Here in MN, the winter has taken its toll on my patience. We have had extreme cold followed by short warm ups, then extreme cold again. With snowfall being below average again for yet another winter I know that the water levels are going to be very low, if not dried up unless we get a lot of rain this spring.
Though the winter has been long, it has also come with sorrow. Many of you know my faithful hunting partner King and his love of the hunt. But I also had another dog, Hailey. She was my first dog I ever had and at the age of 13, her age onset complications finally had gotten the best of her, and I had to make the decision no hunter should have to make. About 1 month ago I had to take her into a late night ER and say my last good bye and wish her well.
Loosing a dog such as Hailey, although very hard, is even harder to watch as King looks for his buddy to cuddle with at night, or to show off the rabbit he caught running across the back yard. Hailey was never a great hunting dog, but she did have many other great moments that will stay with our family for years. The one I will never forget is the one and only time we took her duck hunting. What a nightmare!
It was a "ducky day" and my dad and I were at our favorite WI hole. We tied Hailey to the gas tank on the boat to keep her still, even though she was not covered very well. She loved to swim, Jump, and retrieve squirrels so we thought that duck hunting would come naturally. Not so.
We waited for a while as the ducks were slow to move, but one look back a Hailey and all you could do is laugh. She looked so miserable. Ears down, wet shivering and whining. But soon the ducks were moving. We began to call and shortly we heard the meanest barking coming from the boat. She had stood up on the highest point on the boat, dragging the gas can with, and started to bark her head off at the flock of ducks flying around the lake! What the heck! After calming her down we thought that if we didn't call she wouldn't bark. NOT! The birds flew by and again she came unglued.
When we got her I was 14 yrs old. I knew nothing about training a dog for hunting as I had just started hunting myself. We did how ever leave her at home from then on, but always brought her our morning kill for inspection. After 13 yrs she has left me with many memories, but this whole trip is one I will never forget.