In loving memory….
February 5, 2004 – August 12, 2011

Driving home with my new furry little bundle of joy in my arms seemed like only yesterday. With the future ahead of us I could only imagine the life we were about to embark on together. I remember reassuring my new baby girl that everything was going to be ok as she cried all the way home probably wondering where her mommy was.

From that day forward every moment was an adventure. What was she getting into now…where was she hiding… or just trying to keep up with her as she grew so fast. I remember the first time we took a walk down by the river, it was spring and she was only a couple months old. Without a moment’s thought she launched herself into the fast moving waters and down she went. Although I was soaked up to my waist it was not a life threatening moment, more like a life defining moment as not two minutes later she launched back in……

Then there was the day she was “abandoned” at the trainer’s for her 3 month puppy training program, that I made sure was condensed down to 6 weeks, as that was about as long as I could stand being away from her. Hearing from a professional that she was really something special only solidified what I already knew in my heart.

From there we were an unstoppable force, from our daily training activities to the AKC hunt test events we entered, working and spending time together with her was as much fun as I can remember. Another highlight that stands out was a hot summer day at our very first AKC Junior Hunt Test when after about 9 dogs consecutively failed miserably at a long double water mark, Jada stepped up to the plate and knocked it out of the park and got a standing ovation from the crowd! A proud moment for pappa let me tell you!

From there it was to the goose fields where she really shined. Not only was she a joy to have in the blind, as she snuggled in behind me, inside my X-lander layout blind, which I have yet to see another retriever duplicate. It was so rewarding watching her chase down EVERY crippled goose that sailed out to as far as 500 yards. Although I am sure there were many, I can’t remember a bird that she missed! Always returning with her prize in mouth and tail wagging.

She was so full of spirit and positive energy; she was a true joy to be around! Every time the words “Wanna Go Swimming” were spoken she was at full attention as that was her true passion. Heck she even won the dock jumping contest one year bounding a whopping 23 feet!

But what was the most special about my little girl was her soft personality. As my good friend stated, they are only hunting partners for about 4 months out of the year, and they are members of the family year round. Through all the trials that life brings she was there with a soft snuggle and a wagging tail doing everything she could to bring out a smile. And having that wagging tail and chessie smile awaiting every time I returned was something I came accustomed to look forward to. The backseat of the truck was more of a bedroom for this girl than some soft spot on the floor at home.

I think the most lasting memory I will cherish was our last duck hunt together on the Missouri River in South Dakota. It was a stormy blizzard of a November day and she and I were the only ones who made it out to a small set of islands on the river. It was perfect for her as the water was only a foot deep across the sand bar islands. Right off the bat flock after flock of big greenheads dropped into the spread. Cherry picking one drake out of each flock, it was “that day”. Then in progression three big, single honkers practically committed suicide as they came in so close. Each bird dropping right there for her to run through the water and make easy and fun retrieves on.

As we were preparing to pick up for the day, the last bird that came in was a magnificent drake pintail that fell with a single shot and she probably hit the water before he did. Not knowing, that duck would be her last, it was sent to the taxidermist for a memory now much more treasured than I could have ever known at the time.

I still do not understand how an animal can come into one’s life and leave such an impact and depart so quickly. The hurt is almost unbearable. Many people don’t understand how we can love a dog as much as a person but for those of you that have the same heart for our companions as I, you can relate. From the moment we pick out our “little babies” this day is inevitable and it doesn’t matter how old they are when that times comes it is ALWAYS way too soon!

“For the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.” I feel truly Blessed to have had the honor of being given and entrusted with such a beautiful and wonderful gift!

Jada, my sweetheart, my baby, you will be sorely missed but never, ever fogot!
With love,
Your daddy