5/15/93 - 7/25/06

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 What is the Annual "Crystal's Spirit Award"?

Last Tuesday I lost my first agility dog, Crystal. Those of you in the northeast knew her, or knew of her through me. Our success in agility was the reason I started offering "Motivating Your Agility Dog" seminars, and as an extension started my own agility training business. She taught me an incredible amount of stuff, both about how to teach a dog/handler agility team to succeed but also how to live and enjoy life.

She was born in May 1993; I adopted her as a 14 week old puppy from a shelter. She was probably a Border Collie/Husky mix (she exhibited traits of both breeds all of her life). She was by my side through many changes in my life, and we were always really well connected spiritually; I'm sure she often read my mind, and sometimes I could swear I could read hers. As she got older she faded into the background as my other dogs got more attention, but she never complained. It was enough to be around me, she was content to be at my feet if I was on the computer or in the car or crate if I was teaching class. I retired her from agility last year when she had trouble with first the A-frame and then even 12" jumps (her arthritis was getting bad, I had to begin helping her up stairs and onto the bed and into the car). However, she still did the occasional agility obstacle in the backyard or trick for treats when asked.

She had an apparent tumor in her liver, and died from internal bleeding.  I was with her at the end, and hours before I took her to the vet, when she started having trouble breathing, those expressive blue eyes (I named her Crystal because of those eyes) told me that she was going to be leaving us soon. She didn't complain when I had to pick her up, even when I had problems once or twice carrying her as she got heavier and heaver to hold, and yet it had to be uncomfortable for her.

All of us - the dogs, myself, my family, and my friends - will miss her terribly. I am finding out now how much so many people cared for her, how special she was to so many. Without her I wouldn't be half the trainer I was today, heck I wouldn't probably even be an agility trainer! A good friend noted that having Crystal in my life set me on an incredible path and adventure; and it is a path I am grateful to be on as I have many wonderful friends now that I would never have had if I hadn't had Crystal in my life these past thirteen years.

There are so many things that remind me of her every day. I was away for 6 days right after her death, and now that I am home, the impact is now being felt more strongly than ever as she's missing from all my little daily routines and rituals. I know in time it will fade, but her impact on my life and the life of those around me will never be forgotten.

Titles Crystal has earned:

Here's a touching java-based version of the The Rainbow Bridge set to music:

First, the puppy pictures... (click on the small ones to see the full-sized version)


                                                          (she was told not to put her feet            (this is a 24"x36"
                                                up on the chair, but Daddy had            crate, she was indeed
                                             dropped some crumbs down there!)           smaller as a puppy)

   With her new best buddy, Sandy, in August 1995

A common position for these two..........                           Another favorite resting spot!

  And, yet another good comfy spot

  Then there's the dog bed!

  Devil Dog, a 1996 Halloween Costume

Photo with Santa from 1997        And one from 2004                  And one from 2005

She did sleep a lot;     But she also played a lot!!

Agility Pictures, I have lots of them...

An early agility shot!       She used to have to jump 24, 26, or 30", depending the venue and year
                                     (30" was the top USDAA height before 1997)

When she became a veteran she could jump lower, she loved 16"!

   From 2004, run throughs at the farm


Remember how tunnels used to be demotivating for her???  You couldn't tell by looking at these pictures.

Nice weave poles...


Crystal took high in trial and high veteran in trial at the 2002 CPE Nationals - wow, what a terrific surprise our win was!!

    CPE C-ATCH, August 2004 - Thanks Eileen!!   


  Crystal and Sandy playing the brace game, back in 2000

Here are a couple of pictures taken at the first ever APDT Rally Obedience Trial in September 2001

 Crystal and Sandy portrait, taken in 1998

  Trisha, Sandy, Buddy and Crystal, taken in 2002

   Buddy, Sandy and Crystal, taken in 2002


Crystal and Sandy absolutely loved their walks in the woods


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