Goodbye Lively

Goodbye, Lively 
(Celhaus Celebrate Life S/N, PTN, PTA, PTS, PTM, PTE, EE, MC, SV, EI, NR, NT, ATD, THDA)
11/3/10 – 8/30/23
to Lively’s page, including titles and health screenings

Lively is a Quinta daughter, Jubilee granddaughter and Glory great-granddaughter. 
Here she is in her early years

and just before her death.

9/2/23:  We have been sad this week.  I had to put Lively down on August 30th.  She was 13 years and 10 months old, quite old for a German Shepherd, and had been failing all summer.  Even though I have all the other dogs, the house seems empty without her gentle presence.  But I’m consoled that now she is running fast and chasing the ball in doggie heaven and has no more pain.

Lively was a very special girl – very loving, though not a cuddler; and always willing to try anything I asked with enthusiasm and joy.  She was tolerant of everything – other dogs, any other animals, all people of all ages no matter what they did or were like.  She greeted every day happily and ended the day lovingly.  She epitomized the ideal GSD temperament as defined in the breed standard, “The ideal dog is stamped with a look of quality and nobility – difficult to define, but unmistakable when present.”

She loved to learn and to compete – in agility when she was younger, then in nosework once we started doing that.  In 2018, she was the first ever recipient of the Marta’s Alert to IMHA – Outstanding Professional Alert Award “for her totally focused search and clear, sustained alerts independent of the handler.”  Marta was an English Springer Spaniel, a breed champion as well as competitor in nosework, agility and rally obedience. She succumbed to a terrible autoimmune disease, IMHA (Immune-Mediated Hemolytic Anemia), where the body’s immune system begins destroying its own red blood cells. Her owner decided to memorialize Marta by offering this award: “We have provided nosework judges at select trials this ribbon to present to the dog with the best alert.  The recipient is awarded the depicted ribbon with a donation made in their name helping fund IMHA research at the University of Minnesota – College of Veterinary Medicine.”  See details and photos of her winning the Marta’s Award.

My dogs are trained to freeze and stare at the hide until I release them from where I am at a distance from the hide, using the Dave Kroyer training method.  Our training group had attended a nosework seminar put on by Dave’s wife, Karen, in Red Lodge a year before and were so impressed with his method that we came back to Sheridan and retrained all our dogs.  I was so pleased by Lively’s winning this award (Berakah won it the following day – a clean sweep for the weekend!), that I contacted Karen and told her what their training method had accomplished.  She said that Dave would be willing to come do a seminar for us in Sheridan.  That was the beginning of our annual Dave Kroyer seminar, which has been great fun.  Thanks, Lively, for opening that opportunity for us!

Lively at nosework trials
Our very first nosework trial in 2014, Belgrade MT

2019 Sheridan trial

Lively was just too athletic in her younger years.  I would come home from work and find her in a different section of my 2 acres, having gone over at least one 6’, sometimes a 7’ fence.  I finally caught her doing it when she was 7 years old, and was horrified.  She would go to a corner of the pen, put a foot on each panel, climb up to the top and then jump down to the ground.  I had to put a piece of fencing at the top of each corner of every pen she was ever in to finally stop her.

When she started acting sore, at about 10 years of age, we discovered that she had spondylosis (arthritis) all down her spine AND had broken a toe on one front foot.  She had never shown any sign of lameness so we had no idea how long ago she had broken the toe but figured it was from her fence-climbing years.  Over these last several years the arthritis worsened, gradually constricting her spinal cord and causing her to become weak in the rear.

We had her on two pain medications, plus I took her monthly to Dr. Mack Bischoff for chiropractic and laser treatments for pain managements.  Despite all we could do, the arthritis continued to become worse, and she weaker.

Last week she quit chasing her ball, instead opting to nibble on sunflower leaves during her morning playtime.  For Lively to not want to chase her ball was a big change, so I knew we were getting close to the end. 

Lively lived up to her registered name (Celhaus Celebrate Life) until this week.  She truly believed that life was to be celebrated, every moment of every day.  She was always happy, no matter what was going on.  And you should have seen and heard her when she realized she got to go in the car.  She would bounce up and down and sing, sing, sing.  This past Sunday was cool enough that she could go in the car when I went to Mass and she was thrilled.  She had a couple of other car rides last week.

She is a retired Therapy Dog.  From the time she was certified as a therapy dog at 15 months of age (2/17/2012), Lively visited the two local nursing homes and the enclosed Alzheimer’s Unit in one of those homes regularly, where she was quite popular.   Her sparkling personality attracted both staff members and residents.  I created posters for each of my therapy dogs and the nursing homes would post them the morning of the day we were going to visit, so that everyone was looking for us.  Unfortunately, due to the privacy protection laws, I have few photos of her with the nursing home residents whom she cheered for so many years.

