A Tribute to Fergus

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How does one say goodbye to a beloved, once-in-a-lifetime dog? Thankfully not without the support of wonderful friends who wrapped us both up with love. From the moment he was born, my special boy grabbed my heart and never let go. There are no words to express how much I loved and adored him and how much I will miss him. He gave me everything he had, and I spent 15.5 years trying to make sure I was worthy of that.

He was a dog that made it possible to take a leap and go for the brass ring. I am incredibly proud of his accomplishments, not just because he achieved titles and honors at the highest levels, but because of the kind of dog he had to be to earn them. This is a dog that truly walked in and out of the show ring to the field and back, and was a testament to the notion that a dog can successfully be shown in working condition. I have had dogs with great drive and biddability, but it takes a special dog to maintain both desire and control, to work as a team and trust the partnership. There was nothing better than walking to the line with a dog I trusted to do his job and who trusted me to do mine. Although there were times when he carried me and others where he had better ideas of how to spend his time, I would not trade one moment of the journey we’ve had together, the things we learned and the large village of people who helped us along the way.

Fergus was everything I wanted in a Labrador - a balanced, moderate, athletic dog who was kind, devoted, biddable and smart. He had a fun sense of humor and was an honest dog that was easy to live with. He had a sweet smile and bright eyes that lit up his face. He was a beloved companion and leader of the pack. I loved him to the moon and back - everything that I miss terribly are the things that also make me smile. From his earliest days to his last, he followed me everywhere. He loved fruits and veggies and was always right there when I would make salads or smoothies, waiting for his slices of cucumber, strawberries or kale. He had strong prey drive and made sure he kept the yard free of rabbits and squirrels. He loved to sit by the front gate and watch the outside world. He loved trips to the park and the beach and swimming in Renee St. Denis’ pool. He loved to dig and I often suspected was trying to dig his own pool. He LOVED belly rubs. He loved upland hunting. He adored Larson - it was always as if Larson was HIS puppy, and they were, as I liked to call them, Frick and Frack. I sometimes called Fergus my jumping bean because he had this little hoppy dance he did every time I came home. He knew when he did well at something and nothing made me smile more than when he would run a nice series and he would strut off the line with a swelled chest, quite proud of himself. My favorite moments were when I would garden and he would sunbathe nearby in the yard, or when we would all curl up together on a rainy day - just those wonderfully quiet moments of simple togetherness. For me, he was the perfect dog, my Fergus, my sweet lovely boy that I will hold tight in my heart forever.

I am so grateful that Fergus lived a rich, full life, but as the sweet gif my friend Liz sent me said, “the only thing I could not protect him from was time.” As we sat with Fergus the night before we said goodbye, Garth Brooks’ “The Dance” started playing on Pandora, and while it made me cry, it reminded me of how very lucky I am to have shared such a large part of my life with this wonderful dog. Some of the lyrics are:

“Looking back

On the memory of

The dance we shared

'Neath the stars above

For a moment

All the world was right

But how could I have known

That you'd ever say goodbye

And now I'm glad I didn't know

The way it all would end

The way it all would go

Our lives are better left to chance

I could have missed the pain

But I'd have had to miss the dance….”

Thank you sweet boy - the dance with you was the best dance of my life.