Mother Nature hasn’t quite decided whether it is still winter or the start of spring. We started yesterday with around 3-4 inches of snow and by evening the temps were near 50. While the weather sorts things out the snow geese have decided to start their migration through the state. It is just the leading edge, but with cabin fever firmly in place I loaded Lily up last Friday and headed out to attempt a pass shoot after work.
I’ll admit I was impressed by the little dog’s ability to sit still:
Thankfully we had to walk about a half-mile to the spot which allowed her to burn off some energy. Having had no experience with “watching” birds she was a little confused as to why we were just standing there in the tall grass. Occasionally she would excuse herself from Hup and start exploring. After a couple of quick toots on the whistle though she’d return and resume her post.
We were on a hill overlooking a small lake that was holding a few birds out on the ice. My hope was that those birds would draw some of the birds in the area in and afford us a couple of opportunities. After about forty-five minutes something startled the birds on the ice and they began to circle over the lake, gradually widening their path as they contemplated sitting back down or heading out.
As the birds circled wider I was pretty certain I was going to get a shot. They were going to be a bit high, but well within gun range. I had not shot the 12 gauge around Lily yet so I decided to fire twice and see how things went. When the birds were in range I fired, and promptly missed. I quickly looked down to my left and no Lily. My heart sank a bit as I worried I had startled her.
Immediately I caught movement to my right. There was Lily with the front part of her body down and her butt up in the air, tail wagging like she had caught something in the grass? She looked ready to pounce so I released her with a “Lily” and she dove into the grass and quickly returned with an empty shell. She was so incredibly proud as she wiggled with excitement. I graciously took the shell and because she was so excited released her again with “Lily” and she swung around and grabbed shell number two. Not exactly what I had in mind for her first double, but I wasn’t going to disappoint the happy little dog.
Needless to say we have a bit of waterfowling work to do with the hopes of her understanding that we’re out there for birds. I relayed the story to a good friend whose comment was that she was just being a “green” dog worried about the environment. Nonetheless the adventure has begun as I transition Lily from the training field to the real world. She is at a crucial point for me to reinforce steadiness. Far and away she is the calmest, most steady dog I’ve ever had but a couple of unrestrained instances like last week and I can see how that would quickly come undone. I’m hoping this is the first of many spring reports with the little white “goose” dog: