Blackwood’s Linden Farli CD, RN, JH, OA, OAJ, TF1, ONYX, UTP3, TDI
Born July 2nd, 1993
Died December 10th, 2007
Farli was our first dog, a Vizsla (or Hungarian pointer). Our female Harris’ hawk, Rusty, really enjoyed chasing, and sometimes catching, upland birds. It is hard for a human to effectively work a field to flush upland birds. It was time to look for a hunting companion for Rusty. Diane auditioned several breeds of dogs with Rusty, and determined that Rusty was only going to work over a pointing dog. We talked about different breeds of pointer, and got down to Brittanys and Vizslas. I voted for less hair, though if Diane really had wanted a Brittany, I think we’d have gotten one.
Farli was originally set to go to someone else. Breeders of Vizslas at the time often had buyers for particular breedings well in advance. But the vet who docked the tails on the litter got things mixed up: he was supposed to dock about 1/3rd of the tail, and he docked closer to 2/3rds. The original buyers backed out, and since we had no intention of showing our dog in conformation, we got her instead.
Farli turned out to be an exceptionally gifted hunting dog. Her nose was acute, and she had a tremendous drive to retrieve game. Once, at a Shoot to Retrieve trial, I was the shooter for Farli. They had put out pen-raised quail. I took a shot at a flushing quail, missed, and since the quail had veered off in the direction of others at the buildings, did not take any subsequent shot. Diane released Farli after the shot, so she was off. As I stood there, the judge said, “Call safety”. I responded that I had already set the safety on the gun. What I didn’t know was that in StR, calling “Safety” would allow a dog to receive a default retrieve score for that particular instance. So the judge and I had an Abbott and Costello routine going for a couple of minutes, at the end of which Farli came trotting up to Diane — with the quail in her mouth. The judge gave her a 100% score and remarked that he wished that he had a dog like that.
Farli got into dog sports. Diane took her to a Vizsla “fun day” that featured a flyball demonstration. Farli got all excited about that, so Diane took her to the start line after the demonstration was over, and Farli took off, jumped over the hurdles going to the box, tripped the box, and then chased the tennis ball and ran around with it. Flyball was her favorite, and her lifetime point total is the third highest in NAFA flyball for a Vizsla.
Farli had a brief modeling career, too. A friend of ours served as an agent, and Farli appeared on pet product packaging, advertisements, annual reports, and appeared in a pharmaceutical infomercial. This was when she was between 6 and 9 years old.
Farli’s arthritis and hip dysplasia became an issue in later life. We had to restrict her diet, since carrying extra pounds would have made the arthritis pain that much worse. We went through a series of different pain medicines and regimens looking for something that would relieve her pain, without much success in these last months. This ongoing, chronic pain was a major issue when we were considering what to do in her final days. Last year, she added a senior dog vestibular disorder to her list of problems. Since then, Farli went around with a permanent rightward head tilt and inherent wobbliness on her feet.
Farli went into kidney failure. We noticed that she wasn’t eating well, which had never been a problem with her. We got blood work done, taking a fasting blood value last Thursday, and got the news midday on Friday. This put us in a bind, since treatment would mean intravenous fluids, which we could not do at home. Diane wasn’t willing to leave Farli in a place where she would be caged overnight without anyone in attendance, so we arranged to provide subcutaneous fluid treatment over the weekend. This would simply be a maintenance, not a therapy, so we took her back to the vet Monday morning for another look. Diane was able to call from in between teaching classes and speak with the vet. While the vet wasn’t willing to talk plainly about possible prognosis, our sense was that treatment might or might not work, and depending upon the cause of the kidney failure, she might live anywhere from days to a few more months. Given Farli’s continuing chronic pain, we felt that putting her down was the right thing to do now. Since Farli had protested even the short car ride to and from the vet clinic, we got a vet service that made house calls to come out to provide euthanasia for Farli.
Diane took a bit of a nap with Farli that last afternoon, and late in the day, we let Farli chase and retrieve a chukar, something that she did with a last glimmer of vitality, though it left her quite tired afterward. The vet arrived about an hour and a half later. Farli died around 6:35 Monday night, as comfortable as we could make her on the couch, with Diane and I petting her.
It’s hard to say whether Ritka, our younger dog, gets what has transpired. She came out with us Tuesday morning when we buried Farli. If Rusty notices at all, it will likely be in wondering why the dog hunting with us isn’t as talented a hunter. But for Diane and I, it is a wrench to let go, and I expect that Farli will live long in our memory.