The King Is Gone

Am/Cdn Ch Merrymoon Firestorm “Hunter”

March 21,1996 – May 18, 2013

Bred by Barb Hoffman, catered to by me And loved by everyone who met him Hunter was helped peacefully to the bridge yesterday when he let me know that it was time to set him free.

A great boy with an absolutely wonderful temperament and an “evil twin” Hunter’s spirit will live on through his progeny around the world. Even on this sad day, on Facebook I an reading of a grandson winning the British breeds specialty in Budapest and new grandchildren being evaluated in the US. Although he never achieved ROM status himself he has definitely left his mark on the breed but his greatest achievement was being my companion through thick and thin and many of life’s challenges. There is a huge Hunter-sized hole in my heart right now.

A very VERY happy birthday announcment!

Four months ago  I didn’t believe I would have the chance to write this post, but tomorrow will be Hunter’s 17th birthday.   He’s a lot slower, and spends more time sleeping than anything else, but he is still with me, despite the diagnosis last winter of a likely brain tumour.  Medication has kept the seizures pretty well under control, he has had a few, but not at all what I would consider bad enough to let him go.  He still enjoys his food tremendously, and his constitutionals around and around the yard.   I think with spring in sight, he may even perk up as he can be outside getting more excercise (the ice and potholes are hard when you can’t really see where you are going).

So here is 17 years of pictures for those who may not have known him in his glory days.  A little bit of history of a dog who will be around in pedigrees for many years to come.

 

Hunter came into my life  in the summer of  1996 from Barb Hoffman.   I have tried to find some pictures of him as a tiny puppy, but unfortunately they seem to have disappeared over the years.   I was undecided between names, tossing back and forth a few – Bobby being the one at the top of the list.   However, at that time I was much more involved with my wolfhounds, and he would hide in the tall grass, stalking the ends of the wolfhounds tails, then bounding out, pouncing on them and biting them. I used to laugh at him and call him the mighty Hunter, and that is the name that stuck.

 

Hunter with the gang – Donovan on futon, Ruari and Megan on blue pillow, Penny on plaid

Hunter’s show career was not as phenomenal as that of many of his descendents.   As a puppy he earned a puppy group placement under J.R. Glendinning at one of his first shows at 8 months.

 

Hunter – Best Puppy In Group – 8 months

I finished his championship just over a year of age at the spring Trillium shows.

Hunter – New Champion – 13 months

 

He was basically unnoticed here in the far north for two years.   I used him myself for two litters with Abbey – the Hannukah litter which produced Judith and the spice litter which produced Megan.

 

 

Judith – new Champion – 1 yr

Megan – 6 months

 

 

Judith, unfortunately ended up never being bred, but Megan went on to produce several more champions for me.

Hunter did a bit of winning in Canada, but nothing especially noteworthy, picking up occasional group placements.

 

In 1998 Hunter made his ring debut at the American Nationals.  At his first Nationals he was Best of Winners under Jon Kimes.


Best of Winners – CWCCA 1998

 

 

He followed up this win by completing his championship in the US with two more Regional Specialty wins, and RWD at the 1999 CWCCA National.    During this time he sired a litter at Phi-Vestavia – the Storm Litter which produced the ROM producers Camille and Riley, and my girl Gale, who is behind many of the dogs I show today.

 

Reserve Winners Dog – CWCCA 1999

Hunter continued to show on a limited basis in Canada – only showing to judges I felt could appreciate him.

Group 4 – 6 years – Cheryl Myers-Egerton

In 2006 Hunter sired a couple of very nice litters for Barb Hoffman and Jon Kimes – one of the litters producing the 2007 CWCCA Best of Winners dog – Merrymoon Pluperfect Pathway (Brett).

I also bred Hunter back to two of his granddaughters – Rocky (Am/Cdn Ch Yasashiikuma Scirocco) and Ruby (Cdn Ch Yasashiikuma Weetartan Sedalia).   Rocky’s litter produced Dolly and Ruby produced Jade who later became mother to Dragoon.

In 2007 Carolyn Cannon approached me about breeding Alice to Hunter – a breeding which produced Chase, Pilot and Libby, who have all gone on to produce champions themselves.

