Hunting Dogs Take a Knee
A manifesto of sorts, a set of expectations concerning their recreation and purpose in life. If my dogs could talk they’d be letting me have it. Heck let’s be honest, they tell me every day exactly how they are feeling and what they want without ever uttering a word.
They want to chase roosters.
A South Dakota hunting dog deserves a level of respect that can only be expressed by a road trip to pheasant nirvana. I haven’t worked up the guts yet to tell them we aren’t going. The flock is down by fifty percent from last season and there are elk tags yet to be filled. Archery antelope only has two weeks left.
My excuses sound weak even to me.
You would think that a dog would understand the math:
- Three-hundred pounds of venison versus five or ten pounds of pheasant.
- Six hours on the road versus elk you can see out the bathroom window.
But apparently, they feel slighted and have decided to take a knee to express their discontent with the current administration.
Master, we have chased the red ball on the rope for an entire summer. I personally have seen the pup run so hard and stop so quickly to grab it out of the air that he has done compete somersaults in its pursuit. When you yell “Kennel!” have we not entered as asked?! Have we not taken our business out of the yard into the long grasses, relieving you of the burden of gathering our droppings!?
You know what the two of us are capable of chewing through. Have we ever threatened your brake lines or your three-hundred-dollar hunting boots?
This spring when we moved, you promised that we would be able to chase the long-tails year-round. Have we seen a single lion? There aren’t even house cats in this country.
I am an old dog now, nearly seventy by our years, yet I am still slim and fit. I might not be able to last an entire morning alongside the pup, but I have endured so much in raising him for you. My bones ache from the number of times he has slammed into my ribs trying to provoke me.
I will not wrestle him no matter how many times he bites down on my tail or pulls the hair from my back. My replacement is so slow between the ears that he even tries to wrestle the mule.
My jaws still ache from the porcupine I had to keep him from tackling. It jabbed so many quills down my throat I didn’t think I’d be able to swallow for a week. How much money did I save you by laying there still without growling or attempting to bite, while you reached down and pulled them out, four and five at a time with the needle-nosed pliers? You know the young idiot would have had to been put under after an expensive trip to the vet.
Surely, I saved you enough money that time alone to buy a few dozen tanks of gas. More than enough to get us to God’s country and back?
The pup and I would just like the taste of a few feathers and hear the music of a rising rooster’s glorious cackle. You sit almost every evening on that hill watching the sun go down just to see a few of the glorious colors we can find in a single rooster’s hackles.
Hell, even a grouse would do in a pinch, but it has been so dry here this summer, that the hawks have cleaned out all the locals. Just one more time, I’d like to put my nose to the ground and pull up the glorious scent of pheasant instead of a snout full of dust.
It comes to this boss, play us or trade us!
If you won’t take us yourself, just leave me and the kid down along the highway with a bowl of water and a fifty-pound bag of food. You know how much he eats.
I’d draw the sign myself, but if you could use that opposable thumb of yours long enough to print a simple message we would appreciate it.
WILL HUNT FOR FOOD! LOOKING FOR A RIDE TO THE RIVER. Must arrive by Saturday, noon.