Farli’s Birthday

Blackwood’s Linden Farli JH OAJ OA CD RA ONYX UTP3 CGC TDI
Farli celebrated her 14th Birthday on 2 July 2007. She has been a wonderful hunting dog and great companion. She is mostly deaf and partly blind and can not detect scent as well as she could. She has a head tilt and loss of balance due to a vestibular lesion Due to arthritis she is in pain most days even with three different pain meds and joint supplements. But she can still can do 3 of her 4 favorite things (hunting, cuddling and eating) even if flyball is now out because she can’t do her box turn. Even on days when she hurts she is determined to have fun. She joyfully “buys” treats with her tennis ball – which helps get her to be motivated to swim to maintain muscle without pounding joints. The pond is great for both dogs – too bad we don’t have a heated place for swimming in winter.

Farli is still my great love and we have special “old lady” agility so she can train and succeed. A sit during obedience play is now lowering her rump about an inch as the process of sitting hurts – we both accept the symbolic sit and reward the effort. Ritka now finds more prey when we hunt – but Farli enjoys every minute and hunts “smarter” even if her physical skills are limited. The hawks still trust Farli more than Ritka. I now have to treasure each birthday so I thought I’d share the joys of an old lady.

We have to remember the great retrieves when she climbed 30 feet up oak trees to get wounded birds. Or down & up gulches & through rivers. Hunts where we spent hours afterward removing hundreds of cactus spines. The day as a pup she spend 90 minutes determined to retrieve a healthy (but non-flying) goose and finally succeeded – I don’t think I’ve ever been forgiven for letting it loose. Times she found birds in fields other dogs had hunted, but missed the birds. The day she held point for 30 minutes while I helped an old man hobble over rough terrain to get in position to shoot. We listened to him tell tails of hunts in his youth. Farli retrieved a pheasant for him that he had “winged”, so he could go home with a good memory of what may have been one of his last hunts. Times when Farli helped the hawks catch squirrels, rabbits, and upland birds. Her first NSTRA trial where the judge said he wished his dog retrieved as well as Farli – and that was Farli’s natural retrieve only encouraged with praise, not formally trained. She was 8 years old when she earned 3rd in her _first_ field trial stake, with warm applause from her brace mate – Kita Morris. Fun days running on Fiesta Island with her buddy Robbie. They day she carried her ONYX plaque around at the “Wags for Wishes” flyball tournament. Running agility for a “Make a Wish” kid. Comforting folks as a Pet Assisted Therapy Dog. The time she brought me a wild grebe when I was trying to get her to practice for her NAVHDA duck search with a tennis ball. They day she caught her first wild quail – and the day she caught her first wild rabbit without help from the hawks.

I wish she were young again – but I will still treasure the days I have left with my lady – be she ever so demanding and claiming of old lady privileges.

Hug and love your dogs be they young or old

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