This post was inspired by having a few memories jogged after reading a favorite article by Dave Carty: Slow Down (Let Your Dog Work)
After a few pit stops on our long and winding way, we arrived to the spot. Dave got his Chevy parked in one of the standard places for hunting the area and, it became quite apparent that the temperature was already getting the best of us. Dave was immediately expressing concern over ‘dropping’ Powder to hunt, but the desire to have her down was high, since it was clear she was not going to have another season. Having an old and frail dog now myself, you take it day by day. They could have six more months, or today might be their last. I know this is where Dave was, so I just did my best to be supportive and respect his decisions doubly so when it came to Powder.
The intent was to hike down one branch of a ‘Y’ shaped coulee, mill around at the junction and then head back up the other unmolested branch. So that is what we did with very little fanfare. I still have a soft spot for Brits since my own, Mountain Sal. As we hiked, keeping an ever-watchful eye on Powder, we reminisced over some of the hunts we had shared over her. One which will likely stick out in mind for as long as I am able to keep memories neatly cataloged, is the hunt in which Dave bagged a gorgeous fully masked adult bull Mearns over a nicely stuck point from Powder. Making the event even more memorable was the high overhead passing shot Dave successfully made to bag the bird. With the bird plucked from the sky, it pitched into some heavy cover. Powder was asked to make her retrieve, which she did so with purpose and grace and with an impressively gentle mouth the bird was retrieved perfectly preserved. Dave gifted me the bird and I had it mounted.
I digress - after hiking ever so slowing down to the heart of the ‘Y’ the heat continued to rise, and it was clear Powder wasn’t really liking the heat. It was easy to see in her gait, how much water she had taken, so it was no surprise the level of Dave’s concern was ever so increasing with every few minutes. We paused in the shade in the crook of the ‘Y’ and talked about the easiest way to go back up, how best to try and keep Powder in the shade and debated at what point do we consider picking her up to carry her. The more we debated the pros and cons of our ideas, interspersed with our normal casual conversation Dave became very frustrated with himself for taking her ‘this far’ and that she hadn’t even gotten birdy. The risk wasn’t worth it, and I understood. As we talked about all of these things Dave kept his gaze uphill, presumably looking at the peak which the truck was parked just below. I, on the other hand, was watching Powder.
I'm just a guy suffering with an infatuation with gundogs since childhood. Fourty some years later this is what you get.