Kirby liked Earl Grey tea. He knew when I was sipping it and would plant him self strategically until I relinquished that last cup inch for him.
He studied us more than we knew and surprised us with his awareness. I had a big raspberry patch that I picked every summer. The dogs got a berry each if they were so inclined, but it wasn't until he was in the yard while I picked that I realized he'd studied the technique. He came over beside me and reached his nose into the bush and got himself a raspberry! He became my companion gardner dog and we "gardened" together.
Brophy's Center Fielder (Kirby) was born in our basement to Brophy's Ragtime Lass X Saturday Night Edie J in 1988. Lass (Megan) was a blue hen that produced only one litter. Three of the eight puppies in that litter -Brophy's Margarita, Hazelwood's Rex-A Roni and Brophy's Center Fielder all titled giving her the first field matron ROM in many years. Another littermate Brophy's Red Storm Rising won the ISCA Futurity and died at an early age. Megan and Kirby once appeared on Minneapolis' KSTP Channel 5 television 10 PM news segment after she graced the cover of Gun Dog Magazine many years ago.
Kirby was precocious and the youngest dog (at 2 years and 4 months) to ever win the ISCA National Amateur Championship. He was always a contender. During one trial at Lake Elmo he disappeared and I found him standing steady in the middle of a creek with a quail on the shore about 6 feet from him! He had so many wins, placements and made so many wonderful memories for us and with us they can't be counted.
On January 9, 2004 he was 15 and a half years old when he slipped away as Ray and I cradled him in our arms at home. Our vet and family friend Don Rice cried with us. It was peaceful as Kirby laid down the gathering burden of living to romp free again in other fields.
In his lifetime he claimed 36 Championship points and defeated 466 dogs. To date, 13 of his children have won 282 CH points defeating 3,819 dogs. He was our dog of a lifetime. He was our Kirby and our friend. How lucky we are to have shared our lives with him.