Saturday, November 11, 2017

My Life in Dogs

I wrote this as a comment on a forum and wanted to save it, maybe add to it:

Cereberus was a great dane when I was small, he would stand on his hind legs and put his paws up on my shoulders and I would scratch his chest.

Guenevier was his friend, a lab puppy. I hit her in the head with a shovel. I was young and stupid and 30 years later the memory still wakes me up at night. She survived that to run off on moving day. We came back a couple times to look for her but we never found her.

Rebecca was a German shorthair who showed me how important it is, for you and for the dog, to get a dog one intensity notch below what you want to maintain.

Puck was my first dog of my own. He was a good dog. He was hard enough to make me feel like I had achieved something when I took him into town and he behaved perfectly, but easy enough that I could do it. He died in traffic and a piece of me went with him. I buried him on the edge of the field where I first taught him to come looking for me, under a wild patch of tigerlillies.

Echo was a long haired mini dachshund. I got him as an adult as a rabbit dog. He came to me fearful of children, loving and totallyconsumed with hunting down anything racoon sized or smaller. Utterly unhousebroken. He had the best intrinsic dog personality I have ever seen. We called him "the mayor" and he never met another dog he couldn't get along with. He sat on my wife's lap through a very difficult time in her life and listened to everything I wasn't ready to hear. He ended up, due to her awesome, patient, consistent care loving and seeking out attention from children and when we had kids he was perfect. He died on my dining room table at 15 with diabetes and wrecked kidneys. I sat on the floor with my wife and children and cried and cried. He never did learn to poop outside reliably. I will never have another Echo. He was one in a million and i miss him more than I can say.

Guy replaced Puck. I got him so I could have a dog with my kids and when i looked over and saw him just sitting there while Hugh pulled himself up by guy's cheeks I knew I had chosen well. He is a great dog for my children. I have video of my son walking him at 3 years old, on a slack leash. Guy would take a couple steps, look at me and wait for Hugh to catch up, then take a couple more steps. Never once pulled the leash tight. My daughter curls up and naps on his side and he won't get up until she wakes up.

Pip is my current rabbit dog and she is awesome. She will work a rabbit all day long. Shes fast enough to keep it moving, slow enough to bring it around over and over and smart enough to not be fooled twice. She listens and can be called off a rabbit but she is obsessed with trying to run off coyotes. It will get her killed. She has had 2 close calls already, one resulting in a broken back, a broken rib and 7 drains for puncture wounds. She loves my kids and puts up with their learning how to care for animals. 

I cant imagine my life without dogs. Everyone of them takes a piece of me when they go but somehow I'm still more for having them

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Day Two

8:00pm 1065g  ate 35g quail (breast, keel and wing) no casting
One large casting, looks like some long hair, breaking it down to try and see what he has been eating.
Standing for the hood either really well or bating away  usually standing well.  Must go slowly the entire way on, not like merlin. flared when hood was initially struck, but after that stood well with wings only slightly dropped.  tore quail out of fingers, not off glove.  Hooding after each breakthrough for about 5 minutes to allow lesson to settle. Seems not to mater if Robin is in the room, flares at the dogs.  Panting a lot still.  Put in box hooded for the night, going to be very cold. 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Day one

Caught at 1:00pm in Hadley, MA on a b.c. with 2 pigeons
1135g with a small crop.  Keel is round but not extremely so.  2 good large mutes in box and several small ones in box before manning.  Did well on glove, regaining on her own 2 out of 3 times and sitting with wings high and tight by the end of session. Would tear a bechin off and if she bit the quail well would allow her head to be pulled down to the glove but would not put it down on her own.  She ate every bite she tore off, flinging none of them.  Took to the hood very well although the fit is awful.  I need to make another.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Curious Incident Of The Machete

In which our hero learns the importance of good gloves.

You know those people who say a dull knife is more dangerous?
They're wrong.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


So a lot has happened since I wrote last and I am sorry to anyone who is still checking this blog. I am not very good at writing, and writing regularly is even harder for me.

