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What Your Gun Dog Says About You

Five breeds of dogs that tell the world what kind of hunter, and person, you really are

What Your Gun Dog Says About You

By Brian Lyn

Like your chosen rifle, the dog you opt to share your home and time afield with reflects the personality and vigor with which you tackle life and hunting season. Without saying a word, your fellow hunters will peg you by the four-legged hound at your side.

The Everyman
Breed of Dog: Labrador Retriever
The most popular American Kennel Club registered breed of dog in the United States for the past 20 years, the Lab can do it all—hunt the uplands for quail or pheasants, retrieve ducks from backwoods marshes or geese from big open water and then lay contentedly by the fire while your children climb all over him. Willing to learn and desiring to please, the Lab matures quickly and can make even the amateur trainer look like a dog-whispering Cesar Millan.

Your Personality: You’re an all around good guy; a family man who loves to work hard and play harder. As a staple in middle-class neighborhoods, you’re a balanced and upstanding member of society and aren’t prone to raising hell in a bar every weekend (although you might enjoy an occasional night on the town). When not in the field, you spend time with friends and family and make new acquaintances easily, but you are more than capable of defending yourself and loved ones if the need arises.

The Loyalist
Breed of Dog: Chesapeake Bay Retriever
An all-American retriever and the official state breed of Maryland, the Chesapeake Bay retriever served a dual purpose during the height of the market-hunting days: that of guard dog and game retriever. Originating in the cradle of our country’s waterfowling heritage, the breed retrieved ducks and geese by day and protected punt guns, boats and bags of decoys while their masters hit dockside saloons at night. The hardiest of the retrievers, no water is too cold or too big for a Chessie. Retaining more than a sliver of their guarding genetics, the breed has a reputation for being a one-man dog, protective of family and turf and stubborn during training.

Your Personality: You’re hardcore in the field, as well as in life, and you know it. While you can accomplish high-level tasks, it takes someone that understands your sometimes surly disposition to motivate you. You’re not trusting of strangers or new acquaintances, and Heaven have mercy on anyone who tries to push you into a corner because you’d just as-soon throw a punch for a perceived insult as ignore it. Aloof and somewhat willful, you often seek contemplative solitude so as to avoid the mindless chatter of society. You love your family and friends dearly and surround yourself with them. You also possess a concealed-carry permit and sleep with a gun in the nightstand so as to best protect those closest to you.

The Dandy Gentleman
Breed of Dog: English Springer Spaniel
Springers shine in the upland fields. Able to quarter and make finds with the best of bird dogs, these small liver-and-white or black-and-white dogs can also pull double duty and retrieve waterfowl more than passably. Only their small stature and thin skin keep them from tackling the biggest of geese and roughest or coldest of waters. 

Your Personality: Happy and willing to please, Springer owners approach life with a proverbial bounce in their step. This gay approach to life might leave coworkers and hunting buddies under the impression that you’re a little soft but you don’t care—nothing can deter your enthusiasm. Vanity often plagues Springer owners; they must always look the part by sporting brand name and matching attire, a delicately engraved firearm (nothing less than a Caesar Guerini will do) and a coifed hairdo are just some of the quirks necessary to be considered part of the Springer glitterati. While your enthusiasm allows you to pull double duty in the marshes, cold turbulent waters aren’t your strong suit. No, you’re most happy frolicking through the dry upland fields of life in pursuit of love and happiness—perhaps you’d make a fine outdoor writer.

The Caring Clown
Breed of Dog: Golden Retriever
Perhaps the softest, most needy of all the gun dog breeds, the Golden retriever, with its long flowing locks of amber-tinted hair, is a clown that loves to perform and make its owners, and any guest or passerby, laugh. Heavy doses of show lines have hurt the breed’s hunting ability in general, but those dogs bred for the field willingly burrow through the nastiest of upland fields or take the plunge for waterfowl under any conditions. A soft disposition, plenty of positive reinforcement and a light hand are required during training.

Your Personality: As a golden owner you are eternally optimistic, and just a tad bit goofy. The likeable nerd when you were in school, you see the good in all people and all things. In social settings if you’re not acting as the center of attention, you’re the one stuck in the corner with someone crying on your shoulder. You love to make people feel better and it sometimes attracts the crazies in life, but you don’t mind. While it’s sometimes hard for you to focus on field work, what with all the socializing and shoulder-sobbing demands you must fulfill, when you do get out to hunt its generally a few weekends a year. Just as you sometimes adorn your golden in various colors of bandanas, you often wear unnecessary accessories, like Orvis waders when fishing a no-wading zone.

