On Guard

I really like having a dog. Our dog Tucker has many health concerns but keeps plugging along and enjoys living life with us. He loves to be outside rolling in the grass, pestering the tame barn cats, swimming in the creeks, eating nests of voles, and hunting up pheasants.

One of the blessings of having Tucker is that he is my constant friend and companion. He is always on alert even when I am distracted. Since the arrival of my Grandbaby, he has taken to Trey and feels it is his duty to alert me to ANY and VERY bit of road, driveway, and pasture presences.

His barking disturbs many a baby nap- which is totally frustrating. I have had a few good cries over destroyed naps. But I know he can’t help it, he’s on guard.

Right now he is softly snoozing on the floor just 10 feet away. At his vantage point, he can see Trosky road, driveway, the pasture, and the front door as well as the door to the baby’s room- perfect.

I have learned that though he may sound asleep, you make a small sound and an eye slowly opens and looks around to the sound. There have been plenty of times when an unwanted presence is in this house and his hair is on end and he has the bark of warning. Good boy Tucker! Grandma get out your prayers and take care of business.

The Holy Spirit is like that, though you may not know it, see it, feel it… he IS working. He is on alert for things that are out to destroy you. He speaks to us in ways we can relate to in the moment.

I am glad for my Tucker and especially glad the Holy Spirit gives me urgings I have learned to pay attention to. Thank you Holy Spirit for working in our life, may we always be attentive to your calling and respond. AMEN

He Can’t Help It

I never really knew how much Labs like water till we got our Lab. Water is life for Tucker. He seeks it out daily in his drink and for play and enjoyment.

Often on our walks, he will pause at the creek or river and “ask”. The asking looks like this: he stops and turns, looks at me, makes direct eye contact, ears are raised and set, eyes glowing as if to say “Mommy, please?”

It’s hard to resist him. So, I say “Okay, go.” And with a big smile, he runs down the bank into the river or creek. As he swims he laps up water. I laugh because I envision him trying to drink his way out of this big “bathtub”. After his drink, he finds a shallow spot and then rests.

I see his joy in being in the water, he just can’t help it. The peace and contentment I see fills me also. Reminds me to find joy and contentment in little things.

Today, where ever you may be. I hope you find a big “creek” to run into, to drink of and play in. Finding joy and contentment it just being there even though it may not last long. Soak it up, let your tongue hang out and smile.

-Finding “creeks” of contentment to enjoy today, wherever they may be.

Hunters are Chomping at the Bit Waiting For Fall

The recent warm weather has been encouraging to local farmers, but discouraging to hunting enthusiasts. Even my hunting dog senses something isn’t quite right. Deer, Duck, Goose or Pheasant, hunters are chomping at the bit waiting for fall.

Generally speaking, my Chocolate Labrador Retriever Tucker, is wise to natures cycles. It doesn’t take many cold mornings to remind him pheasant hunting is right around the corner. With each frosty morning, his allergies begin to subside. It usually takes 3 hard freezes before he feels relief. I am sure he would love 45 degrees Fahrenheit all year round.

Waiting for fall

With pheasant season just weeks away, my dog should be on pins and needles waiting for opening day. But this year has him confused with the lack of cold temperatures. With each throw of the dummy, we move forward with our hunting preparations. I can tell a bit of laziness has settled into us both. A busy summer derailed our usual training sessions. Together he and I are a team and when we are not working together our hunting has little success. A continual reminder to me that “school” is never out for either of us.

Pulling out his kennel from storage has gotten his attention. He races over and immediately inspects it. I rattle the kennel door and he barks excitedly and repeatedly throws my hand up with his nose. As I open the kennel door his tail beats wildly against the basement wall. Smiling I open the kennel door. Without hesitation, he races in and turns around with a great big dog smile. He is definitely in his happy place.

A good walk

The pheasant chick population on our property this summer gave me encouragement for a great season ahead, not to mention some tasty pheasant pot pie.

I always enjoy the time spent walking and watching him work. Nose to the ground and tail wagging, he busily sniffs running back and forth till he pauses, lifts a foot and points. The first time out hunting with him I had no clue what “getting birdy” looked like. My lack of understanding his cues led to a late shot and a missed bird.

The look of bewilderment on his face as the rooster flew away made my heart sink.  If Tucker could talk he would have said: “I set you up and YOU MISSED.”  Undaunted, he got right back to work.

Flush after flush I missed. Each time I was too high or too low. With both of us feeling dejected, we decided to call it a day and head back. A reward for Tucker’s good work awaited him in the truck. I pulled out a dish and gave him a good drink and then threw him a biscuit. After several additional laps, he turned and gave me another Labrador smile. It was almost as if he was saying I shouldn’t be discouraged and that we would try again.

Chomping at the bit

Photo Credit: JanTemmel

As I drove out to the Pheasant’s Forever land Tucker began to whine. He knew where we were going and what was expected of him. He too had been waiting for fall. Every muscle in his body trembled with excitement. I had to admit, I was doing some shaking of my own. After parking, I turned around and gave Tucker a good head scratch. Today was our day. We were going home with a bird!

I hopped from the driver’s seat and walked to the back of the truck. Tucker had all he could do to contain himself- he was still waiting in the cab. With all the appropriate gear on and license in my back pocket, I walked back to the cab and opened the door. Tucker launch from the back seat, barely touching. The prairie grass began to envelop him and all I could see was the tops of the grass waving back and forth in the direction he was working.

Locked and Loaded

Tucker worked back and forth for what seemed like an eternity, and then it happened. He started to get birdy. Coming to a stop, he picked up his front right paw, bent his head down in a point. I knew it was all up to me and I had seconds to get ready.

Fluttering wings broke the silence as two roosters hit the sky. I pulled up my shotgun and pulled the trigger twice. Boom! Boom! The last shot hit the slower rooster and it plummeted to the ground, landing in some tall prairie grass.

Eagerly Tucker dove in. Little did we know the rooster had buried himself deep into the grass. Ten minutes had passed into the search and I began to think we had been “skunked” again. Tucker grew silent and then I saw him pounce and wag his tail. Underneath the deep prairie grass lay the dead hidden rooster.

Carefully I reached into the grass, but Tucker wasn’t so sure I should do the retrieving. He began to dig playfully at my handwith his front paws. It was his honor to pull it out, so I let him.

Proud as a Peacock

Photo Credit: BrodyT Pixabay

Tucker nosed his way into the bottom of the grasses. Bringing his head up with a mouthful of rooster, he walked proudly through the prairie grass path. After a few feet down the path he dropped the rooster and looked at me with a big smile and began to pant. I reached down and congratulated him with a good head rub and a pat on the back.

Bending over I picked up the rooster and placed it in my jacket. We both were tired and the walk back to the truck seemed to take longer than we both wanted. As we caught sight of the truck our spirits lightened and we both picked up the pace.

Waiting for fall had been worth all the training we have done. It’s rewarding to work together, and a successful hunt makes it all the sweeter.  It’s good to be out in nature walking around, enjoying creation. It’s good to have a Tucker.