But.....I'm home from my Field Training Seminar. Tired, but very happy. It was at a place called Pacesetter Training Kennel, and it was awesome!
It took me a few days to realize that the whole things wasn't a dream. Oh my, now I know what Labrador Retriever heaven is like. Birds everywhere...falling from the sky...ponds and mud...grassy fields...rolling hills. Yes...YES...YES!!!
At first, I wasn't too sure about those flappy little things on the ground. I had always retrieved objects...bumpers, balls, wubbas, dead fowl trainers. Live critters, however, were something I had just always chased, but never actually caught and retrieved. Oh, I'm talking about cats and squirrels...along with an occasional misdirected brother Labrador Retriever.
But at this training seminar they threw this live bird in front of me. I was like, "Oh my, now what do I do?" It was running around, all feathery and crazy-like.
One quick glance at my mom let me know that I was okay. There were no "Sally, NO, leave its" coming from her.
After a couple of minutes, the trainer came over and picked up the flapping pile of feathers and guess what she did. Put that thing in my mouth!! O-M-G! I couldn't believe it. I just stood there speechless. (Of course, how could I bark with a pile of wiggly feathers in my mouth.)
I continued to watch my mom. Was she going to come rescue me? Was she going to come scold me? I assumed she would be over there like a flash, "Sally, drop it," "Sally, what are you doing with that bird," "Sally, are you completely crazy?"
But there was not one word coming from her. She was actually smiling at me.
Then it happened. Somewhere deep inside my brain something clicked. No matter how many dictionaries or thesaurses I use, I can't describe the feeling. It was like, "This is what I was born for. This is why I'm here on this earth." Euphorically I retrieved those birds in the practice yard...over and over and over. Each one was better than the one before.
Yep, that's it. I was put on this earth to carry birds. My mom calls it my primal instinct. I don't care what you call it. I like it and want to do it some more.
There were other dogs there whose primal instinct also erupted. One Golden Retriever chased the birds around for a while before she finally realized she was supposed to pick them up. She was really funny!
So, once we all realized we were supposed to be carrying the birds around, we began retrieving the birds out in the fields. It was awesome! We went out in this big, grassy, green field with gently rolling hills. The bird boys (yes, that's exactly what they're called) took the birds way out in the field...about 100 yards or more. My mom and I would stand at something the trainer called the line.
After a few seconds, we would hear a loud "POW!" I think it was a gun firing, because I kept hearing the word "gun." But all I know is that when my mom said the word "watch," I knew to listen for that POW and look for a bird to fall out of the sky.
Oh, what a wonderful, exhilerating sight that was. Then my mom would release me with "Get it, girl," just like she does on the dock. And off I flew, like a shot out of a cannon.
The duck was always down in the tall grass. It was my job to find it...look for it, sniff it out. And then....back to my mom with it!
After the grassy fields, we went to an even better place to retrieve birds...a pond! As we drove up near that pond and I saw the water, I thought, "Geez, this seminar thing just keeps getting better and better."
But when I looked closer down the bank at the pond, I saw a big black thing. I didn't know what it was. It looked like some kind of a dog, but it was HUGE! The biggest dog I'd ever seen. And it didn't bark. It made some weird noise.
My mom called it a cow, but everyone else called it a bull. Once someone chased it away from the pond, we started retrieving the birds from the water. My, oh my, oh my. I could have done that all day long.
By the time we finished the pond work, we were ready to go home. Well, my mom was ready. I, on the other hand, wanted to stay and retrieve more and more.
My mom said that she is going to work with me some more so I can get my Junior Hunt Test title.
Wow! More birds! Bring 'em on!
See you on the dock (or in the field),
Sally, the Captain of Team 3 Dawg Flite
Proud member of Dixie Dock Dogs
Dixie Dock Dogs video