A Tribute to a Light Heart
What do you do when you've reached the end of an era? This morning I said goodbye to a grand little dog. A little dog who introduced me to a lot of firsts. He was my first homebred puppy, my first homebred champion, my first to place at a National, my first AI. A lot of firsts. Rory was 15 1/2 years young. Yes, young. Even though parts of him were old and slowing down he was still young at heart. Still game to chase a toy and play tug when he could see where I threw it. Still ready to insist that he follow me down to the barn when it was time to feed the sheep. Some days it was easier for him to get up and down stairs, most days he took long naps, but his appetite never flagged. Yesterday morning we shared a piece of peanut butter toast then he conned me out of a couple of pizza "bones" at lunch time. I knew our time was
getting short. Nearly two years ago we discovered his kidney/liver function was compromised. I am grateful
we had this much time left.
Rory was the most self assured dog I have ever known. He was bomb proof, he feared nothing. That is not to say he was foolish, just that he knew life was good and would treat him well. He was a golden child. He met every new experience with a smile, ears forward and tail aloft (oh that tail!). He had an excellent sense of humor and loved a joke. A favorite game was stealing the glove from my hand and dropping it in the snow when we were out walking. He was foremost among the elbow nudgers, he saw no point in a hand lying idle when it could be put to better use scratching an ear.
He was an ordinary puppy to begin with, people were hard pressed to find an encouraging word when I proudly
pulled out his baby pictures. At around 4 months of age he began to blossom and was BOS to Gini Shaw's Thumper at his first match. He received no formal leash training. On our way out the door to the match I attached a leash to his collar, he looked up at me and trotted right out. He always moved in a straight line, never wavering. By the time he reached 6 months of age he showed real promise. Photos mailed to Australia received an enthusiastic response from his
dam's owners Catherine and Francis Pickard. Winning Best in Sweeps at the Detroit specialty was the first indication of good things to come. I thought I'd fallen off the edge of the earth when he placed third in his 9 to 12 month old class at the 1991 Indianapolis Specialty. Rory was an easy dog to show, he never had a bad day. Dog shows were great fun,
cookies were great, there were lots of beautiful girls to schmooze, it was good to be a show dog. He finished his American title at the SSC of Greater Detroit show in 1995. Rory wasn't specialed much, he did earn one Group One before I decided entry money was better spent on the youngsters. He earned an AOM at the DCSSA show and won his Veteran class at the CSSA in 1998. His final ring appearance was at the Lansing National 2003 where he was third again in the
12 and older Veteran class.
Rory loved the ladies, even in his elder years he would perk up when a nubile young lass entered the room. He was really quite sweet with his girls, kissing their ears. Being somewhat short of stature he had difficulty breeding naturally. The one time he achieved a natural tie I'm not sure who was more surprised he or I. Rory wasn't used much in the States, more Canadian breeders saw his potential. He achieved his ROMC, the fourth generation via his dam's tail female line to do so. Three litters produced multiple Canadian champions. His gifts to me are his son, granddaughters, grandson, and two great grandsons. It is fascinating to see little bits of Rory in their faces and mannerisms. It thrilled me to the toes when I realized there was a tiny piece of Rory in the 2005 ASSA National RWD, Am. Can. Ch. Reinmaur's Firecracker.
Time is cruel, but Rory's light heart carried him through the years cheerfully. His life was well lived. He blessed my life. How can I grieve?
Home of Romyldale Shetland Sheep and Sheepdogs