Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Losing Champ

In the wee hours of Monday morning we lost our beloved 
dog, Champ. 

Champ was a rescue dog from Border Collie Rescue, 
and we adopted him in June of 2012, 
one month after our sweet Little Bear had died of old age. 

Whitey and Little Bear were best friends and 
Whitey was showing signs of serious depression
and we knew we had to find him another companion. 

And so I found Champ. Champ was the only Border Collie
available for adoption at the time, up for
adoption for over a year. 

He had very special needs. Lots of space to run, no children, 
no livestock, and someone willing to love  him despite his many

He was an abused dog with severe trust issues, that
made him unpredictable. 

But we had big hearts, lots of room, and one look
at those amazingly intelligent eyes won us over. 

His foster 'Mom', Joy, had done an incredible job
of training him and he was very obedient, responsive, 
and full of energy. 

We knew we could win his trust, and so we agreed to adopt him. 
We had a two week grace period in which we came and 
visited him several times to 'get acquainted' and we 
also had to submit to a home inspection before we were allowed
to adopt. Most rescue dogs come from trauma, and the 
last thing the rescue league wanted was a failed adoption. 

We passed with flying colors and we prepared 
to pick him up June 30, 2012. 

And then my Father died after a long battle with Alzheimer's, 
and his funeral was right before Champ's adoption, but we 
went ahead because we needed this wonderful distraction
in our time of sorrow. 

Champ and Whitey became best pals very quickly
and Whitey came out of his depression. 
Oh, the adventures they had - always together, racing
each other, playing with balls, digging holes, and 
being the best guardians and companions 
to my Mr. and I up here on the edge of the wilderness. 

We always felt safe with these two alert and protective
companions by our side. 

I kept in touch with Champ's foster 'Mom' and 
she helped us through some of Champ's baffling behaviors, 
one of which was his propensity for aggressively ripping
out grass, shrubs and biting at any thing we swept, 
raked or cut with clippers. 
Once, he got a branch lodged in the roof of 
his mouth after 'helping' the Mr. clear brush all day. 
We didn't realize until a couple days later 
when he completely stopped
eating and took him to the Vet and she pulled it out. 

Six months into our adoption, 
Champ's foster 'Mom', Joy, 
died in a tragic accident. 
She loved to take her little pack of Border Collies, 
some her own and others she was fostering, 
into the mountain forests
for long hikes.  On one such hike, 
an avalanche triggered high
above, came down and swept her away.
 Her beloved dogs survived and led rescuers to her,
 but it was too late. 

We were on our own, but Champ gradually 
lost his distrust of people and became
 a lovable, goofy, energetic
companion, full of joy and energy 
and constantly wanting to play ball. 

He especially loved my Ramblin' Man and they
 were inseparable when the Mr. was home. 

But we couldn't completely stop 
one of  his behavior's and that 
was the aggressive reaction to frustration 
or loud noises, such as gun shots, 
power tools, even my vacuum cleaner. 
If we were aware of these things, 
we would lovingly calm him down 
and put him in his safe place on his bed
in the kitchen. 

But when we were unaware, 
or didn't catch him in time, 
he would rip and tear
and swallow things whole. He had two previous 
operations for bowel obstruction
due to swallowing foreign objects 
before we adopted him. 

That is how we lost our beloved companion 
in the early hours of Monday morning. 

We noticed he was walking a little 'hunched', 
with his tail tucked,  Sunday morning, 
although he seemed fine later in the day, 
but by evening it was clear that
 there was something very wrong. 

We could see the pain in his eyes
 and this normally energetic dog, 
was lethargic and reluctant to move. 

Earlier in the day, someone was shooting a gun 
in the valley below,and we found Champ 
ripping up mouthfuls of sod before
 we brought him inside. 

We took the long, dark ride to the emergency vet clinic, 
and after examinations and x-rays, 
the prognosis was grave. 

He had swallowed a large rock 
and it had perforated his intestines. 
The vet was clear - 
she didn't think he would survive. 

And so, we had to say goodbye 
to this brave and courageous dog, 
who survived his early abuse and trauma, 
only to succumb to the residual effects. 

We are completely heartbroken. 
He was such a wonderful part
 of our little 'circle of trust', 
as my Ramblin' Man called us. 

Although we only had this remarkable dog 
for such a short time, 
he taught us so many things. 
The value of unconditional love, 
joy, patience, tolerance, 
resilience and the value of play. 

He had just recently started smiling
 - actually smiling in such a loving and trusting way. 
His once wary eyes were soft with 
love and trust - something that we knew
 was very difficult for him. 

Now poor Whitey has lost his best friend
 once more, and so have we. 

I like to think that he is romping in doggy paradise
 right now, reunited with Joy, his foster Mom, 
hiking the trails together once more. 

Some companions leave indelible marks 
on your spirit, 
and Champ was one. 

