On June 15, we lost our very special girl, Capri, at just 10-1/2 years old. Canine cancer, hemangiosarcoma, comes very swiftly, urgently, sneaky. It is fierce and without conscience, and rips your heart from your chest without warning.
My memories of Capri are innumerable, and I'll share a few here. It helps to write about them and relive so many, many wonderful times with her in the hope that it will soften the sharp edges of this agony, as we try to accept there are no more memories to be made.
I loved her name. Buff Cap Sugarland. It always felt so good rolling off my tongue. Capri. A feminine noun. Fun and sassy. A party. It suited her from the minute we met.
Capri was my 50th Birthday present from my husband. When I shared the news of her Best Puppy in Show win, her breeder, Nancy Gagnon, joked that Capri was the gift that kept on giving.
Capri's wins in the show ring were spectacular. She took me places I hadn't yet been ... CKC Grand Champion, AKC Champion, ASCA Champion, Multi Premiere bitch at ASCA pre-shows and ASCA National a couple of years in a row. She won us one of those fancy embroidered chairs! Nancy was waiting outside the ring when we came out ... gorgeous rosette and chair in one hand, Capri on leash in the other, tears streaming down my face. Oh my gosh, I was so proud! It had poured rain right before ring time (Wisconsin) and I scooped her up in my arms and ran through the rain in my pretty suit and show shoes from the grooming building to the conformation building so she wouldn't get wet and dirty. I will never say that she loved to show; I don't think that she did, but she followed me in there every time and always gave me 98%. She would flip me the bird and bait for the exhibitor in front of us. She would twist her head and get out of the noose on the grooming table, but would stay on the table forever, noose-free. She would glare at me, or stare at me, while I tried to read her, tried to figure her out. She was pissy that way.
She was also a clown. I've never met a dog with a better sense of humor. She loved toys, and she loved Glenn. When she heard him coming through the door she'd run all over the house stuffing toys in her mouth so she had something to greet him with. Even just this Sunday night she still amassed her toy collection in the bedroom before turning in for the night.
She was a wonderful little farm dog, a helper with chores, always in perfect heel position as Glenn or I would walk around the yard, beautiful eye contact, always looking up and checking in. She loved her one-on-one time. She loved riding in the gator, standing up in the back. She loved to chase gophers and had zero problem catching them. She performed ballet in the snow as she stretched and turned and rolled.
Capri picked up her first ASCA Major in WA at just 8 months of age, handled by me. A little while later during a conversation with Brent Kindred, he invited me to send Capri to him in Wisconsin; they had a string of three ASCA weekends coming up. Brent finished her ASCA Championship at 16 months, going BOB for a 5-point Major from the classes just 3 days after her arrival in WI. She arrived at Brent's, finished with two more Majors, and was back home to me in 33 days. A year later Capri spent a little time in California with Aj Tavares and Matt Mullin, where she was shown to her AKC Championship, finishing in quick order. Exactly 1 year ago this weekend, June 2019, Capri won Altered Best in Show all weekend and multiple Best Veteran in Group ... still with that impeccable foot timing.
Capri was a good mom with her litters, including a little oops love child when she was 8 years old. "Bob Johnson was a singleton she raised here with three Golden Retriever puppies. They were 24 hours old when we added them, on loan from a friend whose girl had just delivered 14 puppies. Capri sniffed them, looked at me, and went to mothering her new golden babies.
Ohhhh, so many memories.
Our hearts are heavy; we are both in disbelief that such a presence in our home is gone so suddenly, with barely a moment to say farewell. Owning a dog, loving any pet, will fill your heart with some of the best days of your life, and when it is over, also some of the worst days of your life. We will miss you forever, our dear sweet Capri.