Ch Bandersnatch Conundrum CDX ME CGC CG ThD VX

Ferret - My heart dog

November 18, 1985 - February 9, 2003

Marg Pough

She was the ugly duckling in the litter, a super coat, but a homely head. Still, in April of 1986 Amanda and I went to the Montpelier Rally, and Amanda had the thrill of showing her to Best Puppy and then BOB under Wilf Wriggley. Montpelier became one of her favorite places to visit because she learned that somewhere on the grounds there was a tunnel with RATS! As we would unload the car, her nose would start working. She invented the sport of dis-obedience-GO-TO-GROUND! And over the years the cries of "Here comes Ferret" would echo across the paddock as she left the obedience ring to find the rats!
We started obedience training as we waited for her to mature. She loved going to class, but it took her 40 weeks before she understood that the sit was part of the heeling exercise. She finished her Championship in the spring of 87 and muddled through to her CD at outdoor shows that fall. Since she loved training we started Open - with a dog who was a total Non-Retriever! Food was an incentive, and she finally learned to retrieve the dumbbell- but never more than three times in one training session. In 1989 we attempted Open at the Greyslake specialty, obedience was not on her agenda for that show - but she came home with honors as get of the Brood bitch, a pull in BOB and a BOS the next day. Back to training in Open. If there was a way to do an exercise inventively - Ferret would find it! In class she showed us she knew it all, and was proofed in training... but she knew when she went into the ring. (Drop on Retrieve, stop and watch the dog in the next ring, stand up on a down to see better what was going on, or giving me the look that said "I did this yesterday! are only some if the variations she pulled - and all showing she enjoyed it!) I finally stopped counting the trials we entered. Some NQs were my nerves. but many more were her variations on the exercises. Finally in March of 1991 she managed a Qualifying Score. One year and 18 shows later - 16 of them with Ferret inventions - she earned her third leg. And after an NQ the next day, I decided that Team Obedience and Veterans Obedience were where we would compete. Meanwhile she earned her AWTA CG and competed at every Terrier Trial we could get to. She was almost 10 with the AKC introduced Earthdog, and her got her JE in two trials.
Then came Senior! Again, Ferret introduced her way to the rats - overground, fall in the false den, go in the back door, wait at the empty box - the rats would come back, go up beside the liner and work the rats from outside the liner - enjoying every minute of it. She finally got her first leg in 1997, and finished in June two years later. Turned around and got her 1st ME leg on her first try in July of 99. She was almost 14 and could no longer hear the high tones of a whistle. She earned her 2nd ME in October a month before her birthday. Two weeks after her birthday we flew to Florida in December and she qualified both days to earn her ME. The following year as a bye dog, she also qualified.
Ferret was one of the original members of the Cornell Companions Pet Therapy Group, visiting the Racker Center for preschool children with special needs. She would retrieve a soft toy ducky from where ever a child would throw it - as long as she was paid! She got treats, brushings and walks. She retired from that program when she was 15 1/2. Ferret also trained many children in 4H obedience. She taught unruly large breed pups that just because they were big they could not be bullies to smaller dogs! She was the friendly dog in many CGC tests.
Ferret was my Heart dog. Producing only one pup - she became the "aunt" that laid outside the whelping box and kept an eye on pups when mom wanted a break. Then as pups got older - teaching them manners around older dogs. She was the leader of my pack until the end. Never having to assert herself, all the dogs respected her even as her body began to give her problems. Watching Cady groom her, or the pups walk on her outside as she came up the ramp to the dog door, showed they seemed to know she was getting frail. Her heart and character outlasted her body. I know she is hunting in the meadow at the foot of the Rainbow Bridge.

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