A Fitting Tribute
Little did we know, that when Beth flew east to meet our new puppy in January 2003, what an impact on our lives this little fur ball would be. Gizmo refused to even look at Beth when she got to the 4Runner, and wouldn't warm up to her or to Gremlin for about three days. Tony quickly coined him the 'four-legged gut', with him being so tall, and so anxious for food his teeth would chatter with impatience when you were preparing his food! Jocelyne was wonderful enough to look after Gremlin until Beth could pick him up, and after discovering his affinity for beer, and wine, and eggnog, Beth asked Jocelyne about it and her response was "well, my boy's name is Bordeaux after all"!
He would pester Giz to play with him, and it did take her a while to decide that playing with him was OK. It was during one of these pester-sessions that Tony warned Grem that "he'd better be careful, because pay-back is a bitch". He didn't listen, which is exactly what you'd expect from our little nut, but he would learn what it actually meant a some 12 years later.
At obedience classes the trainers were so pleased to have a purebred dog, and insisted we not teach him to sit, and mid-way through the sessions, they told Beth to remain behind, for "conformation classes". Again, little did we know the different direction this path would lead. Beth started showing Gremlin, and he became a Canadian Champion in 2005! Little wonder, as when you put that show collar on him, he became the proudest BT out there; chest puffed out, tail up, and ready to go! He made us so proud in the Arizona Specialty (2011) when he came in fourth in both the sweepstakes and conformation, and for the record there were more than four dogs in the ring!
He was always our little fool, keeping us laughing at his antics. For whatever reason he went crackers for the garden hose. Tony would go outside of the house to water the garden, and from inside the house, no matter where, Grem would spring up and run out to "help", usually getting completely soaked in the process. He always 'helped' with the shovelling too, making sure that each scoopful hit his mouth before it hit the ground (you had to be very careful not to pick up chunks of ice or rocks, or he'd lose a tooth, or worse!) He'd carry on until he couldn't stand up, and even then you had to carry him into the house to get him to stop!
And he LOVED tennis balls, or more correctly, loved destroying them! We have been fortunate to always live near to tennis courts, and he would find all of the stray balls. In 2004 when we went to Alaska and got stranded in Chicken because of the fires, the one loss was his filthy-grimy tennis ball; in our haste during the evacuation, we managed to pack the tent, but the ball stayed behind. From that point on, we kept "spares" in the 4Runner, such that he even knew where they were, and would put his paws up on the rear bumper and stare at the action-packer where they were hidden!
We had some marvellous adventures tenting all over the place, from Alaska to the north, and Arizona to the south, all the while our constant companions Gizmo and Gremlin toughed it out. Gizmo had her big surgery in 2006, and it didn't slow her down, and we discovered that Thundershirts were a must for our big guy, while she had become deaf enough to the thunder that she paid it no mind. And we were fortunate enough that Giz could show Gremlin what fun hunting grouse was before she left us in 2010. She was a good hunter, but Gremlin thrived on it, to the point of bawling when he heard the gun-shot! He was so good at it, the Border Terrier Club of America awarded him the Field Sporting Certificate for hunting in 2012 (and only the seventh BT to receive this, which made us think "007, license to hunt"), to make Tony the proudest man going. Of course, we hung our head low when in Jasper he quite literally peeled out after a squirrel, banging his chin on the asphalt and cutting it. He never would live that one down, with the scar to prove it!
In 2013, Loki came to join us, and Gremlin wasn't too sure about this little upstart, but he did warm up to her just as Giz did to him. Remember the "pay back is a bitch" quote! And in 2014, after our long camping trip to take in the dog show in St. Louis and then the tour through New Brunswick and Quebec, we had another change in life's path. Somewhere in Ontario Gremlin had been bitten with a tick, and thinking he might have been exposed to Lyme, we had him checked as soon as we got home. We'd noticed he'd lost some weight, but the shocker was when the vet called to say he had diabetes! Beth quickly had to learn to give him insulin shots, however he took a bad turn and we almost lost him. But Pam reminded us what a tough boy he was, and he responded immediately to treatment for diabetic ketoacidosis, keeping in check the pancreatitis. Dr. Reeves started calling him our "bionic dog", given how many times he outsmarted him and took in stride all of his treatments and hiccups; he always loved to see Grem come for his check-ups.
Sadly the diabetes robbed him of his sight, but it didn't dissuade him from "liking" his new friend Loki. Her first season saw her being an incredible tease, and him getting so excited that he performed what we called his "Elvis dance" when he got really excited. He couldn't keep up with her though, and one day we even discovered him on our bed, which is quite high (we have a footlocker at the end for dogs to use to get up on it) and he was just standing there, not sure how to get down, waiting to be rescued. Unfortunately he couldn't pass along his hunting skills to Loki either, but not to be totally left out of the loop, the whole family went hunting on Bear Mountain, which is just minutes from home, Loki on lead and Gremlin in the "pookie-mobile". When Tony was able to take a shot, Grem started in on his usual bawl for the bird, and when Tony couldn't find it, Beth and Loki did, and quickly shared the spoils with Grem. He loved every minute of it, especially with mom pushing him around through the bush along with two grouse!
We still went camping the next year with the Miners on the way to Sacramento, but we realized having an RV would make ours and Grem's lives so much easier, and so when we got home, we bought our little 24 foot Adventurer, and Gremlin was in heaven. The air conditioning suited him just fine, and the fridge that didn't need to be restocked with ice every day made travels so much more comfortable. New adventures for the Hunt's but we were all enjoying camping and squirrel watching together.
And that's how we'll remember our big guy; strong to the last, and always game for grouse or squirrels. Our adventures aren't quite the same without him, but there are so many things that remind us of his antics and his happy smile, that he's never far away at all. And we know he is having so much fun chasing critters at the bridge, with Giz showing him a few more tricks to keep him on his toes. We miss you big guy, and we'll see you again!
Tony & Elizabeth Hunt
Dawson Creek, BC