Cribstone Labradors

Remembering Onyx

Sparks’ Onyx of Bailey Island, CGC, CD, WC, JH,
Delta Society Therapy Dog,
LRC Conformation Certificate
3 November 1997 - 18 May 2010

Onyx was a mother, a grandmother, and my little black puppy girl. I met Onyx when she was 47 days old. She was the first born in a litter of 9 black pups. She was a beautiful black puppy, full of fun, curiosity and a thinker. She crate trained and house trained quickly. She loved to tunnel in the snow. She was strong, happy, and always mindful of those around her.

We started obedience classes when she was 14 weeks old. We went for years for the structured work and practice. I remember her recall, she would take off like a jet, then try to back pedal as she saw the wall quickly approaching. She loved to play, swim, and go for rides.

Onyx received her CGC easily. In 2002 she gained her conformation certificate from the LRC at the national. Two of her pups also got theirs. She was a certified Delta Society Therapy Dog. Onyx loved to play catch. She could throw, roll and catch a ball. She worked with this one patient that had tendon damage in his hand and persisted until he would give in and pick up the ball. Some days she would play with children with special needs. She was always so gentle. She always seemed to know just how much support each person needed. She was just as gentle with a frail elderly person as she was with a child with special needs. She worked so hard during these visits to harness her boundless enthusiasm she would sleep all the way home. She was a true gift. Onyx earned her CD in obedience while I learned that something new occurs at every show. You just never know.

She had one litter, my good friend and mentor Jackie Dunbar introduced me to Diane Pilbin by way of Ghoststone’s Louie Downtown. Onyx had a fabulous litter of six pups, of course being Onyx she had them in the camper at the race track. She did a great job, three girls, three boys. I kept a beautiful black girl, Bridget who now fills a very big hole in my heart.

Onyx was still very much a pup in her mind and didn’t care about teaching the pups how to play with toys, although she did teach them the other rules. She didn’t want them to have her toys. She was a much better grandmother than mother.

She obtained her working certificate and Junior hunter in her seventh year. In 2008 she took first in veteran’s obedience at the LRCPV when as a youngster she was disqualified for moving during the long sit. I was very proud of her, she was wagging her tail and looking at me just as she had learned all those years ago.

My Onyx was always so full of energy, first to the door to go for a ride. She loved to travel sitting in the front seat with her elbow on the window ledge. She loved to swim and never thought it was time to come in. She taught a long haired collie to swim. She also encouraged all the grand pups to be good travelers and retrievers. She would let them have toys that she didn’t with her own pups.

The fall of 2009 brought a diagnosis of laryngeal paralysis. She did well until April 2010. We started her on prednisone which helped with her breathing. Unfortunately a few weeks later she was diagnosed with lymphoma. She was given chemo on 27 April by IV injection. Then she began an oral chemo, prednisone routine. At first she had a hard time, then it looked like she would improve. I prayed we were doing the right thing for my girl. We were told that this treatment usually improves quality of life for 8 to 10 months. We thought it was worth a try. Only three short weeks later my beautiful Onyx was in so much pain she was shaking and couldn’t even get up. My heart aches, I helped her outside to do her business. My husband made her scrambled eggs for breakfast. I sat with her, petting her and talking to her. I am so sorry for all your pain, you never hurt anyone. You were so loving, you taught dogs how to swim, you played ball with people who didn’t want to, and you helped children with special needs. You taught me how to learn with a lab. You were a friend, a companion, an obedience title holder, a junior hunter, a mother and a grandmother. You were my best friend.

Onyx, I love you so much.

Exercise finished, be free . . .

© 2015 - Cribstone Labradors - Colette Sparks