The Driven Loner
Breed of Dog: Pointer
Hard charging and energetic, pointers have a one-track mind and it’s all focused on finding birds. Their genetic disposition to course a field in search of feathers tends to make them bigger runners than other breeds of upland dogs. These are the elitist of athletes and at best are one-man dogs; but if that man can’t put him on birds, a pointer might not show any inclination to acknowledge the two-legged being in his life except during meal time. These hardy dogs can tackle the most difficult of terrain and will answer the call day after day during the season.

Your Personality: Like your chosen breed, you’re a hard-charging loner who’s driven to succeed. To you, second place is the first-place loser. You’re a fast thinker on your feet and love to tackle new challenges. Energetic and unable to sit still very long, you probably have more than a borderline case of Attention Deficit Disorder. With your somewhat addictive personality, you approach hunting season and life similarly, with a conquer-all attitude and nearly obsessive desire to be in the thick of either a quail-filled briar patch or pitching a board of directors on your newest entrepreneurial endeavor. 

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March 2, 2011 Posted by | animal behavior, animals, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pets, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

President Bush and His Pets


Spotty

     In my book, you can tell a lot about a person by the way they relate to animals and how they treat their pets.  Much good and bad has been said and written about former President George W. Bush but what you can definitely say is that he loves animals and has a good heart.  The Bushes had four pets with them during their years in the White House:  Spot Fetcher (Spotty), Barney, Miss Beazley and India (also known as Willie or Kitty). 

     In February 2004 the Bush family lost their 15-year-old English Springer, Spotty. Spotty was the daughter of Millie Bush, the well-known dog of President Bush’s parents, who was born in the White House during George H.W. Bush’s term on March 17, 1989.  Spot was named for former Texas Ranger baseball player Scotty Fletcher.

     Spot was always eager to please and was never far from the President’s side to the very end, but after suffering a series of strokes the President and his wife, Laura, went along with the veterinarian’s recommendation to put Spotty to sleep.  The evening before she was put down, a White House staffer saw the president sitting on the floor cradling Spotty in his arms and talking to her; a touching moment that tells a lot.

     The friendly brown-and-white spaniel was regularly seen wandering around the West Wing and the South Lawn alongside the other more energetic and younger Bush dog, Barney, a black 3-year-old Scottish terrier.  The two dogs were always brought out to greet the president upon his return to the White House from trips, no matter the hour. They also often traveled with the Bushes to Texas or Camp David. Spot was always the more obedient of the two, loyally climbing onto Air Force One or a helicopter without any prompting while Bush often had to chase Barney down and then hand him off to an aide to be carried aboard.

     Mrs. Bush has often said, – especially with the two Bush daughters off at college – “Talking about and playing with the dogs and the family’s much more withdrawn cat, Willie, makes up a significant portion of our entertainment.  Spotty will be missed.”

     After Spot went to doggie Heaven, the Bush’s acquired Miss Beazley, another Scotty, as a companion for Barney.  Both were featured on the Barney cam and had their own web page while the Bushes were in the White House and have now returned to Texas with the family.  Sadly India the family’s 18-year-old American short-haired cat passed away in January, just days before Bush left the office of the presidency.  India had been named for former Texas Rangers player Ruben Sierra.  Bush daughter Barbara, then 9, named the cat “India” after the former major league player, whose nickname was “El Indio.” President George W. Bush was a former co-owner of the Texas Rangers.

 

Harry Truman said, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” Plenty of presidents did, and other pets besides.
  

      Much can be learned about a person by the way they relate to animals and how they treat their pets. But, perhaps even more can be learned about them by the way they love their pets at the end.  The Bush White House pets no doubt helped the President through some of his toughest times and from all evidence the love and concern went both ways.

By:  Marion Algier/Ask Marion for Just One More Pet 

 

 

Barney and Miss Beazley follow President George W. Bush along the West Wing Colonnade Wednesday, July 23, 2008, on the way back to the Oval Office at the White House. White House photo by Joyce Boghosian  
Barney and Miss Beazley follow President George W. Bush along the West Wing Colonnade Wednesday, July 23, 2008, on the way back to the Oval Office at the White House. White House photo by Joyce Boghosian

barbara-bush-india-and-jenna-bush-hager1The Bush Girls With India
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March 9, 2009 Posted by | Just One More Pet, On The Lighter Side, Pet Events, Pet Friendship and Love, pet fun, Pets, Unusual Stories | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Doggie ‘doctors’ diagnose their owners’ ills

Canines’ keen sense of smell & intuition helps them detect people’s disease

Morgan, a Yorkshire terrier, jumped at owner Pamela Plante’s leg so incessantly that she that she finally inspected it in the mirror, and realized it was red up to her knee. She was diagnosed with an  infection that had spread throughout her body and she spent a week in the hospital.“After she jumped on my leg, she would sit and look at me and shake or shiver,” says the Smithfield, R.I., woman. (Photo by Pamela Plante)

“From past experience, I knew she would shake like that when she was in pain, so I picked her up and checked her all over trying to find out what was wrong and couldn’t find anything. When I put her down she would jump on my leg again.”

