I received very unwelcome news last week. Tui, one of my longtime clients and a favorite pooch of mine has passed.


Tui was 14+ and had been bravely dealing with some debilitating age-related maladies for a while. Nevertheless the news was still a surprise as I had always looked upon Tui as being an everpresent and somewhat indestructible!

A quartet of collies…with Tui setting the tone

I started walking Tui (together with her long-time partner in crime Dave) when she was 10 years old. Tui was bright, quiet, obedient and loving…an ideal combination.

Tui could be quite choosy with who she deemed worthy of her attention…fortunately we got along swimmingly from the outset and I always felt that Tui was pleased to be with me…whether in a group, on leash, in the Poochmobile or on her numerous stays at the Pooch Walk Hotel. I was always pleased to be with her.

Tui enjoying some R & R at the Pooch Walk Hotel…”very comfy dahlink…”

As intimated, Tui always was a good girl and was definitely an excellent representative of the Pooch Walk. Notwithstanding this, Tui did have another side to her…a cheeky demeanour that meant she could (and would) try it on with a “who me?” look on her face. Indeed, I’m convinced that she used to wink at me and others whenever she thought she warranted extra treats or a bit of an extra fuss…a bit like “if you don’t ask you don’t get…!”…and a very effective strategy it was!

“Who me…surely not?”

Tui was always a very active girl and excelled in agility competitions. As she mellowed she had to be reminded to take it easy from time to time…that it wasn’t a problem if the crew spread out a bit on a walk or misbehaved and she didn’t bring them back in line straight away!

OK….it’s herding time!

One thing that I always had to be mindful when walking with Tui was abandoned sticks (or the odd low-hanging branch). Whilst she could be a bit reserved if someone tried to fuss her she had no problem whatsoever dropping said sticks directly in front of an unsuspecting “playmate” and retiring a bit in order to fire a collie “stare” at them until the stick was thrown for her to retrieve.

Given that Tui sometimes had to be ‘reeled in” to avoid overdoing it I had to get into the habit of telling people that, regardless of her persistent requests, the stick shouldn’t be thrown. For a while this meant that I had to be Tui’s conscience (putting up with the odd person who thought that I was a meanie) until all of the regular park patrons had been trained not to throw anything for her! What amused me greatly, and served as evidence of Tui’s intelligence was that after a while she recognised who wouldn’t (couldn’t) throw a stick for her and only tried it on with park newbies that hadn’t met her before or unsuspecting patrons who didn’t know the drill!

Get ready to throw….”

Tui was a very special girl and a very gentle soul. Indeed it seems strange to speak about Tui in the past tense. Tui’s people are understandably crushed and her pooch compatriots Dave and Brick are no doubt wondering where their friend and mentor has gone. Once the clouds and pain have lifted they will all be able to take comfort in the fact that they got to have Tui in their lives.

Tui loved her people dearly, without reservation. Comfort is taken with the knowledge that Tui passed knowing that her people always did what was best for her, that she is and will be sorely missed and that she was loved by all that knew her.

Run free Tui…and make sure to chase as many sticks as you can!

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