Time is a commodity we only have a limited amount of and as even a single minute passes that minute in time can never be had again.It’s actually really hard to think too long on but a lesson for each one of us.
Many if not each of you know my passion for the outdoors in each of the four seasons we have.It’s possible to dive head-long into each as they arrive.Those I most treasure are fishing and hunting.Memories and dreams arrive with anticipation each year making memories enjoyed long after.My reasons for hunting are many including to be with friends, family and my dogs.Even though the season is only about 3 months or less in length a gun dog is a buddy 24/7 365!My dogs live with us, often share a bed, depend on me for food, to be taken care of and travel with me so much more than simply on a hunting trip providing an unlimited amount of joy, companionship adding so much more meaning to my life.Without them my purpose for hunting would not exist.So often they really become best buddies, at least mine are, always have been and always will be.Once when first married Deb and I were in a canoe with my first Golden named Pirate.She asked “if the boat tipped would you save me or Pirate?”My reply was maybe honest but not what she was looking for when I replied “well you have a life jacket on so I’d get Pirate!”That feeling is probably shared by other gun dog owners and not at all unique.
Most of you know, if a regular Fan Outdoors listener know that I have fallen head over heels with the Brittany breed.We had a litter with my Snap dog four years ago gifting the pups at no cost to people that would give them good homes, love ‘em and let them hunt!One of the pups now belongs to my youngest son, Chad and is his first (a promise I made him a long time ago), another to my brother, Dick who had lost his pointer and didn’t plan to own another dog unless it was from my Snap, another to Bob St.Pierre’s parents who had lost their Britt, one to the owner of the sire and another to a family that wanted to begin hunting with their son as a first hunting dog.Oh yea and my pick was the smallest in the litter and who had to scramble for a nipple to suck, wrestled with the others puppies and never backed down not even once.She stayed with us and became what at first I called the B hunting team and this year promoted to the starting captain of the A team.Her nose unbelievable and on a dead run would come to a rock solid point, retrieves too were to hand this year.So excited because finally I could believe her and have the confidence that she would excel.But I didn’t hunt them last week for a number of flimsy reasons planning to go next week instead.Now reflect on the time comment above!The day before yesterday Belle acted strangely wanting to go outside more often than normal.She didn’t eat, which happened from time to time but in the middle of the next night became listless wanting outside.Letting her out in the darkness she laid in the snow refusing to come in.Picking her up I carried her into the bedroom again.Calling my good friend and vet, Dr. Dennis Gallenburg the next morning and making an immediate appointment for her he performed a full battery of tests.Everything was normal except her white blood cell count was a bit high. He discussed what it could possibly be from worst to a good possibility.We agreed to treat a bladder infection with antibiotics for two weeks and then return for a recheck aware it might be more serious but hoping this would be cured.Home we went and Belle showed signs of her old self running with Snap in the back yard lifting my hopes that we could hunt next week.She slept a bit then stood at the door wanting out.Not able to get comfortable she moved from place to place eventually hiding under a table then the bed. She then followed me downstairs laying nearby.Suddenly she moved closer gasping for breath.Deb, my wife and Danielle, daughter-in-law came down hearing the noise.Trying to help calm her she crawled to my side.Then head on my leg she gasped one last time and was gone.Trying mouth to mouth but to no avail my beautiful little Belle died.I know the endless love she showed is the same as any dog has for their master but this was my Bitty Belle on her way to becoming a special gun dog but to me she was and is my very best buddy and I will never forget the wild, goofy, loving, swimming, pointing, retrieving snow white Brittany that she was!I love that little dog with all my heart and for her 4 years she did the same.I watched her come into the world and held her when she left!
So when you think about wasting a few minutes or longer remember Bitty Belle because I sure wish I had just a few more minutes with her, one more day afield or one more time she’d nudge my hand wanting a pet!I have shed tears, many tears!So if anyone ever tells you “it was just a dog” they are either stupid, idiots or never experienced the genuine love of a special gun dog!
I have loved you Snap’s Bitty Belle and I will always love you gun dog because you were all mine and I belonged to you!
If you own a gun dog please give them an extra treat and big hug courtesy of Bitty Belle and me,
PS Huge thank you to Dr. Dennis Gallenburg for his help, compassion, skill and friendship.He really helped me through this terrible time!