TERESA CD AX AXJ
(1994? - November 17, 2006)
Stephen and I are sad to report that Teresa passed while we were in Costa Rica, a terrible end to an otherwise wonderful vacation. Teresa had started growing a mass on her chest in October. We decided not to pursue treament namely because Teresa panics and stresses during medical procedures and has little tolerance for pain. Instead, we made the most of the time we had left. Teresa's favorite thing in the world to do was to hike trails. Even as a senior on shaky legs, she often could out walk everyone. Recently, Stephen and I cleared our calendars on a Saturday and took Teresa to Cloudland Canyon for a 5-6 mile hike. It was perfect and she loved every minute of it. The tumor continued to grow and we continued to appreciate our time and hiked the local trails when we could. By our last hike at Red Top Mountain, I noticed a definite drop in her speed and endurance.
Teresa was a funny greyhound. She was high strung and restless much of the time, but very cudley. She was an excellent spooner. She did not play with toys, but loved to retrieve a plastic dumbbell . . . a few times. Teresa never raced and was rescued with a broken leg at 4 months. My sister, Denise, adopted her after she was bounced at about age 4 years (something about the "kids going to college"). Denise and I started taking our greyhounds to an agility class. Eventually, I took over Teresa's training and when I began competing Teresa in agility, Denise let me have her.
I think my fondest agility memory is that at the 4-day Perry dog show April 2000, Teresa ran clean 6 out of 7 attempts. She earned both Novice agility titles and earned 2 Open Standard legs. This was a very big deal considering I was new to the sport and was running a greyhound of all breeds. I had visions of me and my little black greyhound running at the Excellent level in just another trial or 2. Well, she tortured me slowly :-) and 15 trials later... we finally completed the Open Standard title. Rule #1, never count your titles until you have actually earned them. Teresa always loved to run agility at trials and in front of a crowd. Lots of spectators would complement Teresa on how happy she was. Eventually, she became less excited about the day to day training and I think she was glad to see me adopt a good training project - Katie, the workaholic.
Teresa eventually decided to try lure coursing. Denise and I made many attempts without success. When we stopped trying, Teresa started pulling towards the lure. I guess it had to be her idea. After some practice, she eventually could run a whole course. . . very slowly. :-) Literally, no faster than a swift jogger after a hundred yards or so. We never coursed her competitively, but she ran many test dog courses and even pre-certified a few hounds. She was always a joy to run because she was not fast enough, driven enough, and was not self-sacrificing enough to get hurt. And if the line broke at the other end of the field, you could always count on Teresa to come when called while most hounds will not.
Most recently, Teresa's job had been to help every dog lover clear out those pesky treats from their pockets. She also was the gentle distraction for the dogs in the Monday night obedience class. She would follow long during heeling patterns as if to play the role of absent minded judge. I sometimes employed her to stand behind Katie during the signal exercise . . . again playing the role of the judge. She also was just happy to get in the way, rummage through training bags, and to check out everyone's scent articles. All good practice for the student dogs learning to stay focused during difficult exercises.
I would like to thank my parents for taking care of Teresa during her last week and for helping her to pass away without suffering. Never an easy decision, but no doubt harder when making the decision for someone else. I had hoped that she would wait for me to get back, but it was not to be. Thank you, Diane Castle and vet tech, Trish, for making it as easy as possible on my parents and for Teresa. And thank you to the people who made a point to recognize Teresa when you saw her. Sometimes those old dogs just seem to fade away, but she of all dogs really appreciated the attention, the treats, and the kind words that you gave her. She loved staying apart of everyone's life.