I guess it’s been just a week since Chessie died, it already seems like longer than that. Though, it’ll be a while before I adjust to making only three bowls of food, counting only three heads when coming in from the field, and loading only three dogs in the van. I have a lot of his “personal affects”-for lack of a better term-left to put away or give away. Extra dog beds, bowls, gear specifically for him, like his big tracking harness. And, now might be a good time to re-configure my van, which has semi-permanently installed dog crates and competition gear, since that’s one less big crate that needs to be in there.
I am dealing with the loss better than I expected I would, I think I was preparing for a long time. But, that dog was still a huge part of my adult life, so I sure miss him all the same.
I went back through my photo album of competition photos, and through his competition record book. The first entries were in the summer of 1997, when he was four years old and I had been out of college one year. He earned his AKC “Pre-Trial Tested” herding title with three straight passes, and his “Companion Dog” obedience title with one failure and three back-to-back passes and two placements. I remember that weekend: his first run out, there was a minute of terrible loudspeaker feedback noise, it panicked him-so typical of Chessie. The judge, Christopher Cornell, was so kind, and re-started our heel pattern to let us regroup, but Chessie could not get it together. I had many runs ruined due to Chessie’s fears of certain noises, and umbrellas. But, he also almost always scored well, and often placed.
My last competition notes are from less than three years ago, where we finished our UKC Agility Trial Champion. He was still very athletic and comfortable jumping at age twelve. His final roster of titles earned was impressive for just a dog pound rescue, he had a good show career. His full registered name ended up being:
U-ACH U-CDX Chases The Sun CDX PT MX AXJ
Left is one of my favorite photos of him and me together; we were waiting at the start line of an agility run in this picture. There was a delay, I had already tossed my leash aside, and I knelt down to make sure Chessie didn’t jump the line before the judge signaled his readiness. The photographer had a good eye for capturing moments of teamwork and closeness between dog and handler.