So here goes a story.
We got her totally by chance - we were waiting for another litter of another breed and then there wasn't a puppy for us. We wanted the dog so much that we couldn't wait anymore so I did the most stupid thing: got a dog magazine, opened it on puppy advertisement page and an ad caught my eye: "Particolour cocker spaniels puppies for sale". I didn't even know what a particolour cocker was at that time :P, but we went to see the puppies and after first look into puppy pen we knew she was the one. No puppy tests, no questions asked. This one.
When we brought her home, it turned out she fears nothing, she retrieves to hand (as an 8 wo puppy), she tugs and she's almost house broken already.
That's how our journey started.
People told me that cockers are not good for agility.
People told me that it's the most stupid breed ever.
We knew better than that.
But it's not her achievements, and there were many, that made her special. She was the only dog that I would ever own that could go to an agility competition and win 6 runs out of 6. She was the only dog that people would look at and then come to me surprised after her run: "Wow, that cocker is great". She competed 6 times at the World Championships, she was Polish Agility Champion, she won many competitions and had many pefect runs and she was really extremely easy to teach and to handle . She played in a TV series and was hosted in TV programs because she could do so many tricks and she did them with energy and joy and barking. But it was her joy of life, her naughtiness sometimes, her unpredictability, the way she thought she was so smart when she was so silly, the way she barked on the course all the time that made people notice her, smile and remember her. She helped me get to know so many people that for many of them I am "Olga from Sunday" and that's how they would put my name in their mobiles.
Today I want to share those stories for all the people who wrote me yesterday, expressing their condolences and sadness.
Once let her and Vigo out of their crate on agility competition and she was immedietely gone somewhere. I called her and looked for her for several minutes... and then there she comes, with her tail wagging and the ears sweeping the ground and you could see that she was SOOOO proud of herself. When she came closer I saw that she was carrying a big piece of BACON in her mouth that she probably stole from someone's bag :))). But I couldn't exactly go asking "Hi, is this your bacon?", so in the end I let her eat it.
The other time we started an agility run and someone was feeding their dog just next to the ring. So Sunday took first three jumps in the line and then I turned left and she turned right and went straight to steal the food from the bowl :).
And when we went for walks and she found something to eat she would either try to hide it in her mouth to bring it home and eat it where I wouldn't see it - and that was so cute, because you could see she thought she was so smart and yet it was so obvious from her demeanor that she was hiding something - or she pretended she didn't see it, I walked on... and then she stayed a bit behind - "I'm just sniffing something here!", "Oh, I'm just peeing, I will come right away when I finish" - and then when I wasn't looking she would race back to the food and there was no chance I could catch her :). And she could remember for weeks where the food once was.
And she always wanted to poo after exercise or when she was a little overexcited, so I always tried to make sure she does it before agility run. And we were waiting for our turn at Agility World Championship 2010 in Rieden and she didn't do it, even though I was walking with her and playing with her for what felt like hours and my team captain was like "You have lots of time, I will call you" but then finally we needed to go in. And then the dog before us was running and I was so stressed that Sunday might poo in the ring and that would be a shame at AWC... and then she decided to do it in the preparation ring and while the other dog was running :). I was so relieved that after this I knew I could do everything and we had a cracking clean run.
And she was so hysterical at the vets. She started screaming the moment we got in their office and then she only got louder and louder until everybody in the waiting room would think we are skinning her alive when all that happened was cutting her nails or giving her rabbies shot :). The bravest vets' hands started shaking when she did this and she was so loud that I think everybody around should have protective headphones.
And she was such a princess. Not only she wanted to lie on the sofa, she also needed additional pillow to lie on. And she was fussing with it endlessly, until it was just right.
She was the boss and always got what she wanted. Evo would lie on a couch and she would come and sit directly on him. And he would protest and growl and then would just go away, at which point she just lied on the warm spot, totally happy with herself.
She was really perfect with other dogs, usually just ignoring them, but it happened a couple of times that bigger dog attacked her thinking she's small and vulnerable. Each time they regretted it, because she was fearless and would fight back, no matter how big they were and after a moment the big dog was like "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, it was a mistake, please accept my apologies".
She loved chasing birds. She never chased any other animals like rabbits or deer, but she was crazy for pheasants and sometimes she ran away and ran in wild circles, flushing them out one after one, with that crazy barking and ears flapping. She never went far, I could always see her and she would come back after a couple of minutes of doing this.
And she loved squiky balls, the ones that have little faces drawn on them and make horrible noise. It was her obsession, best reward ever.
She loved food and was always hungry. She ate many things that once touched food or had food molecules on them and she grabbed every opportunity to find something edible. She once ate a whole kilogram of sugar when we left it on the table and drank almost a litre of milk with that. She eat amost whole package of coconut bars together with the wrappings and was pooing with blue wrappings days after. Normally we feed the dogs around eight and each day she thought it was her duty to remind us that it's almost eight and almost eight started at about 6 pm. I'm sure she was convinced that eight comes later every day.
And here is a link to my favourite video with her, the one that lots of people shared in order to promote positive dog training. She is not perfect in her obedience exercises - I didn't care to teach her to do them EXACTLY right, but she is so happy in it that you can't find a better reason for reward-based training. And for owning a cocker.
Thank you, Sunday, for everything you gave me, for many happy years together, for forgiving me my mistakes, for being the best first dog one can dream of, for being gentle with all the creatures and humans, for bringing up our other dogs and teaching them manners and being loud :P.
You gave me so many smiles that now you deserve lots of tears and I can't stop crying, but the pain means the joy of our life together was real.
I love you. I always will. Mikhail Bulhakov wrote that there is a theory, no worse than others, that after we die, we get what we hoped to get. I hope to meet you again.