Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Cloning is for sheep

He's not the same as the last one.  The last one was throttled pretty much like a Chinese firework: lit or waiting to be lit.  When he was lit there wasn't much you could do but sit back and watch him go.  While there was the occasional dud, most of the time it was quite a show.

This one lacks the affinity for briars and the horizon and is much more methodical about his work.  He goes about it like an engineer, thorough, precise, never a danger of overrunning a covey.  It's likely a consequence of having never seen anything outside the confines of a training field until now.  You take this for granted with a pup you've brought along since the day he was born, hour upon hour spent learning the sights and smells and sounds of the woods long before his first formal lesson.  Caution and fear get left behind in those early days without conscious thought.  Same reason you teach a kid to ski before he's old enough to fully understand the side-effects of gravity.

I'm not so sure I'd be interested in having the same dog over and over anyway.  Let's face it, there's no such thing as a perfect bird dog.  All of them have at least one annoying vice whether it's humping house guests, whizzing on your lawnmower, swallowing birds whole or whatever that we could just as easily live without.  Imagine how that would grate on you over a lifetime?  It stops being cute after twenty or thirty years.  As I see it this could be the silver lining in outliving my dogs - I get to have so many different ones salt and pepper the days until I'm gone.

Science being what it is there's a legitimate possibility that in our lifetime we'll have the option of ordering up another bird dog just like our current favorite, if you're into that sort of thing.  Read the fine print, though, 'cause while he might look the same and share some of the same mannerisms, he won't be a full-on carbon copy.  Identical twins aren't even exactly the same. The wild card is personality and how it develops, the character that defies science and makes each living being unique.  And thank goodness.

Call me boring but right now I need a dog that wants to work a bit more slowly.  I just don't have the mindset to deal with another Magellan.  The two of us will plod along, maybe making a little more time for the grouse woods, a place that gratefully accommodates meticulous sorts.  Steering far clear of any field trials I think I'll be quite content to simply watch my dog do what he does, however he chooses to do it.


  1. I think this same draw can be put on the opposite sex. Salt and Pepper. Well put, I definitely enjoy the blog!

  2. No doubt. Thanks for checking in Larry-

  3. Who would ever want a carbon copy? With each four legged companion, you have an obligation to create all new memories. Part of the fun is figuring out the puzzle that individualizes your dog. Well said!

  4. Amen, but on the other hand, if I had the same dog over and over again maybe one of these days and with one of the clones I'd finally figure out what I was doing wrong...

  5. Chad, I'm afraid they'll always be one step ahead of us.

  6. Mark, I've had quite a few bird dogs, and some of them have been closely related. But each is very different in needs, attitude, mannerisms and ability. That's what they say makes a horse race.

    Good luck with your new partner.