We didn't rescue him, he rescued us. 
Our life has been enriched immeasurably by 
the humble love and devotion
 of this courageous dog. 

We will always love and miss you, Champ. 
We will never forget you. 
Rest in Peace, our beloved friend. 



  1. Oh, Karen. I am in tears over the passing of that wonderful dog. The scriptures say God has redeemed All of Creation. Your fur people will be waiting for you right at the Gates of Heaven, for sure. I have always said that's how I'll know I'm in Heaven -Kirby and Magic will be waiting right there, the first ones I see. But right now, how your hearts hurt. And I am so sorry. Love, Maureen

  2. I'm so sorry for your loss dearest Karen. Pets are part of our life, members of our families and we easily become very attached to them. Dogs are particularly clever and sensitive...I remember Champ in most of your photos and I feel your pain...
    Keep the good memories and smile again my friend.

  3. Oh I am so so sorry Karen. HUGS HUGS B

  4. What an amazing dog to survive what surely was horrible abuse to cause such behaviors. I am so glad he had the time with your family and Whitey to be loved and love back. So sorry for your loss but your story is uplifting and inspiring. Rescue dogs (and cats) usually save us, not we them!

  5. Oh Karen, this is such sad news. I'm so sorry to hear of the loss of your beloved Champ. When you said he had just recently started smiling in such a loving and trusting way........well, you gave that gift to him - you and your husband. You gave him the kindness and goodness that he needed to trust once again. I will be thinking of you today, dear Karen.

    Sending my love,


  6. oh Karen........I'm so sorry. That is horrible. I have lost dogs in the past....I know the pain you are feeling right now. You all were lucky to have one another friend. Thinking of you during this time and I am sending you a giant hug. You hang in there and let us know if there is anything you need....Love Nicole xoxo

  7. Karen, your story breaks my heart! We are on rescue dog #2 and she is another love of our lives! Your are so correct--they do leave indelible marks on our lives. They are like family and when we lose them we are lost. How lucky Champ was that you adopted him and he got to experience the love of a forever family like every dog deserves. He was a very lucky boy and you were a very lucky family that you found each other. So very sorry for your loss.

  8. i'm so very sorry. i have no doubt you gave him all you could - and he, you. hug sweet whitey...

  9. I am so very sorry. You gave him a good, loving life.

  10. Ooh Karen, I'm so very sorry for the loss of your beloved Champ. He was there for you in your time of need, as you were there for him. Hugs and blessings are sent to you and your Mr.

  11. I am truly sorry for your loss Karen! This is so sad and at least he brought you and your husband happiness for a little while. Take care of yourself.

  12. I am so very sorry to hear this, Karen...I know you must be heartbroken. Sending loving thoughts and shared tears your way...xoxo

  13. I am sorry to hear about Champ. It is so hard when our pets pass away. He had good times with you and your husband. All of you were lucky to have known each other.

  14. Dearest Karen,
    Oh no; what a tragic ending of this happy and sweet Champ! He was always there with you and appeared in so many of your posts. It made me cry... especially because of the still lingering residual effects of his early abuse. HOW can anyone in his/her right mind abuse any pet, child or human! We probably never will find an answer to that. So grateful that he found you and that he knew peace and true love. Poor Whitey... A big hug!

  15. Oh no, I'm so sorry to hear about your sweet Champ. Our pets are in our lives for such a short time, but we miss them and keep them in our hearts always. You were so lucky to have each other.

  16. Karen I am so deeply sorry to read this news. My thoughts and prayers are with you all. Losing a pet is so hard because it's losing a family member. Bless you for giving Champ a loving and happy life :) you can be proud about that.

  17. Dear Karen, I'm so sorry for the loss of your dear pet Champ. What a wonderful pet and companion he became to you and Whitey. Rescue dogs make such great pets. Bless you for taking Champ in and giving him some happy years too. Hugs. Pam

  18. Oh Karen, I am so sorry for the loss of your dear sweet pet, Champ. It's obvious he was loved and well taken care of by your family. I know your family will miss him terribly. Hugs to you sweet friend...

  19. This is a story which brings tears--both for the loss of your gallant dog, and in memory of the dogs and cats we have loved and lost over the decades. Our son has a short-haired Border Collie, rescued very young from an unknown trauma--she is still wary of strangers who approach 'her truck'--but such a lovely and intelligent animal.
    This is a difficult patch for you to get through--with the decision whether to adopt another companion for Whitey.

  20. Oh sweet Karen my heart is just breaking for you & the Mr & for Whitey too, and I'm in tears!! Such an amazing background & story Champ had to share. I have no doubt he is hiking in heaven with Joy.
    I empathize as I know how painful it is to lose a beloved pet & member of the family. My healing thoughts & prayers are with you all.
    Thanks for sharing Champ's story & God bless.

