Sometimes things come full circle. The first English Setter I had several years ago had a big spot over one eye which resembled the proverbial "shiner" so that became his namesake. Over a period of 10 years or so, Shiner was involved in several calamities. Hunting 90 miles from home, he ran off only to be found the next day, causing me to have to drive 90 miles each way to pick him back up. Another time, he was chasing a quail and he ended up in the middle of the highway. An oncoming pickup locked up all four brakes and finally got stopped in time to just bump him with the front bumper and knock him down, avoiding a near fatal collision.
After Shiner passed on, my son and I both picked two dogs out of the same litter in Cunningham, Kan. Dog number two was named Drifter for his tendency to run big; his brother was named Tripper for his tendency to get in the way of everyone's feet. I've chronicled how my dog is now lame through a pulled tendon which can't be fixed and how last Christmas, while hunting in Western Kansas, in a fog, Tripper got out on the highway and didn't manage to survive the collision.
Two weeks ago another replacement dog from the same kennel out of Cunningham was available. My son went ahead and picked him up after attending a graduation in Western Kansas. This dog happens to be marked like the original dog that we all hunted with for years. The large spot over one eye has earned him the favorite name of "Shiner."
Last Monday I was coming through Garnett so I thought I'd stop and see the new dog. Looking in the dog pen, there was no English Setter. I called my son and asked, "Where is your pup?"
He replied, "Dad, this is take your dog to work day."
I responded, "Well that is nice. Do you plan to ever let him out of your sight?"
A week later, coming back through Garnett again, they informed me that they had taken the dog to the graduation of one of the wife's nephews. I have yet to see the dog Shiner, but I would be more interested in seeing how he enjoyed the graduation.
I guess I should be happy because one of these days I will get to see the dog and, in the meantime, the name "Shiner" lives on.