"BRANDY"

February 20, 1986 - July 28, 1996

Citation's Darius Sunrise

CH. Adamsown Darius Quinn / Sunlight's Little Red Corvet

 

Brandy was an amazing little dog, and this is his story......

About a year before Sharon and I where married, Sharon presented me with an interesting birthday gift, enclosed in an over-sized brown envelope was a "Coupon", redeemable for 1 "Woofus". Previously to this, I had mentioned on several occasions that I wanted to have a "Woofus", to the untrained that is a dog, specifically a Buff American Cocker Spaniel. Needless to say, we started looking right away and found an add for Buff American Cocker Spaniels in the Leduc area. It wasn't long before we were off to Citation Kennel (Reg'd) to visit Sharron Harrison, who had some new puppies that would be ready to go in a few weeks, but were available to view now. We were welcomed inside, to see mom and the puppies. Brandy's mom "Sunlight's Little Red Corvet", was a little uncomfortable having people in to see her babies, so Sharron had to put her in another room while we looked at the little ones. They where in a wooden box, and I reached in with my hand to let them sniff. Most of the puppies where curious, but kept their distance. There was one little boy that cautiously approached my hand, took a little nip out of one of my fingers then dashed away. Sharron H. let the puppies out to wander about. The boy, who had just moments before had nipped my finger, promptly scampered up to me, grabbed hold of my shoelace and took off like a bullet. He didn't get far, to the end to the now undone shoelace, but he persisted, pulling and pulling, then jumping forward and back, but he wasn't letting go of that shoelace. I bent over an picked him up, he immediately started to lick my fingers and then my face....this was the one I wanted, this was Brandy. He was too young to leave his mom yet, so as Sharron had previously mentioned we had brought a blanket for him to get used too for the next couple of weeks. it would later become his bed.
About a week later, on a Friday evening, Sharron Harrison phoned us and said she was headed east for a series of dog shows and would not be back for about a month and would we be prepared to pick up Brandy earlier then originally planned. We were more than willing, and the next day we went to pickup Brandy.
The next couple of nights were sleepless, the new addition would cry for his mom and siblings, so finally he ended up on his blanket next to my bed, where I was able reach him and pet him whenever he cried, he soon went to sleep and rarely cried after that night.
My parents lived in Rochester Alberta, and often on weekends we would drive up for a visit, now with Brandy. My parents had been raising Irish Setters and also had an English Setter. There where always several of these dogs around, Brandy soon became good friends with them and they would play together. It was sometimes funny to watch as the much bigger Setters would run across the fields, with long graceful strides, and this little guy going as fast as his legs could carry him losing ground behind them. It always amazed me how the setters would slow down, turn around and go back to little Brandy to make sure he was okay. Brandy made a special bond with "Sally", an English setter. Sally would slip into the bush, Brandy right behind, then about 20-30 feet ahead Sally would pop out of the bush, a few minutes later Brandy would pop out in exactly the same spot, he was a very good tracker.

Woofus Coupon

Brandy's Pedigree

Brandy at 10 weeks

Brandy in Rochester Alberta

Brandy with us

Brandy would often amuse us with his biscuit playing, this was a very unusual trait for a dog, yet a sign of high intelligence. He would take a biscuit he was given, and rather then eating it right away he would be sure we could see him and then through the biscuit in the air and catch it, jump around then put it carefully on the floor/rug, bum in the air and down on his front paws proceed to bark at the biscuit. This would carry on for several minutes before he would eventually eat the biscuit. Another instance was that we would put out several Marrow Bones, they would have to be standing on end and in a circle, or he would refuse them. He would take them 1 at a time into the living room and play with each one in turn before finally eating it.
Brandy was very protective of his yard. On a daily schedule, Brandy would "check his yard" before coming in from outside every night; he would follow around the fence, anything unusual would catch his attention and he would notify us. This nature of his caused him some problems with neighbours, who on occasion would loose a ball or some such item over the fence into our yard. If Brandy was in the yard, he would not let them in.
Brandy's "guard dog" traits included carrots, he just loved them. We grew carrots in the garden and he would guard them when we were getting ready to clean them.

Brandy guarding carrots

Brandy's carrots

Huggs for job well done

There was a negative side to Brandy's "guard dog" manner, on a couple of occasions he got injured, first the knee of one rear leg, he was about 3 years old, then several years later, he was about 6 years old, the knee of his other rear leg. In each case the damaged ligament was repaired through surgery, and he received "Prednisone" each time to reduce the inflammation after the surgery. He appeared to respond well in each case and he was good as new. His character unwavering, he continued to guard his yard and bring joy to our lives.
When Brandy was about 3 years old, another of his amazing traits appeared, we found his protective instincts went much further than we thought. One day, while I was at work, Sharon had a friend of hers, "Jane", over who had recently had a baby. Since the baby had not yet rolled over on its own, Sharon and Jane laid her on the couch and went about their chatting etc. Well, this was the day the baby was going to roll-over for the first time, and nobody noticed, except Brandy did. When Brandy noticed the baby moving he quickly moved to the couch and as the baby was about to roll of the couch and onto the floor, Brandy pushed her back up to safety, then parked himself in front of the couch. A concerned mother; Jane, and Sharon immediately attempted to go the baby, Brandy would have none of that, he growled quite convincingly and kept both Jane and Sharon away from the baby. Brandy was saying "You cannot be trusted with this baby, it is mine to care for now". Sometime later though Brandy did allow them to go to the baby as it appeared to be hungry and Brandy did not know how to feed this human infant.
Brandy brought so much to our lives we started having an interest in breeding him, and we began to contact American Cocker Spaniel breeders in the Edmonton area for information and assistance. Needless to say, we did not receive much help, but we started looking for a female anyway. From what we did learn if we wanted to breed, the female would have to be 2 years old before she could be bred. So, after some searching we managed to locate a female that was already over 2 years old, we went and looked at her, and not knowing much about the breed, brought home this little black girl. We introduced her to Brandy and he raised his paw and waved at her, in a friendly gesture, raised his ears and stiffened slightly while making little chirping noises. She would have none of that and promptly bit him on the nose. Brandy, completely shocked, backed up sat down and rubbed his nose with his paw. We soon returned this girl to the seller, her temperament was just not good. Our search continued, finally in the spring of 1994 we found an add for American Cocker Spaniel puppies, a male and a female where available immediately. We called the number and discovered that the 2, 10 week old puppies where in the city's north side and we could view anytime. We made arrangements right away, and went off to have a look, a few hours later we came back with Patches, this little Black and White Parti dynamo and Brandy was soon smitten. Brandy was now 8 years old, but you would never know it by how he and Patches played. Brandy soon had Patches following him around the yard, checking this and that, it was quite amazing to what him teach her things and how she would copy him.
Brandy and Patches spent most of their time outside, loving every minute of it. Patches, because she was a very busy puppy and could slip through the fence was kept on a long leash, until she was big enough that she could no longer get through. At this time, Sharon and I both worked, I had fairly normal hours, but Sharon worked for an alarm company which had odd hours, so often she worked nights. On one such day, when I had arrived home from work I could not see Brandy or Patches in the yard, usually they ran out to meet me, something was not right. I started calling "Brandy!!!", "Brandy!!!!", I heard a slight sound over near the deck, but saw nothing, seconds later Brandy appeared from the far side of the deck, he barked and headed back behind the deck, I hurried to follow him, when I rounded the edge of the deck what I saw both shocked and amazed me. There was Brandy standing up against the deck holding Patches up using his head and neck, she had somehow got onto the deck and slipped through the railings and was hanging by the collar she wore. If not for Brandy's amazing heroics she would have chocked to death hanging there, he somehow knew she was in trouble and had been holding her up for several hours. I immediately freed her from the collar and took her and Brandy into the house. Brandy had saved Patches life, and Patches somehow understood that and was a constant close companion for the rest of Brandy's life.
