Sunday, August 22, 2010


Today is the 88th anniversary of the death of Michael Collins. He died in an IRA ambush outside the tiny village of BĂ©alnablath in West Cork. A great tragedy for Ireland, and the Irish.

In a little over a week I'll be back on the Ould Sod. I usually wander out to BĂ©alnablath while I am there and will no doubt do that this time as well.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Jack's growing

He's going into a growth-spurt right now. In the pointing photo immediately preceding this post he looks like a little rectangle. Now he's becoming more lanky and is an almost perfect square. He worked the pheasant wing very well yesterday and enjoyed it. He got a little more exposure to gunfire this morning and still no reaction to speak of. (He stops eating for a moment, comes to the front of the deck to look, and then goes back to his breakfast.)

On a 200-mile supply run yesterday he was a near-perfect traveler: no complaints, no howling, no accidents, no nonsense of any kind. So many dogs are temperamental about traveling that I am glad to see he doesn't seem to be one of them. I bought him and Maggie a dog-house at the ranch store and he has already been napping in it, while Mags is avoiding it as a "new thing."

I go back to Ireland on the 1st and am not looking forward to missing my pups for almost a month. Well, there'll always be the homecoming!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

What a wonderful day!

Jack is 9 weeks old today. I figured he was overdue for a little work-out, so I thawed a pheasant wing and attached it to a fly-rod. I took him out front (with the other dogs put away) and let him see and smell the wing but not touch it, keeping it away from him with the fly-rod when he got too close. In about thirty seconds he decided that pointing was better than chasing and I grabbed this shot of his first real point on a "bird."

I only worked with him for about fifteen minutes. He didn't want to quit and after I put the wing and rod away he stayed on the training ground and "tracked" wherever the wing had been, with great enthusiasm. I finally had to go collect him and put him in his pen for a nap.

I guess it would take another bird-dog person to understand what a special thing this is for me. My "little man" has passed his first test and this is a very major thrill for me— and I think for him as well. Nothing can match this until his first point on a real bird this fall. Life is good!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Dog-nanny checking in!

Been kinda AWOL lately. I can't really blame it on Jack, but he has been a factor, even if a pleasant one.

For those that might be interested, he weighed 10.4# and stood 12" when he came to us. Yesterday, his ninth with us, he weighed in at 13.4# and stands 14". He and Mags are great buddies now and the play-fights they seem to enjoy so much would curdle your blood to watch and listen to. He's spunky in spades, and though she continues to be able to dominate him, at 26#, she cannot cow him. She's going to need counseling when her dominant period comes to an end, which isn't all that far away. But she's amazingly patient with him, which I think is quite a feat since I know well how sharp those little teeth are.

He knows his name; will come about 2/3ds of the time he is called; responds well to "Be quick!" (potty command); hasn't soiled his crate and sleeps through the night; understands "No bite!" as well as a more generalized "No!" He barks at strangers, but is ready to be friendly if they are. He's doing a lot of little quick points when we walk in the fields and I think he's ready for the pheasant wings now. Doesn't seem afraid of thunder and I've been shooting a .22 rifle about 50 yards away while he eats. No signs of undue alarm yet, but he is curious about it.

They can be tiring, but puppies are a wonderful experience and I feel sorry for anyone who hasn't experienced one.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The course of true love...

...never did run smooth.

Unless, of course, you're a bug. Then everything is hunky-dory.