March 95 - Jan 08
RIP Sparky, Gone but NEVER forgotten.  
1 year , 1 week after he is stolen.

At this moment in time I am overjoyed to tell you all ( though many of you will know
already<G> )  that Sparky is back  home with us where he belongs.  He  was  
returned to us  on Wednesday 11th August  05, after being Stolen on 4th August
04.  A whole 1 year, 1 week away from his home.  A Miracle to say the least.  Many
of you will know Sparky from his years of PAT dog work ( PETS AS THERAPY) ,  via
Agility/Training classes,  from meeting him on our walks or just from the amazing
publicity we  received after he was stolen.

Its Almost impossible to try to Piece together everything that has happened to him
over the year and we will probably never know for sure either but  judging by the  
fact he was spotted on a  travellers camp 6 months ago, along with some further
sketchy information on people he was passed around to, it is probably best we do
not know and I am almost glad that he cant speak to tell me or I would probably not
recover as well as he has.   

For those of you that are interested in the story of how we got him back  ( he was
stolen from my parents back yard in August 04 ) It happened as follows…..  On
Wednesday 11th, The lady who was given  him as a gift on the previous Sunday, (to
help her get over the loss of her elderly dog, whom  strangely died of the same
medical problem Sparky has), took him to the RSPCA Animal war memorial clinic in
Kilburn to get him checked over as he was in a state, obviously ill  and not eating.  
It was there by chance he was scanned and found to be chipped and stolen.  They
then  phoned me up asked if I was Sparky’s owner, to which I replied in a round
about way that I am not wasting time on more hoax calls as he was  dead………..  
but it seemed it was true.  They proceeded to  ask how I could have had so many
calls in the  few days if  he was missing from 4th – 11th.    Of course I replied that
he was missing from 4th 04 and that was  a year and a week not “just a week”………
needless to say they were amazed.   Their reply was again to tell me it was really
him, he  really was alive and was actually sitting in their surgery and would I come
straight away to get him.  

I can only then remember screaming and having the kids ask what was wrong,
which instantly bought me back to earth and  almost  allowed me to believe that it
maybe was true  and that it could be him waiting for me.  I called my husband home
from work to drive  me as I was in no state to drive anywhere. Mean while my mom
arrived and did not believe what I was telling her but I told her to take my Son Danny
to the doctors as he was recovering from surgery,  my neighbour also  called  at
that moment to see if I needed help with the kids  and  so jumped at the chance
and amazingly everyone was being looked after and so we went to get him.  ( That
in itself was a miracle  as organisation  like that usually takes a year in advance in
this house to arrange<G> ).

The 15 or so  miles it took to get there seemed like an eternity. ( though it seemed
longer waiting for them to bring him out to me)  When he came In, my heart
skipped as I saw it really  was him, his unmistakable face now  greying with age and
obvious pain.  He went crazy for me but then as I cuddled him he stopped
completely and refused to acknowledge me in anyway shape or form  and
proceeded  to  turned his back on me. <G>

I guess he blamed me for what happened.    I took him straight out to the car and
he put his paw out  for Rick ( hubbie )  and climbed straight  on him.  As we drove
home, he still would not talk to me and in between shaking with happiness, I  
managed to phone a friend and get her to go in person to break the amazing news
to Rosemary, (Sparky’s breeder – who I gather nearly passed out in disbelief –
Thank you Tracy for helping ) I then sent a text out to everyone who is in my mobile
phone( goodness knows who some were or what they must have thought lol ).

Once we arrived home he was in a bad way but he smelt the air and started to get
excited.  I put him down to let him walk in himself and he walked straight to a tree
on the right of the house, barely lifts his leg as he was so weak and then he
wandered to the  tree on the left and barely lifts his leg again and then he seemed
satisfied that he “was” home and wandered up the drive.   He walked in and the
dogs all dropped position to let him back as if he never left.  Sadly the kids  did not
believe it was him as he looked so bad.  Amazingly Sparky sat to say hi to his
favourite neighbour who is in her 80’s and was so calm and gentle like he had
never been away.  He then ran out side and was very sick, so after a rushed trip to
the E vets who could not believe it  when they knew who was being rushed in, he
had all the tests and meds possible to stabilize him.

Once Home he did not want to eat at all, so I moved everything back as it was and
woke up at 2am to find him eating again, I just remember smiling and then crashing
out.   Just after that I remember waking up to find Sparky just sitting upright
staring at me not moving.  I remember telling him it was ok and he was not going
anywhere and he came and snuggled back down with me till the morning.  Things
only got better from there I am pleased to report and he has been improving  
steadily.  


