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I have a friend at my obedience club who generally comes to the first hour we are open on Fridays to do either an open or a utility routine with his smooth collie. Hollly is about 6 1/2 years old and has titles through a UD and nine legs out of ten for a UDX. She is a sweet sensitive girl and he is an older man who grew up in Germany, and after coming to the US was the canine unit trainer for the NYPD for many years. He used to breed German Shepherd dogs and showed them in conformation and obedience. His wife died about a year and a half or so ago.


Holly has been struggling recently and at our last trial at our club she Qd in both open and utility one day and then in utility but not in open the next day day. Her owner/handler is a little worried that she has something wrong with her. I am also a bit concerned since she has had a hard time with directed jumping in utility. When he worked with her this morning she took the high jump with effort and failed to do the bar jump several times. He has decided to retire her. I know how hard it is to stop working towards a goal like this, but worry all the more so since he is still struggling with being lonely after his wife's passing. I hope he will keep coming to hang out with us int he mornings on Fridays. He needs some structure in his life. I walked him out to his car when he was ready to leave, gave him a hug and a kiss and told him I loved him and not to be a stranger. I just have a sad vision of him sitting alone in his house with Holly watching the TV tonight and know he is sad there on his own.
 

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Aww so sorry to hear. You are a very compassionate person caring. Perhaps you can offer him to come, hang out and perhaps he could help some of those who struggle with their dogs. Personally with my bad balance lately and arthritic paid I would love someone to work my dog while I watch. My dog would be learning a lot and we all would benefit. I hope he will continue with your club. Sometimes people just need to be needed.
 

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So sad - how about scent work for them? Even senior dogs with senior owners can be new to that and succeed. And how about a fib that you need him helping out assisting others - to keep him coming? With his training background he could probably do some good...
 

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His training background is so awesome. One of the other folks who was there on Friday suggested to him that he come on Tuesday to work with one of his older dogs. My club is a pretty good network so we will find things for him to do. I am not so sure he would pick up another sport since they have done obedience and rally (through an RAE), but he can steward and do other things in the club for sure.
 
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Excellent idea to have him steward and otherwise help around the club. It is so hard to lose a beloved. As I have grown older, I am more appreciative of the few friends I have. I really wish we had a club here as I would love to participate. Sad we only have the park services classes - I tried but they are very bad and use techniques I would never use with my dog. Of course I treasure all my friends here on PF.
 

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I read this thread this morning and my heart went out to that poor man. After losing a spouse, retiring a canine performance companion seems like a small loss. But is it? It could be the proverbial straw. You can’t afford to lose purpose and therapeutic activities when you’re in an emotional low. I hope he can steward, or teach, have Holly as a guest neutral dog. I’m glad your club is a supportive community. He can contribute so much even if he’s no longer competing.
 

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I have a nice update! My friend came to novice class with Holly today. He decided it would be good for both of them to come and do something fun together. I was thrilled to see him. He had a very nice time in the class as did Holly. At the end of class he spent some time talking with the man who took the CGC with his French Brittany today. He spent some time chatting with my mom too. He told me he would keep coming to novice for fun and maybe give that last utility leg a try in the spring.
 

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An update, and its a good one!

After a bought of mild depression and concern for his dog being injured, some time off has brought a fresh start so to speak. My friend resumed training with his girl about 6 weeks ago and they entered a trial today and got their 10th leg for their UDX title today. I wasn't there, but got a text from another friend who was entered.


I could not be happier for these two. He is such a nice man and great trainer and his dog, a smooth collie, is a sweet heart and lovely willing partner for him!!!!!!!
 

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Sweet!!!!
 
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I love happy updates - how wonderful.
 
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