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I just wanted to say that Rooker (forefront) left us this past Sunday. He was 13-5mos. I am beyond heartbroken as he was truly a Daddy's boy. Keba is not well himself with a large tumor. I'm sure many of you as well but I measure the periods of my life by the dogs I've had. Rooker now rests out back by the stream with those that came before. Please give your reds and others an extra hug for me. They are the bestest good dogs.

Hi Rob, Breaks my heart and brings me to tears to read about Rooker. Such a lovely image to think of him near your stream.

I, too, view a lot of life through my luck of having discovered Irish Setters — and feel a certain emptiness without them. Our time together is too short and so darn bittersweet.

Birdie is stretched out asleep next to me as I write and even at 8 and 1/2, she’s expecting a beach walk later this afternoon. (She'll get one.) Can’t imagine losing her so I try to think everyday of what a gift she is in our lives — how she makes us laugh and is so playful, sweet and smart (and sometimes such a pill).
I hope when the time is right, you'll find you have another red puppy in you, and I hope he or she keeps you busy and eases the ache of loss. They do that so well. I'll definitely give Birdie an extra hug. As you say, they are the bestest good dogs.

Thank you for you kind words Carole. Yes, a hug for Birdie. A beach walk sounds wonderful. I discovered this website when I got the boys and was active for a while until life intruded with other concerns. There are some great pics of Keba and Rooker on my page as well as some blog posts. Keba is doing all he can to keep going himself now and probably sleeps 23/24 hrs per day.

I have my partner Beth's little boy Boomer here to keep me company for a spell and we just took a long woods walk. I'm pretty sure I have another pup in me, it's the loss that is so daunting. When my boy Sackett left 14 yrs ago I thought how can I go through this again. I am glad my woods are so large so nobody could hear a grown man break down as I did yesterday. But... as you say, the joy they bring is immeasurable. Thank you again.

Just want to say, oh, I hear you.


       I am so very sorry to hear this, having just previously read your other post. I also cried hard and sore when I lost my boy. They are worth it. So, I send you my sincere and heartfelt condolences for the loss of your boy Rooker, and wish you peace and strength to continue through life. James.

Only just seen your post...I don't come on this site very often anymore...I know too well the pain of losing our Irish so my thoughts are with you today....run free Rooker xxxx

Eerie that you responded to this this morning James and Catherine as Keba just left me this very morning so thank you so much for your sentiments. When Rooker died, I said to Keba, "please give me 2 months." And he did, to the day. As of Friday night, I knew he was close. Last night when I went to bed, I said, "Keba, please wait till morning." And he did. I put wood on the stove and got on the floor with him and said "ok, I'm here, go be with Rooker." And he did, right then. I am just back from the stream preparing his spot with 7 others waiting for him. He waits on the floor as I warm up as it was 15F last night. I really don't know right now if I can do this again. So much pain and unease in the world. I will wait awhile and see where the world is at. I am on the short side of 70. It was 13.5 years ago I got my boys and I discovered this site. So much since then and dogs, Irish Setters to me most of all, some how make it bearable. Once again, extra dog hugs for yours and you. I wish you all peace.

Dear Rob, Thank you for sharing this with all of us, and so beautifully. Once again, you bring tears to my eyes — and deep memories. The synchronicity you speak of is in my experience, too, many years ago with my first Setter, Tara. It is a hard, uneasy world, as you say, and these fabulous dogs (all good dogs) create so much light. I’m a year or so older than you, and unbearable as it is to think of losing Birdie, I hope and plan for one more red dog to help keep my spirit alive. Too hard to be without one…They are such a gift. I read your post to my husband and he, too, was moved by your loss. From your words and photos, I feel like I knew Keba and Rooker. Our thoughts are with you and your good, good boys.

Thank you Carole for the touching words. I try to write meaningfully as I fear language is being lost with LOL, OMG, etc. I purposefully do not have a cell phone. I am sure at some point I will want another Irish and I fear it could be difficult as they are a lost breed around here so it will take some research when the time comes to find one. For the time being, I visit frequently with my partner Bethee's little boy Boomer. If anybody knows of Irish breeders in the Western New York proximity, info would be welcome.

