Goodbye Sport

okie archer

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Feb 3, 2015
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435
I thought about posting something about losing my Lab back in May of 2020 but I just wasn't in the mood so I'm just getting around to it.
I got Sport as a 6.5 week old puppy. Right away a saw in him a desire to retrieve I had not seen before. Already retrieving bumpers on land I took him to water. At 9 weeks and 1 day old he made his first water retrieve. During that time I spent a lot of time dog training being involved in retriever clubs. At the age of 2 years and 11 days old Sport won first place in an AKC field trial in the Qualifying stakes. At that point I chose to not pursue the All Age stakes. It was just to demanding. Moving forward Sports career would be that of an awesome duck dog. His drive to retrieve was crazy. He didn't seem to get enough. Several duck seasons had passed and time had slipped upon me, Sport was now 9 years old.I thought I would enter a few UKC hunt test and try to put his Hunter Retriever Champion title on him before he got to old. We needed 7 passes to title. He passed the first 2 hunt test we ran. Sports health began to decline but not in his joints or body. It was his heart. Often when he got excited he would fall over for about 20 seconds and get up like nothing happened. These spells would gradually become more often. Sadly he still had the attitude and drive that he had as a young dog, that part of him never left. One of the in last hunt I had with him we were killing quite a few birds. It was a cold day with rough waters. He came back with a duck and I lined him up for another downed duck. When I called his name to be sent he just sit there. He just could not do it. Looking back that was a sad day. It got to the place it just wasn't safe to hunt him anymore. With him having the passing out spells, the risk of him passing out in the water was to great. I didn't want him to drown. After I retired him he made it to 11 years old. He quit eating and for a day or two and barely had the strength to walk. If he made it through the night I would have to make a decision the following morning. I got up and went and dug his grave on my place. I set an appointment with the vet. After I said my goodbyes in the clinic I walked out and they put him to sleep. We carried him out to our vehicle and brought him home. The whole family buried him and cried as we covered him with dirt. It will make a grown man cry.
The pic of Sport on the tailgate was his last hunt.
 

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jejack26

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May 21, 2018
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242
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Montana
As a fellow lab guy, my condolences. It is just tough. First place in qualifying is a accomplishment most dogs could never dream of.
 

okie archer

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Feb 3, 2015
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435
I kinda lost interest in duck hunting for awhile. Without your dog it's just not the same.
Well here lately I have had a little spark in interest for starting a new journey with a new hunting buddy.
I just got a new pup a few days ago, meet Rex. While it's sad closing the chapter with your hunting dog it's also exciting opening another!
 

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Pahoundsman

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Apr 3, 2020
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373
Location
Central Pa
Sorry to hear about Sport. I lost one this spring and know how you feel. You’ll never replace him, but you can start a new chapter with your pup. Happy hunting.
 

Treeshark

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Jul 14, 2014
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616
Location
Wisconsin
Shoot. Not fun to read or think about how you feel:(

My first dog as a kid was an American Water Spaniel also named Sport. He was a hunting machine and a great pet. I can still remember how it felt when he died like it happened yesterday, but can remember some of the good memories like they were yesterday too.
 

okie archer

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Feb 3, 2015
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435
Thanks for the replies. Dogs are great to have around, especially hunting dogs. Although it's sad when we lose them, in all reality when you look at the big picture there are worse things in life a lot of people are going through. So how I have come to look at it is like this. Yes enjoy your dogs as much as you can but understand it really is a short time we have them.
When it comes to dogs you basically have two choices.
1. Never get one so you don't have to go through the hurt of losing one. But if you do that you will miss out on a whole lot of good times with the dog.
2. Get a good dog and enjoy the memories made keeping in mind that dogs don't live forever so make the most of it. And when it's time to say goodbye do so knowing the sadness is worth going through for all the goodness outweighs the sadness overall.

I pick #2.
 

Luke_with_a_lab

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Mar 4, 2019
Messages
274
Location
Montucky
Sorry to hear about loosing your pup. Its one of the hardest things a person does. You can take solace in knowing you gave him the best life he could have asked for (getting to go bird hunting)!
 

dgc1963

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Feb 17, 2019
Messages
859
Sorry about Sport He was a good looking dog. my boy Charlie is very close hes a chocolate. Ive always had dogs all my life hate this part
 

thomas89

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Apr 9, 2015
Messages
547
I don't know that most people understand the depth of the intensity in dogs that run qualifying events and above. Any old dog can bee-bop their way through a master event. And you’re right, all-age events are incredibly time consuming, rather the training for them is.

First dog I really loved hunting over was a little black lab male named Sport. Had some incredible 200 yard blind retrieves on geese I couldn’t believe at the time. Thanks for bringing up the memories for me, so sorry for the loss of your own Sport.

Good dogs never truly die, they live forever in our memories and stories. Hopefully you think of him and tell them often.
 
Yeti

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