It is with fond memories that Linda writes about the day she said good-bye to Gramma Doodle.
“Doodle will forever hold a special place in my heart, as she was my first Border Collie. My first dog was a Pembroke Welsh Corgi and while I loved her to death, when I started looking for my next dog I decided I wanted something “more”. I wanted a breed that was a bit unusual, not something that everyone else had. I knew I wanted another herding dog, one that was as intelligent as my corgi, one with legs long enough to jump into my truck, and one with a tail it could wag So, I researched medium-sized herding breeds and narrowed it down to BCs and Kelpies. Remember, back then BCs were still in the Misc class in AKC and no one had one. (When I looked for my first dog I narrowed it down to Corgis and JRTs, being the horse person that I was…I often wonder where I would be today had I opted for the JRT?)
As part of my research, I went to the Blue Ridge Crown Classic Sheepdog trial in Leesburg , VA. I was amazed by the Border Collies there and decided that was what I wanted. I was awed by their intelligence and eagerness to please. So, I set out to locate breeders. One of the individuals I contacted for info was Donald McCaig (who wrote Nop’s Trials and was active in herding). He told me I was not suited for a BC and that he would not recommend a breeder…. I keep meaning to call him up and tell him oh how so wrong he was, but haven’t found the time…
Anyway, I ended up with Doodle dog. During my research I’d gone to the Gaines Regionals etc and so when I got my Doodle I felt obligated to do obedience with her. So, Doodle got her CD and CDX. She actually was pretty good at obedience, but somewhere along the line we discovered agility. At one point I was training her go-outs for utility and I decided oh forget it, this is boring, agility is more fun! My plan was to go back and get her UD once her agility career was over. Never got around to it. Somehow agility was still keeping me busy
As I write I’m trying to recall some big event that Doodle won or some other accomplishment, but I can’t seem to think of any. She did win an award at a local MN trial for the “Most Entertaining Boxed Pairs” run. She went to 11 grand prix regionals one year and still didn’t qualify….she probably holds the record for that! But, I don’t think anyone that knew Doodle would deny that she was one of the greatest agility dogs of her time. Because she was unique, being a very fast and flashy BC, people used to stop what they were doing to get to ringside to watch Doodle run. Back then, there simply weren’t many fast dogs in agility. Doodle was the classic edge-of-your-seat, all-or-nothing type of dog. Many people over the years told me they got their first BC because of Doodle.
She taught me a lot (mostly what not to do) and I owe her everything I’ve achieved in this sport. She was literally the start of it all… She did win two games classes at the USDAA Natls one year, one of them being Gamblers. I believe she would be the only dog in history to win that class without ever doing a contact obstacle. Oh and she did make the Finals at the AKC Natls one year, she even made it onto Animal Planet…her sit on the table took so long they had to cut away to a commercial and when they returned she still wasn’t sitting (she had USDAA in her blood…what’s with this “Sit” command?). Doodle definitely taught me something about maintaining my good humor.
I checked the USDAA website and Doodle had 81 qualifying scores in USDAA. Considering that only one run a weekend counted for titling back in those days, that’s not too shabby. What I found interesting was that 27 of those Qs were Gamblers legs. I do miss some of the friendly competition JC Thompson and I used to enjoy with Doodle and Robby…but alas, times have changed. Some of you won’t know what I’m talking about and it’s a shame because in my mind those were indeed the good old days of agility. I’m so lucky to have been a part of it for as long as I have. All of my fond memories of those first few years will always include Doodle. If it weren’t for her….
Many of you will remember Doodle, as will I, for her crazy antics. I can still envision her splashing in the wading pools at trials, especially at Danville . That always attracted an audience. And I think everyone had “tapped” for Doodle a time or two. She loved to retrieve, to herd big balls back to me, to swim, tug on hoses, stare at the wall, whatever. Just “normal” BC stuff. But of course the way she did those things was special to me.
Well, I’m not sure what else there is to say. Doodle lived as happy and as full a life that I think any dog could ask for. When I settled in OH I built a pond on my property…just for the dogs. It was the wisest $$ I’ve ever spent…that pond brought Doodle many hours of sheer joy. And knowing she was happy, made me happy. Every summer she’d go out and just swim laps, then splash a bit, biting at the water, and then swim more laps. Nifty and Spiffy would get annoyed and bark at her when she’d splash. Sometimes she’d just lay near the edge partly submerged like a hippo. She loved the water. This year she had grown very weak in her hindquarters and she didn’t trust that she could swim. So, she chose to wade around the pond’s edge, splashing about as she tottered along. In the end, when she couldn’t even go wading any more, I decided it must be time.
Doodle will be laid to rest near the pond’s edge. Although she doesn’t seem to have any fancy titles or big wins to her credit, she will always be remembered as a true champion.
Thanks for listening,