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In loving memory - 

Trial by Fire o' Amethyst, CGC 

(Ch. Glen Oaks' Firedance o' Amethyst x MacAlder J' Amethyst Royale)

June 22, 1997 to December 1, 2009
12 years, 5 months and 9 days

Trial by Fire – by Journey

Treasures in the jars of clay 
Let the light shine out of darkness 
Fallen down but not destroyed 
It's just another trial by fire 

In my song I'll send a prayer 
Do you know me, do you hear me 
Where the will to face this shame 
It's just another trial by fire 

Hello Mr. Moon 
Can I have some time with you 
Trouble keep me runnin'... 
You can see it comin'... 
I know who shines down on you 

Hello Mr. Moon 
I've come back to talk to you 
All my life I'm runnin'... 
From the love that's comin'... 
Saving grace please pull me through 

In my doubt I can't believe 
Like a wave tossed where the wind blows 
Tears of faith temper my soul 
Just another trial by fire 
Just another trial by fire

It was the early morning hours on a beautiful moonlit morning. December 1, 2009. It was the day I chose to say goodbye to her. The crisp, but warmish late autumn air, was pleasant and the moon, shed perfect light in the yard. Her worn out body, was still able to wag her tail, stretched on the deck, as she did daily for the past almost 12.5 years of her life with me. And then we walked…I should rephrase that. I walked and she gimp-hopped….all across the yard. Tall majestic pines line my yard, shadowed with the glow of the moon splashing forward for us both to see. She was, in that moment, happy. She would do anything for me….I was her person. She sniffed and smelled the things dogs do and she was happy. I was sad, but yet, happy that I could let her go to a place where her spirit could be set free.

Two weeks…and a day….earlier, I took Ice in to the vet. My otherwise very spry, very alpha matriarch of my clan, all of a sudden started dropping her left leg/shoulder when she’d walk. Still, Ice remained diligent to the job at hand….She still had the yard to protect and mark from the other 4 girls here: Twister, her daughter; Whisper that red dog (Irish), Asti and Q-bert. Grandson, Drifter, also was part of her domain. He so loved his granny, but she could put him in place if he dared to leave it.

My dear friend and Ice’s other, mom, Laurie Carlson, wanted me to take her in to the clinic. So on my furlough day, November 16, 2009, I found out, what I already realized the evening before in bathing her….something was really not right. There was a hollowness of the left leg/shoulder area when compared to the right. This could not be good, I thought…and of course, I was right.

Diagnosis: osteosarcoma of the left leg. Amputation would help the pain and stop the spread. A bone biopsy would confirm. I chose to do neither for my girl. The vet was kind and understanding. She asked me if she was in pain. I said not likely as she is the alpha oh so very stoic. The vet tech who brought her back out to me after the x-rays were done, said she was such a sweet dog. Dr. Brye gave me pain pills for two weeks, so I could say goodbye. I thought…two weeks to say goodbye….

During the weekend of Thanksgiving 2009, I took time to mentally and spiritually say goodbye to Ice. I sought counsel from friends and God. I needed to know….when was it time? Would she stop eating? Would she just go peacefully in her sleep? She didn’t seem “bad” enough….I could still see the bright eyes, the thump-a-thump of her tail when I’d come into the room. But….my gift to her, would be to let her go….to release her from the pain she was masking.

As I write this, I hear her somewhat labored but content breathing….the sleep came deep and more often than the walks, but her eyes were still bright and loving….and I was grateful that I had two weeks and a day to say goodbye.

Ice was born to her parents Fire and Storm on a “stormy” June day, the 22nd of 1997, to be exact….wow a lifetime ago for her and me. Together our journey would span a decade and 2 years and almost 6 months….to live, love, laugh and cry together.

Since she was Fire’s dark-colored, girl, my ex-husband, Greg DaValt, and I decided to keep her….a change from our otherwise, more brightly marked Gordons. I loved music names and Journey had a new album out….”Trial by Fire.” So, she was named Ice (to go with all the element-named dogs at Amethyst) and Trial by Fire o’ Amethyst….which was a somewhat different naming convention….she was different in oh so many ways.

As I sat on the deck that moonlit early morning, with my Ice-girl by my side, I recalled all of the wonderful things about this sweetheart of a dog of mine. At least twice she came back to me and maybe a third time. She was destined to help me on my journey through life, rather a “coming of age” dog……

She left a legacy for my lines….one that isn’t necessarily a laundry list of top-winning specials, champions, or specialty winners….but sufficient and enough to make an impact for me and what I choose to do with my lines. I am forever grateful for her contribution and, as I discovered in the two weeks and a day to say goodbye, it’s not the quantity but the quality, the time, the moments and above all the love.

