogger Amanda said...

I followed the link from the AGILEDOGS list. What a beautiful and loving tribute. Thank you for sharing it.

At December 15, 2009 3:06 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...


What a wonderful tribute to my sweet "granddog." I truly enjoyed him and miss him. I hurt for you, naturally, but I am so proud that you thought of his condition rather than yourself. You are one great daughter and a tremendous border terrier owner.


P.S. I'll miss his shedding:)

At December 15, 2009 4:36 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was so sorry to hear about McDuff's passing. But you did the best thing for him,as hard as it was, you wouldn't want him to suffer anymore. He was such fun to watch in agility, you could tell he loved the sport. May the many wonderful memories you have of him help you through the tough days ahead.
Kathy & the BT's in WI

At December 15, 2009 10:03 PM , Anonymous Cindy A said...


Duff and you were a great team on the course and in life. It is rare to find a bond with an animal like you had with him. I hope he is enjoying the after life chasing chipmunks or other critters.

Cindy, Maddie, Bailey and Royce (The other borders)

At December 16, 2009 3:50 PM , Anonymous Raney Ellis and Angus said...


I am very much saddened to learn of your loss. I know MacDuff had a long and happy life with you, and that is what is ultimately important. Thank you for sharing your feelings and thoughts about this great LBD with all of us.

Raney Ellis and Angus

At December 19, 2009 6:16 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't imagine anyone loving MacDuff the way that you did - you filled his life with joy, just as he did for you! You brought out the best in each other. I will always remember his smiling face as he barked his way around the agility course - he truly never tired of it. Most of all, you were there for him from beginning to end, and I'm sure he knew that. He will be in your heart forever, as he will be in mine.
- Jan -


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