Our Opening Weekend -- Goodbye to a family member and lots of doves

sdbrewer

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We had a good but strange opening weekend. Our oldest dog -- Annie -- would have turned 15 in October. My wife and I had Annie before we had either of our two boys. Annie was the first dog I attempted to train to hunt. She was OK. Not great but functional and enjoyed hunting. She retired from hunting when we got our current dog which I think was in 2006. Annie had been living the good and easy life of a family dog since then. As she got older and older her body began to fail her though her mind was still pretty sharp. Over the last few months, she has had some good days and some bad days. Our family has worked hard to accommodate the issues that come with an old dog. We all knew that Annie's time was short but didn't know exactly when the day would come. We figured we would know it when we saw it. Our current dog had TPLO surgery on her second knee at the beginning of July so she is out of commission for doves. We had the neighbor lined up to watch both dogs while we went out for doves. When we woke on Saturday morning, Annie was having a bad day. We made the decision that it was time. Took her to the vet and she passed away peacefully at about 1:30 or so on August 31. She was the most gentle and caring dog one could ask for and a huge part of our family. We will miss her. But, she had a wonderful life. If there is anything to reincarnation, I wouldn't mind coming back as Annie. A couple of pics:

View attachment 53443

View attachment 53444 Annie is the brown one.

Once we had gathered ourselves, we headed out to the Valley, bringing our other dog -- didn't want to leave her home alone -- she spent most of the day in the truck with the AC running -- which she wasn't too pleased about. But, she did get a few easy retrieves on some flat ground and I think she enjoyed being with us.

I consider myself a very lucky man. My wife and both sons are licensed hunters and we all really enjoy dove hunting together (as well as my Dad but he was out of the country for this opener). Thus, it isn't just me, the whole family gets fired up for dove opener. The opener was a great distraction to take our minds off Annie's passing. The rain on Saturday night was something else! We forged the river to get to Burgers and Beer where a good time was had by all. On Sunday morning, we had a mediocre shoot. Our spot was a little too crowded for my taste but there were birds to be had and everyone pretty much behaved themselves. I spent a fair amount of time supervising my youngest son who is on his second season. He shot two doves. My wife only got one. I got 8 and my oldest son picked up a dozen. Probably about a 50/50 mix of regulation birds and euros. We called it a morning around 10 or so. One of the high points was a rainbow that lasted for at least an hour. I suspect Annie had something to do with that. Went back to the hotel, grabbed some food, a swim and a nap. Headed back out to a different spot that was very good in the afternoon of the previous opener. Good choice. We put the wood to the Euros taking 83 birds between the four of us in about 2.5 hrs.

View attachment 53445 They don't really look like killers do they?

Trophy dove for Hatchet:

View attachment 53446

Went back to the same spot the next morning and picked up another 30 or so. When we got to the spot, we found a vehicle parked about 50 or 75 yards from where we wanted to hunt. I left everyone in the car and went over to ask if they minded if my family hunted on the end of the tree line or if they thought that would be too close. They kindly said no problem and we worked together just great.

So overall, a strange but good opening weekend. Met some great folks and shot a lot of birds. Can't wait to get back out there!
 

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Hobbyhorse

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My heartfelt condolences about Annie, they give so much and ask for so little in return. The impact they have on our families is amazing and their passing is always too soon. What a great day for the family and the birds were not half bad as either.
 

FredtheGad

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Daum Thats stuff is tough,I care about my dogs more than i do some people. RIP Annie, sorry for yer familys loss sd
 

longduck

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never easy to put down a dog.........RIP Annie!
 

Nimrod

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sorry about Annie. Glad you had a great family opener together!
 

muledeer07

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Sorry for your loss SD I know how hard it is to lose a loving family member. It seems to get harder every time.
 

MarshRat

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Sorry for your loss, putting a dog down is so hard. I have only had to do it once, over 35 years ago and it still hurts like it was yesterday. But a great opening weekend for you and your family, congrats on a great time!
 

czduckz

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RIP Annie. Putting a dog down must be very tough. I haven't had to do it yet, but dread the day already. I think about how hard it will be to put a family member down. Sorry for your loss. I'm sure there is a great bird dog puppy in your future. Great job on the 100+ birds with your family...Pretty damn cool.
 

Quacker Wacker

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Sorry for your lose in Annie. But what a great family story!

You are a blessed man with a family that enjoys the outdoors.
 

bigfishnfreak

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I lost my buddy the same day , He was ten years old.
A chocolate lab LUKE ,tried to save him for a month or so ,he had a stroke then pneumonia the vet gave him steroids
but nothing worked .
lost him the day before the opener, had a flash flood when scouting el centro that afternoon he was talking to us.

you can't hunt without me.
 

Vermonster

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15 years old, that's over 100 for us. She lived a long, and by the sound of it, happy life. Sorry to hear, but glad to see you have some good memories......
 

imateamroper2

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Chokes me up.thinking about all the pets I've lost.
so i know how hard it is.sorry to hear.
Your lucky to have another to fall back on.
 
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