Saturday, October 13, 2012

So, any regrets?

It's been a little over two years since I brought Wyatt home.  As we eased through the public dove field this afternoon on a pre-season run I wondered, truly only for a second, whether he was glad he came to live with us.  Compared to his old digs this is something on the order of moving into Biltmore Estate, what with an honest-to-goodness roof over his head and something softer than dirt to sleep on.  Creature comforts aside he's a shamelessly affectionate dog and there's no shortage of that in our home either.

Brittany bird dog

Any new dog comes with a bounty of hopes and a measure of trepidation.  My most prominent fear stemmed from having two young children, visions of a dog who can't tolerate the occasional innocent aggression and eventually lashes out in protest.  I don't have kennels; my dogs live with the rest of us and such a curmudgeon won't have a place around our house.  It would truly suck to own the finest field companion I may see in a lifetime and have him not get along with the kids.

There was also the concern about him being a total washout in the field.  A dog who won't handle, won't hold point or worse still, points only butterflies and grasshoppers, chases everything that runs until he hits the county line and catches sight of something else.  He might be more fun that a turbocharged slinky back at the ranch but I already have one dog with "Non-hunter" on his ID. 

From my seat it's worked out just fine.  He's no field trial champion and we haven't bagged a limit yet but after a year without a bird dog the tally didn't really matter.  Being in the field behind a dog, any dog, is good medicine.  Being able to do it on your own schedule, not waiting for an invitation, is even better.

For whatever reason dogs seem to find their way into our lives.  And I mean the right dogs.  Not necessarily field trial champions or Nat Geo special candidates.  With the exception of the rare few that are plain disasters - the ones that run off, bite the in-laws, or destroy the house, and even these tend to teach us something along the way - certain dogs have a curious karma-like way of ending up with us.  They have a way of fitting into the family, quirks and all.  They have a way of filling a need or two, sometimes more.

Happy bird dog


  1. this blog post was ironically timely for me. a couple days ago I brought home what was advertised as "started dog", Im finding out he is more like an educated rescue. it was pity behind signing the check and not being impressed by his field ability. many of the things you just described have been rolling around in my head as this new stranger and I feel each other out.

    1. It happened for a reason. Give it the time it needs and it'll work out fine.

  2. As Americans we often criticise and mock the French. Have we forgotten our debt to them for two reasons? 1) Their aid to us in the Revolution. 2) They bred the Brittany. My not quite 2 year old Abby is a 38 lb. lapdog with an urgent need to hunt birds. Vive la France.

    1. After WWII I'll call us even on #1. As far as the Brittany, well, it had to come from somewhere and I'm just glad it did.

      I shouldn't pick on the French. They continue to do a damn fine job with wine and created one of my favorite dishes - coq au vin.