Friday, January 25, 2013

One More Season Under the Collar...

Tess, with one of the few actual limits we shot during this weird, screwed up, drought-stricken, disappointing duck season, which for me ended last weekend. She turned nine this year, and although she's becoming a bit creaky, arthritic and is slowing down noticeably, I think she's got one, maybe two good seasons left in her. She's going to have to, because I don't think I'll be getting a new chessie pup this year. Maybe next year.

She's never been my best retriever, and I must admit, she's never been my best dog, personality-wise, either. My first chessie, Holly, was the toughest, most determined retriever I ever owned, while my male chessie, Lewey, while almost as tough and athletic as Holly, (and a better marker) was also the absolute sweetest, goofiest, most loveable and comical dog personality I've ever seen. My current male setter pup Ozzy reminds me greatly of him, and indeed, sometimes I slip up and call him Lewey.

Tess, on the other hand, has always been right smack in the middle of the bell curve. If you've ever seen the movie "Idiocracy" Tess is the canine version of Luke Wilson's character. Utterly average in every way. Decent but not great retriever. Sort of a plodder. Not particularly flashy or athletic. Vanilla personality. Average, but consistently average. She's always there, she's loyal, loves me, is good with our kids (not so good with strangers, though) and on balance has never given me any reason to regret having her. I could do lots worse, and have.

Dogs are individuals, just like us, and not every dog you own through the course of a lifetime is going to just absolutely knock you over with their greatness. Some of them are going to be special, some of them are going to be duds, some of them are going to be nightmares, and some of them are simply going to be good dogs. And sometimes, that's all you need. She's been a good one.  


  1. An old-timer told me that a man has only one great bird dog in a lifetime. I'm not sure how he defined great. I'm pretty sure it wasn't synonymous with perfect, and that being the case I'm not sure if I've had my great dog yet. I am sure that I've found something great about every dog I've had, if nothing else than for the space they filled.

  2. True, Mark. She's great, I suppose, in her own way. She was never a flashy one. Guess I'd call her stolid...