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Chocolate labs

A Morning With Sadie


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.  

A Fisherman's Toughest Goodbye


The above photo of the Canadea bridge was taken by Amy Joyner. The bridge spans the Genesee River near one of her husband Jim's favored locales for fishing smallmouth bass. He's taken countless smallmouths from this stretch, including what may have been his largest bronzeback, a smallie weighing close to seven pounds. Winding back and forth between large gravel bars, rocky bottomed pools and a backdrop of rolling hills, this stretch of the Genesee was a favorite for Jim.

And Jim never fished the river alone. He was always accompanied by at least one, sometimes two, friends. For years, even if Amy remained at their cabin, he was always joined by his other favorite girl and faithful companion, Candy. If Jim was wading the river, the 14-year-old chocolate lab was right by his side. No doubt, she knew this stretch of the river as well as Jim. Now, after so many years of enjoying each other's company, the time all dog lovers dread has arrived.

Candy, may your eternity be filled with winding shallow streams, gravel bars and rolling hillsides.   

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