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Gun Dogs from the Past
Unread 03-15-2022, 12:26 PM   #1
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Default Gun Dogs from the Past

This was my Brittany Tess circa 1990. I got her as a pup when we lived in Maine. I had never trained a pointing dog and I made a lot of mistakes with her. She was real birdy and I ended up just letting her flush birds. She was a real enthusiastic retriever too and caused all sorts of mayhem around the house when she was a pup. One was when we were pretty convinced that she was house-broken. We left her out in the house as we took a quick trip to Shaw's as a test. My wife had one of those L.L. Bean goose down vests and it was draped over a chair. When we came home there were feathers all over the living room and Tess was running around with the nylon shell. But at least she held and didn't pee until I took her outside.

She was a great companion to our kids when they were small. I was thinking about her today and really miss her.
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Unread 03-15-2022, 04:03 PM   #2
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Great photo, even greater story. First bird dogs are extra-special (okay, all bird dogs are extra-special).
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Unread 03-17-2022, 09:44 AM   #3
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Alfred, thanks for the story. It got me to reminiscing about some past friends. I thought I would share one.

Trapper was born in January and came home with me in March. We worked hard on training through the summer and he came up lame in August. The vet x-ray did not look good and the vet proclaimed he would never be a field dog. We continued on and by that fall the lameness was gone and we set about our first grouse season together. My diary indicates he had 86 grouse points that first season and many woodcock as well but I did not record them. Somebody forgot to tell the dog he would never be a field dog. He lived to be 15 and hunted 14 of them and was one of the hardest running setters I have ever owned. He has been gone for quite a while now but I still miss him - oh the memories.
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Unread 03-17-2022, 10:36 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Laudermilch View Post
Alfred, thanks for the story. It got me to reminiscing about some past friends. I thought I would share one.

Trapper was born in January and came home with me in March. We worked hard on training through the summer and he came up lame in August. The vet x-ray did not look good and the vet proclaimed he would never be a field dog. We continued on and by that fall the lameness was gone and we set about our first grouse season together. My diary indicates he had 86 grouse points that first season and many woodcock as well but I did not record them. Somebody forgot to tell the dog he would never be a field dog. He lived to be 15 and hunted 14 of them and was one of the hardest running setters I have ever owned. He has been gone for quite a while now but I still miss him - oh the memories.
What a beautiful dog, Gary. I really like a multi-colored head on a finely bred setter. Nice to have those old memories of hunting companions past.
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"'I promise you,' he said, 'on my word of honor, I won't die on the opening of the bird season.'" -- Robert Ruark (from The Old Man and the Boy)
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Unread 03-17-2022, 11:22 AM   #5
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My first real bird dog was Rusty, an American Brittany that we adopted when he was 2 y/o.
I never had the time nor the wherewithal to properly train him. I know he would have been a very good bird dog but first I would have needed to have him neutered. He was aggressive to other male dogs but as sweet as could be.
This is Rusty with me in late summer of 79 while I was still recuperating from my Feb 6th car crash. He would point woodcock and grouse the previous fall hunting season but would never hold points. My fault I know - wish I could do it over again differently.


.
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Unread 03-17-2022, 11:44 AM   #6
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Tartan - "Tar" was a Scottish import whose Grandma was the British National Field Trial Champ in 1994.

Before we lost her, she had over 1200 retrieves (mostly from tower shoots), but more importantly, had over 80 trips to Detroit's Children's Hospital, many in the pediatric oncology ward where my daughter had worked
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Unread 03-17-2022, 11:49 AM   #7
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Tartan - "Tar" was a Scottish import whose Grandma was the British National Field Trial Champ in 1994.

Before we lost her, she had over 1200 retrieves (mostly from tower shoots), but more importantly, had over 80 trips to Detroit's Children's Hospital, many in the pediatric oncology ward where my daughter had worked
Now that's a service dog!!
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― Jim Harrison
"'I promise you,' he said, 'on my word of honor, I won't die on the opening of the bird season.'" -- Robert Ruark (from The Old Man and the Boy)
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Unread 03-18-2022, 08:08 PM   #8
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I've always thought I should get an Irish or American Water Spaniel, as my parents had them in Minnesota in the 30s --

Curley, Sport and the puppies March 1934.jpg

Engstrom's Landing, Rice Lake, MN, Oct. 2, 1934.jpeg
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Unread 03-18-2022, 10:21 PM   #9
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I grew up with a water spaniel Dave. George was his name and he was a very loving companion for a boy.





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"I'm a Setter man.
Not because I think they're better than the other breeds,
but because I'm a romantic - stuck on tradition - and to me, a Setter just "belongs" in the grouse picture."

George King, "That's Ruff", 2010 - a timeless classic.
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Unread 03-19-2022, 05:42 AM   #10
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My wife and I cared for an Irish Water Spaniel pup while the owner recovered from unexpected surgery. Without a doubt he was one of the smartest pups I have ever been around. At 10 weeks I had him doing play retrieves on both land and water. At 12 weeks I had him sitting on the whistle and looking out over the pond. Just play stuff, nothing real formal. He loved it.

It was really hard to return him to his owner when the time came. My wife got real attached to him as well. The owner didn't hunt, but she did turn him into a show and dock diving champion.

They are a great breed with a lot of waterfowling history. The biggest challenge is finding one from real field stock. Even the breeders in the UK import dogs from here periodically.
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