Last week I had to put one of my older setters down. A simple bowel obstruction, upon closer examination, led to a sarcoma on the spleen and a unhealthy looking node on a testicle. Rather than put him through a bowel resection, spleen removal and castration with a very dubious prognosis for short term survival, I elected to let him go. This is not easy. Every time I do this it seems that the grief is compounded by the dogs that went before. Benny was a really sweet little maniac. So desperate for birds that I could never trust him completely, and eventually quit hunting him. He was my wife's pet and favorite.
So next week I am making a trek to North Dakota to the summer camp of a well known trainer to evaluate three young puppies. I expect that I will come home with one, if they are like the others I have seen from this breeding. I will have a young dog to develop, and I am excited about the prospect of taking the youngster on my fall bird safari.
On the way home from North Dakota, I will stop in Circle, Montana to ride braces at the Montana Open Shooting Dog Championship and meet both old friends and some people that I have only known previously through phone conversations and exchanges of e-mail.
Pictures of puppies, dogs, and field trial to follow.