One of the dilemmas of writing about my companions on hunting trips is before long one doesn't have any companions. People say things like, "I'll go, but you can't write about me." Last Saturday was one such trip which was prefaced by, "You better not." Fortunately I didn't promise since I knew there would probably be some good material available.
It has often been said that pets take on the characteristics of their owner. For Bob Shore's sake, I hope that isn't totally true. His Brittany, appropriately named "Spook," has long been the object of ridicule by Bob's hunting companions. Spook spends most of his life growling and it makes no difference at what. Over the years this characteristic has gotten him into a lot of trouble. Growling at Randy Nichol's Labrador, which is four times as big as he is, nearly resulted into a life shortening accident.
On an outing a couple of years ago his constant growling caused my shorthair to grab him by the throat and my Brittany to grab him at the other end and pretend he was a piece of taffy as they attempted to stretch him out. Only by risking dog bites did we get the dogs separated.
This year's hunt proved to be no exception. I think Bob sensed abuse would be forthcoming and even volunteered to leave Spook in the pen, but when I went to pick him and the other hunters up, there was Spook safely in his dog cage, growling at all the other beasts. Shortly after being released for the hunt, Spook managed to jump on my leg with his muddy paws and then proceeded to use one of the other hunter's shoes as a fire plug. But, by mid-morning, an incident occurred that may have helped us understand some of Spook's problems.
As we returned to the trucks after a nice walk and no birds, we were looking at Bob's dog pen and wondering why the water dish was on top of the cage instead of the bottom. Further inspection revealed that poor Spook has been traveling in an upside down cage. There were several suggestions from the group as to helping Bob handle this dilemma. Those included painting arrows on the side of the cage to indicate which was the top and the bottom, writing in large letters, "THIS SIDE UP," but most of us thought the clue to the water dish being upside down should have been enough. The abuse got so hot and heavy, Bob and his brother immediately attempted to rectify the situation by picking up the dog box with Spook in it and turning it completely over while Spook was being traumatized in the whirling cage. As they turned the box 180 degrees with Spook inside, he looked like a brown and white towel in the dryer.
Further reflection caused all of us to wonder if maybe Spook isn't really as bad as we thought. It's just that his owner doesn't know which way is up.