Sadie is a 5-year-old chocolate lab and not only a well-trained retriever, but a prime example of the classic relationship between gunner and gun dog. During the past couple autumns, I've been privileged to spend a few mornings with Sadie and her owner, Doug Harloff. Each outing has been invigorating, being able witness firsthand a good wingshot and his loyal sidekick at work.
A short wait in the dark was followed by a pre-sunrise calm.
Low light as Doug & Sadie both wait for the morning's first flight.
Decoys are in place.
The onset of a retrieve.
The return trip - mission accomplished.
Time for a little TLC.
Checking the northwestern sky - no ducks sneaking in the backdoor.
Doug explains to Sadie that the ducks have stopped flying.
Look at Sadie's facial expression: "Whaddya mean we're leaving?"
Happily for Sadie, on the way home there was a bit of pheasant action. She's equally good at locating ringnecks.
Having spent time with Doug and Sadie both in the cattails and afield, I come away with the impression these two are not simply an owner and his dog - they're good friends.