Despite all of his children’s successes – Hunter has never earned an ROM himself.   He has more than enough points, as several of his children have maxed out on their contributions, but unfortunately we were never able to find one more person willing to put a title on one of his kids.   I had hoped we would see it happen while he was still alive, but I know that won’t likely happen now.  He has left his mark on the breed nonetheless.

Hunter in the meantime has sort of faded into the background.  He has come out for the National Specialties and Western Reserve.

In 2008 at the CWCCA National at the age of 12 he won his class in regular showing and veterans sweeps as well as the Stud Dog class.

Stud dog class- CWCCA 2009 – with Dolly and Chase

 

Over the next couple of years Hunter only showed in Veterans classes, as he started to slow down winning the Sweepstakes at the Western Reserve Specialty and the Canadian National.   The judge at the Canadian National told me that at 14 he was in serious contention for the breed, but she awarded it to his daughter Dolly, and BOS to Grandson Dragoon.

CWCCWR – 2009 – Best in Veteran Sweeps under Eileen Eby

 

Best Veteran – 14 years old – Canadian National 2010

 

 

His last show was  the U.S. National in 2012.   No longer competitive, Hunter made his last trip around the ring with me in the Parade of Titleholders.  It was a sad moment for me, as it really hit home that it was the last time I would get to show him, this year the national is just too far and the Western Reserve show is just too hot to subject him to.   So this is Hunter’s life now, dreaming in front of the fire.

Happy birthday to a very grand old man!

 

The Legacy of a Legend

Left to right: Yasashiikuma Trade Secret (Cara - Harry P x Dolly), 3 months, Yasashiikuma Smoky Mountn Maid (Dolly - Hunter x Rocky), 5 years, Yasashiikuma Scirocco (Rocky - Toby x Gale) 9 years, Merrymoon Firestorm (Hunter) - 16-1/2 years, Phi-Vestavia Storm of Yasashiikuma (Gale - Hunter x Gloria) 13 years, Yasashiikuma Friend of Mine (Amigo - Harvey x Rocky) 3 years, Yasashiikuma Dare to Dream Big (Dash - Dickens x Dolly) 17 months

 

This has been a very weepy week for me for a number of reasons, but started with one major one.   I’ve kept this pretty much to myself, but I think everyone has the right to know.  Everyone who has a dog from me that is still alive, has a Hunter child, grandchild, great-grandchild or great-great-granchild.   Those who have Chase puppies, Pilot puppies, Brett puppies, Amigo puppies – you all have Hunter in your family trees.

This picture is one branch of my Hunter legacy.   Gale, on Hunters left, at 13-1/2 is  Hunter’s daughter from Gloria.  On his right, is her daughter Rocky at 9.   On the other sides of Gale and Rocky, are Rocky’s children Dolly and Amigo.  And on each end are Dolly’s daughters Dash and Cara.  His blood runs through the veins of many great winners, and so many kennels now that I have lost count.  He has definitely left his mark on the breed.

Hunter has been doing very well.  Although slower and hard of hearing, he still enjoys his constitutionals around the yard, still eats well and a month ago had a blood panel done that was healthy for a dog half his age.

But last Sunday afternoon, Hunter had a grand mal seizure.  It was the first (and last) that I’ve seen, so he hasn’t been put on any anti-seizure medication.  However, discussions with my vet are not good news, and the likelihood is that Hunter has developed a brain tumour.  It’s horrible to feel so helpless, that there really is nothing that can be done.   Even if I could afford extensive tests, surgery and chemo, it would not be fair to put him through that, and would not realistically extend his life.

So the choice is, that as long as he enjoys his constitutionals, eats well, enjoys his bones and is pain free, I will keep him with me.   When he no longer has that quality of life it will be time to let him go with dignity.

Good job, Hunter, good dog!

 

Happy 16th Birthday Hunter!

 

He’s a little greyer, a little slower, but Hunter is still doing very well at 16!   I’m glad spring has been early this year, so there is less worry about him dealing with the snow and ice.   His birthday present should also be arriving today or tomorrow – a ramp so he can get on and off the back deck by himself without doing what I call his “leap of faith”- jumping blindly into mid-air and hoping the ground isn’t too far away.  I won’t have to worry about him doing himself an injury when I’m not there to watch him.

Happy birthday old man from me and all of your kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids.