HRCH UH Bama's Legendary Coach Bear MH

Michelle and I received some sad news last night. Our oldest dog Coach has cancer. 2 weeks ago he started acting a little odd, bumping into things and having a difficult time getting up in the mornings, if he would even try. He also developed a lump on his hip that had me concerned. The day before Thanksgiving Michelle took him to the vet and they felt certain it was cancer. The original approach was to put him on some pain medication and try to get him feeling better so they could remove the lump. After being on the meds for a week and seeing no improvement, we decided to take him in yesterday evening for an ultrasound and X-ray. It was clear to the vet that it was cancer and it had spread throughout most of his body. She explained to us that there was really nothing that could be done. We decided to bring him home and spend this last weekend with him. Next week I will take him back to be put down.

He and I have hunted ducks, geese and doves all across South Texas, pheasants in the panhandle and Nebraska, and big geese in Colorado. Together in the hunt tests we received an AKC Master Title and UKC Hunting Retriever Champion and Upland Hunter Titles. He sired a couple of litters and fortunately I have one of his pups. He loved to retrieve dummies and of course birds but I think his true love was the frisbee!! He would dig through a mound of dummies to get a frisbee at the bottom of the pile. Often Michelle and I would have to put him up when we wanted to water the yard, because he loved to roll and play in the sprinkler. I don't know how many he broke by rolling on them when they were watering. We always thought it was funny. Even though he tended to have a sour attitude towards strangers on occasion, we still loved him.

This is by far the hardest thing in my life I have ever had to deal with. He is 11 years old and I always knew that eventually this day would come. I've actually been trying to prepare myself for 2 ? 3 years that goodbye was getting closer every day. However, I had no idea it would happen this quickly. Just 3 weeks ago he and I were playing in the yard together and I had no idea he was sick. Every time life got a little rough I could go throw a frisbee for him and I always felt better. For 11 years he wasn't just my huntin' buddy, he was truly my best friend.

On our way home from the vet last night we stopped at the grocery store and got him some of his favorite foods, ice cream, oatmeal cream pies, donuts and other junk food he always enjoyed while we were hunting together. For the next several days Michelle and I are going to do everything we can to make him happy and comfortable. I'm sure I will drop some alligator tears on his big head.

Who knows, maybe where he is going he will pick up more birds than he has with me lately and someone will be able to throw that frisbee perfectly straight for him every time!

Goodbye ol' boy, I will miss you greatly.
Kenton Brannan
Dec 3, 2003