Even missing lots of potential visits because she was either in heat, pregnant or nursing five litters, she was able to earn her Therapy Dog Advanced (THDA) title from the American Kennel Club.  That title required 100 therapy dog visits.  Considering that I usually have six therapy dogs at any one time, and they all take turns at the nursing home visits, plus covid shutting down all visits for most of 2020 and half of 2021, I am quite proud of Lively for earning that title.

Lively the therapy dog
Doing therapy dog visits during the pandemic and therapy dog photos

She is the mother of the FF, GG, HH, ii & KK Litters.  She was a fantastic mother – though once the pups moved outside at 4 weeks old, she became bored with them for long periods of time and that’s when I would come home at lunch and find her out of the puppy yard.

She is the grandmother of the JJ Litter (from Soleil), LL, NN & SS litters (from GloryToo) and MM & PP litters (from Spirit)She loved her grandkids and enjoyed playing with them once they were old enough to be around all my big dogs.

She is also great-grandmother of the QQ, RR, TT, UU, WW, XX, YY, ZZ and AAA litters.  Sadly, from the UU litter on, she was getting too feeble to be mobbed by pups and had to limit her interactions to “through the fence” efforts.

This summer Lively began sleeping so deeply that several times I thought she had died in her sleep in her crate.  I took her to my vet and we discovered that she had suddenly gone deaf.  Like everything else in her life, she handled that gracefully and with style.  And it never kept her from celebrating life, either.  We developed a hand-signal way to communicate and she continued living with grace. 

She had developed a mild incontinence problem, probably because she was less and less active.    Meds helped that, and I began frequently having her go out to walk around and potty.  I would put her out the front door, which has a ramp, and she would leisurely check out her world and eventually come in through the doggie door by the back door, to which there is also a ramp.  That was a long enough stroll that she would potty, then come back in and snooze again for a while.  As the summer wore on, those trips from door to door began to take longer and longer.  She just couldn’t walk that far without lying down to rest a time or two.  A few times I got worried and went looking for her, to find her serenely surveying her world and taking in all the scents. 

When we would go out for our morning ball session, she began to have to take two short rest stops to go from the back door to my chair in the ball yard.  Then she would bring me her ball. After each throw (shortened so she didn’t have to run far – and she kept trying to race after her ball as she had always done), she would lie down and rest before bringing it back to me for another throw.  Gradually we went from 8-9 throws to 5-6, to 3-4, then to 2 – but she still bounced out of her crate and sang when it was time for her ball session, and proudly carried her ball down the hallway.

Lively finally told me on Tuesday (8/29), that life had become unbearable.  Instead of chasing her ball or even munching on sunflower leaves in the nearby flowerbed, she lay by my chair for her entire morning ball session.  I called the vet and arranged for them to come the following morning.  We spent the rest of the day together, just being close.  When it was time for bed, I helped her get up on it as usual and turned off the light.  I always have to get up a couple of times during the night to head to the bathroom.  Usually Lively is deeply asleep all night, but that night I found her awake every time I awoke, lying along my side for maximum skin-to-fur contact, head up as if she were soaking up every last minute of our time together on this earth.  After the second time, I didn’t sleep much either.  Grieving with her, I spent the rest of the night enjoying her presence and occasionally stroking her. 

We saw in the dawn together.  I fed her breakfast – oh, did she love her food! – and put her in her crate as I rotated the other dogs out for breakfast, potty and play.  The vet was due to come at 10:15, so about 30 minutes before that I took her out with her ball.  We sat in the cool grass together and had one last love-in before she decided she needed to retrieve a bit.  She didn’t stop to rest between throws, either.  I know she knew this was our last play time.  How many times, how many hours, have we stopped time, duties and daily cares and played together!  She was still asking me to throw the ball when the vet arrived.  She left this world with her ball in her mouth, happy.  And tore out a huge piece of my heart to take with her.

Lively, my love, I know I will see you again, that you are waiting for me, because love is eternal and never ends – and yours was unconditional. I know that you knew how much I loved you and that you knew I knew how much you loved me.  I can see you in doggie heaven, running without pain, making the angels throw your ball over and over again.  Please greet your mother Quinta, your grandmother Jubilee and your great-grandmother Glory for me.  Give your daughter, GloryToo, a hug from me, as well as Chaos & Quasi, the sires of your litters.  I will be looking for bits of you on this earth in your other daughter, Spirit, and granddaughters Mercy, Lovely & Hopeful.  Plus, of course, your great-grandkids, Pascha & Zest (who as “Celhaus Zest for Life” is named after her), and any others I keep to carry on your legacy.  I miss you.

to Lively’s page
see snow play photos