Died of heart disease secondary to atrial fibrillation of unknown origin.

Caber Feidh's Mitch. Photo by Jim Bennett. Mitch, owned by Jim and Meb Bennett of Mariposa, CA, was memorialized in numerous works of art by the Bennetts. My home is graced by several wonderful depictions of Mitch during his happy but too-short life. He is pictured here in two of the many poses caught on camera by the Bennetts.

Mitch was shown very sparingly, but had a Group Placement. A show career didn’t fit into his or his owners’ plans, however, and he spent most of his life on his family’s beautiful property near Yosemite National Park.

I visited Mitch several times in Mariposa, but my most memorable visit was the last. Months, even years, usually went by between our visits, but the puppies never forget who their first human mom was, and he always greeted me with great joy.

Mitch had been given six months to live when first diagnosed with his heart condition, but he made it more than two more years, most of them in excellent health. When the Bennetts called to tell me the end was drawing near, I drove up to see him one last time.

By the time I got there, Mitch had not been up off his dog bed in two days. He was thin and his belly was enlarged with water retention from heart failure. But as I got out of my car and called a hello to Jim and Meb, he suddenly appeared in the doorway. Tail wagging, he actually ran to me, trying to jump up on me in greeting. I sank to my knees, my arms around him, crying like a baby into his neck.

It is a painful contradiction of the Scottish Deerhound, that dogs with so much heart suffer so often from heart disease. It’s very easy to picture Mitch now, running over green hills and splashing in cool ponds, free of the heart that failed him, but living in our hearts forever.

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