Before you start making fun of me for picking the wrong breed of dog for a hunting dog, just know I don’t care. I don’t need the most amazing hunting dog ever to grace the Earth – one that can smell a pheasant from four counties away and perform a septuple-blind retrieve in a raging river between ice floes. I just want a dog that’s first and foremost a loyal companion, and that has at least some ability to kick up a bird and bring back a duck or a goose.
I’m lucky to knock down one duck at a time, so even though I’ll train my dog to retrieve multiple blinds, I don’t think it’ll ever be much of an issue. And as long as he can find a few pheasants for me while we’re out in the fields, that’s good enough.
With all that in mind, I contacted the breeder who had the sire of my last great hunting dog, and I got the process started to get another one. I have no illusions this dog will be the wonderdog Cricket was, but he’s a golden retriever out of very similar lineage, so chances are good he’ll at least be close. Ever since I lost Cricket, I’ve wanted to have another golden, and that dream is coming true on Sunday.
I wish it could have happened sooner, because we’re going to waste a full hunting season on training. But that’s OK. I’ve missed a bunch of hunting seasons since I lost Cricket, so one more won’t kill me. At least we’ll get to do hunting-related stuff like retrieving, working on ranging, and trying to find blinds. By next hunting season, he should be ready to go.
It’s been a long time since I had a golden in the house, and longer since I was out in the field with one. I’ll keep you posted on how the training is going – and how many things this pup chews up along the way.