IntFTCh Conneywarren Spike

(FTCh Aughacasla Sam of Drakeshead x Glen Bonnie of Conneywarren)
  02.04.1997 - 10.06.2007
Breeder Charly Nichols (GB)
Health results HD A/A, ED 0/0, OCD-free
Eyes clear 09.06, prcd-PRA carrier
Conformation very good
Temperament Test passed
Major results IntFTCh - International Field Trial Champion
ChTa - French Field Trial Champion (English style)
ChTCH - Swiss Working Champion
• 2004 & 2005 Winner Swiss Avalanche Dog Championship
• 2005 Top Utility Dog (RCS)
• 2004 1st Field Trial All-aged stake, Broughton (GB)
• 2003 1st IWT Team & Top Dog individual
• 2003 2nd Swiss Avalanche Dog Championship
• 2002 1st excellent CACT/CACIT Field Trial (English style), Roquefort (F)
• 2001 1st IWT Team & Top Dog Individual
• 2001 2nd Swiss Avalanche Dog Championship
• 2001 1st excellent CACT/CACIT Field Trial (English style), Tingry (F)
• 2001 1st excellent CACT/CACIT Field Trial (English style), Cirimido (I)
• 2000 Avalanche Dog 3 with Special Medal
• 2000 Top Utility Dog (RCS)
• 2000 - 2004 Winner of the RCS-trophy for the best Avalanche Dog 3
• 2000 3rd IWT Team & 2nd individual

On the 13th May 2007 Spike was operated on – a ruptured tumour of the spleen – Haemangiosarcoma (one of the most aggressive types of cancer). On average dogs survive this cancer for about 100 days.

I may have hoped for a wonder, for to lose Spike after only just having lost Bramble just didn't seem possible for me. I had not even come to terms with losing Bramble!

Of course I knew that we wouldn't have much time together. If the metastases that were already visible would start bleeding, Spike would bleed to death and I would have to relieve him from his pain.

Sadly this was the case on the evening of 10th June 2007.

In everyday life Spike was an extremely „cool“ dog. He was simply above everything and anything, nothing would ever cause him to show the slightest sign of nerves or fear, whether he was sent on a retrieve through cover that seemed impossible or told to sit on a chair-lift and ride up on to avalanche training grounds on his own, sitting there with his rucksack beside him...

Indoors he was unobtrusive, always letting “his” bitches push him away although he too would have loved a cuddle. Outside he would run for miles without tiring, showing great endurance and physical fitness. This endurance coupled with his fearlessness in any cover as well as his incredible gamefinding ability was very useful on shoots when a number of other dogs had failed to find a bird and the guns asked for him to be sent: he would always find the impossible bird!

I remember a field trial where the judges made me send Spike just once more into a wood where a number of birds had already been picked in the run-off. Spike disappeared and the guns shouted that there were no birds left. After a few minutes Spike reappeared with a bird in his mouth.

Spike' qualities showed when he was very young: His speed, his style, his tail-action, his hunting ability and his “Will to Please”. Billy Steel (jr.) and John Halsted (jr.) saw him at the age of 13 months and they both shared the opinion that he was a dog that would go to the very top – which of course he did!

Other British judges who saw him never forgot him because he was so impressive. Thus in 2006 Robert Daws (owner of FTCh Farmclose Paddy) approached me at the Retriever Championship saying: "Aren't you the lady who ran that wonderful dark yellow Labrador at the Northern Golden all-aged stake two years ago." And Phil Allen said: "If you got the chance to run Spike in England you would make him up a FTCh there too."

But first and foremost, he was MY dog – always ready to do anything for ME.

I shall never forget the day I flew across to England and saw some of the puppies from that litter coming out of their kennel. My eye fell on Spike and I knew he was going to be mine. Charlie Nichols pointed to another one of the litter and told me I could have that one, but I said I would have only “him” – and I did. Thank you Charlie and Hellen!

I am still sad (end of December 08) that I lost this wonderful companion so early and yet I must be grateful to have owned and handled such an exceptional dog. I find consolation in the fact that I have some of his offspring who have a lot of their legendary sire' qualities, and that a number of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren are proving to be outstanding workers in various fields.