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Heart Dog Memories...

727 Views 7 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Phillyfisher
When you think of what's been described here as your heart dog is there any one thought or memory that comes to mind?

I know it's hard...there are so very many....but one of the thoughts that always comes to my minds eye is the day we were quail hunting along a beautiful little creek not far from where I live. I'd trained Sammie from the get go to be a hunting / fly-fishing dog. I'd been raised with setters and hunted over them for years and years. I was determined to teach Sammie everything I knew but Sammie was a retriever not a pointer...

The hunting I'd done with the setters was always at a club where the birds for the most part were always put out before you started the hunt. Having moved to the mountains and not being able to afford the club hunting of my past we were going to have to go after wild birds somewhat of a new area for me.

Old Sammie was a quick learner not that I didn't spend many, many hours training her but she did pick things up quickly. I can't begin to tell you how many days / years we spent looking for mountain quail and not finding any. But it didn't really matter as this just gave me a reason to get out with my dog and comb the country side in some very beautiful area's quote, unquote looking for quail. And of course when ever Sammie saw the gun or the fly rod her eyes lit up.

My focus has always been on fly-fishing and Sammie was much more
familiar with trout than birds...

One beautiful fall evening after walking the stretch of creek described above I'd pretty much given up when on the hike in all of a sudden a covey of quail flew across our path. I'd picked up an old relic of some kind along the way so I wasn't anywhere near ready to get a shot off. I dropped whatever it was I was carrying and brought the gun to my shoulder much too late to get a shot off when all of a sudden a second covey flew across our path...I couldn't believe it but this time I did get a shot off as they flew into the steep hillside on my left. I could have sworn I'd seen some feathers fly as the birds disappeared into the trees and brush. So I sent Sammie up the slope to search the area for this bird I though I might have hit.

Sammie had never seen a quail before let alone retrieve one, all the training I'd done was with dummies. But she knew from the training we'd done over and over that once the gun was shot there was something to retrieve...somewhere. She went up the side of that hill like there was no tomorrow and worked it back and forth. I was thinking maybe it was leaves I'd seen and not feathers and had pretty much given up when all of a sudden Sammie froze on the hillside and looked down at me. I'll never forget that look...I thought maybe she'd found a tennis ball or stick, god only knew, so I told her to fetch it up and I'll be ****** if she didn't come down that hillside with a quail in her mouth. I was so excited for her I almost fell over. I'll never forget that moment and to this day I still get chills thinking about it. She was quite a girl...

So how about you.... any memories you'd like to share?

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No stories, as Tucker is my first dog in about 35 years. Just wanted to say I really enjoyed your post. As a fellow flyfisher, I dream of Tucker becoming my fishing buddy. But that is a ways off. I would love to know what you worked on with Sammie to get her to become your fishing buddy, but don't want to hijack this thread.
Excellent post Pete. From your words I can imagine Sammie zig-zagging the hillside, her tail fanning back and forth while she works the scent. A truly wonderful memory for you.

Unfortunately Kelby and our time together was cut short. Nothing like that special moment of yours stands out, but instead a series of memorable moments, most of which were short and sweet. There is an instance I remember when Kelby and I were exploring the area behind the house. It was winter and several inches of snow on the ground. She was several yards ahead of me, no doubt on the trail of a coyote or something, when I decided to hide in some brush and test her reaction. I have done this before with our first Golden...... only to look up a few minutes later to see her beat feetin' towards the house. But Kelby soon realized I wasn't around and came back to find me, like all good Goldens do!:p: When she did find me, she leaped into the air, spun circles in the snow, and just for good measure knocked me down for a few good kisses. That's my girl.........
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What a great story Phil. Sammie was indeed special.

I have so many wonderful memories of my beloved Spencer who was lost far too young at barely five to a very rare cancer. I think the funny memories of his daily trips to the neighbors will always stick with me.

We have a couple of acres and at that time no fence. Spencer loved kids and the people next door had many young grandchildren. Spence loved to go visit and they did not mind, so it became his daily ritual to wander next door when the grandkids were there. During the summer months this was pretty much daily. The kids adored "Big Spence" as they called him. One problem, he was gaining weight and I realized they were feeding him. I talked to the kids several times about this. Little Zach, about three then, proclaimed cheerfully "but Big Spence loves Cheetos!" This was a battle I was not going to win, no matter how much I asked them not to feed him, they did.

