Thursday, October 1, 2009


Anyone who is blessed enough to be "owned by a bird-dog" knows the syndrome: they are energized by the coming of fall.

Emma begins to get The Fever in late August, when the cast of light changes and the mornings are crisp and cool. Her ears take a different set; her eyes shine and glisten; she insists on going out early to make her rounds; she also insists that I go with her, as if she has something she wants to show me. Usually, though, she goes on her first rounds by herself.

The ranchstead here consists of about ten acres that are fenced off from the cattle. This little 'compound' is made up of some old buildings, my house and shop building, two long tree lines, some evergreens, several large brush piles, a dozen or so big round hay bales, and a myriad of coverts of brush and weeds.

In the morning, Emma is frantic to make the rounds of her domain. I let her out and she is moaning and whimpering with anticipation as she rushes down the stairs of the porch and heads off into her first adventure of the day. She knows she is to stay inside the wire and to check back with me every half hour or so, and so she does. She'll come back to the door, bark, and wait for me. If she hasn't finished her sport she will move to the steps and wait for me to release her again, and then off she goes to continue the Great Exploration for another half hour.

Her life is complete, and can only get better when bird season finally begins and the rambles will include me, and 'our' Browning.

For her, it's perfect happiness such as I think we poor humans can seldom, if ever, know.


Sanjac said...

My golden has turned frisky during the last couple of weeks and won't let me get away with just one walk a day anymore. He will sit outside the back door and rattle the knob until I respond. I wonder how they put up with our humaness?

Rio Arriba said...

I think they have lots of patience for lesser critters like us.

Crotalus said...

Go, Emma! (But leave the snakes alone! Rio needs them!)

Anonymous said...

My dogs love the fall as well. Those that aren't too old go off into the national forest. Sometimes they come back at night, and sometimes they stay out all night and come dragging back the next day.

BobG said...

The photo cheered me up; makes me itch for the scattergun and a walk through the hills for upland game.

Rio Arriba said...

I'm always heartened and cheered by the sheer, unalloyed joy my dogs can demonstrate about simple things. My little Boston loves to retrieve a ball and will completely wear me out throwing it for her. (I've started using a hurley to save my arm!)

For me, nothing can compare to the pleasure of walking behind a hyped, well-working dog. "Shooting stuff" is way, way secondary to that.