Puppy pastime

The way out here

Posted 3/3/23

When you’re as involved in hunting and fishing and outdoors as we are as a family, you’re bound to be exposed to a few of the side businesses that go along with the larger ones.

My …

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Puppy pastime

The way out here


When you’re as involved in hunting and fishing and outdoors as we are as a family, you’re bound to be exposed to a few of the side businesses that go along with the larger ones.

My dad has guided bird hunts for as long as I can remember, always having at least two working hunting dogs at a time. When he got married to my stepmother, she stepped in as the primary guide for the bird hunts, and has since built up the dog program with him.

She grew up raising squirrel and coon dogs out in Michigan, while here, my dad has always raised German shorthairs. In his opinion, which I would be quick to agree with, they make the perfect bird dog, because they aren’t as fast as some dogs, which run past the smells along the way. They take their time and work the cover, and you can often see them thinking and working as they trot through the tall grass. They also have that fine short hair, which prevents them from getting caught up in prickers and briars. They work hard and make great companion dogs as well as hunters.

Over the years, I’ve had one of my own, named Hans, and Dad has had several that we have kept—aside from the many litters that have been sold to other hunters, and even families.

Over the past few years though, Trisha, my stepmother, has had a consistent supply of litters coming from their working papered dogs. As a treat for us as the family, we get to go visit before they all depart for their new homes.

One night this past week, I took the boys down for a visit, and we got to see the newest litter still bumbling around their small pen in the basement.

The boys got down on the floor, and we brought out some of the small dogs to pet and gush over. I had a hard time not considering getting one for the boys, seeing how cute they all looked together, but in true paternal form, I withheld for the sake of a more calculated approach in the future.

Walker sat ever so still, cracking a smile from ear to ear as the soft pudgy pup fumbled around in front of him, sniffing his palms and tickling him with its wet muzzle.

My other son Rorick was true to his copycat form, as he continued to reiterate how cute they were after hearing the adjective from Trisha. He was a tougher one to watch, as all he wanted to do was pick up the young pups when they were barely able to hold their own weight.

It was a learning opportunity, to say the least; but learning to handle small animals is better learned in my opinion at a young age, rather than when you’ve grown.

It’s also fun to watch as a parent, to see the inclinations of both kids. Walker, my gentle giant of a one-year-old, was quiet and cautious, while still beaming his excitement. Rorick, my four-year-old, was more the unfiltered talker, who grasped neither the concept of quietness nor of gentleness. As I said, it was a learning opportunity.

The way out here, there is an abundance of unique opportunities to celebrate life and bring a deeper quality to it. Watching my young boys interact with small pups just helped me appreciate both all the more. In time, I expect they will begin to see the meaning in it themselves, and grow toward seeking out these special moments for themselves. Even later, as we went home to visit with their big dog and protector Winnie, there were more ways for them to learn from the animals in their lives. Even more than the acts of taking care of these animals, I feel that just being around them touches our character in a way that can only make us better.

puppy, bird hunt, hunting dogs, bird dogs


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