By Jim Bennett

An old dog and a puppy are the ultimate connection that all dog owners go through. Memories made and memories to be created are the reason we love them both so much. It’s that part of life we call change and we have to welcome it no matter what. But how much peace can you have with a puppy in the house. Ask the old dog trying to sleep with a pup pouncing on it or as the pup chews on the kid’s toys, books and ruins 5 or 6 pacifiers?

My son Josh is experiencing both right now. His dog Cubby is 13 years old. His new puppy Rio is 6 months old. Having two dogs at this stage of life is really a nice fit. The old dog seems to get younger with a new pup in the house. The pup will get an education from the old dog on obedience as the pup learns its place in the pecking order. It’s not long until they’re best friends.

Cubbie got left behind on most of last autumns hunting trips at 91 years old in dog years. Cub’s 5 year old son Bern had replaced him. Rio seems ready to some field work to learn his trade. Rio is Josh’s first pointer, a French Brittany. The only reason Rio is there is because I told Josh I was going to get a pointer. Josh didn’t want to get left behind. So now Josh has to make Cubby and Rio both happy, but how? 

All the pieces fell into place when Josh got a call from a friend who had a pointer that needed work, and someone to shoot over the German Shorthair Pointer. That’s when the light went off under Josh’s hat. Let the pointer point and let Cubby fetch. If only Cub could keep up. It was a perfect marriage. Both dogs had a ball. But what about Rio?

At the end of the hunt the owner of Wings North hunting preserve near Pine City, came out to talk to them both and see how their day went. That’s when Josh mentioned Rio got left behind and hadn’t been on birds yet. The owner smiled and went out back and grabbed a quail that provided a perfect first bird for Rio to learn from and have a ball doing it. So what could make it a more perfect day? On the way back to the vehicle Cubby got birdie and flushed a quail that Josh dropped with a cleans shot so Cub could make one more perfect retrieve to hand. Talk about a perfect ending to a perfect day.

Jim Bennett is an outdoorsman who lives and worked in the St. Croix River Valley and can be reached at jamesbennett24@gmail.com.

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