After speaking to the lady's daughter,  I was told a bit more info. It seems  she was
given him   as  3 year old called Tizzy, ( Sparky is 11 years old now )  he came to
them in a bad way  with a huge dog rope lead that was half chewed around his
neck and he was all knotted and filthy and half his old  body weight.  It seems they
cleaned him up when they got him and then  the RSPCA did as well. When I got him
I also cleaned him too he was in such a state,  so I dread to think what he originally
looked and smelt like.  


It seems on the Tuesday before he was taken to the vets he may have saved the
old ladies life when she seemed to have gone into a mini coma.  When he must
have realised something was wrong, he pawed at her and then having not got a
response, he barked like crazy to get the attention of some work men who were
outside to help her.  This sweet dog must have been in agony, had been through
hell, yet still choose to help.  Truly amazing.

Funnily he always went  to check on my Grandmother if she was quiet ( and is
back doing it now ) he would paw at her gently and if she did not respond
immediately he would begin woofing at her till she did, when satisfied he would
then go to settle down again.  He did the same when my grandmother fell and
broke her hip a few years ago,  he tried to get my neighbours attention by barking
at the window but they thought he was just barking at them  and when no one
came,  he stayed with her till help arrived.  


So  we are now reaching the end of this amazing story.   I am so pleased I had him
micro chipped  and I implore you all to Please have your dogs done……….  I have
all of my dogs done and will always continue to  have them done and can definitely  
attest the fact that they really  do work  as  Sparky is back, his coat is filling in,he is
starting to put on weight and he is happy once again once again, running and
playing  with the other dogs and especially his favourite Merlin Ball.  He may not
have his title like his relatives  but  he sure has proved himself to be one hell of a
Champion in all respects. The week before I got him back I filled in an internet
survey  and when it asked if I believed in miracles I said  no, if I were to fill that in
now, the answer would have to be definately YES and he is sitting here trying to
get me to play with him by pulling off my sock and  woofing at me lol, so on that
note I leave you all to go be with my boy once again.


Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for all the heart felt wishes which
came  from all over the world,  over the year and a week he was gone.  I am sure
your wishes helped him find his way home back where he belongs.   
Sparky back
Sparky stolen
Sparky playing before being stolen
Sparky aged 11
Sparky winning his 1st Rosette
Sparky resting
Sparky resting 1
Sparky and Sam
Sparky and Zeb on duty at Work
Gimme some attention
Jo and Sparky
Zeke and Sparky best buds
Sparky and his butterfly
Sparky and Zeke
The tears are flowing as I write this. Ibstock Distinctly Sparky for Spinillons,
He was the most amazing dog there every was.  I got him from Rosemary Ayris
( Ibstock )  after he was returned from a  few homes.  I know Rosemary did not want
him to go to another home after all he has been through but when I saw him we clicked
instantly ( especially after he wee'd on my sister bless him) he was  head strong,
Bossy,  stubborn as a mule but sweet, he always knew what he wanted and  nothing
would stop him and of course when he met me, we shared much in common and finally
he had found his forever home, he was meant for me.  He came home for just a
weekend visit initially to see how he would fit in,  I still had a few months left of uni at
the time and after 5 mins  he had won the hearts of my parents who said well he cant
go back now, call Rosemary and tell her we love him,  with that  he made himself comfy
and he stayed.  I came home 3 hours trip most weekends to see him but he knew, as
he did till the end he was always mine and he only ever listened to me over anyone.

Unlike his brothers who were shown and all Ch.'s, he did his own thing and had other
callings in life. He was sound as a bell physically and mentally but  he was extra
special in that he was a ch. of hearts, the amazing things he did in his short life will
never be forgotten by those he touched.  He gave many hours of his time to being a
wonderful PAT dog.  It was not something I had thought of prevously but he was drawn
to it and dutifully I followed his wishes.  He brought much love to those adults and
children who needed him when no one else could get though to them.  He had his own
vices after being attacked and from whatever had happened to him before I had him but
when working in his little yellow coat nothing would stop him doing his job, I shall never
forget the people he helped people learn to speak, the children and adults whom he
helped  get over their fear of dogs, I dont think there was ever a dry eye when he was
there, letting himself be cuddled and walked etc.....  He loved to be  with me  where
ever I was, especially when we use to go along and  promote PAT/Pro dogs at
exhibitions where being small and sweet he drew lots of attention which he loved. He
was even nominated for PAT dog of the year once which I was so proud of   but most
of all he just knew who needed him and nothing you could do when his mind was set
could stop him.  

