Ya’ll. It is the Dog Days of Summer. Really, all of 2020 have been the Dog Days. Did you know that the Dog Days of Summer are believed to be a time of drought, bad luck, unrest, and general discomfort? Basically sums up the first 6 months of 2020. Wouldn’t you agree?
However, the Dog Days are traditionally early July to mid August. It is the time when the star Sirius (part of the constellation Canis Majoris) rises just before dawn. And, other than the sun, it is the brightest star in the sky. Sirius rising. So it is only appropriate that during the beginning of this time, I am preparing to journey nearly 800 miles to pick up a new pup. My new pup. My first gun dog.
This was not a decision that I came to on a whim. I am easily annoyed by most dogs…other people’s dogs…and even my own at times. My patience is short for ill behaved pets. I’m extremely busy. I’m a single mom of three kids who are involved in every activity under the sun. Is this really something I want to get started in? I don’t even know anything about training a dog! And most gun dogs are smelly, slobbery, and sheddy. Right? Right.
And a once in a lifetime dog only comes along once in a lifetime. Chances are unlikely I’ll ever find one that satisfies every requirement on my long list of gun dog deal breakers.
Last fall I went hunting. Like -h u n t e d- the entire fall and winter months. I headed out every chance I got with whomever I could drag along with me. I realized how dependent I was on other people. Men specifically…to guide, to teach, to borrow their dogs. To feel safe. And although I’m not the traditional “feminist” type…I am a very independent type. I didn’t like trying to schedule what I wanted to do around other people’s schedules. I wanted to know how to do it and be able to go and feel safe. I wanted a companion that was ready to hit the hills whenever I was.
Enter gun dog stage left.
There are so many breeds to choose from, and you really have to do your research to choose the one that is right for you. I knew I wanted a no-to-low shedding dog, loyal, good with kids, adaptable to hunt or track anything, and one that didn’t drool all over my floor. I wanted one big enough that would help me feel secure outdoors when I went on my own. I wanted one that would hold a point, because my shotgun skills need some work. Mama needs a minute to get set up. I wanted one that would hunt for ME and feel like we are in it together. Water, field, upland, mountains, sheds, blood tracking. Is that too much to ask?
Apparently it isn’t.
I remembered a friend who had an unusual, dare I say *ugly*, dog. As I researched and inquired on different breeds, I sent him a message. Surprisingly, through many chats and messages later, the ugly dog pretty much seemed to fit the bill. He put me in touch with the club that manages this breed and I got on the waiting list! Due to the rarity of this dog in North America, the breed is being managed by an amazing group to ensure the maintenance of high standards. I wasn’t expecting to get a pup this first year, but that was okay because it gave me time to prepare. I needed to know how to manage this type of dog and how to train it.
And then it happened….I got the call. A pup in the last litter of 2020 was mine. Imagine my excitement! Imagine how my excitement turned to shock and awe as I realized how quickly this was going to happen and how much I still needed to prepare! This was happening.
So I have spent hours and hours and hours reading, researching, watching videos, asking questions, listening to the experts, and even hanging out with the original ugly dog – Gus. And here we are, in the Dog Days of Summer. And I’m heading to pick up my new gun dog. My companion. My future partner in crime. My protector. My hunting buddy.
Meet Cestička Liberty…my little path to freedom. We will call her Berty. We love her already, despite all the challenges and growth we will soon encounter. We will grow together and learn together.
And besides, a once in a lifetime dog only comes along once in a lifetime….