Aurum’s Vintage Fore and Aft
3 Dog World Awards
Shortly after Christmas 2001 Brass' remission ended and the lymphosarcoma was back. We'd just celebrated his 6th birthday two weeks before.
Brass was definitely our "special needs" child. Almost entirely lacking in confidence and coping skills, easily frightened by the silliest things. Self-protective to the extreme, always barking at the slightest little thing. It broke my heart to neuter this beautiful, talented, OFA Excellent dog, but there was never any question that his behavior was inappropriate for the breed.
Brass taught us so much about the qualities that are truly essential in a working retriever. He was intelligent, a quick learner, eager to please, loved birds and water, and excellent marker .... yet his lack of confidence and inability to cope with stress and pressure meant that he was virtually unable to access and use his talents. He was our field wash-out, failed even as a dove hunting dog, our "Weenie Boy".
Brass was the most difficult dog I've ever trained in obedience, and in doing so he made me a better trainer. Between the two of us, we managed to overcome his lack of confidence enough to earn his obedience titles with placements on all but one leg, including a High in Trial from Open B on his first CDX leg. He had 7 UDX legs at the time he was diagnosed with cancer. During his remission we returned to play in the obedience ring. By this point, he stressed so in training but enjoyed getting out to the shows, so we just didn't train, went to the shows and hoped for the best! First we tried UKC, and he earned two U-CD legs with High in Trials. Then 5 AKC shows to get those last 3 UDX legs, and on December 10, 2001 Brass finished his UDX title!
Agility was truly Brass' one area to excel. On a whim I'd suggested to Doug that he try taking Weenie Boy to agility. They loved it, and as long as Doug was there to reassure him and direct him, Brass was happy. Placements on every leg of his titles through AX and AXJ. They were working on his MX and MXJ, when Brass became ill.
Where Brass really shone was at home. The perfect bedsnuggler. Newspaper retriever. Dog bowl picker-upper. We could always count on Brass to find things that had fallen on the floor and to bring them to us ... "Look what I found!" wiggle-wiggle-wiggle! A SUPERB puppy-raiser ... he played with our litters from the time they were 3-4 weeks old, ever so tolerant and gentle, teaching them that there were big dogs in the world other than their mother. He was the first puppy I helped deliver, from the first litter I bred. He was born into my hands, and 6.5 yrs later I held him as we let him go.
Sleep in peace Brass-Brat. You no longer have anything to fear.