|With several decades running rough-shooting dogs under my belt, two things stand out:|
1)You just never know what might happen next and...2) Whatever it is no longer surprises...
Over winter with the help of Buck Parsons and Bill Scimio we planted dozens of chukar and put her on released quail at least a couple times a week. No dice. To be fair toward the end of winter when a bird flushed she did appear to slow down just a little.
About to give up, one morning we dizzied a chukar and tucked it in the snow beside a bush. On lead she trotted up and, wonder of wonders, this time she stopped dead beside the bush where the chukar lay hidden in the snow. Not a point mind you but the puzzled look left no doubt she at least knew something was up.
For us a monumental moment.
Bill said, “Finally...”
Speechless I didn’t say anything aloud but I recall thinking something along the lines...Geezus mighty, about time.
I moved up alongside and knelt down, one hand grabbing her collar, the other wrapped about her flank. Bill tip-toed to the other side to kick the sleeping chukar to flight.
“Go ahead, flush it.”
About to nudge it to flight with his foot, he stopped in mid-kick, “Damn Chuck, she’s got her foot planted on it or goddamn close.”
Releasing my grip I said, “Give it a kick anyway, see what happens.”
He did, the chukar hopped a couple steps forward and took off. Mertie lunged forward, turned and bounded off the opposite direction.
"That's it. Can't take no more..."
The rest of the story starts with my giving her to a Wounded Vet, Alan, a guide at a small private shooting preserve. I told Alan upfront of how frustrated, disappointed and that I doubted she would work out but..."If ya want her she’s yours, good luck."
About a year later I ran into the preserve owner. “Hey Chuck, good to see ya. Alan asked me to say thanks and to let you know how well that Mertie dog is doin.’ She’s our best dog by far, hard to believe same dog.”
Stunned beyond speechless... He went on to explain how at first Mertie seemed clueless and then one day she just turned on...
“Tell Alan, I couldn’t be happier and if you guys don’t mind I’d like to see her in action sometime.”
But then I just never got around to it.
Then a year or so later Alan stopped by, said “Thought I'd let you see Mertie in action, see if you want her back.”
“Yes, would like to see her but no, she’s your dog, glad she worked out.”
“Well, before you decide, let’s let her strut her stuff a bit. I got to tell ya somethin’ might change your mind.”
To make a long story short seems a grouse guide/grouse trial competitor who uses the preserve to train-up pups and get his string in shape wants to trade Alan two finished dogs for Mertie.
My reply, “She’s your dog...”
Time passes and I again run into the preserve owner...”Hey Chuck, did ya hear? Ol’ Mertie just won herself a Grouse Championship.”
Stay tuned for the rest of Elhew Maggie Magoo's story...