  21. My dear, sweet Karen, there are tears streaming down my face after reading about your precious Champ. I am so, so, so sorry for your loss, my friend! Our pets touch our hearts in such a special way that it really is like losing a family member.... Thinking of you during this time and sending love and hugs your way!

  22. I'm so sorry... Poor dear Champ. It is so tragic for all.

  23. I can barely write out a message for the tears, dear Karen.
    This is so very sad...
    My heart hurts for you all.
    Champ was blessed to have a loving home with you and your family.
    I will be thinking and praying for you during this difficult time, Karen.

    Much love and many hugs.

  24. Oh Karen, sorry about the loss of Champ. He looks so cute!!! Praying for you all in this difficult time. Pets touch our hearts in ways we never know, especially when they leave us. Hugs!

  25. Oh dear Karen, sweet friend,
    I so feel with you and your hubby about the loss of your loved Dog Champs... what a big loss!
    You made such a wonderful, and heartfilled post to say Good bye .....
    Sending love and big hugs to you and Whity!
    Claudia xoxoxo

    Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

    When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

    All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

    They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

    You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

    Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

  26. I am so very sorry for the loss of your sweet Champ. What a beautiful dog he was and you gave him such understanding and love in the short time you had together. My heart goes out to you.

  27. Oh Karen. I don't know what to say, such an incredible and moving story. I hope that he is with Joy right now. I am so sorry for your loss, but so glad for all the time that you had together and all that Champ bought to your lives and all that you bought to his. Thinking of you and sending love and hugs. xxxx

  28. Karen I am so sorry to read this and to discover that even through the all the trust he had in you, there was still something imbedded in his mind to do this. Champ had a bad start in life but a wonderful family that saved him along with a best friend in Whitey. I do hope Whitey can get through this along with you and Rambling Man. I can't bear the thought of what you are all going through. With all my love, Chel and Coco xx

  29. So sorry for you loss. You gave him much love and happiness his last few years as he did you.
    Give Whitey a hug for me.

  30. I'm so sorry Karen, to hear of the loss of your dear Champ. But, after reading your story, it's wonderful that you gave him the life he deserved by adopting him into your wonderful, loving family. I know it will be hard to get over this. I lost my cat Pumpkin to diabetes and it was devastating for both my husband and I. Maybe down the road there's another rescue dog waiting for you. Both Pumpkin and Lilly are rescue animals. I'm sure your Champ is in heaven with my Pumpkin and enjoying their new life. My condolences to you.

  31. I read about Champ yesterday and today, I feel glad he had you in his life, Karen. Hugs ~ Stacy

  32. I also believe that Champ is waiting to greet you in heaven. I am so sorry for your loss though of this true sweetheart and companion. You wrote so beautifully about his life with you.

    Love & hugs ~ FlowerLady

  33. Karen,
    I'm so sorry you lost your furry companion. I know how hard it must be, missing him every minute right now. But the story you told about how you met him and love each other is such a beautiful one. He was so lucky to find you, as you were so lucky to find him. I'll keep you in my thoughts.

  34. My thoughts are with you at this sad time. Champ was very lucky to have such a loving home. You were lucky to have someone to nurture. Poor champ.

  35. I dreaded reading this post because I knew it would make me cry. My heart goes out to you, Ramblin Man and Whitey on the loss of Champ. He was a gorgeous dog and I know you loved him very much. Such a tragic loss. I hope those memories you have of him guide you all too peace and perhaps someday another sweet dog that needs love to find it's way to your home. Rest in Sweet Peace Champ. Say hello to my beloved Rebel when you meet up with him. (He was my American Eskimo that I had for nearly 17 years.).

  36. Oh Karen!! I am so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute to Champ. I doubt there will be a dry eye reading this. I know without a doubt you gave him the best of homes to live out his days, surrounded by love, kindness, and understanding. My heart goes out to you both. I am thinking of you and sending hugs! <3 xo!

  37. How sad! I am so sorry you lost this precious pet! That's such a difficult thing to go through, Karen. I hope Whitey gets along OK without Champ. He sounded like such a great dog! It was so tragic about his first Mom, losing her life to an avalanche, but Champ had such a great home with you. I'm still behind with everyone and didn't see this right away....hope you are slowly healing.

  38. Oh my goodness -- I have been a way from posting -- been sick sick..
    And to come and read this -- oh dear friend SO sorry.. I lost a dog from cancer ,, not an easy time.. feel for you and your sweetheart.. I'll be thinking of you..oh my what a surprise - can't get over this - so fast.. your in my prayers..

  39. So very sorry to hear of your loss. I lost a dog under similar circumstances a number of years ago. Unbeknownst to me, he had swallowed a golf ball with the same lethal outcome. I knew Joy through border collie rescue, too. I certainly hope she and Champ are keeping each other company again.


Thank you for stopping by! Your comments are important to me and are very much appreciated. xx Karen

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...