The Other Dog
The old lady gets all the ink. See here, here, here and here. But I actually do have two dogs. My 5 year old male, while lacking the flair for the ridiculous and the dramatic of his counterpart, has been consistently retrieving birds like a laser guided missile since he was a pup. At home, while we often refer to him as “the punk” (he growls at our other dog after every meal) or “the fluffy puppy” (his coat is notably soft and unless retrieving he still looks like an awkward teenager). Luke is also one of the best snugglers you’ll come across, something you may or not appreciate in a 60 pound dog.
At four months of age I brought him on a trip to South Dakota. I planned to keep him in the kennel and maybe toss a few dead birds for him along the way. But on the first day he was barking constantly from his crate all the while sporting a puppy hard-on that wouldn’t go away. My dad pointed it out and noted that he must want to hunt pretty badly. Not one to argue with that kind of logic, I decided to let Luke hunt.
Still short, chubby and wiggly, not yet the lean endurance athlete he became, Luke disappeared into some CRP that led into a corn field. After the first minute I didn’t see him again. 30 minutes later I found him at the end of the field nipping at my uncle’s pant leg. I asked what happened. Apparently, my uncle was posting at the end of the field and a rooster flushed from the corn. His 20 gauge side by side connected with the bird, whose momentum cause it to fall in an adjacent plowed field. The little pup came squirting out of the corn and pounced on the bird. It was the first bird he flushed and he nicely marked the fall. From then on he has been on the team.
Luke has since gained a reputation for having a good nose, finding downed birds that others could not, running with the speed of setter, quartering with style that few can match and if a bird falls out of the sky god help him if anyone else is going to get it first. Additionally, he never runs away from home and tolerates both children riding him like a pony. In short, he deserves a bit more credit that I sometimes give him.