Ch TuleMist First Light UD, MH  - Flash

(Ch Risky River Robby MH*** x Ch Acampo Grizzly’s Star UD, SH)

September 11, 1995January 19, 2005


It's hard to lose any of them, but the special ones are particularly tough. And Flash, as anyone who ever had the chance to know him will attest, was definitely one of the special ones.  Flash lost his 4 year battle with Peripheral Nerve Sheath Cancer last Wednesday.  He had begun fading before Thanksgiving, but became rejuvenated when the vets prescribed Metacam to ease his pain and slow the tumor growth when they became inoperable.  We are very grateful as this gave us the pleasure of an additional two months with him.  But this weekend as he became unable to stand, and we saw that the pain was breaking through despite the medication, we decided to let him go.


Flash was born at 4:38 AM, on September 11, 1995.  He was the fifth of the nine puppies out of Star’s first litter. One of the largest of the pups, Flash was 15-3/4 oz. of white fuzz in the sea of squirming brown bodies in the whelping nest.  He was a near pure, light deadgrass color with no masking or markings.


Even as a pup, Flash stood out! Not only for his color, but because he was also aloof and curious.  As the other pups would play together, Flash would go off exploring.  As the other pups would seek attention, Flash preferred to be alone.  As he aged this personality totally changed to the point that his greatest desire was to just be at my feet or too seek out a friend.  And everyone was his friend as demonstrated by the Golden Gate Kennel Club show.  Flash was an unofficial greeter for the breed, really working the crowd for its attention. And as he was usually the only light deadgrass dog on the bench, he drew more than his share of attention from the public. Because of his color Flash was nick named the ghostapeake by Linda Harger.


Flash was a very talented dog.  He is the breed’s first and only recipient of the CH, UD, MH title combination.  In addition he qualified for and ran in the 1999 and 2000 Master National Hunt tests. His disease and the resulting surgeries forced his retirement from field work otherwise he would have attended several more Master Nationals.  Yet even after retiring from field work, we continued to compete in obedience. We finished Flash’s CDX and UD and even earned a leg toward his UDX before his illness forced his total retirement early in 2004.


During the 4 years that he was diagnosed with the disease, Flash underwent many surgeries to remove tumors. Due to these surgeries, the need to watch his stitches and his personality Flash became my official office dog, going to work with me on a daily basis.   He really enjoyed this special treat and most of my co-workers enjoyed his company as they sure gave a lot of attention. 


Flash was the master of facial expressions.  He wore his proud, cocky look as he pranced and show off his toys or retrieves to anyone who would pay attention to him. He had the joyous look and dance when he knew he was going for a ride; an expression of indignation when he didn’t agree with what you were asking him to do; a focused expression when he was hunting or training; a sly mischievousness expression when he knew he had done something that he thought was sneaky or not particularly desired; and a sad and soulful look when he was left behind.  But best of all, he had the expression of true bliss when he got his ears scratched. One of his favorite tricks was to put his head in my lap such that his ears draped over my thighs. I would sit there and scratch his ears for what seemed like hours at a time.  He had such nice, big, soft, velvety ears that I couldn’t resist. 


Flash made a considerable impression with the vets and technicians as he always immediately jumped on the exam table on entering the examination room.  Despite multiple surgeries, he would still jumped on the operation, or x-ray tables until the end.  Unfortunately this habit was not appreciated in all settings. Joan took him to work one day.  She went out to the front office of her school and was talking to the office staff. She put he hand on the front counter and all of a sudden Flash jumped up onto the registration counter causing the adults registering for school to quickly jump away.   


Flash was a tireless hunter.  He would keep working the fields when the other dogs gave up.  We were able to take him on one last pheasant hunt just after Thanksgiving.  Just as we were getting ready to go out a cripple flew into our field.  As it landed about 50 yards from our car, we thought that it would be an easy bird for Flash to get without tiring him.   As Flash’s luck would have it, the bird was not hit too hard and ran.  It was a joy to watch him give chase one last time, although I worried for his well being as I knew the pain medication would prevent him noticing any injury he might suffer. He finally cornered the bird and tried to get it to flush.  When the bird refused to fly, Flash picked it up and got his last retrieve.  He was most indignant when we put him up after only the one bird, and let the other dogs out to continue the hunt. 


The pain of his loss is further exacerbated by the untimely loss of his brother, Cruiser, last May and their mother, Star, in September.  Over the last decade their training, competitions, and well being were foremost in our thoughts.  And while we have two young pups, it just doesn’t feel the same without having one of the deadgrass boys around. We were so lucky to have had them in our lives.