Ice had a few litters and produced two champions of record, and three that are almost champions.

She was bred to Ch. Glen Oak’s Maltese Falcon, MH, CD (Hawk) and produced Amethyst’s Fire of McKenna, “Patch” who had both majors and 12 points. He was a lovely boy owned by Carmen Schwitzer and me. He spent time with Greg and Donna DaValt in Oklahoma. Sadly he passed on before his mom. Ice’s indomitable spirit lived in Patchers.

Amethyst's Fire of MacKenna - Patch at the North Country Specialty

Ice had a litter out of Ch. Shojin’s Somewhere in Time (Dude) that produced Indy (Lori/Brad Maday) whose claim to fame was as a ball shagger for the Mankato Moondogs (a semi-pro baseball team) in Mankato, MN. He was tall and lanky with a short tail, but his zest and exuberance for life was that of Dude and Ice combined. Also in this litter was a girl named Amber, who showed occasionally and was loved by the Scharrer family of IL. Amber had a litter of pups that were sweet and loving as was their granny, Ice.

Six months later, I decided to breed Ice again. I still wanted Chipper (Am/Can/Mex Ch. MacAlder Best For Shojin) puppies. It was re-membered that the only successful breeding to Chipper (that produced Dude, Shane and Journey) was on a back-to-back breeding. Since my initial breeding of Asti to Chipper did not take, Dee Vayda (Shojin) allowed me to do this breeding on Ice if she could co-breed the litter with me.

Am/Can/Mex Ch. MacAlder Best For Shojin - Chipper

It worked!! Ice whelped 6 beautiful Chipper babies on November 17, 2002 3 dogs and 3 bitches. They were Twister, Autumn, Sloan, Griff, Coal and a boy who went to PA. My dream litter; more specifically, my “time” litter was here. Ice was so instrumental in realizing that dream!! Thank you, Ice!!

Twister (pink girl) and Coal (green boy) ended up staying with me or co-owned by me. Twister exceeded anything I could have hoped. She won Best of Opposite in Sweeps at the Nodrog Specialty in 2003. It was my first specialty show win as a newly “single” woman. Ice helped me through that change of life as did Twister. Twister went on to finish her championship at a very young age. She is: Ch. Amethyst’s Stormin’ Back ‘n Time. The name Twister was given to her as she could stand still and jump straight up, almost reminiscent of a small twister. At 7, she can still do that. Amazing!!

Amethyst's Stormin' Back 'n Time - Twister 
Best of Opposite Sex - Nodrog Specialty 2003

Green boy, Coal, reminded me of Fire, Ice’s dad, so he had to go to a show home. Coal is Ch. Amethyst’s Black ‘n Time, JH and is proudly co-owned with Bob Bertram of St. Louis. Some of you may remember Coal as the Christmas miracle dog of 2008. This is truly a remarkable story of love and the power of giving back. In 2006, Coal and I qualified for the AKC Eukanuba Tournament held in Tampa, FL. The year or two prior, in the inaugural competition, grandpa Fire, missed qualifying. After my divorce, I promised myself if Coal earned the right to go, I would go. Coal ended up being #14 Gordon that year, a huge accomplishment for a boy who showed for about 6 months of the show year.

Ch. Amethyst's Black 'n Time, JH - Coal

While he was sharing time with me in Wisconsin, all the bird training that Bob had done, Ron and Gwen Pfeil of Alainn Gordons, turned into a Junior Hunter title. Ron and Gwen own Aidan and MacE. Mac had just completed his Master Hunter title and Ron was more than happy to “play” with Coal. Coal’s favorite things are the birds, hunting and blowing off handlers in the field!! Perhaps Ice was coming through on that as during my two weeks and a day to say goodbye, I’d call her to come to me and she’d promptly turn the other way and gimp-hop around the yard and I’d have to run after her.

Ice had one more litter, this time to my UK import, Ch. Hernwood Crystal Snowfall (Blizzard). On that freezing cold day in January of 2004, Greg and Donna whelped a litter of 4 boys and a girl. These were such lovely puppies. Ice’s only girl in that litter is Amethyst Snowfire, JH (Reagan). She is proudly co-owned with Madison Kennedy of Gaelwynd Gordons (along with Karen Kennedy, DVM). Madison and I share a special bond and friendship because of Reagan and her beeskits that she loves to eat. Madison has become a huge connoisseur of Culver’s cheese curds. Karen and Ken allowed Madison, Reagan and Crosby to spend time with me in Wisconsin for two summers. I am thrilled to call Madison a great friend and a protégé of sorts. She only needs one more major on Reagan and has earned top Junior Handler status in the Gordon Setter Club of America. While Madison insists that she is a hockey fan living in North Carolina…she’s a fun young lady and she loves Reagan and showing dogs. 

