Sunshine Lollipop UD WCX
Sunshine(04/23/1973 - 11/24/1986)
Sunshine was the big red girl from our first litter of pups, raised in the whelping pool under our kitchen table in our college apartment. She and Barb and smooth collie Bobbie moved from Wisconsin to Pittsburgh, where Mike and Barb got their first post college jobs. The Golden Triangle Obedience Training Club was our first introduction to obedience training, and Sunshine enjoyed it so much, that whenever we came to a training facility, even if she hadn't been to the building before, she would bark with joy.
Over the years we enjoyed learning the basics of obedience training, and basic field training. Sunshine loved it all, although her enthusiasm was often steady and low key. She would trot out to the vicinity of where the birds landed, put her nose up, and walk over and pick up the bird and trot back. In the early days of (preAKC) hunt tests, when they planted a bird out in the field, and wanted the dog to hunt the field, Sunshine would just put her nose up, and walk directly to the bird, none of this wasted motion of running back and forth to scour the field, her nose knew, she wasn't going to expend a lot of extra energy. She never got to experience the formal AKC hunt tests, that was started after her time.
Obedience trials were pretty normal, steady and reliable. Sunshine did add some very interesting twists when it came to utility. There was the time she was sent to find the scent article, she goes out to the pile, then she has an itch, so she sits on the articles and scoots her butt on them, gets up and finds the correct article. That put the judge in stitches.
Another trial was a very comical finding her scent articles. As we faced the articles which were being placed in front of the high jump, and the steward shook the bag to get her attention, Sunshine ignored her, and was just enjoying the breeze. Then when we turned and she was sent for the article, she went to where she expected to find the articles, between the two jumps. " Hmmm, no articles", she figured this must be a go out, "hmmm, no one is saying sit, I can't find any cookies on the gate, this must be gloves." Sunshine put her nose to the ground and searched the entire end of the ring, but no gloves. " Hmmm, maybe we are in Canada, and it is the Canadian glove exercise", so Sunshine put her nose to the ground and followed back along the heeling pattern, and as she came around the jump spied the articles! She found the correct article, and came sat front. Judge said, well, she was working the whole time...
The most favorite time of Sunshine's long happy life always involved her finding things. Hundreds of balls, tennis balls, golf balls, rubber balls, anything round. She would dig out anything round, and bring it to me. Or animals. The live ground hog, she delivered to hand, and when I told her to drop it, it took off running. The dead skunk. Lots of little things, birds, mice. The bag with a six pack of beer, the bong, things neighbor kids had hidden in the woods. Gloves, and shoes, and items swiped from the neighbors garage.
Sunshine's other love of life involved her love for Becca. She barked for joy when we first came home from the hospital, and she was very gentle with her. And as Becca learned to talk, Sunshine would follow Becca's commands. It was funny watching this big gentle giant, all 80+ pounds, and little Becca giving her hand signals, to drop, to sit, to come. She thought kids were great.
We never bred Sunshine, because we realized she did not quite fit the standard, with her large size, and short coat. But she lives on in our kennel name, she is the "SUN" of Sunfire, that loving golden spirit. Hearing the song "Sunshine on my Shoulder"... brings back fond memories of this gentle, sweet dog, always loving, always there for anyone needing this true golden temperament.