I was part of a six puppy litter. No one wanted me. I was called Wynona. I thought my name was why, but no I was the mismarked one. On my second week in life, a lady came to visit. She immediately fell in love with me, after all who could resist my gorgeous, cow like markings? I was striking. I was going to be very photogenic. I was just glad someone else noticed my greatness. I was not moving much and couldn't see her yet, but she knew I was the one for her. She knew I was her soul mate. She immediately changed my name to Becket. I was named after the Archbishop of Canterbury who later on became a saint. I am more commonly known as the Great Beard.
Mom came to visit me at least once a week until I was old enough to go home with her. During those visits I was treated like royalty. I was allowed on the couch with the big dogs, mostly because I kept breaking out of the puppy pen. I could climb or push my way out of anything. My siblings were awed and jealous of my great escape talent. I was photographed, played with, primped, brushed, spoiled, loved and hugged. I knew I was special! I knew I would have a wonderful life and do great things. I am royalty, I was destined for it!
My trip to my new home was quite entertaining. I was trying to maintain my princess status, regal, relaxed and gorgeous. I almost made it to my new home very princess like. As we pulled into the driveway, I promptly vomited all over mom. She laughed and cleaned me up, only to promptly dress me up in a cute little Santa hat. That was the beginning of playing dress up. I loved it. I was a dinosaur, a reindeer, a princess (which of course I knew I was), a flapper dog, a dragon, and a bumblebee. I was in many a calendar in my spectacular outfits! Quite a few years I was on the cover of the bearded collie calendar. I was on a greeting card. I even owned a tiara. I threw many a judge off by wearing that for my photo opt after receiving a wonderful title.
Huckleberry was a golden retriever that raised me for the first five years of my life. His legend continues to live on. He would eat anything and everything in sight, as fast as any animal possibly could. He was also silly and great fun. He was my best friend. He taught me that nothing in life was better than a good roll in the grass. He was right. He would play great games of tag with me, showed me the ropes to survival and fun, and kept me safe from harm. When he would get mad at me, well he would sit on me until I gave in. He taught me everything he knew about stealing food, sneaking around, getting on the furniture, escaping and rolling in nasty stuff. But best of all he taught me to have fun at everything and don't EVER be too serious.
A lot of my first few years were spent in obedience class at the canine learning center. I loved my puppy class and loved my teacher. I was best buddies with a Dalmatian and a Husky. We were known as the *rowdies* and would chase the *lesser* dogs around. They were terrified of us. It was great fun. Do to my behavior I was kicked out of doggy daycare. One time I was even driven to Utah for a private lesson with my grandma's trainer. She put a pokey collar on me. She then jerked me. I felt compelled to bite her. So I did. Thank goodness everyone laughed and admired my spunk. I was considered a bad dog since I refused to come when called. I called it independence! I would come to my mom if it suited me, which it usually didn't. Mom spent many an hour chasing me around Fort Collins. My favorite game was to hide around corners of houses and poke just enough of my snout for her to see. As soon as I heard her.off I would go. One time she even missed a veterinary school final trying to catch me. As I got older I did manage to out grow that lovely trick and earned an obedience title along the way. I still used it from time to time, just to keep mom on her toes.
I was also Princess of escaping from the yard. There is not a yard known that I could not get out of! Mom would come home to find me playing at the park. She would put me in the back yard only to walk around front and find me. It was a great game. I could jump, scale or climb any fence around. Once in Utah it snowed so much that I could actually walk over the fence. I taught all the dogs how to do that. That went over well with grandma. Her dogs never had an independent thought of their own. My favorite trick was to hop over the fence as mom was pulling out of the driveway, only to hop back over and pretend to be asleep when she pulled back in.
