Name: Monkstone Phoenix
Rescued from: Many Tears Animal Rescue in 2005
We fostered Phee over the Christmas period in 2005, she was a neglect case, weighing a mere 7kg (she is now 14kg) , she spent her first 3 days with us in and out of the vets on a drip, we really didn’t think she would make 2006, it was the first time I had seen a dog like this in the flesh and it was hard to understand how anyone could leave her in this condition.
A day before her foster period was up it was suggested that we keep Phee (then Sophie) as my next agility dog, looking at the rake of a dog tucked up on the Sofa it was hard to imagine her as anything but ‘Sophie Sofa’, but she had survived 2005 and was obviously a little trooper so I folded and took on my first Spaniel.
Challenge 1: Getting her to put on some weight and muscle
Challenge 2: Teach her that not all people are evil
Challenge 3: Teaching her Agility in time for the big Supadog show in May 2006
And that’s where we hit our first hurdle (so to speak), Phee was quick to learn and we had her trained and ready for her first show in approximately 75 days, but a week before the show she was taken ill and was back in the vets on a drip unable to hold any food, I went to Supadog while Phee was left at home with Mum, once again fighting for her life.
Always a trooper, she seemed better when I arrived home but I gave her a month off to be sure before it was time for her first show. Excited and nervous I led my little girl to the ring, took her to the start line and set off… without the dog, Phee wouldn’t jump, she wouldn’t even cross the start line. The Judge, the ring party, the spectators, it was all too much for her so I scooped her up in my arms with a heavy heart and took her back to the car for a cuddle.
We spent the next couple of months building her confidence with people and working on doing agility in a club environment with queues to run, people watching, and an instructor in the middle of the equipment, eventually we could do small sequences but she still froze every time she had to jump towards someone, she would literally root herself to the spot and I would have to rescue her. I was so frustrated, I knew at my own field, on my own equipment that I had a superb agility dog and one of the fastest weaving spaniels I’d seen, but she wouldn’t jump towards people and she wouldn’t weave in public for fear of taking her sight off her surroundings. This was the biggest challenge I had EVER had and only the people who saw the whole process can possibly understand the effort and patience involved in getting her first clear round which in due course came. Phee came to look forward to her runs and loved camping shows and then came…
Challenge number 4: In a field alongside a show on a day as ordinary as the last Phee was happily springing through the long grass, gaping smile on her face when she stopped quite suddenly… she coughed and coughed again and then spluttered and then found it difficult to breath in or out, it looked like she was having the equivalent of a dog asthma attack. The panic in her eye was one I shall never forget as I rushed over to her aid, Sprite hot at my heels barking away, I looked around and there was no-one to help so I sat in the middle of the field, Sprite at my side and Phee on my lap as I rubbed her little chest praying that she would find her next breath, eventually it came and then another and another, we took a slow pace back to the car and my eyes darted to my rear view mirror for her all the way home, our next trip was the Vets. After close examination and a couple of ECGs Phee was diagnosed with not only a heart murmur but an extremely slow, irregular heart beat. Her poor start in life had left her organs with permanent damage, I spent the next week unable to talk about it without crying, Phee had finally got a grasp on agility and found her feet in life and her past was back to haunt her. But the heart is a muscle and a muscle needs to be kept fit, so we stuck at the agility for as long as we could.
Phee sometimes struggled to get started, sometimes we are unable to compete at all and we have always had to carry a vet’s note to shows to explain the coughing, should it happen, but she always enjoyed doing what she could do. Unfortunately what she could do became less and less throughout 2009 and eventually we had to throw the towel in. Her last run with me was at Dashin’ Dogs August 2009 and she missed her dogwalk contact but had the winning time and her last run with Mum was in September 2009 and she had the last but one fence down, once again with the winning time. We were certain she had another win in her and really wanted her to go Grade 5, but it was just too upsetting on the days we set her up on the start line and she couldn’t run, and you wouldn’t know that this was the case until you tried so we retired her and she now enjoys retirement in France – My Dad insisted!
Phee is a oozing with character, not one to obey rules and is often caught stealing items of clothing and footwear, she is a cheeky little girl and she gets away with anything she wants because she’s Phee!
- Making it to Supadog 2007
- First Win – UKA Steeplechase 2008
- Win into grade 4 – Dashin Dogs August 2008