Springers with Heart
( published in Spaniels In The Field – spring 2002 )
You don’t have to be around Field Bred Springer Spaniels very long to quickly recognize that these are special dogs. While they may not all become Champions, most are exciting to watch run during field trials. If you have been around the circuit for a time, you know who they are. If they are no longer trialing, they are still remembered, and spoken of when owners and handlers reminisce.
This is a story of a mother and two of her male offspring, who not only achieved their championships, but who have that something extra – heart.
Tridon Orion Ms. American Pie (Pie) showed her talent from day one. She was born to run, and to win. Her father was Orion’s Arch Rival (Archie), a National Amateur Field Champion. Her mother, Morgan’s Agatha Brodrick (Aggie), was a National Field Champion.
When she was two, Pie was bred to a Field Champion, Eagleview Winchester. There were two males in that litter, and both would earn their Amateur Field Championships. Chester’s Slice of Pie (Slice) was a champion soon after he turned three, and Tridon Spontaneus Combustion (Rocket), soon after.
Pie won just about everything there was to win. She has her FC, AFC, CFC, and placed 2nd in the Amateur Nationals in 1998.
Slice placed 2nd in the Amateur Nationals in 1995, at the age of three. The next year he developed cardiomyopathy and was out of competition, some said for good. But they didn’t know Slice. This dog has heart. With the help of his owners, some medication, and a vigorous year-round conditioning program, he was back in competition, and placing, within a year.
Rocket received a Certificate of Merit at the Amateur Nationals in 1999. He ran in field trials through the Amateur Nationals in 2000. Soon after returning from the Nationals he contracted an unknown illness and never fully recovered; tragically dying in early 2001.
Pie was diagnosed with a cancer on her face in 1999. It was removed, and she continued to compete in field trials. Midway through spring trials in 2001, she was diagnosed with mammary gland cancer. Despite surgery and chemo-therapy, she continued to compete. She was given 4-6 months to live, but defied the odds, and ran in field trials in the fall, even though her cancer had returned. This dog has heart.
In October, 2001, at a Colorado field trial, there were 44 dogs entered in the Amateur stake. As everyone sat around waiting for placements, Gary McDonald, Slice’s owner, turned to Don Bramwell, Pie’s owner, and said: “I was just looking around, and the only dog older than Slice is his mother!” (Slice was 9, and Pie 11). They both earned a placement that day.
These two dogs love to compete. You can see it when they come to the line. They know the gallery is watching them, and they are ready to give them a show….they are bird finders extraordinare. They bring a touch of class with them, wherever they go. Above all, they bring that special quality that only a few possess… heart.
By Beckey Turner, Blair, NE