Vonhasselwick Willow CD ME CG CGC TDI V


1990 - November 30, 2006
(Click on photos for enlargement)

Sadly, my first Border Terrier, 16 year old Harriet (the kennel namesake), went to join her brother James at the Rainbow Bridge on Thursday, November 30th, 2006. She had Inflammatory Bowel Disease which had been under control for over 8 years, and recently had been doing exceptionally well, although she did not like being separated, so she traveled with me wherever I went, eating well and enjoying our time together. When my father was in his last illness in early October, I had to fly to Ohio suddenly and Harriet and all the dogs had to be kenneled. IBD is triggered by stress, and despite lots of TLC, being kept in my friend’s house with my girl Helen to keep her company, and being offered lots of tempting food (people and dog), the stress of being separated was too much for her and she stopped eating.
Harriet - a happy fifteen year old
When I returned only 5 days later, she also refused food from me. She had always recovered from IBD bouts in the past, though this one was worse than most, and I nursed her through it with various meds and 4 feedings a day of a high quality pureed product, fed with a Playtex Nurser. She tried valiantly to cooperate with this program, but to no avail, and continued to lose weight. The last week she had begun to throw up a bit after feedings, and had become very weak. Though she could still walk around the yard, she had been a bit unsteady from the prednisone (which was supposed to help her appetite) and from weight loss, and now started to fall over and couldn’t get up. That was when I knew the time had come.

Maine moments 2002. Harriet 12 and Dad 90,
two seniors sharing quality time
and making memories to last a lifetime
So we made that dreaded trip to the vet, who said that her system could no longer absorb the nutrients in the food – it had just shut down. It was a very sad passing – being my first, she had set the standard for all the others to come. Harriet had made it all seem so easy – until I tried doing what Harriet had done with my other dogs – NOT so easy!! She was my beloved pet first and foremost; we also did lots of activities together, and with her brother James (1991- 2004), but Harriet was always the star.
Happiness is a big red ball
She enjoyed long walks in the woods, always hunting, LOVED Earthdog, and did Obedience to please me. In her later years, she enjoyed weekly Therapy Dog visits a great deal, and was a favorite with many residents. She also helped train Helen and Una’s puppies – disciplining them when soft Helen wouldn’t.

Some of Harriet's accomplishemnts - many earned as a veteran
Earthdog – first a CG (Certificate of Gameness) in 1992, then when AKC started Earthdog tests, JE and SE titles in five tries, and ME in seven. At 14 years old, she happily went to ground at the 2004 Border Terrier National Specialty in Gardner, MA. all three days, and was the only one of my five dogs to qualify there.
Above: muddy & happy - 1995

Right: 2004 Specialty Success

AKC Obedience - CD title at 10 years of age, 3 legs in three tries – with two first places and a second place and scores in the 90’s. She had all her obedience training when she was 2 years old. With no intention of competing, I was persuaded to try it when we moved to Maine. Amazingly, she fell right in where she had left off 8 years before. What a girl! We trained for a CDX, but she got arthritis and I didn’t want to jump her. Harriet was part of a Team entry in our club’s Obedience trial in 2003, with a GSD, an Aussie, and a PWD – imagine that picture! I wish I had one. We won that year over the GSD Team.

Harriet the watchful therapy dog
Versatility Dog – She earned the BT Club of America’s Versatility Award in 2004 at the age of 14, with titles in three categories – Obedience, Field (Earthdog) and TDI (Therapy Dog International), and marched in the Parade of Honor at the National Specialty that year.
Harriet going to ground

Harriet through the years

At 7 months with a well known and much loved judge

Harriet at 9 months

"On top of the world" - Enjoying a New England winter in 1998

"Twas the night before Christmas" - 15 year-old Harriet keeping an eye on "naughty" and "nice" or was that "nice and naughty"?

Saratoga 2006 - never too old for a party, especially the NBTC Cabin Fever Weekend party

The best pillow of all - Harriet and Danny, June 2006

Harriet had quite a presence, with no small amount of that terrier independence that I love, while at the same time being very attached to me. Though not really an alpha personality with other dogs – she could take them or leave them – at home she ruled over her brother James for many years.
At eight years old, she rose to the occasion when puppy Helen came to live with us. Harriet totally ignored her until she knew her proper place, then condescended to play, and to teach Helen to hunt. As the pack gradually expanded to six, no growls or nips were needed to keep order, just a slight curl of Harriet’s upper lip snapped newcomers to attention, as if to say “Yes, Ma’am!
Just as she made Earthdog and Obedience look easy, she made being the pack alpha look easy too; it’s not.
I am deeply grateful to Hazel Wichman, Harriet’s breeder, for entrusting me with such a wonderful dog. Many, many thanks to Claudia, who always kept Harriet in her house and treated her as one of her own. Thank-you to all who were kind to Harriet, when she was traveling with me to shows etc. in these last years, and to those who gave me suggestions, help and support during her last illness.

Goodnight sweet girl - sleep well
Donna Carlton

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