My love of bird dogs is obvious to regular readers of this blog. Today, I'm honored to share the story of a fellow Pheasants Forever member, Joe Nicklay, and his beloved Brittany, Daisy. As I've said before, the only thing bad about bird dogs is the short length of time we get to spend with them.
The Day the Bell Went Silent
For nearly fifteen years I've listened to the sound of a sleigh bell as it rang in the woods, fields and sloughs. I followed this sound listening and waiting for it to go silent. And when it did, I approached with great anticipation, knowing that Daisy had once again located a grouse or pheasant. She would remain motionless as I approached to flush the bird. Many of the times I would fail her efforts and the bird would sail off untouched.
As the years unfolded from her days as an excited puppy when I wasn’t always sure if we were hunting bugs or birds, to her transformation into a seasoned hunter, she became the real joy of fall. Her endless energy and enthusiasm supplied by an internal drive to endure hours of heat, wet and often cold days when the snow was deeper than she could stand, left all that hunted with her in awe. If she had any shortcoming it was only a result of me.
She taught me more than I ever could teach her. She reminded me daily that life should be approached with a smile or wag of the tail and enjoyed even when it seems less than ideal. This fall there will be some grouse and pheasants that can breathe a sigh of relief for on Sunday, June 26th, the bell went silent for the final time.
--Joe Nicklay, Pheasants Forever Member from Finland, Minnesota
Thanks to Joe for sharing his memories, and for reminding us all . . . Time is short - Live life like a bird dog!