Friday, August 22, 2008


The last night I was in Denver after fishing Wyoming, David, Grace and I went to the predetermined restuarant to meet my internet friend Shawn Wayment. I have to admit that there was some trepidation on our part as we weren't sure quite what to expect or even if he'd show up. Nonetheless, we were determined that we'd have a nice dinner to re-hash our fishing experience and say our goodbyes. Shawn and I had shared our blogs and communicated regularily by email. I knew he was a pointer guy, a veterinarian and avid bird hunter. I hoped it would be an enjoyable evening but also realized it could be the quickest dinner in the history of eating out. As I had hoped, it was a very enjoyable evening. David and Grace got bored with "dog talk" and went to the bar to listen to the music. Honestly, the evening didn't last long enough. I am considerably older than Shawn and he seemed genuinly interested in some of my stories of grouse trials and the great dogs I had seen or judged over the years. They were dogs he had only read about or knew by reputation. Just before we left Shawn said " You really should write on your blog about some of those dogs, their owners and their handlers." Perhaps no one will be interested other than Shawn but I've decided to start a series of posts titled "Great Dogs and Good Men". I hope to describe some of my experiences, the dogs that shaped my opinions and hold in high esteem and the Good Men that owned and handled them. Don't be afraid to post a comment and tell me I'm wasting your time. goes. PEGGY AND PAT My father never hunted when I was a boy. There was a double barrel 12 guage with hammers in the rafters of our basement but my dad made it very clear that the consequences of my handling it would be severe. I asked my dad many times why he never hunted but he always replied that he used to but didn't want to now. I always suspected that there had been an accident or incident that caused him to put that gun away and never touch it again but I never knew for sure. My uncles bird hunted and our neighbor Eddie White had a pointer and hunted pheasants. I remember being fascinated by the trunkloads of pheasants and quail he'd bring home and always appreciated the long rooster tail feathers he'd give me. I suppose that in todays world Eddie would be described as a "redneck". I can see him now wearing a white tee shirt with a pack of Pall Malls rolled up in the sleeve. Eddie believed that the only purpose of his birddog "Peggy" was to hunt. He never considered her a pet or part of the family. He kept her chained to a dog house 365 days a year except for the times they went hunting. Peggy drank from a rusted galvanized pail he'd fill every few days and her food pan sat next to the doghouse most always filled with dirt, dead bugs and weeds. Every evening Eddie went out to Peggy with a can of dog food opened at both ends and push out the contents into that dirty bowl. I don't remember him ever talking to her or even petting her. He'd simply push the food into the bowl, turn and walk away. For some reason I was drawn to Peggy. She was white and liver with an evenly marked head and several body spots. I don't remember exactly when it started, I suppose I was eight or nine, but I loved to sneak over while Eddie was at work and pet and play with her. My mother caught me several times curled up in the doghouse with her. I cherished the times Eddie and family would go away and ask me to feed her. I always had dogs growing up but they were always small mutts my mother could tolerate in her house. I loved them ofcourse but somehow they never quite measured up to the strength and purpose of Peggy nor did they appreciate me like she did. My uncle Art was a bird hunter too. He kept a black and white pointer female named Pat in a pen behind my grandmothers house. Compared to Peggy, Pat lived a life of luxury. Pat lived in a pen made from cedar posts and wire fencing with a dog house in the middle of the 20 x 40 enclosure. Pat raced around it and barked at people and strange sounds. She was suprisingly muscular and powerful. I always volunteered to take Pats dinner (that always included table scraps) to her so I could go inside the pen to pet and play with her. Peggy and Pat were my ideal of hunting dogs and I knew from that time on I'd be a bird hunter and own English Pointers. Next up..........................Missy and Wayne Fruchey


Mntmaniac said...

Enjoyed that little story dale...reminds me of hunting with my Grandfather in Florida during the early 80's for Quail, when there were some,over his EP's. Those dogs were back yard bred but could handle their birds, sure made quite an impression on me though. Please keep 'em comin'.

Shawn K. Wayment, DVM said...

Great post Dale!

I also enjoyed having dinner with you, David and Grace! (Although, I hope we didn't bore them to much!)
The company and the talk was grand! Next fall we'll have to pick up where we left off in MI chasing woodcock with our bird dogs and fishing the Ausable! I'd love to have you out West as well some time in the near future!

I can't wait for your next posts! Keep them coming!

BTW...thanks for the book. I recieved it today!


Andrew M. Wayment said...


I enjoyed your post. English Pointers are the thoroughbreds of the pointing dog world and they are addictive. I currently have one. The best dog I have ever had and/or seen was an Elhew by the name of Farley. If there were birds around, he found them and held them. I did not get into bird hunting until law school. I can see how magnetic they would be to a young child. I looke forward to your next post.


Dale Hernden said...

Thanks Andy. They are regal and magnetic indeed.

I love the picture of Farley on Shawns site!

I hope to meet you sometime as your brother into bringing you along when he comes to hunt with me.