Sunday, November 21, 2010


Róisín & Emma (at 9-months); Róisín Dubh

Despite the bitter cold and the heavy overcast, the bird-dogs and I took a nice, long walk this afternoon. (Mags wanted no part of it.)

As I walked behind Emma and Jack I had a flashback to similar outings with Emma and her mentor, Róisín (roe-SHEEN). Róisín was that dog you hope will come along at least once in your life-time. I think she taught me much more than I taught her. She was a natural hunter, endowed with tremendous stamina, matchless drive, and a will to do the thing she was meant to do like I have never experienced in any other living critter.

When Emma came along she recognized Róisín as "the boss" from the get-go. And as Emma learned the ropes they made a formidable pair. There was no need to take a gun along on an outing with those two: just being with them afield was reward enough. However, in season they wouldn't have it any other way. They lived for the "rush of the flush and the sound of the guns" and if nothing was rising in our sectors they would go to where the shooting was if I didn't keep an eye on them. Just the sight of a shotgun coming out of its case made Róisín's eyes flash and her flanks quiver with anticipation.

Today as I watched Jack following along behind Emma, eyeing up her every move, I thought about the passion and drive that Róisín Dubh brought to her days afield, and that Emma has emulated, and found myself wishing the same for Jack. So far, at just shy of six months, I think he shows great promise and I see no signs that he won't come close to that mark. The mark that no dog, ever, will really touch and certainly never exceed. Or maybe my memories of the great Dark Rosaleen have prejudiced me forever.


Bob@thenest said...

Well, I kinda had that feeling before, but I wasn't sure. Now I'm sure.

I'm in love!!!

She's a great subject, but you do have a way with a lens.

BobG said...

Damn, but you have had some beautiful, elegant dogs. That top picture has me itching for a bird hunt so bad I can taste it. There are few things as good as hunting with a proper bird dog, whether you bag anything or not.

Rio Arriba said...

BobG, I feel I have been blessed beyond reasonable expectations in my doggie family. They have given me much joy, but some frustration, and sorrow, too.

You're right: nothing like working a field behind a good dog, whether there's a bird in it or not. But the joy on their faces when there IS a bird, and it flushes, and it comes down in front of them and they bring it to you. If there's anything better than that I don't know of it yet.