"Free "

21 November 1998 - 30 August 2013

Back in 1999 I was really involved in flyball and my team advised me to get a Jack Russell as we could really use a faster height dog. Gally and Harry were steady and of a decent speed (6 to 7 seconds), but not as fast as the faster Jacks. I believed that I could get a good height dog in a Border Terrier, plus I wanted one and not a JRT. When the Kirns called me to say they had a likely bitch for me I drove up and looked. Free, at 10 weeks, fetched a ball for me for a half hour straight, even with her two remaining littermates trying to distract her. I brought her home.

Free loved flyball, picked it up quickly, and was running at just over a year old. Clearly much better and faster then Gally or Harry. She single strode the jumps and had a good box turn right from the start. In single dog racing her times were always 4.8 something, not just once or twice, but every single time. Unfortunately for her speed when running with the team, early on she crashed into a large sheltie and it slower her down by a half second for the rest of her career when she ran with the other dogs. It taught her caution. Still, she ran with good speed and could run in any position as long as we used "her" tennis balls. If a regular tennis ball was used or any kind of other ball that differed from what she considered the correct balls, she would catch it, turn then spit it out, and run back without it. I made sure that we always had lots of her balls at every tournament, bringing enough myself, just in case the team forgot and that did happen a couple of times.

One memorable tournament a huge snowstorm was predicted. The one member of our team who was a judge felt that she had to attend the tournament as she had agreed to be one of the judges for it. Jackie Sheridan-Moore and I decided to go too. So instead of the regular team we had the judge's dog who is a 16 inch tall Border Collie mix, Free, Jackie's Border Terrier Scruffy, and my two boys. So with the two speedy BTs, Free and Scruffy, the judge's dog Gen, and switching between my two guys as the fourth dog we ran the tournament for a day and a half until the snow outside got so deep and the forecast too much for us to continue. Jackie and I had a scary drive home from Philadelphia to Baltimore. That team of dogs though, got under 24 second runs whenever they ran, three Border Terriers and Gen.

Free also enjoyed earthdog, but preferred staring over anything else. She did get her SE title though eventually. She loved agility and in our few trials a year did pretty well. We got to about 1 AKC and 1 USDAA, and maybe 1 NADAC trial each year until she was about 7 or so and then I even dropped them. She loved it though. When she was 10 I taught her how to heel and she got her rally titles to RE. Then we started freestyle as her retirement sport and she got her Veteran Freestyle Dog title with MSDA. I loved doing freestyle with her and even two weeks ago, despite being very weak from fighting the kidney failure and barely eating, she pushing into the ring when I was practicing with Colin and did the freestyle moves along with him for the rest of the song we were working on.

At home she was the queen. All of the boys had to follow her orders, both the ones there first and the ones that followed. And no other girls were welcome in her home. She would behave with them, but really didn't like them there. All of my boys adored her despite her ordering them around.

Free was my errand dog too and went with me whenever I just drove around getting things done as long as the weather was okay for that. She would quietly go anywhere with me. A very good girl. And always always ready for a game of fetch, anywhere and any time.

I will forever miss this tough little dog


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Owned, cherished and sorely missed by Donna Sapp

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