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Bringin’ on the Heartbreak

April 6, 2016 by Melissa

Tucker passed away in October 2012. A few months later we decided to get another puppy. We discussed a female yellow Lab; we would name her in memory of Tucker. We had a name all picked out and were certain this was the course we wanted to take. Fate had other plans…

The yellow litter planned for 2013 from our breeder did not happen. Since our breeder has very few litters per year – typically only 2 – rather than wait a year, we decided to go with what she had available: black and chocolate puppies. We decided on a black male; after all Takoda was an amazing dog and he was a black Lab! So the new course was set, a black male it would be.

With the prior three puppies, I had named the dogs. But this time, I left the name up to my husband, Ted. We knew we wanted to honor Tucker’s memory with this puppy – that was very important to both of us. While a “call name” was not yet decided, we knew his AKC registered name would be “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak” in honor of Tucker’s favorite Def Leppard song.

If you think we are nuts that a dog knew what band he liked best, it is because you never met Tuck. When he was a puppy, ONLY the music from Def Leppard would calm him at night. I know – it sounds crazy. But he would thump his tail in rhythm with the music and settle down to sleep; especially for Heartbreak.

For those of you not familiar with the band, the lead singer is Joe Elliot. To say Joe was the epitome of cool in the 80s is an understatement of the century. Torn jeans, British flag T-shirt, long blonde hair and then there’s that voice… Anyway, we decided Joe for the puppy’s name was not quite right all on its own. After meeting the litter and deciding which pup we thought was best for our family, Ted chose the name Quincy – which just seemed to suite the adorable black Lab pup we had met. So, there you have it – Quincy Joe, Bringin’ on the Heartbreak.

Quincy’s third birthday was March 31st. I knew I wanted to dedicate the March blog to him. So while this is a bit late, Quincy Joe’s first three years are being honored today.

After losing Tucker  –  my guardian angel, my strength and my inspiration to find a better self (and career!) – I told myself to go easy this time. It was too late with Takoda and Kirby; I already loved them as much as Tucker. But, I was convinced I could keep my emotional distance from Quincy. Here again fate had other plans…

Quincy is sweet, snuggly and loving. He is also very observant, smart and persistent. Taking “no” for an answer is just not in his DNA. You will, you MUST love the Q. He will make sure of it! I tried, I really did. But this goofy, sweet black Lab has become a part of my heart and soul. He is funny, playful and absolutely a heartbreaker – living up to his name.

It started with his puppy training. Since I was teaching the puppy class, Ted took him to school each week. But the day to day training was primarily me. I was home more than Ted, around more, and so I spent a lot of time with Quincy. And, I had a GREAT opportunity to put into practice all I was “preaching;” a perfect chance to see firsthand if my training approach was working in real life. Not only was it working, I found the training was more successful than I had been in the training with Kirby. The only “problem” was the cute little black dog was really waggling his way into my heart.

As we continued to “train” together, what I tell all my clients will happen actually did happen to me and Q. A bond developed; an understanding of expectations, desired results and a harmonious relationship. In the first few months of living here, Q was able to quite easily demolish my silly thoughts of not getting too attached.

Quincy loves to learn. Training for him is fun! He likes to learn new things and he will try and try and try until he gets it right. When he does get it right, and I praise him in the happy voice, he waggles so hard he almost falls over! With his “thirst” for learning, I was able to push his training like none of the dogs before him. Between his ability to learn and my desire to learn with him, we were having so much fun working together.

Before he was a year old, we had accomplished getting his Canine Good Citizen title. After that, we started into agility. Agility classes have been an awesome experience with Q. His focus with other dogs and distractions around went from fleeting at best when he was a year old to extremely solid and focused by age 3. Yes, he still has his moments of acting like a “dork” at class but he is still very young and extremely sensitive to my health issues.

One thing I have learned about Quincy in the last six months is if I am not feeling well, he picks up on it right away. If I am trying to tough out the day and take him to class despite a migraine or RA flare, he knows I am not 100%. It is on those nights he struggles at class. He seems to look at me with an expression that says “Momma, if you are sick, why are we here?” Of course, what I cannot explain to him is Momma has to fight these things and not give in. But he actually looks “worried” for lack of a better way to express it.

Quincy is also very, very happy to just BE with me. On a walk, in the car, at class, on the couch, in my office – he does not care where, just so he is with me. Tucker and Takoda were so independent; Kirby “needed” and still does need me. But Quincy seems to just want to be there, sharing in whatever I am doing with his soft, happy expressions and loving heart. He is the only dog we have had who likes to snuggle right onto my lap and go to sleep. He will come right up, climb onto my lap and curl up to sleep with zero regard for the fact he is 87 lbs. Sure, I could “train” him not to do so, but why would I do that? He loves it, I love it and it makes our bond just that much stronger.

So, now that you know a bit about him, here is my dedication to Quincy on his third birthday…

My dearest sweet Quincy Joe,

Thank you for not letting me hide away my heart.

Thank you for helping me grow as a trainer; for making me better for my clients and their dogs.

Thank you for your snuggles and waggles that fill my heart with so much love and happiness.

Thank you for showing me love is never ending; there is always more to be had.

Thank you for not just being Tucker’s legacy in name, but for carrying on his ability to watch over me.

Thank you for sharing your sweet heart with me, even though I know someday you will definitely bring on my heartbreak.

You are a truly beautiful soul. You are a blessing to our family. And, my little heartbreaker, you are the light of my life. Love you so much Q! Happy Birthday, Quincy Joe!

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Q’s first day home!

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Q – age 1 – Snuggles with Momma

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Q – age 3 – Night night Snuggles…