Finally, Plante inspected her leg in a mirror and discovered it was red up to the knee.

Plante called her doctor who told her to get checked immediately. She was diagnosed with sepsis and spent a week in the hospital recovering from the infection that started in her leg and spread through her body.

Sensitive dogs, such as Morgan, are proving that besides being man’s best friend, some canines also have a lifesaving sixth sense. Dogs’ keen ability to differentiate smells enables some of them to know we’re sick long before we might ourselves. Combine that with their 24/7 observation of us and some pets have proven to be skilled diagnosticians, even if we’re not always sure what they’re trying to tell us.

In the past few years, studies have shown that dogs can sniff out both early and late stage lung and breast cancers. The Pine Street Foundation, a non-profit cancer education and research organization, in San Anselmo, Calif., is even training dogs to recognize ovarian cancer.

Some dogs have also been shown capable of detecting skin cancer.

Riker, a 9-year-old Australian Shepherd who lives with Liz and Paul Palika in Oceanside, Calif., poked insistently at Liz’s father’s chest. “Dad, did you leave some of your dinner on your shirt?” Liz teased him. But Riker wouldn’t stop. To satisfy him, Liz and her mother took a closer look. There was a lump on her father’s chest. A trip to the doctor revealed a melanoma that had spread beneath the skin.

Other dogs have been taught to catch when diabetics’ blood sugar levels drop. And for about the past 20 years, “seizure dogs” have been used to alert their owners to a pending seizure and assist them to a safe place until it’s over.

Lifesaving cat
It’s not just dogs who have proven to have life-saving noses. Ardis Matson of Brookings, S.D., credits a gray tomcat named Tuffy with keeping her mother alive and able to live on her own for several years. “My mother was elderly and had insulin-dependent diabetes,” Matson says. “Often, her blood sugar would go dangerously low during the night and if left unchecked it could have caused her to go into a coma and die. Tuffy always slept with her, and when her blood sugar started slipping really low during the night, he would nudge her and walk across her body and keep aggravating her until she would get up and take glucose to make her blood sugar levels rise. When she was in control again, Tuffy would go back to sleep.”

And then there’s Oscar, a cat who lives at Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence, R.I. He alerts staff to the impending death of patients, a gift that allows families to be notified in time to say their good-byes.

The answer to how animals know something is wrong may be up in the air — literally. Dogs and cats have a keener sense of smell than humans, and that may enable them to detect subtle changes in body odor caused by such things as cancer cells or lowered blood sugar.

In the case of Oscar, for instance, veterinarian Margie Scherk, president of the American Association of Feline Practitioners, notes that he may be picking up a variety of clues that people are too busy to notice or don’t have the sensory capacity to detect.

“Cats live in a world of smells; their olfactory sense is a lot more acute than that of a human,” Scherk says. “People who are dying, as well as those who aren’t eating, emit ketotic odors, which might be one cue that cats like Oscar detect. There could easily be other odors that a dying individual produces that our noses are unable to note.”

In addition to being able to pick up certain odors, dogs and cats also seem to be able to recognize that it means there’s a problem their owners need to know about.

“There is reason to believe that some odors do have an ‘intrinsic’ value to the animal, that evolution has led to the development of neural pathways that specialize in detecting and processing relevant categories of smell,” says Timothy E. Holy, assistant professor of anatomy and neurobiology at Washington University in St. Louis. “Experience, too, plays a big role. You can train a dog to react in particular ways to relatively arbitrary smells.”

Those smells might include the breath of a person with lung cancer or the urine of a person with bladder cancer.

So the next time your dog or cat is nagging you, don’t ignore him. He might have something important to say. Just ask Joan Beck of Cottage Grove, Minn.

“One morning I woke up in the throes of a severe asthma attack. My husband was already awake and taking a shower. I was having so much trouble breathing that I couldn’t call for help. Our English springer spaniel, Sam, suddenly appeared, nosed me for a moment, then turned around and left the room. My husband said later that Sam pushed the bathroom door open and insisted that he follow Sam back to our bedroom. ‘Who needs Lassie when we have Sam?’ my husband says.”

By:  Kim Campbell Thornton is an award-winning author who has written many articles and more than a dozen books about dogs and cats. She belongs to the Dog Writers Association of America and is past president of the Cat Writers Association. She shares her home in California with three Cavalier King Charles spaniels and one African ringneck parakeet.

© 2008 MSNBC Interactive

August 29, 2008 Posted by | Animal Rights And Awareness, Just One More Pet, Pets, Success Stories | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment