. . . my freckled-faced princess . . . . my heart & soul
With great sadness, I have to relay the loss of a truly amazing dog,
my freckled-faced princess, Curie Marie after an almost 9 month
battle with Malignant Histiocytosis.
Curie was my first Berner, my inspiration, heart and soul. She was
an amazing dog that lived a rather unique life. Reflecting on
Curie's life, I have realized that she lived the life of the old
Swiss saying in a way:
"Three Years a Young Dog"
Curie's first 3 or so years, she was a California girl. She loved
children and to swim more than anything else in the world, likely
due to her being raised the first year of your life with a water
obsessed black Lab. She went swimming nearly daily. Curie loved to
fetch, but only in water. She would swim and fetch for longer than
any Lab or Golden on the beach. Curie must have had more than the
average Newfie genes because she would also try to rescue people in
the water whether or not they wanted or needed to be rescued.
Curie was a great puppy and young dog. She potty trained herself at
8 weeks of age, only ever destroyed one thing as a pup that I can
remember, that being a very expensive Chemistry text book (what
could I say, it must be the name?) and she learned everything I
taught her in 5 minutes or less. Curie helped train Einstein and
several rescue dogs we had in the house to be good dogs as well.
She was the boss from a very young age.
"Three Years a Good Dog"
In Curie's case, this was more 3 Years a GREAT dog! During this
time, Curie traveled the country and the world at my side. I had
some significant health problems at this time and Curie would alert
me or wake me up when my blood sugars got high and low, or when I
had breathing problems when I was sleeping and she helped me get
around when my back went out, all of which qualified her as my
service dog. She very likely saved my life on a few occasions.
Curie was a certified Therapy Dog through two therapy
organizations. She usually went with me when I went to the doctor
and hospitals for my various medical treatments where she would do
some visiting around the hospital. She loved doing it and she was
always a hit with the patients and staff.
Curie was introduced to herding and carting during this time. She
was a natural at both. We never went further than the Herding
Instinct Test and carting in parades and giving children rides for
fun because of the obedience requirements. Curie was a very well
behaved dog and knew how to do everything for her CD but the problem
was whether or not Curie wanted to do it at that moment in time.
Regardless, Curie was one of the smartest dogs I have ever met and
had the strongest work drive I've ever seen.
Curie was my first experiment in showing and admittedly, she was
nothing overly special conformationally or in type, but what she was
lacking in those areas, she made up for in attitude and she was a
decent mover. Once I figured out what I was doing in the ring, she
did fairly well. During the course of her show career, she had wins
over Bayley (as a special with Curie as a class dog!), Seri and
Alinghi who all finished their Championships easily at a young age.
Curie was mostly brought along as a point building dog, but she
always seemed to hold her own. There was something about her that
some judges obviously saw as well. Curie was spayed and retired
from the show at the age of six, with 12 points and one major to her
"Three Years an Old Dog"
I do not think Curie was ever an old dog per se. The photo on the
Berner-L homepage was taken at the age 9.5 years, 6 months after she
was diagnosed with Histio. She looks very similar in that photo to
a photo taken of her when she was 11 months old which I will post to
my website soon.
At the age of 6, Curie began not getting along with the younger
girls that had come into the house, especially when they had puppies
(Curie never had puppies). I also think she did not want to share
me with anyone else. She tolerated her brother Einstein, but to
share her Mom with another female dog and a mess of puppies, was too
much for her. Curie went back and forth for a while between my
friend's and my house when the other girls had puppies, and while
Curie was always happy to come home, she was also equally happy to
go back to her other house. When I moved back to California from
Michigan, I had to make one of the most difficult decisions of my
life. As difficult as it was to let my girl go, I knew this was
best for Curie and it was partly her choice. I knew I would miss
Curie dearly, but giving her up meant that Curie was able to spend
the rest of her life as the Queen Bee of the house, with a Black Lab
to boss around, a couple of children to watch over and she lived on
a lake. Other than the fact that it was not a life with me, I
believe that perfectly describes the life Curie would have chosen
"all else is a gift"
I think Curie herself was a gift. She touched my heart and
influenced my life in more ways than I can describe. I know she
touched the lives of many other people as well. She will be missed
deeply and never ever forgotten.
Curie had a tumor removed from her knee in late August 2006, a few
weeks before she turned 9 years old. The pathology report came back
as a Malignant Histiocytic Neoplasm. The tumor was removed and
Curie received Chemo therapy every six weeks for the duration of her
life which she tolerated very well. I knew if anyone could give
this dreaded disease a run for it's money, it was Curie Marie.
Curie was never sick until her last week. When another tumor
appeared that made her uncomfortable and the xray showed multiple
tumors in her abdomen and she vomited up her undigested dinner from
the night before, the difficult decision to help this amazing lady
to the bridge was made.
Curie was loved by myself, Doug Herold (who actually picked Curie
out), her bigger little brother Einstein, Trish Wright and family (husband
Josh and kids Brenden and Madison who Curie took watching out for
Many thanks goes out to all those that have replied with condolences
and special thoughts and memories about Curie and most of all for
Trish for providing Curie with everything she wanted in a home and
family for the last three and half years of her life. Nine years,
seven and half months is longer than the average and a good life for
a Berner but we all know it's never long enough for those we love.
Curie's tumor and blood samples were sent to the Breen study.