Today is a very sad day, I had to say goodbye to one of my hunting buddies, Willy my Chesapeake. He had been battling cancer in his eye for some time...three years I think since we first discovered it.
My wife and I had to make that tough decision, that we dog owners have to make at one time or another. We know its coming from day one, yet we spend our days enjoying, loving, training, hunting until he or she tells us it is time.
Willy shared his 11 years and nine months with me, devoted and willing to please in any way he could. His final hunt was this past Sunday and even though it was pen raised chukar, he went out into the field with all he had. The last bird I missed and yet he searched till he was nearly exhausted and found it, delivered it to hand with wagging tail.
I remember his first hunt as vividly as yesterday. (I will make it short) It was December. Willy was about 11 months old, temperature was in the teens and the sky was clear, winter blue.
We were walking to a blind on the Madison River and spotted some geese in an eddy. I said why not see how he does on a sneak and jump shoot. What I didnt know was that the ice was not thick enough to hold him. He busted on through the ice and climbed a six foot bank three times, delivered to hand and waited patiently each time to be resent and went without hesitation. We went on to sit the blind over decoys and shot four drake mallards all fetched like a seasoned pro. I confirmed right then what I already knew....I had a special friend.
I miss him already....