Vehrzheen Thompson

birth and childhood

Vehrzheen’s story began in March 1999 when dear Ani died. We knew we wanted another dog to be company for Nancy and Dazzy. Vehrzheen was born June 13, 1999 (litter 46262) with three brothers and two other sisters. Her maternal grandfather had been special among English setter fans. His name was Bozemanns Mosley- he dominated competitions in 1996. According the “The American Field” (July 4) this dog was described as follows - moves with controlled swiftness, gait is fluid and lofty, an attractiveness that is hard to turn from, an almost iridescent whiteness. He had the knack given to some to pop out of nowhere to show on a long frontal cast… there was none that approached his excellence, none who doubted his superiority. He received the first Herman Smith Setter Derby Award and he won runner up on the Border International Chicken Championship. He was listed in the Hall of Fame in 1996. Vehrzheen’s father (I’m Chip 1488385) was the son of her mother (Doc’s Charging Cricket 1465980). Both the father and mother were owned by the CL Peterson’s who lived in Davenport (1103 Garfield Ct) and were selling the puppies for $100.00 each. We brought her to our home in Iowa City on Sept 4. Vehrzheen was an attempt to give her the Armenian name for Virginia

Vehrzheen sitting on David's lap. Vehrzheen as a puppy, in David's lap.

Vehrzheen as a puppy, on her bed. Vehrzheen as a puppy, on her bed.

Vehrzheen as a puppy, with her toy. Vehrzheen as a puppy, with her toy.

2001-09-10. Blaise broke his arm while jogging with Vehrzheen. He reported that Vehrzheen decided to stop and say hello to some other dogs but that he did not anticipate this. So he fell and hit his right arm such that it broke. We spent that evening at Mercy’s ER and all stayed home the next day, which was the infamous 9/11.

2001-12. In December we took a trip to California to surprise Betty. Both Dazzy and Vehrzheen went with us. All humans and Vehrzheen observed and appreciated shooting stars in Wyoming. Another nap was in order by the time we reached central Wyoming. Vehrzheen had a hard time settling down because the rest stop must have had wild animals. On 2001-12-25 during the day we took a walk during which Vehrzheen spotted a pheasant.

Vehrzheen and Betty in California.


2002-08-03 through 2002-08-12 we vacationed at Towanda with both Vehrzheen and Dazzy.

Vehrzheen, Dazzy and Blaise in Towanda.

Vehrzheen and Blaise snuggling in Towanda.

Vehrzheen swimmming in Towanda.


For our vacation in 2004 we left Verhzheen at home under the care of our neighbors- Matt and Sarah. Dazzy had died just before we left on that vacation. While they took good care of her, she had damaged her tail by wagging it too much. The basement walls were blood stained.

A family photo taken just before leaving on our 2004 vacation.

Vehrzheen and Nancy

Many times Nancy could come home from work exhausted. Both Untzag and Vehrzheen would snuggle with Nancy as she zoned out.

Nancy and Vehrzheen enjoyed many walks and adventures together. Here they are in front of the famous American Gothic homestead.


Vehrzheen also visited Blaise in Madison several times.

Vehrzheen, Nancy, and David walking on a frozen lake Mendota.

Vehrzheen sleeping on the couch in Blaise's lake street apartment.

Nicolet National Forest

The family hiked the a loop in the Nicolet National Forest by Eagle River in WI. By the morning not only the tent but also the sleeping bags and some of our clothes were pretty wet. David got a fire going and Vehrzheen was arranged on a tarp wearing one of David’s shirts. We got into dry clothes, had a waterless breakfast and headed out at around 7:45. How far should we hike? Were there contingency options if it rained again or if the hike was too much for Vehrzheen?


During the final months Vehrzheen and Nancy spent quite a bit of time together. One “hangout” was the sofa in the basement. We would create a creature sandwich. Sleeping bag number one, then Nancy, then Vehrzheen, then hot towels and the second sleeping bag. Very nice for two old ladies. The other hangout was Nancy's bed. Nancy would hop up and then David would bring Vehrzheen. Vehrzheen and Nancy would sleep next to each-other. David would retrieve Vehrzheen when he was ready to retire.

The following are our last photos of Vehrzheen.

2015-06-26. When Nancy came home from work on Friday June 26, David said he had made an appointment to euthanize Vehrzheen on Saturday but that he was not sure he would keep it. We took her on a walk to deliver a cabbage dish to Miehsa’s family. Vehrzheen went in the wagon but did walk a little at Miehsa’s. David took a bath with her and I helped dry her and keep her warm until it was time to go to bed. She lay on her body while we watched a movie called Iris.

2015-06-27. Saturday morning David semi force fed her an entire can of the special dog food we got from Bright Eyes and Bushy Tails. However we were worried that this would trigger diarrhea and vomiting. Stools did not look good. For awhile Nancy put her on the wagon so that she could be in a pleasant spot outside while I did a little yard work. She looked so peaceful. David took her across the street for a little walk in Happy Hollow, but she was not able to walk. Again we had to think about talk about the decision. Finally David concluded that she was not going to get any better than the state of health she was in at that time. So we set our faces toward Solon. Nancy sat in the back seat to stroke her and talked to Vehrzheen. She reminded Vehrzheen that God had a plan for her getting to heaven so we could be together again.

Arrived at the scheduled time- 11:30. We took Vehrzheen to the grass on the north side of Davis’ clinic and after a few steps she lay down on her side. While we waited David sat so that his body shielded her eyes from the sun. We asked if they could inject her outside on the lawn which they did. The injection was made and she stopped breathing immediately. The heart did not stop for a minute or two. David wrapped her in one of our black towels with the name Blaise embroidered on it. Nancy saved some of her fur which had been shaved off for the injection and her collar. Then we took her limp body to a business which cremates the bodies of dead pets. The cremation intake place was also in Solon. The man seemed quite decent. David wanted to be close to her body when it was cremated but the man said that was not allowed. We put her body in the back of this man’s truck on top of the bodies of several other dogs. The paperwork included having her name, which led to the explanation for it. The ashes of her body were ready on the following Monday. By 12:56 David and Nacny were home without any dog or cat to be part of their lives. She was 17 years old and supported Nancy for all but 2 days of the last part of her UI career. David spent most of the day in the barn working on a machine part and I spent much time picking up towels, bowls, pillows etc. which had been use by our dear friend Vehrzheen.

David and Nancy took a walk in Hickory Hill shortly after our loss. David thought that, over time, Vehzrheen may have walked in that park at least 5000 times. We remembered that she could out run most other dogs until she was well into her adult years.

On July 6 we scattered her ashes at Lake Towanda, about 13 years after a previous trip to this place in 2002 where we felt she enjoyed herself thoroughly. It had been raining all day. But after dinner it was cool but not too windy or rainy. So the three of us got in the canoe and paddled around the lake taking Vehrzheen’s ashes with us. We spotted a loon in one of the far corners and got quite close to it. Vehrzheen would have so enjoyed that canoe ride. Blaise took photographs. We scattered some ashes in the middle of the lake but in line with the Kozeluh dock and then Blaise scattered the rest in the area to the left of the dock where he and Vehrzheen used to play with frogs. He remembered that Goldie just like to watch them. He liked to catch and release them but Vehrzheen liked to catch and keep them.

Vehrzheen's final resting place, in the reeds.

Rest in peace, Vehrzheen.

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