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I should not have been writing this post for at least a few more years.  She was only 10, but sometimes Mother Nature can be cruel and take her favorites back early.  I don't come on the BCBoards much anymore, but since so many of you know Juniper I thought I would post this here too.  


Juniper was a graduation gift, a new partner to walk by my side into a future filled with hope. I was determined to do everything right with her so that we could make it to Open level competition. She was my next project, my next goal, my new family member.

I couldn't think of a name for her when she first came home. It had to be right for her and I was not going to settle on just anything. Then, while sitting with her in the grass on a hot summer day, she saw a beetle fly over, leapt into the air, snatched it up and swallowed it. From that day on I called her June Bug as a term of endearment, though she was registered as Juniper.

She was always a pistol. That was clear from the start. Her first look at sheep resembled a tornado more than proper work. I knew I needed help to make sure she succeeded, and was lucky to be able to attend a clinic with Bobby Dalziel. Her first moments with him she looked like a shark on the end of the line, but as soon as she knew the rules she settled and showed me her potential.

Gene Estes, who the Midwest crowd will know, saw me working her not too long after that clinic. I expressed my frustration to him about my lack of knowledge as a handler and the fear that I would not do right by her. He just smiled at me and said, "Don't worry. That dog will take you to the Nationals." She did.

Over the years, Juniper earned the nickname of Pocket Rocket. She was small but mighty and never quit. I wish I had known then what an amazing gift it is to have a dog with that kind of heart. Determination can move mountains. I once sent her into heavy brush after a small herd of cattle; a bull, cows and calves. Several dogs had already gone in and been chased out. Juniper marched that herd out of the cedar trees, through several fields, across a creek, down a trail in heavy woods and back home to their farm.

Juniper was as gentle and kind with other dogs and with people as she was tough on stock. She never met a stranger and could charm anyone. She was also a wonderful mother and mentor to many a pup. I could always count on her to help me get the next generation going, holding the sheep for pups without complaint. 

Only the greatest of foes could take down a dog who never gave up. Juniper lost her battle with cancer today. Sometimes, the only choice we have is to bow out with grace.

That'll do.


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I'm so very sorry to see this, Liz. It's been obvious through the years what a good dog June Bug was and how special she was to you. It's good to know she'll live on your memory and in the legacy of her offspring.

Run free, Juniper.



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