My life was great. I got to go camping, hiking, mountain biking and running. My first hiking trip was at 10 weeks of age at Hewlett's Gulch. There were major river crossings. I was a bit scared but learned to follow Huck. He would always keep me safe. Mom would also take me cross country skiing and snow shoeing. When I would get tired, she would carry me in her backpack so I could nap and rest up. It was so much fun. Mom would also take me to running races. I would always bark at the start. Everyone would laugh and cheer me on. Someone even found it funny when I ran into a parked car because I wasn't watching where I was going. I learned then that it is not how well you do but how well you look doing it. No one cared if we won the race. Everyone cared that I barked and enjoyed life but above all I looked good... I even managed to get on TV in one race. Unfortunately I was wearing my dinosaur outfit. I hiked many of the Colorado fourteeners. In fact I was in a magazine with my picture atop of Mt. Bierstadt. I was tough, steady and very reliable. I had great outdoor sense that Huckleberry had passed on to me. I had a wonderful, gorgeous trot. I could go that pace forever.
After Huckleberry, my best buddy and partner in crime was Hopie Dopie. Hopie was the most awesome briard and best friend of all time. I met Hope when I was two years old. We had some of the best games of tag in history. The only problem with Hope is that she would run smack into me. Not good when she outweighed me by 45 pounds! I soon learned that when she was running straight at me that I could fall to the ground and be safe. That too became a great game. Hope was my buddy. We spent every waking moment together playing. We would play tug with the Frisbee. She would shake it so hard that sometimes she would fling me into a wall! We would chase each other until we would collapse. We climbed and played on all the park equipment. We hiked and biked together. She had the worst outdoor sense ever known in a dog. Her survival depended on everyone else.
Unfortunately Hope got sick at the age of 3. She got cancer and had to go through radiation. Every day for three weeks I went to radiation with her. I would sit by her while she was waking up from anesthesia. When her leg hurt from the cancer, we would go stand in the Poudre River together or race through the snow. It was a bond that was unshakeable. Six years later her leg had to be amputated. She did awesome. She was still running and playing with me when she died. I missed her dearly.
At an early age I started my agility career. We went to the annual beardie picnic that had a small agility course set up. I won the competition. Mom thought I would love doing agility and I did. I loved the attention and the jumping. I loved going to classes. I was in one of the first classes in Colorado. Then it came to learning the teeter obstacle. I HATED it. I was terrified of it would throw me and hurt my gorgeous hair. I spent one whole lesson standing in the corner shaking. But mom was patient. I learned to crawl up it until it tipped then trot on down. It was a great move that spectators loved. Mom made sure everything I did was fun. If it wasn't fun, then I wouldn't have to do it. Mom managed to get me over the teeter. She managed to get me through that first agility class. It was the beginning of a wonderful, fun career.
Next came competing in agility. The first trial was in Fort Collins at CSU in the oval. It was an outdoor show. I was having fun. I looked good and felt good. The first day was quite entertaining. I actually managed to finish a full course. Along the way I managed to fall off the dog walk while looking at the spectators who were looking at me. I also hid in the tunnel from mom then poked my head out to watch her run to the other end of the tunnel. The crowd loved that one it always got laughs. I did that move in trials for many years. I also would sit on the teeter and wait until it would tip down then hop off. That was only fun for a few trials. It was more fun to tip it back and forth to the crowd's cheers! Before every single run of my career mom would kiss my nose and tell me to have fun and look good. So I always did.
I did manage to progress through the agility world. I moved up from Novice actually quite quickly. Then I spent over a year in the Open classes. I had spent so many agility lessons learning the stupid teeter that I never learned how to do the weave poles. Mom and I spent many a morning at the park practicing weave poles. It was so much fun. Neighbors would come out to watch and cheer me on. It took my mom a while to learn that since I was blind in my left eye, I ran faster if she was on my right. It gave me confidence. She always made sure that I was comfortable and confident. Another one of my favorite moves was stopping atop the A-frame wagging my tail. The spectators would laugh and clap. I managed to get my masters agility excellent title. I even qualified for the Agility Nationals but then I hurt my shoulder and couldn't compete. My microchip migrated into my shoulder joint. It had to be surgically removed. So instead of competing I got to be on Channel 9 news advertising the Nationals. It was so much fun. I got to do the weave poles on National TV. Unfortunately I stopped midway through them to sniff the food that was being made for the next segment. That also got great laughs. In agility I was always very precise, never knocked a bar, and never missed a contact. I was consistent and extremely precise. I had a wonderful bouncing gait through the courses. I was finally retired after I went blind in my right eye. It was an enjoyable career but not my true love.
