Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Lost and found

We're at T-minus 4 wks until the new family member arrives and it's apparent that this is gonna be a change of pace. Most of the stuff the older dogs use will be useless for a while so over the weekend I pulled out my dog box and rooted through it to see what I had and what I'd have to come off the hip for. This little green collar was buried in there, one I bought for my first bird dog and somehow kept from losing over the last twenty years, no small accomplishment considering I can't find my coffee cup from this morning. Kinda diggin the nostalgia. Photo on the right is from the early days with that pup, putting many miles on the boots just exploring and sniffing.

Not long after that picture was taken we were out walking and crossed a creek next to the road. We went downstream a ways and came back across and couldn't find the road and kept walking and came to the creek again, only I was dead sure we weren't walking in circles. Dead sure because I don't like to admit how easily I get lost but the fact is I am a directional dyslexic. No, that's not a real condition, it just aptly describes me. Back and forth and up and down and somehow we kept ending up at the creek, not the road.

Soon I started wondering which one of us would keep the other warm when it got dark and we had to settle in for the night. This was back when cell phones were still mounted in the car and GPS was limited to billionaires and the military so the only options were to sit and wait until someone came to find you (not gonna happen) or find your way out. Why I didn't try this earlier I still don't know but eventually we headed back upstream, figuring sooner or later we'd find the place where we'd crossed the first time, and what we found was that the creek had forked and we'd been wandering between the two branches. By then the little man was out of gas so I threw him under my arm like a 12-pack, which I might have traded him for at that point, and set off for the road.

Still a few months away from such adventure with the new pup but it's not as far off as it feels. This was taken at a bit over 3 wks of age, eyes open now, still trying to figure out what those feet are for. Hope he has a better sense of direction than his owner.

Friday, April 24, 2015


Most of us live under the delusion that we control far more than we ever do. It's an endless source of frustration at best and leads to stress and depression in extreme cases, neither of which are on most bucket lists. Still, we insist everyone else ought to do what we want them to and get pissed when they don't. And God forbid some random event doesn't go our way.

The secret to happiness, if it exists, has to lie somewhere in the ability to roll with the punches. Hold a high degree of indifference toward anything you can't control, which basically means everything except your own thoughts and actions, and move on without emotion as if it doesn't matter, because in the grand scheme of things it doesn't.

My first bird dog was a Brittany and I've never had any desire to stray from the breed. I've always been partial to orange and white ones, especially those that are mostly white. But not all white. And male. Picky, yes, but that's my deal.

When I started poking around for news of upcoming litters the only thing on my mind was whether the sire and dam were the kind of bird dog I was looking for. Coloring didn't creep into the picture until I got the news on Monday that the chosen mom had whelped a whopping 10 pups over the weekend.

I started thinking about how I'd choose among the males. Where is the happy mix between color and temperament and, honestly, how much can you really know about temperament at a few weeks of age? Gotta be at least 4 or 5 males in there to choose from, right? At least 2 or 3 would be orange and surely one would be mostly white, maybe more. Surely.

One. That's not how many are mostly white. That's how many males in the whole pot.

Sometimes you take what life gives you. I think it's gonna work out just fine.

There's either one missing or buried in the pile

Lower right is our man

Monday, March 30, 2015

It's been a while

Something like 19 or 20 years I think since an honest-to-goodness bird dog pup made puddles and chewed shoes in my home. The last few dogs came in as teenagers or older, a compromise to offset the other toddlers in residence. The toddlers are now in grade school and the window of opportunity is fully open. Call me the breeze.

Saturday I drove to the other side of the state to talk with a guy about my next bird finder. The female is starting to show just enough to make us think the breeding took, which puts pups on the ground around the third week in April and ready to go home in early to mid-June. Perfect timing in my world, a stretch of warm, long days with no other real calling to distract from making sure a pup turns out right.

Mom and Dad are beautiful dogs with solid pedigrees and perfect temperament.

And then he walks back to the kennel and brings out this little pot of piss and vinegar. She's 10 weeks old out of the same sire and she's a fireball, chewing my shoelaces, chasing this bumper around, gnawing my sleeve. Pick her up, though, and she's putty. If this next litter turns out like her I don't think I'll be disappointed.

They're filled with promise, which is maybe the most imposing part of the whole affair. You can get it right or you can get it wrong, but you can't get a do-over. I made plenty of mistakes with my first dog and lucky for me he was bold enough to deflect most of them. I like to think I'm a little wiser and a lot more patient now. Hopefully we'll find out.