Her quality of life had dropped to the point where I knew it would be inhumane to let her continue. Nearly totally blind, severely arthritic, diabetic, she would only venture out to go to the bathroom and come back into the heated floor on the kitchen. Never complained. Always gave us her love . We made the decision last week, and our vet waited until the offfice was closed and we watched her go peacefully in our arms. My wife and I both sobbed all the way home. I can't believe how attached we are to these four-legged friends. My heart is aching and I know we all go through this, but it's going to be a rough few days in our household. She was a special dog. I can remember when we were looking for a dog, a friend had recommended a breeder in Saskatchewan who had a litter of pups, but we had to have an interview with the breeder prior to picking out a pup. I went through two interviews on the phone, with the breeder wanting to know what type of hunting I did, did I have a retriever already, what books did I use, how many days did I hunt, how many birds I killed on average, etc etc. If you weren't an avid hunter or field trial guy, you were not getting one of his dogs. Once I passed the test, I told him we were looking for a yellow female. He emailed this picture back to us. My boys at the time were 8 and 11, and they didn't even want to see another pup. She was ours. By consensus, we named her Miss Gracie, after Grace Lake, which is where we live in The Pas. Our previous FCL was Delta, named after Delta Marsh. Anyway, we trained her hard that spring, and my son Mike passed his hunter's safety, and opening day of youth season saw the dog's first retrieves , and my son's prowess with a shotgun (first shot at ducks was a scotch triple on some spoonies). By the end of that first season, in a little over two months, she made over 700 retrieves on ducks and geese. She progressed well, and over the next two years, retrieved similar numbers of birds. In her 4th season, in a really sticky (Manitoba Gumbo) flooded field, she blew her knee out while hunting with me. TPLO surgery ended her season that year early, and for the years after, if the fields were wet and muddy, I kept her out, using her for pass shooting and hunting in the marshes. This picture is from the day her knee injury occured. Even injured, she retrieved all 20 snow geese I shot that morning. Never complained or hardly slowed down. In the years after, without much field hunting , her numbers went down to maybe 300 birds per season, but she did have some stellar days out there. She loved hunting and training. Just putting on camo, or saying the words "wanna go duck hunting" would fire her up in an instant. In the vehicle, she would whine until you got to the hunting area, and then she would be in her zone. Some of her retrieves would be a full 1/2 mile or more in the field, and she would never give up on a bird. On those long retrieves, she knew how to make use of her nose, and you would see her go to where the bird went in, then move downwind and work the area until she picked up the scent , and then right to the bird. She rarely missed anything in the field or on the water. I swear that when we were hunting she could actually start to smile. Goodbye Gracie, and thank you for everything that you have given our family and me . My life is enriched because of you, and I am honoured to have been your owner. The memories will never fade.