With my upbringing, surprisingly, I never really hunted ducks in Mississippi, although I spent every available minute deer hunting, even structuring my classes around deer season. It took a couple of chance occurrences and crossing paths with some (now) very good friends in Ohio to put my duck hunting obsession into play, and I have never looked back. Between layout shooting on Lake Erie's Sandusky Bay and dry cornfield hunting for big Canada geese, (and just a little bit of everything in between) I was squarely hooked. I didn't think I could enjoy it anymore than I did...but boy, was I WRONG!
Being a veterinarian, and a duck hunting veterinarian at that, the logical next step was, you guessed it, a dedicated duck dog. I had always been partial to black Labs, and most of my buddies that had dogs hunted with yellow Labs. I was laying the plans to get a female black Lab when I ended up going in a direction I would never have predicted. As we all know, sometimes things just happen for a reason...
In the summer of 2010, I got a call from a good friend and fellow veterinarian about a male chocolate Labrador puppy he was dealing with out of a very promising litter. Seemed this puppy had issues with regurgitation that was noted as soon as he was switched to solid food...did I have any thoughts?? After discussion of the work done so far, we became concerned about the possibility of a congenital defect that encircles the esophagus, preventing the passage of larger amounts of solid food. I helped coordinate an appointment for the puppy with one of my associates for confirmation of the diagnosis. When this beautiful 12 week old puppy came in, I found myself playing with him, and he dutifully delivered tossed items to hand over and over...I was in trouble. With the diagnosis confirmed, the prescribed treatment was a chest surgery, to correct, if possible, the esophageal constriction. Unfortunately, this was not in the breeder's budget, and made the puppy unsellable. The breeder made the offer that the puppy was free to anyone who would take him and try to fix him. I didnt want a brown dog, and I didnt want a male...but this dog was special. After getting permission from my wife, I made my offer to the breeder, who gladly accepted it, especially from another duck hunter. Thankfully, the surgery, performed by another of my colleagues, was a complete success, and that Brown Dog, now named Roux, became my newest hunting partner.
|Signing pawtographs at Willow Break!|
Many thanks to good friend Ramsey Russell for encouraging me to publish this blog. I look forward to keeping all posted on our exploits throughout the off-season, and September 1 will be here before you know it. Neither of us can wait!