You mentioned synchronicity so I will tell you an odd story. The night after I buried Rooker, in the woods just outside my bedroom window, several great horned owls started barking at each other. Four, maybe 5. If you have never heard this, it is remarkable. Then for the next suceeding 7 nights, there was one owl hooting and then was gone. I inferred deep meaning to this. Approx. 3-4 weeks ago, the night after Keba's tumor ruptured and became such a nightmare to deal with, a screech owl appeared in the cedar tree right outside my front door and has been there every night since. In Native American Indian lore, owls are the messengers from the spirit world and are symbols of wisdom and often omens of Death. I have some trepidation about what I might hear or not hear tonight. Best wishes to you and Birdie.

I do notice limited activity on this site now. Is there a reason for this?

Hi Rob, We are thinking of you here on the west coast…The impact and challenge of grief is moment to moment and day by day, isn’t it? Glad you have your partner and Boomer.
I didn’t know that about great horned owls—their sounds and their behavior. That’s an amazing story of their barking after you buried Rooker, and now the screech owl. Did it appear again tonight?
Birdie is leaning heavily on my arm as I write, which she isn’t so often inclined to do (so I’m typing with one hand). They just seem to know when to stay close by, don’t they?
I’m glad you’re thinking of another red dog. I don’t know of any New York breeders (and I think it’s probably a good thing for the breed that Setters are now scarce), but I’m sure there’s one out there for you. Birdie comes from a longtime rancher and careful Irish breeder in Oregon, who’s not breeding right now. I am slow, but just about to contact her to see what/who she might suggest for me, so I’ll let you know what I find out.
I looked at the website photos of your two boys as puppies and beyond; what a beautiful and happy pair…!
Why is this site so quiet? I don’t know, but I think someone here said lately that social media (Facebook, etc.) has had an impact, and that seems to be true. Whatever the reason, I’ve missed the camaraderie. I check the site from time to time, and get notices if someone posts, which is how I saw yours.
Very, very best, Carole

Thank you Carole. I did not realize you were in the US. If your breeder knows of someone in my area that you could pass on, that would be super. I'm not ready to do a deep dive search yet but I know I will be. I am located about 35 miles S of the city of Rochester.  Boomer and Beth are about 20 miles away so I don't see them daily.

The screech owl was out there the night I buried Keba and now seems to be gone. I know this sounds crazy and I don't know what to make of it myself but I swear it is true. To me, the barking owls were the welcoming of Rooker and the solitary owl was Rooker telling me he was ok. The screech owl showing up was to tell me Keba's time was close and it leaving means he is now where he needs to be. The screech owl, little things that they are, represents Keba's sensitive gentle nature. The dog that actually chased butterflies. I am so thankful he didn't suffer long.

Can't tell you how many times I have started to rise from my chair thinking I need to take the boys out. The house is very still without that red dog energy. I knew this would be very difficult and that is the case. Thank you again for your responses because only true dog lovers really understand.

Are there pictures of Birdie posted? I will look. There are also pics of the boys under 2 blog posts I made. Thank you.

Hi Rob, Thank you for your compliments about our beautiful Birdie. I don't know how she can be almost 9 years old...It's as if she went from 4 to 8 in the blink of an eye.

As you already know so well, these red dogs are lovely inside and out — not to mention smart and kind and playful. We are just so lucky, you know, something I try to keep constantly in mind.

I hope you are doing okay day to day without your two good boys. It's so hard to be without those we love, and fitting that you feel their presence as you navigate through this time. Your words about the screech owls and their meaning are touching. What a mystery life is.

Yes, I’ll let you know if (when!) I make progress in my puppy quest. We’re hoping to find another Irish puppy in the coming year and are actively working toward that.

We're on the west coast, in Santa Barbara. Some of the Birdie photos that I posted over the years were taken on our old friend’s Montana sheep ranch, where we spend a month or two almost every year -- our home away from home. My best thoughts to you, Carole




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