Thursday, December 30, 2010

Oh Banchor...

 Hello, Little Boy. It's been too long. I'm sorry for not letting myself think of you much this past year. I thought that eventually it would be easier, that I would be able to think about you without missing you so much, but it seems there is still that space in my heart that will never completely fill. A girl's first dog is like that, I suppose. 

I remember being 12 and crying at the thought of you being gone someday, wishing it would never come to pass. I told myself then that it was years away, and that when that day came, we would both be ready and it would be OK.  The idea fell into the back of my brain, categorized as a "never" event on the spectrum of Things That Happen In Life. When you're 12 that's how you deal with scary things. 

But then I was suddenly 26, never was now, and it was not OK. The 'right' thing, yup. But not OK. One of the saddest moments in my life was this time last year when I learned that my impossible wish made as that 12 year old, that you could live as long as I would, was not going to come true. And one of life's hands most unfairly dealt: that I should be the one to make to make this decision ultimately- me, the one who loved you most and wanted you to be gone the least. But thank you for making it easier, like you always did in life. You showed me it was time, so I could have some relief in that regard.   
A little more tired, but so YOU still

It's more sad because we had such an amazing time together. It was pretty perfect, so I hated all the more to lose what we had. I hated losing you to some unnamed illness and having a year of sad memories. But I am eternally grateful for the memories from before that time. Now, a year later, I am finally beginning to be able to focus more on those wonderful experiences and less on how you were sick. For the first time in years, since you started to age noticeably, I can remember what you were like as a baby and what it was like to run with you as a young dog.
Banchor and Tory, brothers if not by blood
I appreciate the amount of heart you had and that you always gave everything you had in the game we played. You were a little 14 inch boy, running against these comparatively monster Shelties, but you often still won anyways.  (Your thinking you were a Border Collie probably had something to do with it.) Of your many accomplishments, I am most proud of your showing at the 2000 USDAA Nationals. You were having the weekend of your life and hit the Aframe wrong on the second to last day. You ran the rest of the day like a  trooper, but I know you didn't feel right. I pulled you from everything but the Grand Prix Finals. We went into the finals in first place and it was a 'run clean and win' situation. The refusal was my fault. You did exactly what I asked. At the time it was a very painful thing to think about; it had been 'our year,' but I now know, regardless of final placement, that I had the best little dog there.

Lexington 1999
I loved your natural running Aframe. So much more now that I know the trials of trying to actually teach it! I miss the ease of running you in general.  You may not have had a lot of skills, but you got the importance of teamwork. With that, everything else just sort of fell in line for us.  I think people are still pondering over our lines of communication- especially in Gamblers. My pegged-on-the-line, arm-waving and yelling style was understood only by you.

Happy boy
I miss your unintentional comedy. I still crack up thinking of you stealing the entire angle food cake from the counter and eating it ALL, then poking your belly later as you lay on your back like an overstuffed turkey.  Or the time we were shooting that commercial. You were annoyed by all the retakes and eventually gave up to go join the volleyball game at the other end of the park. The time you helped Runner dismember the rabbit is still disgusting, but the look on your face; when did you ever look more please with yourself?

Eating tasty fake snow to celebrate at Lake Placid
Mostly, you were the perfect first dog. I credit you to our success and to giving me a love of agility. More than that though, you were a good companion to me. Whatever I did, you were game for, whether it be practice, having drinks with my friends, or napping.  You were not demanding or fickle and you were never fazed by anything (except thunder).  And whenever I was sad, or sick, you were there. No dog has ever been quicker to comfort me than you. I can only hope I repaid you in kind.

Because I was a bratty teen when we ran (and I certainly didn't have the perspective that I have now) I probably didn't tell you quite enough, so let me say it now: Good boy.

I miss you.

November 21, 1993-December 31, 2009
Now back to our regularly scheduled programming. But do be sure to hug your dogs as you ring in the new year.

(The rest is just for me to have... I found myself forgetting these things, so I wanted to have a record, somewhere.)

2004 MACH (Wow I think this took five years!)
2003 GCH- Gold; SACH-Gold
2002 LAA Bronze- 3 Qs short of LAA Silver!
2002 FMCh
2001 ADCH Silver
2001 SCH-Gold
2001 NATCH- Superior
1998 ADCH

Moments of Brilliance:
USDAA Top Ten in multiple categories in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001 (As of 2010, still ranking 17th for Gamblers in Lifetime Standings and he retired from Championship in 2004!)
1997- 1st place Round One of Grand Prix at Nationals
1998 DAM Team Nationals:  2nd place Team overall, highest pointed dog in tournament overall with two individual wins
1999 2nd place USDAA Grand Prix of Dog Agility
                1st place NADAC National Championship (1st place Team)
2000 6th Place USDAA Grand Prix of Dog Agility
                                1st Place Individual Snookers
                1st place NADAC National Championship (1st place Team)
                1st place ESPN Great Outdoor Games Small Dog Invitational
2001 2nd place NADAC National Championship
                4th place ESPN Great Outdoor Games Small Dog Invitational
                1st place Lexington Steeplechase Regional 
Frequent finalist in Grand Prix Regional and Steeplechase competitions (including Steeplechase Nationals); including multiple 1st Place finishes.


  1. Shenna, I really enjoyed reading about Banchor - since I got involved in agility much later than you did and then even later into the USDAA world (you are a pro!). I didn't see you two competing until the end of his career. I do remember watching the two of you and remember what a great connection you had, but this was really fun to read and see your relationship on and off the course from your personal perspective.

  2. Beautiful memorial Shenna...even though it made me cry a little bit. :)

  3. Me too... Was a long time to get to the point to even be able to write it! But he deserved a tribute. :)

  4. Beautifully written Shenna - I loved watching the two of you run.