So I told Spence he could no longer go visit. I told the kids they could come here anytime to see Spencer, but he could not go see them. He sulked. I would sit outside on the deck, or water my flowers, and he would wander in that direction and I would have to call him back. The funny thing was, Spence was never in a hurry. It took forever to water my flowers and he would sort of meander in that direction I think hoping I would notice. As soon as he crossed the property line and I told him to stop, he would give me THE LOOK. It differed from day to day, sometimes hurt, sometimes utter arrogance, but always the same message. Clearly he was trying to tell me that he had absolutely NO intention of crossing that property line and going over there for Cheetos! How dare I question his motives? Then he would turn and make this huge wide circle and walk the entire property line, heading east, then south, and finally west toward me again. Very slowing, proving his point that he was doing a perimeter walk only!

It was a ritual that remained until he passed two years later. Spencer and the Cheetos. The long perimeter stroll, the LOOK. I'll never forget, and always smile when I think of the lovely dance we engaged in. That was my boy! :)
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Boy... That is a tough one. There have been so many dogs and I can't think of one that was not a heart dog. Mitzi was the perfect Hienz 57 mutt from childhood, Freckles was the English Setter that loved everyone, Boomer was the golden mix who had the ear to ear grin when she saw a familiar face, Cedah was the golden/Irish setter that was where I learned that goldens were total goof balls, Arby was the golden girl that really drove home the fact that goldens were the breed meant for me. Now I have Oakly and Caue and I love them both. They have all been so special that I don't think I could label one of them my "Heart Dog". Each and every one of them have enriched my life more than word can describe.
This is a beautiful post.

My Buddy is still with me but he is very much my heart dog and I have gather memories everyday. Some very funny ( he is quite the character ) and has gotten me in lots of trouble over the years. I have 2 memories in particular that stick with me and actually bring tears to my, three...actually 4

I will put 1 and 2 together. When we lived in Korea, I remember I went on this little day trip with a dog group I belonged to. All of the dogs ( and most especially Buddy ) were insane about water! Oh, they loved to swim. When Buddy saw water, he salivated. ..still does. Anyway, I recall having to walk down this very rocky cliff to get to the water. All the dogs took off down to the water while us humans braved the cliff. Buddy got down to the water and discovered I wasnt there. All of the other dogs jumped into the water but not Buddy. He ran back up the cliff and stood in front of me until I held onto his collar and he guided me down. I knew right then and there that my pup was pretty special.

Well, that was pretty long so I will just post that one...numbers 2 3 and 4 are equally as special...he is not only my heart, but the air I breathe. I love him soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much !!!
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Thanks Phil...most of the fly-fishing training I did with Sammie just seemed to center more around common sense than anything else. But I think we'll save that for another thread.

Kelby's Dad I'm sorry your time together was cut short - I've been very fortunate as all my dogs have lived at least twelve years or longer. A dogs life span is far too short. But as you've pointed out it doesn't take long for them to capture your heart with the seemingly silly things they do.

justmejanis again another golden life cut short - I'm sorry. Loved the story about the Cheetos...the emotions these dogs are able to express through the various looks they give us never cease to amaze me.

Oaklys Dad I couldn't agree more with your feelings about a "Heart Dog"..."Each and every one of them have enriched my life more than words can describe." You've hit the nail on the head - my feelings exactly!

And mybuddy your story reminded me a bit of how I first met Sammie. I had arranged to meet the breeder in a parking lot next to a field. She was on her way to a dog show with the mom and pups. When she pulled up in her truck and let the gang out they all headed toward the field to do their business. I asked the breeder which one was Sammie, the pup I was to get, when all of a sudden one of the pups turned from the group and started walking toward me - of course it was my Sammie. I guess old Sammie knew before I did that we'd be together for the next 12 almost 13 years.

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How you got Sammie reminds me of how we got our GSD as a kid. The priest at our church had bred his GSD, and when the puppies came, convinced my mom we should get one. We had an older boxer at the time. Well when it came time choose, I went with my mom (I was about 5) to pick out a puppy. I remember sitting on the floor, playing with all of them, but there was one boy who stayed with me after the other pups wandered off. He was our Gus. What a wonderful dog. He was my mom's dog. He liked all of us, but LOVED my mom. He was her heart dog. When he had to be put to sleep at 6 yrs old (from parvo, I think), my mom could never bring herself to get another dog again. She was too afraid she would get a stupid one, and did not want to always measure it against Gus. My eyes still well up when I think of all the goofy things he used to do. Like pick the green beans out of his dinner and line the up next to his bowl.
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