Amethyst's Snowfire, JH - (Reagan) Winners Bitch/Best of Winners
Duluth Kennel Club - 2009 - Madison Kennedy (Gaelwynd) handling

Reagan has excelled as a mom, following in Ice’s pawprints. On October 5, 2009, Reagan whelped a litter of puppies 5 dogs, 2 bitches out of Ch. Glen Oaks Azure Blue Merlot. The two girls in the litter are spittin’ images of their grandmother, Ice. I can’t wait to see them in a couple weeks!!

Greg and Donna DaValt took the green boy, Kismet, who almost didn’t make it. By a miracle and prayers from them, Kismet survived and is Amethyst’s Don’t Give Up on Me. He has both his majors and needs 5 points to finish. Kismet and Keno teamed up to produce Ch. Amethyst’s Sooner or Later a Martini (Sooner) who is owned by Martha Martini and Greg DaValt. Sooner is a specialty winner and will again carry on Ice’s skills and legacy in the whelping box….sooner or later! Stay tuned!!

Ice, you are a gift to me. You went to live with Yvonne and Kevin and Kurtis only to come back to me when Yvonne and Kevin divorced about the same time Greg and I did. You were here with me when I had a stalker. You became my bed buddy during that time. You started out so politely on the bed. You took the opposite pillow and curled up on your side of the bed….but as time went on you became more of a bed HOG. This only fits…as we always referred to you as Ice Pig….since you were always rootin’ around in the yard and in dirt. Even Bob Bertram, who had you for maybe two weeks, said that you were so different from Ember. Even though I loved you, Ice, I needed to sleep. So when it was time, you had to go onto the floor to sleep.

Laurie Carlson (Lyric) was going to take you home, but for some reason, you did not like Brian. You were trying to protect Laurie from him. Maybe he moved much too quickly for you, but you couldn’t boss him around as he was a kid, so back you came to me. As things work out for a reason, it was fine as Laurie ended up getting Flame and the rest is history. Laurie loved you so much, Ice. You were her first, almost Gordon. And….Laurie also was glad for the two weeks and a day to say goodbye. She was with me as you continued your journey away from us.

Two weeks and a day to say goodbye….

In that time, I was able to recall and ponder and reflect on all the memories of you. The disease that will take you from me will never take the memories. The two weeks and a day to say goodbye have given me more moments in time than I would have had if you left me without this option. You are my love, my very important of my life, the foundation of some of my dogs today and above all, my buddy and friend. As a single woman on this journey of life, God gives us gifts and you are a tremendous one, Ice. 

You were a joy to love and a joy to own. Your legacy will live on in Twister, Coal, Kismet, Reagan, Sooner, Drifter, Scorch and others….Your mom, Storm, and dad, Fire, would have been so proud of you in your final days. 

You were with me in making life changing decisions in these two weeks and a day to say good bye. I have listed my house and hope to sell the place after 27 years. I will go to a house somewhere new to me. I will travel to the foreign country of California to see my brother and his wife and children. I will go with River, Q, Splash and Sooner to another Eukanuba Tournament and the GSCA National Specialty. I’m fondly reminded of how WELL you did in Veteran Sweepstakes in Oconomowoc, WI in 2007. You showed your heart out and won your class!! You hated showing early on in your career and after 5 points, I decided that you could just be my buddy and brood bitch.

Trial by Fire o' Amethyst, CGC-Best of Opposite
Wisconsin Rapids KC

Your wild kiss-kiss lives on in Twister and Drifter and this morning, your kisses caught my tears as we watched in the glow of the moonlight of December 1….a new month….a new beginning. I know as we part company later today, Ice, your frail and hurt body will be free of the pain that you have so bravely hid from me. 

I had been given an extraordinary gift of loving you completely and freely. You have given me more love, more lessons, more inspirations. Your soul and spirit are always going to be with me and all my Gordons in the future. You gave me the gift of unconditional love and two weeks and a day to say goodbye.

I have to give you the gift of letting you go, knowing that I will be okay with the wonderful legacy and gifts you gave me while here with me.

As I say goodbye, my life will be forever changed. When I see the next moonlit morning light, I will remember the walk we shared and the kisses you gave me as my tears fell….

I will always remember you, Ice. I will always love you….and will always be thankful for the two weeks and a day to say goodbye to you.

Sleep well, my sweet Ice. I know you’ll always be with me. For now I will be comforted in knowing you will no longer be in pain, but joyfully at peace.


Peggy and the dogs of Amethyst - 

Asti, Twister, Drifter and Whisper (the Irish) and Q


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This page was last updated on:  Thursday, December 03, 2009

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For information on our Gordon Setters please contact us at gorsetr@gorsetr.com.