Just after Thanksgiving, my oh so very special "baby girl" Rottie, Haagen, was diagnosed with lymphosarcoma (cancer of the lymph nodes).

On Saturday, January 05, 2008, Haagy finally gave up her fight and succumbed to this aggressive and fast-acting disease.

In 10.5 years, Haagen's life was anything but normal. She could be as peaceful and laid back as any dog you could ever want, but she was still a Rottweiler and that background stood her well. She came from a litter of fighters, overcame a rough first home, and ended up with me when she was nearly 2. This is a dog that I had to just let sit for another year for her to mentally and physically regroup, and the only dog I've ever seen that literally regressed to puppyhood and grew back up. I was able to watch her be the puppy she was never allowed to be, and to be a part of her delight in life as she was "re-growing up" was a joy. We were never able to overcome her dread of formal obedience, but she persevered and we were proudly able to put "C.D." after her name, along with her CGC, BH, and TT.

We had some difficult spots to overcome (she had to work on her control with those kitty-snack and small fluffy squeaky dog temptations!), but we learned to utilize it and turned that high drive to her advantage when we started doing search work. Typical Rottie, she had a work ethic that was (usually!) flawless, and she had a very successful search career with some very memorable finds.

Her biggest downfall was the heat - she was appropriately named after ice cream and did the same thing when it got hot - she would "melt" when we were out working, and would tell me it was time to take a break (more like, "get me into the AC mom!"). Yet she would be determined to finish her job, and could often be bullheaded when she was on scent and I was trying to take her elsewhere (the phrase "trust your dog!" really hit home working with her - she was right more often than I was). She was a solid dependable worker with an indication that Ray Charles could see - usually dirt would go flying as she was digging, and when we were working on water and she was telling me that her find was "RIGHT HERE", well, let's just say you didn't question her.

She was also my TV addict - she would watch the TV for hours, even if it wasn't on (she must have been seeing reflections moving in the screen), and would lock onto a mirror watching everything happening behind her. My computers weren't safe, either. I have scratch marks on the framework of my monitor from her, and she destroyed a keyboard getting up close and personal with that monitor. I never left the laptop anywhere she could get near it! She didn't attack the TV or the computer, she just wanted to get to those "things" she saw there! Ok, once (ONCE!) she hit the TV, but didn't break it!

We had a rough year when she lost her best buds Chelsea & Endy. Then we gained Mikey (her reaction - "you're kidding me, right?"), but it seemed to work well as they balanced each other out.


My world went into a tailspin when Dr. Morris confirmed that this was no infection we were dealing with. So, just a couple short months later, I am saying goodbye to the last of "my girls" - another one who taught me so much. There's a saying that your first working dog is usually the most forgiving because you make so many mistakes with them along the way. True again. I know I probably never thanked her enough for letting me blunder my way along as I was learning, and not screw her up. She's left me that legacy as Mikey and I continue on. She's also left behind a lot of people who will miss her, but I know she's already found those who were waiting for her on the other side of the Bridge.

Geh Veraus, Liebchen