My real true love was herding, even though my first experience was not a good one. The local beardie club had a herding instinct test. My breeder thought I should enter. I wasn't even 5 months old. So there I was out in the arena playing with some sheep wool. I was having an awesome time chewing on it and rolling in it. Then all of the sudden the sheep decided to trample me. I was shocked and terrified! Thank goodness my mom gave me another chance a few months later. I was great. I worked with Jerry Rowe, a very well known herding trainer. I was able to take both flanks. He actually said I was wonderful and had a ton of talent. I then went to another instinct test. I was so excited I jumped out of the car window to get to the sheep! I easily passed that one. That was the beginning of my herding career.
The first place I trained was okay. Walking into the herding area was the hard part. It was like walking the gauntlet. There were some evil Corgi's that lived there. They threatened you with your life while walking in. I learned to snarl and snap at them. Pretty soon most of them respected me. I only had to fight a few of them. The sheep were also a bit evil. They would stomp at you and challenge you. I learned early on to bit them, snarl at them or when it doubt throw your whole body at them. That worked on many occasions and brought quite a few laughs and comments. One judge even called it a unique but affective move. I had a private lesson with a really evil woman. She was trying to slow me down and make me work out further from the sheep. So the mean lady throw a huge stick at me. I turned and walked to the gate. Mom met me there and we left. Not a good way to train me!
My first trial was at a place that was run by briards. I accidentally chased the sheep over the fence twice. So they had to use one of the farm dogs to keep them in the arena. I was in the process of doing an awesome outrun, saw a briard out there holding the sheep in and had to stop and lick it. I honestly thought it might be Hopie! Whoops it wasn't Hope!! I managed to advance through my herding career with a unique flair. A well known border collie trainer even took me on. I was recommended to her. She let me come out and try my stuff. Claudia loved me. She thought I was very talented and sweet. I earned my PT title and Herding started title. I was competing in herding intermediate when I retired. I still was able to go to herding lessons, just didn't have to compete anymore. Claudia understood my blindness. She understood why I had to work closer and faster for control. She taught me how to use it to my advantage.
Herding was a great release. I could go fast, think fast on my feet and control woolly creatures quite larger than me. I could bark, run fast, zip in and out, and turn on a dime to control them. It was sheer joy. I loved it. I got to compete in Colorado, Nebraska, Wisconsin, and California. Every year we traveled to Nebraska for the annual Bearded Collie Clan Celidah. It was just beardies and so much fun. I met many wonderful beardies and their parents. Mom learned that I had so much natural talent that if she kept her mouth shut I would do much better. I was a natural. I was herding up to the week before I got sick.
Traveling was a great part of my life. That first week in my new home I was driven to Utah for the holidays. They even had an open house for my homecoming. I hiked through the Rocky Mountains. Mountain biked through Utah, Colorado and Wyoming. But the best trips were the National Beardie Specialties. Mom and I loaded up the car for a two week trip to Chicago. We stopped in Nebraska for a herding trial. Had a wonderful time, even managed to win a few games (there are photo's of me running around with plaid shorts on), earn a qualifying score and sleep well at fancy hotels. In Chicago I got to visit the planetarium. They even let me go in. I had my picture taken on the shores of Lake Michigan, visited Shea Stadium, and walked the boardwalk there. From Chicago we went to Wisconsin for the big show.
