Turk, otherwise known as Turkey, or Mr. Impressive if you want to get all official about it, is my brother’s dog. In the past few years Turk has been joined in the field by his two half brothers. Trip (my dog) and Sunday, a.k.a. Weasel (also my brother’s dog) and the three of them are amazing.
I could wax poetic on how, when they hunt together, they truly hunt together. Working with each other, blocking birds, covering the field all the while looking like the handsomest trio of pups you’ve ever seen. But those of you who are bird hunters with dogs of your own probably won’t believe me (because, obviously, your dogs are better). And those of you who aren’t won’t fully comprehend the awesomeness that I’m trying to convey so I won’t. I’ll just stick with amazing.
These dogs are amazing.
Turk is getting up in years, he’ll be 9 come spring, which means that sadly his experience in the field is getting tempered by his stamina. Fortunately, he has the young boys, four year old litter-mates, that he’s training up. And yes, I say he’s training them up. My brother and I, we try to help, but Turk is the one pulling the real weight.
Early in our week of Montana hunting the three boys would swarm the field together. Often Turk was the steadying presence for the young dogs as they pinned down a bird. But by the end of the week he was tired, trotting rather than running through the grass. Occasionally, stopping and staring into whatever likely cover we were passing by as if to say, “Hey boys! Get in there!”And the youngsters did. He had taken over as general manager of our little pack of dogs.
But Turk wasn’t completely out of gas. He was just an experienced dog conserving it for when it counted.
Near the end of the week my brother shot a sharp-tailed grouse. Off it flew over the crest of a hill, running out of steam and going down. Right behind it flew the dogs. Sunday, Turk and Trip lined up and running all out for the retrieve. They were, as I have said, a beautiful sight. And then, as we watched, Turk kicked it into high gear. Always the champion of the long distance retrieve, he was not about to be outdone by those young upstarts. And the dog that had been trotting about lengthened his stride and started gaining on Sunday as they crested the hill and disappeared out of sight.
Of course it was Turk who came back over the hill, mouth full of feathers, with a look in his eye for the youngsters as if to say, “This is how it’s done.”