I have been providing doggie hospice for Jet since about Mar. of this year. After no major issues other than slowing down and losing a bit of weight I noticed she was starting to become uncomfortable when lying down. She was also having issues with food and showing dis-interest in eating. That is quite contrary to Labs. So one day last week I was petting her and checking her out when she was no longer able keep her discomfort hidden. I knew the time was drawing nearer to making the most difficult decision a dog lover has to make on her behalf. It was at that time that I knew what I had to do. First I went in the house and had a good cry and wished that I didn't know what I knew. In my heart I knew the time had come and to do anything less was not fair to her. The decision was made and I did my best to not let her see my heartbreak. The appointment was made and we had inside a day to say what we needed to say to one another. Stoic, yet so gentle and graceful was she to the very end. The trust she had in me I will never forget and is only one of the many gifts she shared with me.
She was certainly not automatic when it came to hunting and retrieving. She taught me a lot about seeing the world from her 18" high perspective. Our first years together I was both hunter and retriever. Then after I had a duck in my game bag and knew we'd come back the same way, I'd dump it out of my vest so she could find it on our return. I did my very best to get her excited and let her know she was doing great when she found the bird. All about building confidence and I was the best cheerleader and supporter that I knew how to be. It wasn't til she discovered Pheasants that I learned, that was her "GO" button.
|50th. B-day diver hunt|
So it seems that ducks didn't excite her to much and that was true for the majority of days. There were exceptions throughout the years but nothing got her reved up like those big stinky Ring Necked Pheasants. That sweet pungent scent was her drug of choice. I was glad to learn this and then decided that was my job, to get her as many Pheasants as I possibly could in order to make up for the not so fun waterfowl she retrieved with much less enthusiasm. Almost like having to eat your peas if you want that desert. I was also able to watch her scent track Wilson's Snipe and those were equal to the Pheasants for her fun meter.
|Limit of Snipe 50th. B-day|
We hunted divers in the morning pass shooting on the Klamath River in S.W. Or and got our limit of 5 ducks. Nice Goldeneyes, Scaup and a Bufflehead. We took a break for processing birds, brunch and a short rest. Switched out guns and my shells for some 2 3/4" #8 shot for Snipe. Nice to be out of my chest highs and in my wellies. Off we went, back into the shallow flooded fields and she seemed to know what species we were after. As if to say "alright I got you you darn ducks, now it's my turn"! Right she was and the sun was just heading towards the mtns. on a bluebird day. Comfortable December weather and as we entered the flooded fields she got more excited with each step. Jumping around like a puppy and was barely able to keep her bearings about her. As we got 100 yds. into the field and she heard the action of my gun close she was all business. Nose down in full Kirby (vaccuum) mode. the slogging of 4 paws and 2 boots through wet marsh grass was abruptly interrupted by SCAMP, SCAMP as the first Snipe flushed with its vocal warning. Her head swung to make visual contact as I swung my gun to make a successful shot. We both connected and that was the first of our limit of 8 Snipe. One of those Snipe I had mounted and that is a fine reflection of her and her soft mouth. That was one of those days that I visit often in my mind. We were both dialed in for our individual roles, a team.
In 12 plus years there are many, many stories and I was blessed to be able to share many of "our" adventures with all of you. I miss my Jet and will treasure the years we shared. She was a gentle soul who didn't ask for much, a very easy keeper who taught me volumes about patience, compassion and being kind. As the quote says
"I hope I can be the person my dog thinks I am" . It was a pleasure and honor to have been your mom, never prouder. Cheers to you Jet!
Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The Hunt
I want to thank Daphne Hougard for the bottom photo. Pretty much says it all.