My dog Sadie is a huge English Springer Spaniel, the product of an outcross between a bench-bred male and a hunter female. She’s papered, but far too large at 60 lbs and 23″ to compete in a breed competition.
D and I love gundogs. They’ve been bred – many for centuries – for the purpose of accompanying their human companion on the hunt, to flush and/or retrieve the game. This means they have become both highly sensitive to their humans, and incredibly loyal. Perhaps an unintentional benefit to the breeding process is that they also tend to be quite affectionate.
Of course, we don’t hunt. We live in the suburbs and buy our meat at the grocers. But we do enjoy observing Sadie’s instincts at work. We judiciously off-leash her and watch her flush birds; that’s her breed’s hallmark, and the source of the word ‘spring’ in the breedname. We were surprised to observe that she not only springs the game but looks up and watches the birds fly; we have been told that this is the sign of great gundog instinct.
My brother-in-law paid a fortune for a Vizsla, then spent more sending him off to hunting school for three months. Rex is a nice dog, but he’s a wuss. He is lazy! The only thing that seems to get him on his feet is when Sadie is around, as he wants to hump her. Sadie is a real lady and doesn’t go in for that sort of thing. She either sits firmly planted to the ground, or growls.
Having a dog keeps me active, as an active girl like ours requires plenty of exercise. This is great for me because I actually have arthritis in my knees, hips and shoulder, and the regular activity helps a lot. She and I walk together at least six days out of the week, and D usually takes a turn on the off-day.
The past several days we have enjoyed some great weather. I woke up this morning to what will be a decidedly warm winter day, and first thought was to do something fun with the dog. But what? I’ll be soliciting some ideas, and hopefully my friend who is involved in dog rescue work will have something to suggest.