6 years ago he became very ill and was not expected to live.  Thanks to our amazing
vet, Cathy who operated and looked after for him for 3 weeks till he recovered well,
once on regular meds, he went from strength to strength and other than having to give
up PAT dog work as he could no longer take the knocks it often brought with it, he was
as happy as ever and amazed us all with his Spark for life.  When he first walked
through the door once home, he ran straight up to my new addition ( 2 legged
Jamie-Leeanne) and never left her side for days.  He loved my kids.

In August 2004 our hearts were ripped out when aged 9 he was stolen from my moms
garden by some travellers.  Due to the fact he could not take his meds and eat the
special food we had for him, we did not expect him to live too long and after months
and months of trying everything we finally resided ourselves that he would not be
coming home as we had always hoped and dreamed as he could not have survived.  In
August 2005 we got a call saying that he was still alive and he had saved a womans
life and that they took to him a vet to be checked over as he had helped them and due
to them checking for microchips they found me.  They said he was very ill and we had  
to come and get him to  our vets straight  away . It was amazing that he was still alive
let alone aged 10 he was coming back home.  It was a reunion I will never forget, I
would not have cared if we only had 5 mins with him but we had him back.  He was so
happy to see me initally he went mad and he stopped and point blank  refused to talk to
me for an hour or so as he was annoyed at me.  I guess he blamed me for him being
taken.  Once at the vets I dont think there was a dry eye in the waiting room while we
waited to see Cathy, everyone was amazed to hear his story.  With in weeks he was
back home and well and back to normal as if he had never gone.

He was an amazing dog, he always had that extra knowing sense. You could not put
anything past him, he did some wonderful tricks, He won a millenium  comp with a
wonderful array of  tricks he did from shooting him and playing dead, money tricks......
he had a thing for £20 notes and he always had to have the last word, even today as
we let him go bless him.

He not only saved the ladies life who took him in after he was stolen and had been
passed about  but he also tried to help my Grandmother when she had a bad fall and
broke her hip,  on that occasion my neighbours ignored him barking at them for help  
and so he sat with Gran until help arrived, everyone was amazed at him.  In June my
Gran became ill and Sparky knew this, he would spend alot of time with her and if
worried something was not right,  he would wake her up by pawing her leg or barking
at her to wake up.  He knew her heart was not good and could sense when she
needed him.  Just after she died, I also became ill and I became the object of his
attentions, after nearly dying myself I recovered and he went back to his usual you dont
need me anymore self and he use to sit back and watch  the world go by until he was
needed again.  He was even on SKY TV in July when they came to interview him and
me about the wonderful things he/dogs were able to do.  

He was a dog in a millon.  I am grateful to still have his brother Ch & Ir Ch Ibstock
Bright Spark For Spinillons SH CM who shares many of the same characteristics.
Hense the Spark bit in his name and why I also fell for him.   I think Sparky  was
however the first Ch. Ibstock Mark of Distinction Son and he sure has done his dad and
his breeder Rosemary and not to mention me very proud.

Thank you Rosemary for this wonderful boy, the joy he gave me and many others has
been priceless, you never asked for much for him but you gave us more than we could
ever pay you for.  Thank you Cathy for giving him those extra years  with us and being
there for him when he needed you again last night and this morning, I am glad it was
quick for him, he did not deserve to suffer.  Thank you to all of you who supported us
when he went missing, especially Pat, who now has his nephew.

RIP Ibstock Distinctly Sparky For Spinillons, sweet Sparky my heart will always be with
you, Everyone who knew you loved you without  a doubt.  I thought you would be with
me next week and during my recovery by my side as usually, I never expected you to
go so soon and so quickly but I guess someone else needed you more.  Look after
Gran and the others for me, keep them in their place as you always did and remember  
We all know who the kidda was and it was definately you kidda!  Life will never be the
same without you hon.

Jo
Here is a video of Sparky, aged 13 playing
with Zeke, aged 9 just before they both
died within 2 weeks of each other.
They had the funniest relationship, such
an odd pair, complete opposites in
temperaments and size.  Zeke was so
happy to have Sparky home again and
they made the most of their times
together.  
I cant help but wonder why Zeke got ill the
day after Sparky died but part of me
thinks he did not want to be without him
and they are happy together again..

RIP my sweetboys you are so missed. xxx