Cassie Jumping

June 29, 1996 - May 6, 2010

Christopher, my nephew, trained Cassie in flyball. We were not sure she would ever run, after all, the box made a noise and was very scary. I had a box at home that was moved into the hallway so that she had to walk past it to go to bed. Then we progressed so that she ate her dinner from the box. If you know cockers, you understand that they are pigs in cocker clothes - food usually wins. It was successful so that eventually I muffled the noise and she was able to gain the courage to touch the box for food, even when it made a noise. Her second birthday was magical. That is when she got courage to run flyball, trigger the box and come back. Once this happened, she never looked back.

Because her sister Molly had glaucoma, I took Cassie to the Ophthalmologist when she was about 3 years old. Her eyes were fine and he told me to come back in 3 years. When we returned, her told me she had PRA (progressive retinal atrophy), a genetic disease and she would loose her sight. At this point she was essentially blind in one eye. This explained a lot of what we were seeing on the flyball lanes. When she did not catch her ball, she would stand there moving her head back and forth quickly (she was using her one good eye to look for the ball). At this point, I started playing catch with her, for food of course. Her accuracy of catching the ball improved.

Cassie continued running flyball until she was putting 3-4 steps in between hurdles. At this point, I knew she could not see well enough to continue. This is when she took over the job of CIA cheerleader. Even now, sitting on the sidelines with her, if I tell her the puppies are going, she will start barking to cheer them on.

Cassie had been going down for several months. I thought I was loosing her before Christmas, but then she rallied for several months. On May 6th, she woke me in the morning at 4:30am with a couple of weak barks. She had scooted off her bed. I returned her to the bed and told her it was okay to go with Molly. Shortly she drew her last breath and she was gone. She called me to help her on her next journey and although it was hard, I was honored.

I will never forget my little cocker.