Slice of Life
Okay. I get it. You’ve already concluded that this author is as goofy as a dog eating peanut butter.
Wait a minute now. We all like peanut butter, dogs included.
Now that I’ve lured you in with that infallible statement, please read on. You’ll be better for it, or confirm beyond any doubt that I am a bit deranged.
Dogs talk. Don’t believe me? Read on dear reader. Read on.
I can cite numerous examples to solidify my claim. No. I’m not talking about dogs actually speaking, although I once owned one that absolutely could say “mom”, but that’s probably a bit more than you’d believe. Stay with me now as I offer a personal illustration to prove that dogs do indeed talk.
I’ve owned numerous dogs, mostly Brittanys that I’ve spent hundreds of hours behind in the field and thousands more at home. Had a favorite golden retriever too. They taught me a lot, which maybe tells you more about me than them. No arguing that.
One young Brittany I had did great work in the field right from the get-go. She was a solid pointer, superb retriever, light on her feet, and completely possessed when it came to seeking out game birds – sharptailed grouse, partridge, pheasants. Even quail and chukars on out-of-state hunts. Small though she was, she was terrific.
Now that I’ve set the scene, you must be wondering where I am going with this? I won’t let you off the leash just yet. Please, read on.
One fine Fall day in North Dakota I was enjoying a pleasant bird hunt, a mixed bag of grouse and pheasants with a few tailfeathers sticking out of my hunting vest. All was going great. Dog and handler. What a team!
At least until I messed it up.
You see, and I know you’ll understand, I was watching closely as my dog dropped her head and followed what had to be strong bird scent into some low, thick buckbrush. Not a big patch either, just thick. When my wonderful Brittany didn’t come out of there I moved up for a closer look.
Aha! She was locked on point. How proud I was!
I kicked around a bit in the hopes of putting a bird in the air. Didn’t work. Wait a minute now, I thought, those wily rooster pheasants can hide in the smallest cover imaginable. I kicked some more, closer to the dog this time. Nothing.
I told the dog “okay”, which was our well understood signal to break point and flush the bird. She lowered her head slightly but didn’t move her feet. Doggone it.
Then I tapped her on the flank, another signal to break point and flush the bird. Her response was to drop her ears a bit and wiggle her stubby tail a few times, which previously had been rigid. She was talking to me. But darned if I knew what she was saying.
Finally, after much encouragement from me and not wanting to disappoint her handler, my dog lurched forward a few inches. I stepped back to position myself, certain a bird would be bursting into the air. Never happened. Huh?
An instant later my dog lifted her head and turned toward me. She was full of porcupine quills and had that “I told you so” look on her face. She was right too.
So, you see, as I wrote earlier, dogs do talk. It just so happens that sometimes owners haven’t learned how to listen. My dog taught me a lesson I’ve never forgotten. Still, knowing me as I do, I carry a small pliers in the field. My dog told me to do that.