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Friends to the End: Picking a Gun Dog Breed For Life

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March 19, 2012
Friends to the End: Picking a Gun Dog Breed For Life - 3

The last couple of blog posts have got me thinking of gun dogs in the long term. It takes a long time to develop a new breed (if that’s what some doodle-dog breeders are trying to do … as opposed to making a quick buck). It also takes a long time to develop a good line of working dogs within a breed (one that produces specimens with conformation, drive, temperament, etc).

Sometimes we, as hunters, homeowners and pet owners, find a breed that just fits our personality, activity level and home life so well that we keep that breed, and perhaps even progeny, around for generations – generations of dogs as well as their human counterparts.

Such is the story with the picture that accompanies this post. The picture is from 1965 and is of Hal and George, the beagle. Hal is the father of some friends of mine from high school. He recently passed from this earth, leaving behind a son, daughter and many friends from our hometown and throughout his life.

Jeff, his son, and Amy, his daughter, have been posting pictures of their dad’s life on Facebook. Even though I didn’t really know Hal, the old photos have been a pretty cool walk through history and small-town friendships. From photos of mountain-climbing adventures to family fun at the lake, complete with polyester short-shorts and 70s mop-top hairdos, you can witness a man’s life journey frozen in snapshots.

The photo of Hal and George with the accompanying caption caught my attention, however. “Dad and George. The beginning of the … beagles, Sept. '65.”

It got me to thinking about how some breeds of dogs just permeate our lives. How they just match so thoroughly to our household and activities that we continue to replace them with similar dogs. Whenever I think about Jeff and Amy, or drive by their high-school home, which was just down the street from mine, another beagle comes to mind, her name was Maggie. That little girl witnessed copious amounts of misbehavior, but that’s a story for another time and blog.

The point is: The family’s love affair began with George in 1965 and continues to this day. Other beagles replaced George throughout the years, but Jeff currently has two named Nate and Carter. That’s nearly five decades of living and making memories with beagles – a testament to the nature, personality and love of individual dogs, as well as the breed as a whole.

For some of us, a specific breed of dog serves as companion. For others a hunting partner, or a therapist. For some, a breed -- and the desire to shape specific attributes -- leads to a life-long commitment to a specific line.

Regardless of their purpose, dogs truly are, as this picture reminds me, man’s best friend. And sometimes, just sometimes, a specific breed so thoroughly matches our own human idiosyncrasies that we invite it to share in our life … for the majority of our life.

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from Kody wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

I love Golden Retrievers and will likely own at least one for the rest of my life. It is tough to lose these guys and I felt it would ease the pain if I knew something of the old dog remained. My male Retriever, Blue, is a fine dog and a real character. Someday I will be choosing a pup from a litter he sires. I like the idea of having part of him around in future generations. It is a comforting thought.

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from Scott Cooper wrote 2 years 4 weeks ago

i swear at them all,but i love labs

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from res1956 wrote 2 years 4 weeks ago

Funny how dogs influence our lives. Not long after we moved back to Alabama, an old dog took up around the house so I did what all self respecting 10 or 11 year old boys would do and made her a part of the family.
My Mother made me take her to the vet for her shots. I asked the vet what kind of dog she was and he explained that as close as he could tell, she was a 'drop', or a setter/pointer mix. When I got home I tied an old quail wing to a fishing pole and she pointed it in classic style.
Through the summer, she learned to fetch tennis balls and bring them back and deliver to hand (although I had no idea at the time that was what it was called)and we whiled the summer away swimming and having fun. When dove season arrived, I had her in tow and she would sit patiently waiting for me to hit one so she could retrieve it.
When quail season arrived, she would follow me as I pedalded my bicycle to my uncle's house where there were ample coveys of birds to be found and we took our fair share of them for the next several years.
'Girl' died two weeks before I graduated from high school and my best hunting buddy was gone.
Time has past and the wild birds are gone, but the memories I have are etched forever. Nowadays, I'm more of a Lab kinda guy and as I peck this out, have two curled at my feet and three more in the kennels.
By some's standards, I may not have amounted to much, but I have always had the affection of a good wife, two fine sons, and a long string of Labs. The Labs have at one time or another all filled the roles of companion, therapist, and hunting companion.

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from res1956 wrote 2 years 4 weeks ago

Funny how dogs influence our lives. Not long after we moved back to Alabama, an old dog took up around the house so I did what all self respecting 10 or 11 year old boys would do and made her a part of the family.
My Mother made me take her to the vet for her shots. I asked the vet what kind of dog she was and he explained that as close as he could tell, she was a 'drop', or a setter/pointer mix. When I got home I tied an old quail wing to a fishing pole and she pointed it in classic style.
Through the summer, she learned to fetch tennis balls and bring them back and deliver to hand (although I had no idea at the time that was what it was called)and we whiled the summer away swimming and having fun. When dove season arrived, I had her in tow and she would sit patiently waiting for me to hit one so she could retrieve it.
When quail season arrived, she would follow me as I pedalded my bicycle to my uncle's house where there were ample coveys of birds to be found and we took our fair share of them for the next several years.
'Girl' died two weeks before I graduated from high school and my best hunting buddy was gone.
Time has past and the wild birds are gone, but the memories I have are etched forever. Nowadays, I'm more of a Lab kinda guy and as I peck this out, have two curled at my feet and three more in the kennels.
By some's standards, I may not have amounted to much, but I have always had the affection of a good wife, two fine sons, and a long string of Labs. The Labs have at one time or another all filled the roles of companion, therapist, and hunting companion.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Scott Cooper wrote 2 years 4 weeks ago

i swear at them all,but i love labs

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Kody wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

I love Golden Retrievers and will likely own at least one for the rest of my life. It is tough to lose these guys and I felt it would ease the pain if I knew something of the old dog remained. My male Retriever, Blue, is a fine dog and a real character. Someday I will be choosing a pup from a litter he sires. I like the idea of having part of him around in future generations. It is a comforting thought.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment (200 characters or less)

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