HR Sonny's Yellar Dawg Dixie SH

Yesterday, I lost a friend.

In life, we learn to loose friends - without death, there cannot be life. But this friend was special. You see, I've been around dogs my entire life - my mom raised German Shepards as I was growing up. But Dixie was *MY* first dog. When I got her, I knew very little about hunting, and even less about training a hunting dog. And to be honest, while her pedigree (which I knew nothing about when I got her), was decent, it was nothing to brag about. But the two of us somehow managed to muddle through.

Our first daughter was just 6 months old when we brought Dixie home - Bethany and Dixie quite literally grew up together. They even traded teething toys (we have the picture of a rawhide bone in Bethany's mouth, and a baby teething ring in Dixie's).

When we ran our first hunt test together, Dixie proudly swam out and brought back a decoy - hmm, I guess I should train with those around, huh? At a later test she decided to roll in the cow-patties on the way out to the bird (a test she passed, btw). But there were times she made me incredibly proud - such as the 500 yard mark on a swimming teal while 4 weeks pregnant - with people watching.

Her last retrieve was one of her most memorable. Three of us were hunting a small pond just a couple of years ago, when Dixie was 12. We had shot several wood ducks out of a 'first light' group, and filled out that limit of 'woodies' a few minutes later. A few hours later a group of gadwalls came in, one of which was knocked down over a fence line. After walking over to get the bird, we were just standing around talking, pretty much deciding that our day was done. Dixie, who was never described as excitable even in her younger days, begins going nuts clawing, scratching, and digging into a thorny thicket at the water's edge. She dives in and brings out a quite angry, very much alive wood duck. My "buddies" both looked at me and proclaimed it to be "my bird".

Dixie's legacy continues; at our home, I still own Dixie's daughter (HRCH Cornerstone's Petros SH) and her granddaughter (Cornerstone's Burnin' Desire JH). And while I'm sure I'll own dogs that are far superior in terms of their raw talent, desire, or ability; none will ever come close to the place she earned in my heart.

Rest well, my friend.
Chris Barnes
Feb 18, 2002