Dear Al & Margo, Boggs and Ben turn four (4) years old on Friday, April 22nd. Here is Boggs on the left and Ben on the right. They sit at the top of the few steps that lead into our kitchen from the north door of our house. The picture hints at the different personalities of the dogs. Ben has all that expression and concern . . . and goes bonkers to retrieve things. Boggs is quiet and mysterious . . . and loves to hunt. Boggs lets Ben do all the talking. Each does everything. Each is a “home run” dog!
We have spent the winter chasing birds, rabbits and squirrels and mice . . . over snow, snow and more snow. In three winters I wore out a pair of x-country boots . . . not bad for an old guy.
The “boys” are as wonderful as ever. We have twelve or more, hour to an hour and a half, different walks we can take . . . all within ten minutes of town. We are out every a.m. The “boys” know the way and sometimes get way out in front of me knowing I will be coming along shortly. Even so . . . they always keep an eye on me. A couple blasts on the whistle . . . soon finds them in view.
It snowed yesterday. The spring run off is filling potholes and covering some roads. Right now: I can hear the wind and rain outside the window. Easter should be sunny and 50 F. We all need it.
Sometimes people ask me, “Do your dogs hunt?” Like . . . what? Today, in the rain . . . beating brown the accumulated snow . . . the birds flew easily. The two days before we headed out into freshly fallen snow. Pheasant are beat up from the winter and lack of easy food sources. As you know, after a snow they tend to burrow in alongside a bush or tall, clump grass. When one of the dogs goes on point . . . I root for the bird. It usually escapes. But Monday . . . they brought me three hens; Tuesday . . . they brought me three roosters. “Brought me” means: after pointing . . . then flushing. . . one dog picks it up . . . the other joins in . . . and they head toward me with the “team retrieve” thing . . . and approach my vicinity. I try not to get too loud or jumpy. I head toward them exclaiming, “Good boys; Good boys.” But . . . inside I don’t feel so good. Ben will drop it and let go. Boggs seems to want to wander off. It’s our winter protocol. I pick up the bird . . . carry it a while . . . then drop it for the hawks or coyote.
But . . . I do have two of Tuesday’s roosters in the frig. We are going to eat them. It’s a too bad for the birds . . . and I hope they don’t get too many more. But “do they hunt?” My answer is meant to disguise the reality, “Yea,” I say. “They do pretty much everything!” Enough said. Should the weather break and the birds scatter and find food. Once nesting starts . . . we get out of these places until late August.
Hope all is well with you and Al . . . and the family and the kennel. ~ Peter and Sue
Springtime 2011 in Dakota