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2001 – 2013

Our beloved Miniature Australian Shepherd, Flyer, left this world with dignity on January 29, 2013. On that heartbreaking day, I held our dear Mini-Aussie, in my lap and Trisha sat on the floor in front of us caressing his head as our veterinarian administered the anesthetic that eased our puppy away. I write “puppy” intentionally because despite his nearly 12 years of age, most people thought that Flyer was a puppy when they first saw him. The picture above was made just last year.

After being born on a farm near Ocala, Florida, Flyer entered our lives in September of 2001. Spencer, our Westie, joined our family in December of the same year after being born and whelped in Atlanta. Here is a webpage I made about them in January 2002: http://treeves.coe.uga.edu/pooches.html

Flyer and Spencer have not been apart during their lives together. We moved with them into our current home in the Tanglebrook neighborhood in Athens, Georgia in February 2002. They enjoyed walks up and down the gentle hills of Athens, and especially liked meeting other dogs and people along the way.

They were never boarded…..always staying in our home with a dog-loving caregiver when we traveled. We organized our holidays and summer vacations around taking “the boys” with us, most often to the beach or the mountains. The pictures below of Spencer with Trisha and Flyer with me were taken in December 2012 at the beach in Fort Morgan, Alabama.

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Flyer and Spencer were the Yin and Yang of the dog world. Spencer, a terrier, is always looking for action….especially zeroing in on the squirrels that just manage to escape his energetic pursuits.  Flyer, a shepherd, was always focused on us. He herded us at every opportunity and would become anxious whenever either of us strayed out of his sight. Flyer loved his meals, and when it was time to eat, he always reminded us, whereas Spencer has never shown much enthusiasm for food, picking at the exact same meal that Flyer would devour quickly.

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Despite their differences, Flyer and Spencer rarely quarreled, although it was clear that Spencer was the Alpha dog, a terrier characteristic. They would frequently align themselves in parallel positions on the floor, and as youngsters would charge around the yard, each holding opposite ends of the same stick in their mouths. They also bonded closely with us….each with his favorite. Spencer and Trisha are “attached at the hip,” and I was fortunate enough to be Flyer’s best friend. For several years, we enjoyed doing agility together until he developed trick knees (luxating patellas). Flyer and I had several special little rituals. Every morning we would go out in the front yard to get the newspaper, and whenever I arrived home from work or a trip away, I would scoop him up into my arms to his obvious delight. Small children especially liked to pet Flyer because he felt like one of their plush toys. Here are pictures of Flyer in full coat (age 3) and with his hair buzzed back (age 11).

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The terrible bargain when a dog enters your life is that your pet will likely leave this world before you do, and the pain of that loss is almost unbearable. Of course, I don’t compare a dog to a human life, and there are so many people around the world in far worse condition than Flyer ever was. But we can hardly think about life without these two little dogs. We are comforted by the belief that we have given them a good life. But as Trisha whispered to Flyer in his last moments, he has given us so much joy that we can never repay or love him enough. Here is a picture of Flyer and Spencer with our son, Jamie, and us on the occasion of my 65th birthday in 2012.

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If you have animal companions, give them extra attention today because you never know when the opportunity to do so won’t be there anymore.

– Tom Reeves

We want to thank Dr. Monica Kucher, our kind and highly skilled veterinarian, and all her wonderful colleagues and staff at Good Hands Veterinary Hospital for 12 years of loving care for Flyer, and continuing care of Spencer. You won’t find a better veterinary practice in this state.

We also thank all the orthopedists, oncologists, residents, interns, and veterinary students at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine who cared so professionally and lovingly for Flyer (and us) during his last few days. We fear that we are failing to mention some talented people who deserve our gratitude, but we particularly want to thank Steve Budsberg, Kevin Clarke, Kevin Coleman, Selena Lane, Marko Stejskal, and several fourth year students. We are so fortunate to have one of best Vet Schools in the nation right here in Athens.