Sunday, October 31, 2010

Tucker Turns Ten - a Retrospective

My tiny Tucker turns 10 today!!
Quite a big milestone in a dog's life. 

Tucker is my third Sheltie, my second sable male and my second sheltie from Dierenvriend's Kennel where his big brother Gryffon came from too. He was one of a litter of only two male puppies; the first litter for Dienrenvriend Bonnie Wee Mattie. Tucker's sire was Can Ch Fairfax As Good as It Gets.  Tucker's registered name is Dierenvriend's Mattie's Tucker.  Not my choice for the name although the breeder did use the call name I had chosen.
Mattie and her two boys.
Don't ask me which puppy is Tucker in the photo with his Mom, I don't know.  I used to visit the breeder's during my lunch hour. I almost gave up Tucker for his brother. My Gryffon was not the most social of dogs and I wondered how he would react with a new puppy. I had picked the smaller of the two puppies but then during one lunch time visit decided that I should take the larger puppy who was more outgoing. By the time I got back to work, I was feeling like I had abandoned Tucker and called the breeder to say I had changed my mind and would keep the smaller puppy. 
Tucker - Christmas 2000

I got to take Tucker home just as I was starting Christmas holidays so I picked him up from the breeder on my way home to my parent's in Moncton.  I think he started off being really well socialized that way, something that I didn't ensure for poor Gryffon, who was very shy with people and aggressive with other dogs. 

Tucker discovers the Christmas Tree

But Gryffon turned out to be a great big brother. Tucker could crawl all over him and even fall asleep on him.  Gryffon, in fact, seemed always to be very interested in whatever Tucker was doing.  They played tug of war and jousted with their heads, mouths snapping at each other. The only thing Gryffon didn't share was his tennis ball, poor Tucker never got to get the ball, Gryffon was such a ball hog. That's why to this day I say all Tucker learned to be is a cheerleader since when we were playing ball all Tucker got to do was run back and forth, barking.  
Gryffon watching Tucker intently.

Tucker - gangly boy!

Camping with Gryffon, Bogart and my niece and nephew Jessica and Daniel
My favourite picture of Gryffon and Tucker.

Tucker and I lost his big brother, Gryffon on 23 August 2002 from complications following exploratory surgery which found that he had an abdominal wall infection. Gryffon was only 7 and half years old. So far sooner than I expected, Tucker became an "only" dog.

Tucker and Ceilidh - Summer 2003
 In March of 2003, Tucker got a little sister, Kelbren "Ceilidh"  Everlasting.  That summer we moved from New Maryland, New Brunswick to Angus, Ontario.  I started obedience classes at Barrie Canine Connection with Ceilidh and, since they also gave agility classes, decided to put Tucker into agility. I had heard about agility but had never had the opportunity to take classes anywhere. We got hooked. Tucker proved to be a good agility dog, he wasn't too fast but he was a thinker.  Initially,  I didn't think that he would be all that succesful even though we got a qualifying score in Jumpers at our very first trial and he got his Agility Dog of Canada title in less than a year. Once we were out of Starters, Tucker had difficulty making the course times but as soon as he moved to Veterans, then we started to progress. 

Tucker's first trial at Dream Fields which was before we even moved to Ottawa.
The summer of 2006, saw another move for Tucker, Ceilidh and I from Angus, Ontario to our Nation's capital Ottawa.  By now both Ceilidh and Tucker were competing in agility and we quickly discovered the active Ottawa-Kingston agility community.  The next summer, we entered the Ontario Regional Championship for the first time. Tucker did very well and qualified for Nationals.  Tucker competed at Nationals in 2007 at Halton Hills, Ont, in 2008 in Sussex, NB and in 2009 in Ottawa, Ont.  At Nationals in 2008, he placed he placed 8th in one of Gamblers events. It was the first time he completed a National or Regional main gamble. He would have placed 10th overall in his height class except that in the other Gamble event, I got greedy for points and tried to put him over a two point jump near the dog walk. Tucker took the dog walk instead and when the buzzer sounded, he was on the dog walk heading away from the main gamble. Tucker did do that main gamble but just not in the time allowed.  At Nationals in 2009, Tucker placed in every event in his height class and placed 7th over all for his height class, 6" Double-Drop Veterans.  
Tucker - 2009 AAC Agility Nationals - Ottawa, On
Tucker also completed all the title requirements for the Agility Trial Champion of Canada title, the Bronze Award of Merit and his Bronze Versatility Award during his agility career.  Not too bad for a dog that I initially thought would have difficulty getting his Agility Dog of Canada title.  So to use all of the letters for his titles after his registered name, he is:

Dierenvriend's Mattie's Tucker, SADC, VGDC, VAADC, VAGDC, VMADC, VMJDC, VMGDC, VMSDC, VMTRDC, VATChC, ExJ Bronze, ExSt Bronze, ExTR Bronze, Bronze Versatility, Bronze Award of Merit.

At Nationals in 2009, Tucker nearly slid off the A-frame in the rain and was having difficulty meeting the course times. After Nationals, he refused to do A-frames and he continued to have difficulty meeting the course times. I made the decision that it was in his best interest to retire him from competitve agility; he still likes to play for fun when there are treats in the ring and no A-frames.

Tucker and Ceilidh got a new little brother during the Labour Day weekend of 2009, Triadic's Glenciaran Beckett.  Tucker accepted him pretty easily but Ceilidh was not too impressed.

Tucker and Beckett - Summer 2010

Sadly this past May, Tucker, Beckett and I lost our Ceilidh girl to Mast Cell Cancer. Beckett wasn't really affected by the loss but I think Tucker missed her; I know I sure did, still do.

Last Moments Together - Ceilidh and Tucker

Recently as a result of having pre-op blood work done for dental work, we have found that Tucker has what is suspected to be chronic pancreatitis. He is currently on medications and dietary supplements which seem to be working but we won't know for sure until additional blood work is done once we have completed the course of medications. He does, however, seem to be somewhat more energetic already so I hope the medications are effective and will clear up the pancreatitis.
Devil Prince
Tucker has been a great dog and companion, laid back he always takes everything in stride. I wish he had another ten years with me but I know how unlikely that would be.  Today, we are going to enjoy the day together and then, this evening,we'll be giving out treats to the Trick or Treaters. The little kids always wish him Happy Birthday when I tell them Halloween is Tucker's birthday. I'm going to make him some low-fat pumpkin oatmeal muffins for his birthday cake. There's no doubt that my food hound will enjoy that. 

Happy Birthday Tucker Boo!!


  1. Happy Birthday Tucker.

    What a great life he's had with you. He's such a great boy and love that halloween costume!! Thanks for the wonderful story of his life.

    Is Gryffon a bi black sheltie or a BC?

  2. Great post Helen, that was a fun read. Did they have outdoor AAC trials at Dream Fields way back then or was that a CKC trial?

    That photo of him next to the blue couch is so cute! I wouldn't have recognized Tucker at all, he looks so different there.

    Also, I like how your photos have boxes around them and captions underneath. How did you do that?

    Happy birthday and happy Halloween, Tucker!

  3. Happy Birthday to Tucker!

    I loved seeing all the photos through the years. Tucker surely has lived through good and bad times, and taken it all in stride.

    I'm glad to hear he is doing well on the new diet & medication.


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