Shootin' the Breeze

and random targets

Archive for the tag “fetching”

Jail Bird Dog

Retrievers are considered bird dogs because they are bred, and should be trained to (guess what!) retrieve birds.  They get the birds that hunters shoot, often swimming out to get the birds that fall into a pond or lake.  That is their purpose, when given the opportunity.


But who hunts every day?  So, during their days off, Retrievers look for other tasks for which they are fitted.  Often they fetch balls, sticks, or frisbees.  All such activities are appropriate and can be very fun for dog and owner alike.

Beau is a Yellow Labrador Retriever.  As I have written in other blogs, he is a water dog.  He can swim.  He can also pull on hoses and plumbing devices in order to free water that is being otherwise directed for human purposes.

Since getting him from the animal shelter, we have wondered about Beau’s life story.  We have wondered why someone did not neuter him, apparently not train him, and give him up to a shelter.  We now have a credible theory.  Basically, he is an outlaw.

I have written about his sinful nature, including thievery and vandalism.

I was recently provided reasonable evidence persuading me that he came from a criminal home wherein he was brought up in a criminal lifestyle by, well, an actual criminal.

Earlier this week, I was talking to a local breeder of Labradors and told her about our Beau.  She told me that she might know the very dog.  She had, a couple years ago, sold one of her male pups to a woman who then called her a few months ago and asked if the breeder would take back the dog and keep him while that woman served her jail sentence of several months.  That convicted criminal’s dog was intact.  The dog was about two years old.  The dog was, she thinks, Beau.

So, now that he is our dog, and since he was surrendered to the pound when the breeder declined taking care of him during the term of his prior owner’s imprisonment, Miss Sugar does not want to give him back to his criminal past owner.  Neither do I.

However, sometimes I am conflicted.  This morning, our criminal dog stole Miss Sugar’s shoe, again, and tried to sneak it outside.  When I used my lightning reflexes to close the door before the thief could escape, the young delinquent taunted me.  He would not bring it back.  He ran upstairs.  When Sugar got him to relinquish it, even as she was praising him for dropping the shoe, he unrepentantly grabbed a bra that was in the bedroom and ran downstairs with it.   He had that evil look in his laughing eyes as he shook the bra like a rag.  He was not feeling guilty.  He was not sorry.  He shows no remorse.  He was, and is, per my amateur diagnosis, criminally insane.  He might lack the capacity to distinguish right from wrong.  Or he could, like Satan, know exactly what is wrong and delight in doing wrong.

evil eye

Insanity is a defense.  Evil intent to deprive another of her property is not.  Both types (insane or evil) need to be locked up.

Do we have a duty as citizens of the county to report Beau’s crimes to the Sheriff?

If the District Attorney chooses to prosecute Beau, as the husband of the victim of his crimes, I have an inherent conflict of interest and cannot represent him.  Will the Public Defender urge Beau to plead guilty?  Must the prosecutor prove “mens rea” (criminal intent)?

What is the sentencing guideline for “Theft of Brassiere?”  Is it Grand Theft if the bra is DD?

Assuming that Beau will be convicted (after all, there are two credible eye witnesses), is it feasible to rehabilitate him in prison?  If put on probation, is he doomed to fail to meet the conditions of probation?  One standard condition is to “refrain from engaging in any unlawful activity.”  Does he have it in him to so refrain?  He is, after all, a repeat offender.

I need some guidance.

The Passing of the Ball

Our dog Max, a Yellow Labrador Retriever, definitely received the memo (and genes) about retrieving.  He was not “taught” to retrieve.  He started when he was a baby puppy, just weeks (not months) old.  He would follow a little rubber ball the size of a jacks ball rolling across the floor, pick it up and bring it back.  He did have to be taught to drop it.  He learned he had to drop the ball or stick for the game to continue.  However, we had to be quick or he’d pick it up again.  He developed the ability to anticipate where the ball is going and sometimes beat it by going farther (and faster) than the ball traveled through the air, needing then to come back for the ball, like football receivers sometimes do.

Consequently, he became the “ball bully” at dog parks throughout the area.  Dog owners have had to recognize that bringing one’s dog to a dog park to play fetch can be less fun when a yellow streak beats your dog to its own ball EVERY TIME.  It would be like taking your middle schooler to play catch with a football and Champ Bailey kept intercepting it.  No fair!  We have had to apologize over and over and ultimately stopped taking him to such parks, out of kindness I suppose, for the lesser beings.

At the ranch, retrieving can be even more fun for a water dog because there is a river into which objects may be thrown, provided they float.

Max displayed an additional talent for an aspect of retrieving beyond rudimentary fetching.  That is,  on the rare occasions that he lost sight of a ball that landed in the tall grass, Max was not perplexed.  Instead, he gladly went about the next task, which was sweeping the area  in a series of half circles while his tail wagged like a metronome and his nose was held near to the ground.  He covered the ground in a systematic manner with confidence that he would eventually find the hidden ball.  To him, the balls were not lost — merely hiding to make the game more interesting.  His interest did not waiver.  He kept at the sweeping until he successfully found the ball.  He was an excellent example of persistence.  It was something that he was not taught.  I would not know how to teach that.  It was a gift delivered through genetic excellence.  Some have it; some don’t.  You can’t put in what God left out.  God did not leave out the instincts that Max was destined to enjoy.

I have read that a genius is compelled to follow his or her path.  For example, if Mozart had not had piano lessons, he would have played regardless.  He had to.  His talent, his genius, compelled him to be a musician.  Max was born with a genius for retrieving.  He had to use his superior talent in such endeavors.  That is how God made him.

Max went to be with the Lord on January 3, 2013.  1-3-13.  He was born the day after 9-11-01.

Rover, our German Shorthair Pointer, like all other dogs on earth, never had a chance when competing with Max in chasing balls.  However, he tried.  Today he brought us a ball, one belonging to Max, the orange rubber ball with the jingle inside, and we played fetch.  And Sugar cried.  It is very clear that Rover learned from the master.  The torch, I mean ball, has been passed.


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