It was time to say goodbye to our beautiful boy Zip, after sharing over 15 wonderful years together. Never have I had a dog with such tremendous heart, always trying to please and go beyond even when his capabilities were limiting in one way or another.
The first sport that Zip learned was Flyball, and he learned from sitting in his pen and watching the dogs play the game. We took him out to see if he would like it, and he just went over the 4 jumps, got the tennis ball out of the box, and came back over the 4 jumps again. He loved contributing to the crazy barking that often comes at a Flyball tournament, and brought that big voice to Agility as well. Zip could often be an independent thinker on an Agility course in the early days, and he taught me a lot about training a dog, sticking to criteria, patience, and remembering that Agility should always be fun! He had many titles in several venues, and was always such a joy to step to the line with. Zip competed in several USDAA National Championship events, earning ribbons and a trophy or two at these big trials—he made me so proud.
Zip also dabbled in other sports, he loved to chase sheep, even though we did not do it too many times. I decided one day to try to get his CD, and he was a natural at Obedience. I will never forget the feeling of Zip flowing at my side in heel position, looking up at me and enjoying even the tediousness that can come with practicing precision heeling. It did not matter what we were doing, as long as we were working together – he was happy and gave it his all. Once we started playing the Rally game, Zip and I were sold. That was even more fun to us than Obedience because I could talk to him on course, and Zip loved training all of the individual signs and exercises. Zip became accomplished in both APDT and AKC Rally, earning his Championship titles in both with ease. Zip was also a certified Therapy Dog, making visits to a local hospital to bring joy to the residents there. Zip and Mike ran in the State Street Dog Mile race several times, winning it a few of those instances with mile-times under 5 minutes. Zip seemed to know where the finish line was and would focus on it, taking Mike there as fast as they could go together.
My fondest memories of Zip are reflecting of him being joyful on the field running through tunnels (which he did up until a few weeks ago), happily sniffing things and cruising around my in-laws’ beautiful property in Olympia, WA, and the many, many beach romps. Zip loved a good run on the beach, racing his sisters and barking with enthusiasm, then taking it easy so as not to miss a good smell somewhere. He also loved posing for pictures, and was a ham in front of a camera. He played tug on a toy with Maizey and I on his last day with us, he loved to play all the way to the end.
Thank you so much, Zippy Swan, for all you gave to me throughout your lifetime. You brought such joy, and taught me so very many lessons that I plan to keep with me for the rest of my days here, until you and I are together again. I miss you so much, buddy.