The following winter proved to be tragic, Brandy had tried to follow me into the basement like he often did, however this time the stairs had some wet spots from the snow outside, he slipped and fell the rest of the way down the stairs and then did not move. I ran over to him and soon found that he was injured. At the time I was not sure if he was just badly bruised or if he had broken ribs or something else, it was late on a Sunday and he did not appear at the time to be in a lot of pain, so we decided to see how he was in the morning and if necessary take him to his normal vet. On Monday morning he was favouring his left front leg, so we took him to the vet and sure enough he had broken the joint. The vet said that due to the location of the break the surgery may not give him movement in the joint and therefore he would hobble around with one leg straight all the time, but they would attempt to make the joint as moveable as possible. The surgery went very well and as in previous surgeries he received "Prednisone" for the inflammation. Remarkably,    Brandy regained almost complete normal function in his leg, it was difficult to tell that it had ever been injured.
 A few months later, we started to notice that Brandy was having bladder difficulty, urinating uncontrollably, even in his sleep. He was also showing signs of excessive thirst and he never seemed to get enough to eat. Another trip to the vet, and blood tests......Brandy was diagnosed with a adrenal hyper-cortisol condition known as "Cushings Disease". Cushings Disease was initially thought to be a rare condition in both humans and dogs, however in the last several years it has become more common in dogs. At the time of Brandy's diagnoses there where two ways that the condition could develop, the first; a tumour on the adrenal gland, a triangular shaped gland that sits on top of each of the kidneys; causing the gland to overproduce cortisol. The other involves a tumour on the pituitary gland; located at the base of the brain, which secretes the "ACTH" - adrenocorticotropic hormone that signals the adrenal gland to produce and release more cortisol. Cortisol is a very important hormone in the body, sometimes called the "stress" hormone and effects nearly everything the body does, specifically:
complex processing and utilization of many nutrients, including sugars (carbohydrates), fats, and proteins
normal functioning of the circulatory system and the heart
functioning of muscles
normal kidney function
production of blood cells
normal processes involved in maintaining the skeletal system
proper functioning of the brain and nerves
normal responses of the immune system
normal response to inflammation from injury
 If the problem was a tumour on the adrenal gland, then surgery to remove the tumour very often was a cure to the condition, so Brandy had an ultrasound performed so that it could be determined if this was the cause. The results of the ultrasound were negative, which then meant that the tumour was on the pituitary gland, for which there was no surgery available. There was medication that would reverse the creation of the ACTH hormone and stop the over production of cortisol, there was a problem though, this very potent drug could sometimes cause another problem, which is the opposite of Cushings Disease, and that is Addisons Disease where not enough cortisol is produced for normal body function. So the answer was to give Brandy 2 medications: Lysodren, to treat the Cushings and Prednisone to treat a reaction to the Lysodren. The prednisone was only given if the symptoms of low cortisol appeared. Some symptoms to watch for Cushings disease; as previously mentioned, uncontrolled urination, excessive thirst, increased appetite, as well as a pot-bellied appearance, weight gain or redistribution of fat, coat dullness or loss of hair, lethargic, hind leg weakness, loss of muscle mass, skin pigmentation changes - darker, calcified lumps in the skin etc. One thing to note concerning Cushings Disease, it is now believed that overuse of Prednisone can also cause the symptoms. Due to the injuries that Brandy had sustained, and the Prednisone that was prescribed each time for inflammation, we believe that the prednisone may have been a significant factor. Brandy made significant improvement with the medication and lived for another 2 1/2 years when he passed away in his sleep on July 28th, 1996. Brandy was cremated and his remains placed in a beautiful urn which we keep on top of the piano where we can see him every day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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