Cruiser – R.I.P.


TuleMist Cruisin’ thru Life UDX, MH  9/11/95 – 5/25/04


If Cruiser had any faults as a dog, it was in trying to please TOO much! 


It is with great sadness that we report that Cruiser’s journey on this Earth has come to an end.  Tuesday night at 7:25 with Joan and me holding him and crying our tears of grief, Cruiser was assisted into his final sleep.  He slowly lowered his head and heaved his last breath while holding his favorite squeaky toy in his mouth. 


The first indication that we had that Cruiser might be having medical problems surfaced about 6 weeks ago.  He had a little bloody discharge from his urethra.  X-rays did not indicate any stones, masses or obstructions in his abdomen or bladder area.  A urine sample did indicate the presence of some bacteria.  So a protocol of antibiotics was prescribed.  As the discharge disappeared with this treatment, we assumed that this diagnosis was correct.  But Cruiser became picky with his eating (which was totally out of character for him.)  He would not eat his normal food, but would ravenously take his biscuits, and training treats.  We thought he was only having a slight reaction to the antibiotics and so took him down to San Diego to the specialty.   In the couple days before our competition, he still rejected his normal food, but ate any biscuit and training treat we tendered.  However, after our competition, he rejected the training treats as well. 


Feeling that he was stable, but with a new intestinal problem, we decided to leave immediately to get him back to our vet.  We were able to get in to see her first thing Friday morning.  Again x-rays did not indicate any masses, or intestinal blockages.  A follow-up ultra-sound was also inconclusive.  A urine culture did indicate the presence of e. Coli bacteria, so we again thought that he had a UTI and that the bacterium was resistant to the original antibiotic.  However, when we got the results back from a blood panel we knew we had a very sick dog.  His platelet values were estimated at 9,000 (normal is in the 300,000 range) and his red and white cells were also below normal.  And to make matters worse, his liver enzymes were extremely elevated.  We rushed him to the small animal hospital where he was placed in ICU for several days.  During which time he appeared to be slowly responding to medications and treatment.  He was discharged last Thursday and did well at home on Friday.  But on Saturday we saw that he was sliding back and took him back to the hospital.  There he continued to slide until we decided on Monday that unless he showed some improvement during the next 24 hours that it was time to put him to rest.  Sadly he appeared to worsen even more over night, and we made the arrangement to end his suffering that evening when both Joan and I could be there to hold him as he crossed the bridge. 


Cruiser came into this world at 2:30 in the morning of September 11, 1995.  He was the second of nine puppies (7 surviving) from my Star’s first litter. He quickly picked up the nick name of Bruiser for his pummeling of Star and his fellow puppies during feeding times.  He quickly grew from a 14-1/4 oz. fur ball into a 95 pound bull Chessy. Because of his attentive nature and early bonding we were torn over keeping him or the other dead grass male (Flash) from this litter.  Everyone we questioned favored Flash.  And despite some dire warnings we decided to keep them both.  Cruiser made sure that we would never regret this choice!


Figuring that Bruiser would not be an appropriate name we followed up on Diane Mazy’s name suggestion of Cruiser.  From the beginning it was obvious that Cruiser’s main goal in life was to please.  Cruiser was the first dog that I force fetched.  And he learned it so fast I was sure that I had done it wrong.   But he was a dog that was better at pattern training as apposed to concept training.  As long as he had seen something close to what was being asked of him he excelled.  But if there was anything that added more confusion or concepts than he had in his memory, he had problems.  Hence he was more suited for obedience than the hunt test game, although he did earn his MH at four years of age.  With his pattern training ability he was a shoe-in for early obedience work.  He earned his CD and CDX in the same month, qualifying in three of four trials in Open.  He went on to earn his UD and UDX titles, although the UDX was more difficult at first as the patterns changed.  He was the breed’s invitee to the 2003 National Obedience trial and is the Chesapeake breeds first and only holder of both the UDX and MH titles. 


No matter what the venue, Cruiser was the quintessential ambassador of the breed.  In everything that he did, he did it his way and with great style.  We have many memories in all the aspects of our time together:  Cruiser was king of the no-birds at hunt tests.  At one master test at Lassen, he had 6 no-birds on the land flyer.  At a hunt test in Fallon, he came back proudly carrying his bird with a fishing lure embedded in his chest. He amazed many with his tolerance in the obedience ring when another dog came up and stole his glove.  He was one of 24 dogs at the 2003 National Obedience trial to finish every exercise. 


Cruiser was also an awesome hunting companion and pheasant dog.  We have several stories of his prowess in the field, including the trip to the pheasant club where he retrieved 13 birds even though we had only shot twice. 


But it is the everyday routines where I miss him the most.  That soulful look as I choose the office dog of the day.  That nudge as he put his head under my armpit when I was standing around ignoring him.  The sharing of a bag of popcorn while watching a ballgame.   He was the puppy sitter when Star needed a break from her latter litters.  His prancing around the house with his squeaky toys. Or the carrying around chunks of firewood in the back yard.  Cruiser always had to have something in his mouth!  He loved to swim and play with the seals at Moss Landing, and body surf in the waves of Carmel Beach. But most of all he just wanted to be with me and please me.  All of this is what made Cruiser special. Joan and I miss him terribly, and know he will be missed by his many friends, fans, training partners, and instructors.   


Rest in peace my Cruiser dude. Thank you for sharing your life with me.  Until we meet again at the bridge.