December 1995 - January 2, 2010
I said good bye to my longtime friend today. Quinn. my Australian Cattle Dog mix was 15 years old, and had been in frail health for several years. He was my first dog as an adult, and we picked him at a shelter in Palm Springs when he was about 12 weeks old. I knew nothing at the time about herding breeds, but he gave me quite the thorough education! I am a better dog owner because of him, and my commitment to him, even though he was a very difficult puppy. I took him to classes, learned about crate training, took leadership walks etc…, as he and I eventually came to an "agreement", we also formed an incredible bond with the most amazing almost-human communication between us. Quinn has been a baby-sitter and "brother" to our daughter, (who is now almost 19, and doesn’t remember life before him), and although he was my dog, he was fiercely protective of her. He has been my canine pack peacekeeper, and ruled with an iron paw as the absolute omnipotent and benevolent alpha. He has raised all of my current dogs, from puppyhood, to know, and understand, pack hierarchy and respect for both people and other dogs. In return they adore him, and as lost as I am without him, they are doubly so.
Quinn was also the partial inspiration of my kennel name, he was named after my husband’s middle name, "Quintin" that we were not given the opportunity to use on a son. It seemed fitting to name a Queensland Heeler “Quinn”, and to honor my husband at the same time.
I have no idea what kind of treatment he had before we adopted him, but it was clear kindness was not one of them. It took him a very long time to trust our family, but once he did, he never doubted it again. He had a perpetual smile on his face, and an amazing sense of humor, and often did funny things just to get a reaction out of us. Quinn was also like a cat with nine lives, he was fearless, and agile, ready for anything, and we took him everywhere. He would jump up and down the rocks in Joshua Tree National Park with joyful abandon, and strike fear in my heart at the distance he would cover, coming off rocks at 15 feet or more as we hiked. He once thought he saw a stick in the water to retrieve in a rushing river during springtime runoff in Utah, while we were on an extended camping trip, jumped in after it, and got taken under the water. He came up at the last point in the clearing before a steep-walled canyon, and my husband risked his life grabbing him before he was swept away forever. Thank you Rob! Quinn loved water and swimming, I always hypothesized that he must be part Labrador Retriever, he even has webbed feet. He once sat in very cold lake water when it was snowing, refusing to get out, while we were trout fishing, I had to drag him out. He was a superior retriever, fetching anything we threw for him, and returning to hand, he could have easily gotten a JH.I could tell Quinn stories for a lifetime, so I will settle for a lifetime of my memories of him. I think he prepared me for most anything that comes my way in my journey with Labs, and I will miss him forever. Godspeed my dear Quinn, I love you old man.