My Belle

Mossett Highland Belle CD 8/8/88 - 1/7/02

Belle was not a show dog - she had hip dysplasia & bad teeth - but she was my friend & taught me so much. She introduced me to the world of dog obedience & together we met many friends.

As a youngster she almost drove me to distraction trying to keep her in our yard (bad hips didn't stop her jumping fences), until out of sheer frustration I enrolled her in a local obedience class. She loved it & we quickly passed through the classes & within months had her at trialling level. Belle quickly gained her CD title in 3 trials including a 3rd place in Novice at the Brisbane Royal in 1992. Many setter folk had told me that gordons don't grow their brains until they are 3-4 years old & they must have been right 'cos she was so good at this age. Once obedience trained I was able to take her training with me when I exercised my horse & together we went for miles. I don't know how many times I nearly went over my horse's head when he stopped suddenly to allow Belle to catch up or wait for her while she had a swim in a creek or took off to chase ducks. Further obedience trials weren't possible due to her crippling arthritis which prevented her from jumping but this didn't stop her enjoying life & my cats. I could easily have killed her when she spent a week digging up my recently deceased "Bronson" & presenting me with him every afternoon after work until I got smart & buried him in the front garden. One of my fondest memories of Belle, was also one of the most frustating at the time. During the course of her early obedience training we were working hard on "Come when called" & at no time during this do you chastise a dog when it comes to you. But after chasing her for many miles along a beach one day when she decided to catch a seagull, running & calling her but knowing she couldn't hear me with the wind blowing towards me, I had to wait until I got close enough for her to see me & then wait until she turned & came - boy, I could have strangled her but she was so happy to have had a fun game at the beach & to have had me there to share it. Belle was a home body & not fussed with travelling but loved to have me at home with her.

After many years of pain from bad hips which we managed medically & then final years of senility which we also managed medically until it was obvious that she had no quality of life & was sleeping 23+ hours a day. At the end she could barely stand to eat & above all she loved her food, so we made the very painful decision to let her go. Fortunately, being a vet I was able to do this at home & with tears rolling down my face I held her tight & gave her the final needle to send her to the big grassy fields where she runs forever pain free.

She is buried in a garden at home, near where I sit to have my breakfast with my other dogs & cats, so we can talk to her. Above where we buried her old body is a beautiful blooming tropical rhododendron called "Highland Peace".

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