If you ask my vet, my kids or my wife, they will tell you I have three bird dogs. That’s three eating, shitting machines ready to chase birds, bark at the neighborhood deer and rack up vet bills at a moment’s notice.
Unfortunately this isn’t Sesame Street and the counting isn’t quite as straightforward as I wish it was. There is a different number of bird dogs that I have as the forest grouse opener approaches in six days.
That number is zero. Zero bird dogs.
I have an old dog – 13. Deaf. Mostly blind. Gives no shits about anything. Retired.
I have a young dog – 5 months. Energy like the sun itself. Obedient as a house cat. More likely to point bumble bees than birds.
I have a dog in her prime – 7. Steady. Trustworthy. Laid up from surgery. Probably not hunting next week.
The vet removed a benign cyst from her shoulder a couple of weeks back. We’ve cut it out before, only to have it return. She’ll be fine and probably ready in a couple of weeks, but the wound is healing slowly.
Come Thursday, maybe I’ll give the veteran a spin. The pup will blow off some steam. If she heals quickly, I might even give my starter a short run. But I won’t have three dogs.
It reinforces something Tom told me last fall; the line between one bird dog and no bird dog is thin.