I am now working in a new industry, aquaculture. I am raising largemouth bass and brown trout. The family farm, formerly devoted to sod is diversifying. We are looking at different grains to grow as cover crops, different long term crops to put on the land as well as fish. I am helping out with the fish and it is a challenge but a lot of fun as well.

Let me describe my farm, my parents own the land and run the business. We grow sod, barley wheat, hops and fish on some of the best farmland east of the Mississippi. We are on the Connecticut River flood plain. There is about 8ft of loam here and every inch of it is beautiful silty sandy loam. For the most part drainage is good and flooding has been an occasional problem. So much for the facts, I love this land. I grew up in the woods here, playing in the streams and in the fields. I know where the grouse nest, the deer yard and the coyotes den. I can a couple of different kinds of hawk nests in the trees. There is usually one oriel’s nest here and the bald eagles are common visitors. In the fall the cedar waxwings flock in the berry bushes and the ornamental fruit trees and in the summer the killdeer raise their young in the fields The farm is 250 acres of turf with 280 acres overall.

This land is where my soul is , where ever I am a little piece of me is still here.

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Anger Phase

I live on a reasonably busy street with a speed limit of 25mph. The average speed on my street is probably close to 40mph. This has been a sore point with my wife for some time. She delights in driving the speed limit and watching people slow down behind her. I always thought she was being a little silly and more than a little irritating. I figured just go with it, what is going to happen?

Well last Thursday I got a call from my wife saying Puck had gotten hit and I should meet them at the vet ASAP. By the time I got there, 4 miles, maybe 8 minutes, he was dead. He was my first dog and a little piece of the best of me went with him. Some ass hole with a case of beer in his front seat couldn't wait the extra 2 minutes it would take to go the speed limit and now my dog is dead.

It is almost exactly one mile from my house to the highway. My wife and I walk the dogs there and back, her more often than I. Usually I can count 10 or 12 empty alcoholic vessels on each side of the road, beer or cheep vodka. I work with 2 alcoholics, one who regularly brags about how drunk he was the other night when he drove home. Almost every street around me is narrow, hilly and windy, ie short sight lines. The posted speed limits are 25 to 35. The average speed is 40 – 50mph. Everyone I know has lost multiple pets to the road, thankfully no one I know has lost one of their children, but I am sure if I was here a little longer I could add that as well.

I hate this state. It is populated by drunks who have never been outside their county, never mind ever leaving this godforsaken state. Their entire world view encompasses at most a 20 mile radius. This doesn't even touch on the political or economic dysfunction of this state. I am moving to a new job in January and as soon as my wife finishes school we are moving away from here. This decision was made before Thursday but now I am even happier to get out of here.

Sorry for ranting, I try to be more positive here but I needed to get this off my chest. I am working on a little write up for him which I will try to post soon.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Family and Business

One of the hardest things about working with your family is, well they are your family. You can get angry with your boss and think they are the stupidest, most ungrateful wretch you have ever had the misfortune to meet, but that takes on a whole new meaning when the business is owned by someone you are having dinner with that evening, discussing who's bringing the turkey for thanksgiving. You can have a loud heated verbal altercation with your family and (at least in my family) calm down, forgive each other and work through what ever set you off. Try that with your coworkers and you will shortly find yourself looking for new ones. When you combine work and family it seems that all of the coping mechanisms we develop suddenly become inappropriate. The segmentation breaks down. Leaving the house at home and the job at work becomes nigh on impossible. This would not be a problem if we could all talk freely and openly, without baggage, but lets face it, how many of us can be angry with our family without thinking of that awful irritating thing they do, and they know it irritates you and yet continue to do it. There they are doing it now, don't they know how it sets you off. And suddenly you aren't discussing where to irrigate but something else entirely. This has been on my mind a lot lately as I contemplate the next phase in my life.