Zero bird dogs

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.

7 thoughts on “Zero bird dogs”

  1. This post basically sums up the last few seasons for me:
    I had one dog (dog#1) and a deposit down on a litter (dog #2). Dog #1 tears cruciate ligament, we miss the entire season. Surgery. Dog #1 heals with plenty of time for upcoming season. Dog #1 suddenly dies of cancer. Miss another season.
    Pick up new pup (dog#2), but she’s still in diapers come September. Miss another season. Put down another deposit (dog#3).
    Dog #2 has stellar first season. I’m pumped. Dog #3 is delayed because Momma breaks the rules and skips a heat cycle. One dog.
    Next season starts out strong, but Dog #2 is injured midway through. Dogless. Again.
    Dog #3 finally came home this summer (CH. Erin’s Hidden Shamrock x Northwoods Nickel). He’s now five months old and pointing huns and blue grouse. However, he’s equally excited about pointing hoppers, flowers, airplanes, and piles of shit. Cute. But still useless in the field.
    Now our Montana season opens in just a few days and I’ve got just one dog. The line is thin, indeed….

  2. Kind of like coaching football. If you have two QB’s you have none. Deciding which one to go with is the walk on that fine line. Best of luck with whichever one you go with.

  3. “Obedient as a house cat. More likely to point bumble bees than birds.”

    Too funny. I had one of those too. At 8 he’s finally settled down, sort of.

    Best wishes for Middle Dog’s speedy recovery.

  4. Greg, I’m assuming your Mtn Grouse season starts Sept. 1st. If so, it’s quite possible that you’re 7 yr old (dog) might just be healed up enough…at least for a short run. I had to laugh at your “shitting machine” comment. I just added a 4th Setter to my kennel, he’s now around 16 weeks of age. With the previous three dogs, there was always a fair amount of doggie-doo to scoop up, but now with four hungry mouths I could start up a fertilizer plant.

    Are there any bird dog breeds that don’t shit?

  5. Like our own health, we tend to take dog’s health for granted until they are not. Luckily I have a very healthy but slowing 9.5 gsp and a 14 month old GSP who will see her first wild bird shortly and can rid herself of those pesky dirty pigeons. On to Sept. More thankful due to your article reminding us dog health can be so fleeting.

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