I competed in herding and actually won a fourth place. In agility I had fun and looked good. The most fun was the parade of title holders. I got to prance next to the beardie that won the herding group at Westminster! I got a fabulous ribbon with my name and all my titles on it. The hotel was fancy and fabulous. There were big halls, dog stuff, and beardies everywhere. It was so dang much fun!
A few years later we traveled to Monterey, California for their beardie specialty. That was also great fun. More about that in a bit, a few major changes happened. First Huckleberry died. He was fine in the morning, and then was gone. I was very sad. The park was no longer fun; life was just quiet without him. So mom got me the brown thing. This beardie pup was wild, fast, sweet, and obnoxious but also a ton of fun. Along the way Bronte also came to live with us. Bronte used to live with Grandma. On one trip to Utah she came back to live with us.
The three of us traveled to the beardie specialty in California. It was the best trip ever. We ran on the beach, chased waves and rolled in seaweed. We got to herd on the grounds of a famous vineyard. The brown thing got stuck in the sheep's water bucket and I chased the sheep over the fencetwice. Agility was horrible. I was on the dog walk and realized I could no longer see the ground. I stopped. Mom helped me off the equipment and out of the ring. That was the ending of my agility career. Once we were back in Colorado I was taken to an eye specialist. I had a genetic eye disorder in my good eye. I was going totally blind. I didn't care! Monterey was still a blast. I could have lived on the beach.
The brown thing (Grendel) was the best thing in my life. Hope had slowed down and didn't like to play as much. The brown thing and I picked up the games of tag. We would race around the park, leaping over bushes, zigging and zagging through life. We played with our stuffed toys, play tug, play catch, run and chase the squirrels. The brown thing loved to lurk and attack as I walked by. I would chase her and pin her by her head. She was always great fun, up for anything, sweet and extremely fast. She bowed down to me and let me be top dog. We would bicker, snarl, and beat each other up. But most of all we had so much fun. I raised the brown thing to have a free spirit, enjoy life, roll in nasty things, catch a Frisbee, run and play with sheer abandon. Hopie helped me raise her. I felt we did a wonderful job.
My life was complete. I did everything I ever wanted to. I was loved. I had a wonderful home and the best of friends. I had attitude and spunk that will never be surpassed. I was gorgeous and famous. I was in many a dog calendar, greeting card, magazine and on TV. I was the first beardie from Colorado to get an obedience title, agility title, versatility title and versatility excellent title. I was funny and will always be remembered for my agility and herding antics. I raised a wonderful brown thing to follow in my footsteps but in her own unique way. I loved my mom dearly but felt that it was my time to leave her. Hopie had gone to the rainbow bridge several months earlier. It was my time to join her. My body started attacking and destroying my red blood cells. I was severely anemic but still dignified. Nothing my mom could do could save me. I was ready. My last day was perfect. I woke up snuggled up against mom on my back with my legs sticking straight up in the air. I got a massage from my best buddy Deb. I got to go for a short jaunt at Mt Falcon, my favorite place to chase deer with the brown thing and Hopie. Grendel and I had one last game of tug. I died in my mom's arms with my bunny, spider toy and walrus. I was met at the rainbow bridge by Huckleberry and Hope. We had a wonderful game of tag! I know my spirit will live on. Just remember to have fun and look good.
Becket carved a special place in my heart and soul. She was my best friend and companion. She taught me so much about life. I will never forget her spunk, spirit and attitude. She had the most arrogant prance. She taught me that trust really is the most important thing. That it is okay to be independent and to always be yourself. I will never forget the great beard. Your memory and spirit will live on forever.remember to look good and have fun!
In a message dated 6/17/04 11:03:45 PM, email@example.com writes:
<< Tonight Becket, AKA the Great Beard joined her best buddies at the Rainbow Bridge after a short battle with immune mediated hemolytic anemia. Her disease wiped out her bone marrow, no heroics were able to get it back. She spent her last day getting a massage, visiting her favorite places, eating hamburgers and hanging out with me.
