our dogs of the nineties
The last of our “agility dogs from the 90’s” left us this week. My husband pointed out that all our first & second generation agility dogs born in the last century have sadly departed the life we shared with them. Wicked was almost 16 years old, born in February of 1997. She joins Scud and Mick, 1991, Riot and Swift, 1995, Toast & Winston 1993, and Spy 1999.
Wicked was so decidedly not “wicked”. She loved every human and animal that she met. She was bred in England to be an agility dog and not to be one of those “herdy border collies”. She shocked us all when she showed such calm talent at moving the sheep around our fields, surpassing in skills some of our other collies who were better bred for the job.
She was the easiest dog I have ever trained, and rarely put a foot wrong. She helped many of my friends and students learn to do agility as she got to be the lesson dog, when visitors came to train without their own dog or needed a backup dog to run at a camp. You knew you got it wrong if there was an error in the run as it was so rarely ever her mistake. She retired from her agility career at 12 years old on the same day as her best buddy Riot when they both got their 500th platinum qualifying legs in USDAA. She and I had some great moments together over the years, winning the USDAA National Championship in 2000, and winning the DAM team tournament with Spy and Trigger in 2004 and taking third at AKC Nationals in 2005.
One of my students called her the Phyllis Diller of dogs, she was funny and silly and could not sit still while watching her friends run. A friend penned these drawings of her many years ago, and for the life of me I can’t recall the artist. Wicked would stay on the table while I trained another dog, but not very calmly. She was usually jumping up and down, spit flying from her mouth, but she never ever left her spot on the table. These drawings are how I remember her best.
Our life is emptier and sadder without her at our heels, always a riot tug in her mouth and a smile on her face. God speed Wickie.
Its very tough to say good bye!!! I’m SO sorry for your loss.
Since posting this I have found out that Martha Hofffman is the artist from the two drawings of Wicked. Martha was one of the original handlers in the Bay Area when I first got started in 1991 that inspired all of us with her amazing border collie Jinx.
Thanks Martha! NJG
So sorry to read of the passing of Wicked and Spy and your other older dogs, I will always remember them fondly. I want to thank Martha too! I have a wonderful drawing she did of Caper at a seminar there in 2000. I have it framed and cherish it very much. What a wonderful talent she has!
Nancy and Jim,
I am so sad to hear about your loss of Wicked. She was a special dog indeed! I have such great memories from when I started this sport of watching you and Jim and your amazing dogs (Scud, Riot, Mick, Swift, and Wicked) and hoping that one day I could run like y’all did. 🙂 Wicked was a grand girl, and ran with such power. A fantastic jumper who combined being quick with being responsive. I loved to watch you run with her, Nancy! She always loved getting petted too, in Del Mar, I was so scared to talk to ‘THE NANCY GYES’ but I could pet Wicked. 🙂 I know that your hearts are heavy now and that you miss her so much. Her memory will live on forever in your hearts and in mine.
She delighted lots of those who knew her, and that is a nice legacy indeed:)
Since I read this a few days ago, I’ve been thinking about a song in the musical Wicked. Part of the repeated lyrics are “Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better? But because I knew you, I have been changed for good”. I think Wicked the dog changed all who knew her for the better and for good. Sorry for your loss.
Wow Harley, Thanks so much for sharing that wonderful thought, that one will stay with me a long time:) Great lines!
Thanks everyone for the nice words about Wicked. I was thinking this morning about some funny moments I had with her when she was young. Two different times in competition and once in practice, she got running too fast on the dog walk and could not hold onto the board. She bailed the DW but instead of jumping to the ground, she threw herself into my arms so to speak. Once I saw her coming when I looked back at her and as I turned she leapt right at me. Once in competition I did not know she was coming and all of a sudden she was jumping on my back with me reaching up to catch her on my shoulders. What a silly girl:)
Nancy and Jim,
I’m so sorry to hear of Wicked’s passing. I well remember watching Nancy and Wicked run agility when I was first starting out in the sport with Mattie. You both were such an inspiration and made me want to be a much better team mate for my dog. My thoughts are with you as you mourn her passing.
So sorry to hear about Wicked. She was such a sweet dog. It was especially fun to watch her watch other dogs run! She would get so excited!
She will be sorely missed by all who knew her.
Nancy we are so sorry for your loss. Our old dogs are such treasures! I wish we had the pleasure of watching her run in person. Claire has learned a lot by watching old videos of you running your dogs! Wow! What a thrill to have been able to run such an amazing girl! Hugs!
Dear Nancy and Jim,
I’m SO sorry for your loss. No matter how long we have them, it’s never long enough. My heart goes out to you both…
Lots of sympathy, Kristi
PS. We’ll raise a glass next time you’re down.
Never easy saying good bye to such a good friend. Dogs can give us a big old sad hangover when they depart our lives. So sorry she is no longer with you.
Nancy and Jim,
I’m so sorry for your loss. Wicked obviously will continue to live in your hearts and the many people she helped show how agility is done.
Hugs x 1,000,000,000. always hurts to lose a pup.
Hugs to you and Jim. It’s never easy when they leave us, but the great memories you have will live with you forever. What a beautiful tribute to her. Just think of the fun you will have with your 20th century dogs when the day comes to see them again. Love ya
It is so nice to hear from handlers that ran Wicked over the years. Fun memories of watching her make others smile and teaching folks how to do it right:)
I remember Wicked as the first ever trained agility dog I ever got to run! I was delighted and nervous the first time I ran her but it was fun and I was so grateful to both Nancy and Wicked for their faith in me! She definitely had a joyous spirit and was expertly trained. Run on Wicked!!!
So sorry to hear this news, Nancy and Jim. It’s so sad how many of that first generation of agility dogs are leaving us.