My friend Greg had given his girlfriend Jerri
a pup from the same litter as his hunting dog came from. Unfortunately, Greg's
dog proved to be gun shy. When you fire a gun near a gun shy dog, the
dog is apt to turn and run and never look back. Even raising a gun to
your shoulder will bring out this behavior. When you have a gun shy dog
you have a pet only. They can't ever be hunted with. Now, the question
I wanted to know was what about Jerri's dog? No one ever took this female
Brittany out to see if she was gun shy. I asked Jerri and she gave her
consent for me to take the dog hunting.
I had a 1974 Nova hatchback. I turned out to be a pretty good car to
hunt out of. The dog cage we used to use for our Labrador (now deceased)
just fit. So one fall morning I stopped by Jerri's and picked up her dog.
We drove down to Iowa and spent the day hunting. This dog got in the cage
(called kenneling) and out of the cage numerous times. I took a shot at
a rooster and the dog was not gun shy. She was a good dog who never strayed
too far away from me. About and hour away from sunset we took a walk down
a railroad ditch. I remember her acting "birdy" as we passed through some
cover where pheasants had spent the night. We neared the Nova as the sun
was barely visible. I remember kneeling down and petting the dog and
scratching her ears. I walked the last ten yards to the car, but the dog
stayed on the railroad tracks. I thought nothing of it and put my gun
away and opened up the hatchback. I called the dog. She would not come.
I walked toward her. She backed away. I could not get within ten yards
of the dog. The sun set.
I stood by the car eyeing the dog for about ten minutes. Then I got in and
drove slowly down the gravel road to a farm. The dog followed behind. I
stopped in front of the farm and got out. I wanted to make sure there were
no farm dogs around. There weren't. My hunting companion maintained her
ten yard comfort zone. In the front of the farm near the road was a modern
trailer home. I knocked on the front door. An elderly woman answered the
door. "Have you heard everything yet?", I asked her. What did I mean?
"Well, have you heard every weird thing possible yet?" I explained that
I was fifty miles from home with a borrowed hunting dog that wouldn't
get back in the car. She laughed. I asked to borrow some bologna to entice
the dog with. She gave me two pieces and wished me luck. I walked back to
the car on the road with Jerry's dog eyeing me the whole time. I put one
piece of bologna on the front bumper and took the other one with me to
the drivers side. I sat down half in the car, with my legs out and turned
on the radio. Soon, something warm nudged my leg. It was Jerri's dog.
I grabbed her collar and gave her the other piece of bologna.
The next morning I swung by Jerri's to get her dog for another day of hunting.
On the front seat was a newly purchased pack of bologna.
As near as Jerri could make out, the only time her dog went in the car was
to go to the vet's for shots. She must have thought play time was over and
now it was time to go to the vet's.