I have never met a dog with so much spunk and attitude. Becket was blind in her left eye. Yet she never let it slow her down. She taught me a lot in her life. I will always respect her. She will be greatly missed in the beardie world, herding world and agility world. But most of all she will be terribly missed in my house.
Hug your dogs from us.
Kim Horsley, Grendel and Bronte >>
11/29/97 Novice A 20"-Leg 1 100 4th/18 11/30/97 Novice A 20"-Leg 2 100 4th/17 2/14/98 Novice A 20"-Leg 3 95 3rd/14 NA 8/01/99 Open 20" Leg 1 87 3rd/9 77.15'/73' 8/14/99 Open 20"-Leg 2 86 3rd/9 81.59'/74' 9/18/99 Open 20"-Leg 3 85 4th/7 86.09'/79' OA 9/19/99 Excellent A 20"-Leg 1 100 2nd/5 65.31'/68' 9/26/99 Excellent A 20" Leg 2 85 5th/12 67.90'/62' 3/11/00 Excellent A 20" Leg 3 94 2nd/14 67.03'/65' AX 4/15/00 Excellent B 20" Leg 1 88 5th/17 72.75'/68' 4/16/00 Excellent B 20" Leg 2 88 5th/15 67.13'/63' 6/18/00 Excellent B 20" Leg 3 88 6th/19 63.65'/59' 9/23/00 Excellent B 20" Leg 4 100 66.94'/67' 10/28/00 Excellent B 20" Leg 5 100 67.31'/68' 11/19/00 Excellent B 20" Leg 6 85 62.82'/57' 12/2/00 Excellent B 20" Leg 7 100 63.06'/67' 2/17/01 Excellent B 20" Leg 8 91 65.29'/62' 3/11/01 Excellent B 20" Leg 9 100 66.62'/68' 9/15/01 Excellent B 20" Leg 10 88 4th/20 67.53'/63' MX!! 9/16/01 Excellent B 20" Leg 11 100 60.05'/64' 12/1/01 Excellent B 20" Leg 12 100 60.69'/61' 12/2/01 Excellent B 20" Leg 13 85 67.35'/62'
8/01/99 Novice B 20"-Leg 1 100 2nd/5 35.93'/40' 8/14/99 Novice B 20"-Leg 2 98 3rd/8 35.00'/33' 9/18/99 Novice B 20"-Leg 3 100 1st/2 42.55'/42' NAJ 9/25/99 Open 20"-Leg 1 96 4th/14 38.68'/36' 9/26/99 Open 20"-Leg 2 86 5th/12 45.04'/38' 3/11/00 Open 20"-Leg 3 86 3rd/12 47.84'/40' OAJ 10/29/00 Excellent A 20"-Leg 1 91 2nd/11 43.03'/40' 11/18/00 Excellent A 20"-Leg 2 88 1st/8 44.42'/40' 11/19/00 Excellent A 20"-Leg 3 100 1st/11 39.86'/43' AXJ 9/15/01 Excellent B 20" Leg 1 100 2nd/20 40.45'/41' 9/14/02 Excellent B 20" Leg 2 100 46.70'/40' (?)
12/2/00 CPs- 3 3/11/01 CPs- 1 9/16/01 CPs- 3 Total CPs- 7
1/13/01 Novice 20"-Leg 1 CR 2nd/7 1/14/01 Novice 20"-Leg 2 CR 3rd/5 54.09'/62' 3/31/01 Novice 22"-Leg 3 CR 58.56'/70' AD Twenty-fifth AD
1/11/98 AGI-Leg 1 193 7/17/99 AGI-Leg 2 199 7/17/99 AGI-Leg 3 195 U-AGI
Southwest and Mountain Beardies
BAD Colorado-Becket, Bronte Grendel, Kailey, Mindy, and Molly
Off to a BAD Start
Email Libby with an update