Once in a great while I find my head being turned “not once but twice,” as the old Irish saying goes. Unlike the Irish, what turns my head is almost always a dog.
Since my massive ol’ pal Tramp went west, I’ve shied away from what can quickly turn into painful entanglement. Look once… then move quickly away.
The good thing is one doesn’t see a great many specimens of my great weakness: 100-lb. American bulldogs, white if you please. Should you have one and I spot it—be prepared to negotiate then and there…
If there is a negative to having yet another dog of my own—and there’s been a long list—it would be giving up at least a small slice of my freedom. For instance, if I pop up wide awake in bed at 2 in the a.m. and decide to go on a hunting or fishing trip—for a couple weeks—all that is required is to load the truck and roll.
But have you ever walked into a motel lobby with a 120-lb. bulldog? That sometimes doesn’t play well with others? And once is all it takes?
I can see it now: he’s so proud he’s almost grinning, waddling his way across the carpet while fetching me a crunched poodle. “Look what I brought you, Big Guy!”
Meanwhile, some blue-haired shrew from Connecticut is shrieking fit to blow the light bulbs: “He ate Pup Tart, he ate Pup Tart…”
Sure, I could leave him at home, but who’s going to look after him? My only friend anywhere near dumb, uh, er, “available” enough to shoulder the task just had total shoulder reconstruction and can’t raise a raisin.
So here we’re hooked on the horns of a very pretty dilemma: freedom, dog; dog, freedom…
Fortunately—I think—my sons have come to the rescue. (And it ain’t the first time, believe me…)
When it comes to canines, Dylan has a rather odd favorite breed: Rescued.
He reasons that you can 1. search the world over for proper, perfect breeding and shell out four years’ worth of house payments or 2. pay a visit to the local shelter and allow the right one to pick you. Dylan says Rescued always seem to show their appreciation for the fix you got them out of…
His name is Boss, and, yes, he’s a bulldog. About as laid back as a sow in a sunny mudhole. Not white; about a third of Tramp.
The shelter didn’t have any of those; I looked.
Myles, on the other hand, expanded my entire outlook, as he often has over the years. He taught me that a man can fall head over heels for something besides a bulldog.
Her name is Zoe. Boykin spaniel. And she possesses the one trait I’ve always required in a dog: she works. She is also fiercely loyal but extremely outgoing.
And she lives for a bird.
About to be introduced to her first dove field, she’s been finding and retrieving scented bumpers for months. It’s amazing to watch her watch birds. Upon hitting the yard, her entire world becomes wrapped up in whatever is flying.
Myles has worked with her every day, which is what it takes with a pup. That’s also how you develop the relationship that cuts so deep when it has to be given up. I’m looking forward to her fetching our birds for the next 15 years…
Zoe even got me to thinking, “What about a Boykin…”
But do I really want to get back into the bird dog business? I’ve had Labs and pointers and setters and one Brittany spaniel whose IQ was the same as my boot size.
Yeah, Zoe managed to tug at my heart strings—until the dilemma popped back up…
So there you have it. With hunting seasons FINALLY right around the corner, there’s always the possibility that I’ll have to check out within a two-minute span—so no new dog.
But should you just happen to have a big white American, please do me a favor: keep him tucked out of sight…