Sunday, April 10, 2011

When you see how bad it can get ...

My wife and I just returned from a 15 day trip through China. I've practiced Tai Chi Chuan for 7 years and the trip was sponsored by the studio where I train. We spent the first week in classes with the very best Tai Ci masters in the world and then spent the second week doing the usual tourist stuff in Xian and Beijing. My overwhelming reaction: nearly all of the enviroment that I saw was was horribly damaged. During the entire time in country I saw only a handful of songbirds, a few magpies, no rodents, no hawks. Certainly no game birds. Anything that looks green is under mono-species cultivation. Most of the country is covered by a cloud of smog from the coal-burning electric plants. 5,000 years of human occupation have left a mark on the land and the animals that will not disappear until the next ice age. So, get out your checkbook and send some money to you favorite environmental advocate group. This trip really brought home to me how much we stand to lose if we do not learn to live in a balanced relationship with our environment.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Sorrow at a loss and helpful advice

I received this sad news this morning...

It is with great sadness that I relay that Sean found Smak dead in his kennel on Thursday morning, April 7th.  It is believed that his death was caused by an injury that occurred on Wednesday during a training session at Red Rock, Nevada
Sean had seen Smak being chased by 2 coyotes at about 300 yards.  Due to the distance and the rough terrain, it took Sean sometime to close the distance and catch up with Smak. At that time, Sean found him underneath a pickup belonging to some BLM employees.  Smak appeared to be shaken from his experience but not seriously hurt. 
By the time Sean reached his trailer, Smak seemed to be O.K.  Upon arriving home, Sean noticed a small amount of blood in his crate and upon further examination he found a cut on Smak in the area where his front leg joins his body.  He cleaned the cut and doctored it.  It did not appear to be serious.  Smak was eating and drinking normally.
The next morning when Sean went to the kennel he found Smak dead.  Upon close examination, he found a small hole penetrating in approximately 4".  Sean believes it may have penetrated his lung.
Smak was 6 years old and had won 9 Championships and 5 Runner-up Championship placements.  He was admired by all who had the privilege of seeing him compete.  Frequently, field trialers would ride in the gallery just to watch him .  He was qualified to run in the Nationals and competed in the Amateur Invitational held at the Ames Plantation in which only the top 12 dogs were invited.
There are only a few dogs who have earned the right to be called great. In my opinion, there is no doubt that Smak has earned the right to be counted among those privileged few!!

Sean is a sportsman and is dedicated to his dogs. Kelly's Talk'n Smak was a truly exceptional bird dog. I saw him run many times and have run in brace with him a few times at trials. My condolences to Sean at his loss.

In light of the risks that our dogs take, I am again recommending that you take a minute to look at Birddogdoc's (Shawn Wayment) blog - he has a lot of good advice that might help us treat the inevitable injuries that our bird dogs sustain while doing what they do.

Be careful out there!