Monday, November 2, 2020

The Old Dog

     She is twelve years old this year. She walks with a hobble and her hearing is almost nonexistent. Eyesight has never her strong suit and sometimes it is just plain hard to get her attention. But Colby has heart.
    For the last week or two Colby has stayed home while the younger dogs hunted. It is easy to justify. She falls often when she’s in the woods and sometimes needs help getting over fallen trees or up steep inclines. It is not easy being an old dog. Yet the desire to hunt is as strong as ever.
    Today we took her and our two younger dogs out on the logging roads of the big woods, up near where I logged forty-five years ago. The first hunt followed a nearly level side road to an abandoned logging yard. Up beyond the weed chocked yard, Maggie, our four year old, pointed a covey of four or more grouse. On my approach they exploded in every direction. Somehow Colby found her way up on to that knoll and bounced around under those treetop grouse with the younger dogs. Walking back out the grown in road Maggie, our four year old, pointed, with our pup Mollie and the old girl Colby backing. Pretty neat. No bird was found, but a few steps further on two flew from a tree.
    Colby doesn’t get far from the roads on her own, but she hunts hard along the edges. Down the road a piece we hunted around another logging yard and then up another two-track tote road. The younger dogs worked the woods on either side, while Coby punched holes into the woods, but mostly followed the easier walking of the roads.
    On one of the day’s last little hunts, Maggie locked up about fifty feet into the woods with our pup backing her. Both were in the classic front-foot-up pose. Colby walked from the grassed over logging road about fifteen feet into the shade of the softwoods to back too. She certainly has heart.
    Now she’s sleeping on her bed with a whole new set of memories to dream about. Her muscles twitch and soft sounds come from her throat. I’ll be heading to bed soon too, hopefully with a full set of new dreams too.

Colby bringing back a ruffed grouse.


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