Saturday, 23 December 2017

The failed gundog

Yesterday David and I arrived in England for our first Christmas back home since 2013.  Of course, we are super happy to be home to celebrate Christmas with our family but above all, we are overjoyed to be reunited with our amazing dog daughter, Wonder Winnie.  For anyone who doesn’t know Winnie, she is our much loved black Spaniel/Labrador cross, who, despite being very beautiful and clever, has failed to deliver on David’s ultimate ambition for her - to be his very own world-class gun dog.
Wonder Winnie in her favourite spot

When we selected our little black bundle of joy, David was mentally gearing up to purchase a flat cap, tweeds and a shotgun, to join the shooting brigade with his trusty new gun dog by his side.  However, after a series of gun dog training sessions it became blatantly apparent that Winnie’s gun dog capabilities were severely flawed.  While Winnie was an exemplary retriever, impressing the trainer with the speed at which she mastered the concept of collecting the dummy dead bird, she was an extremely deficient deliverer.  Winnie is undoubtedly a smart and manipulative little dog and she immediately discovered that it was far more fun to taunt David than to deliver the retrieved item back to him.  So, while all the other hounds in the gun dog class were obediently following their owner’s instructions, Winnie was not.  The class witnessed her teasing her master with the retrieved stuffed pheasant dangling from her jaw and every time he desperately attempted to pounce on her to get it back, she adeptly side stepped him, like an All Black winger, while he got more and more irate before combusting into a tirade of expletives.

Besides this, Winnie is also terrified of the sound of gunshot.  It soon became clear that our dog had ultra sensitive hearing, picking up the sound of guns three counties away.  The impact being that she would be reduced to a trembling, cowering wreck, incapable of moving.  Time and time again, David could be seen carrying his quivering retriever, clinging to him like a koala on a eucalyptus tree, across Hampshire fields, back home from her walks, as she had detected distant gunfire somewhere in the region of Scotland and refused to take another step.  This was definitely not the image David had been looking to project with his little gun dog.

Nevertheless, despite failing to meet her master’s lofty aspirations for her, we love and miss her very much.  And, without a doubt, the best thing about coming home is the ebullient welcome our Winnie unfailingly delivers.  No one else gives us quite such an enthusiastic, affectionate and borderline deranged greeting as our gorgeous little dog. 

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