"Great Heart, Swift Courser, Splendid Companion"
By John Parker
It is with profound sadness that I report the death of our Brandy, AOK Speed Chic, LCM, on Friday, March 9, one week shy of her 11th birthday.
Brandy suffered a broken leg while waiting with our other Greyhounds to be brought in from their evening turn-out. Our sainted vet, Dr. Toby Carmichael, waited at his clinic until we arrived at about 8:00 pm. His exam and x-rays indicated that the leg had likely broken as a result of bone cancer, and that the cancer had spread to her lungs. Whatever time Brandy had left was likely to be full of pain, so I decided it was time to let her go.
Brandy was the classic first Greyhound--perfect in every way. She never had separation anxiety, was cat-safe, kid-friendly, and smiled that teeth-baring, nose-wrinkling smile at everyone she met. She could be put with any foster Greyhound we brought into the house. Upon meeting any new Greyhound, she would almost always execute a play bow and invite the newcomer to romp with her.
She also had that dual personality that is so intriguing in Greyhounds--sweet and demure at home, and a keen hunter on the coursing field. Brandy had a short and unremarkable racing career, but she found her calling in lure coursing. She made her debut at age 5 and had a remarkable rookie year, winning Best in Field at the 1995 Region 7 Invitational and becoming the first Greyhound to win the Florida Classic Cup, one of lure coursing's oldest perpetual trophies.
Brandy earned her Field Champion title on her 6th birthday, and earned the Lure Courser of Merit title at the age of 8. She ran in 66 field trials over the course of her career. As age slowed her down a bit and her running mates would get ahead of her, Brandy's competitive spirit would cause her to cheat and create her own course so as to "head off the lure at the pass." This made her a collision risk, so we moved her into the Singles stake to finish out her coursing career. Remarkably, she ran honestly and didn't cheat when she ran by herself. In her later years, she developed her "trademark," barking at the lure while being retrieved at the end of the course, something I have never seen any other Greyhound do. I have some video of one of her last runs (thank you, Mike Ball), and the joy on her face at the end of that run shone as brightly as it did on her first run.
Brandy had her own 15 minutes of fame, in three installments. She was "Miss October" in one of the Celebrating Greyhounds calendars. She appeared in a CNN piece on Greyhound adoption, demonstrating how cat-safe Greyhounds can be. Her photo is featured in "The Book of the Greyhound" by Sue LeMieux (page 71).
Brandy was a big part of the reason that I am a Greyhound enthusiast, a Greyhound adoption volunteer, and a lure coursing fan. In recognition of her contributions, in 1998 we commissioned a perpetual trophy, the Brandy Cup, which is awarded each year to the Best of Breed Greyhound at the Region 7 Invitational. On the trophy we had inscribed three phrases which describe Brandy best: "Great Heart, Swift Courser, Splendid Companion." I still can't think of any words that describe her better.
So now she joins her old running buddies, Foxey, Marble, and Lucy, at the Rainbow Bridge, where I'll bet they hold field trials every weekend.
Rest in peace, Brandy, and run in joy.