He was a talented and loved pup. We will miss him and following his 'career'. We salute you Skidboot!
Skidboot's health had declined for several years after he was kicked in the head by a horse and blinded in one eye. He was euthanized Sunday.
The dog, half Australian blue heeler and half "chef's surprise," was buried under an oak tree on the Quinlan ranch of David and Barbara Hartwig.
"What a wonderful life of fourteen years he lived! Never has a last minute, second-thought Christmas gift ever shone so brightly as Skidboot," the Hartwigs said on Skidboot's Web site.
On Christmas Eve 1992, David Hartwig was given the puppy by a neighboring rancher as a last-minute Christmas gift for his wife.
In 2003, Skidboot won the $25,000 top prize during the Pet Star competition on "Animal Planet." That led to appearances on the Oprah Winfrey, David Letterman and Jay Leno television shows.
Skidboot's Web site was flooded Wednesday with condolence messages.
"Skidboot always gave everything he had, a lesson that us two-leggers could learn from," said one message.
"What an amazing Dog," another admirer wrote, "he's in heaven entertaining everyone."
Skidboot learned intricate tricks from David Hartwig. In one of them, he would tell Skidboot to grab the ball on the count of three. The owner would count "one ... two ..." and then recite a series of unrelated numbers before casually adding "three" -- when the dog would sink its teeth into the stuffed ball.
"I'm just very empty," Barbara Hartwig said in Wednesday editions of The Dallas Morning News. "He was something special. He just had a special spirit."
The Hartwigs asked that Skidboot's fans remember him with a donation to an animal shelter.
On the Net: http://www.skidboot.com