On August 15, 2002 in a heat lamp lit whelping box in my home 8 Golden Retriever puppies, 5 males and 3 females were born to my Kate dog sired by Frisbie’s Pilsner
As they continued to grow we assigned an “unofficial” name to each one that had to do with something obviously special. There was
A couple years before this I had introduced a co-worker and very good friend Steve Kuyper to the sport of bird hunting. At the time I had 2 Goldies, Kate and Molly so together we hunted behind them as he developed a hunting passion. Owning a non-hunting Golden he was familiar with the breed and this litter offered me an opportunity. As mentioned above the Tyson puppy became my favorite but with female dogs in my home I didn’t think the addition of a male would be wise. However, wanting to see him grow I offered him as a gift to Steve, maybe a slightly selfish gift since it would still allow me to see him and know how he turned out but as things have gone a wonderful gift. That was 10 years ago and along that journey he has earned a Master Hunt Title, retrieved countless ducks and geese, rousted pheasants from cattails and grass fields, sat patiently in duck blinds and looked forward to each fall with his master and the beginning of yet another hunting season. He’s also become a best buddy to Steve sleeping on the floor next to his bed when at the cabin and never really forgotten those puppy days, at least I don’t think so. When still a small pup Steve also decided to keep his “unofficial” name as his own, Tyson often shortened in the field to Tys. He has sired 2 litteres so the blood line continues but few owners of his off-spring really know the beginning.
Recently Steve noticed Tyson seemed to be loosing weight from a pre-hunting too heavy size to looking good to really skinny. Yesterday brought a trip to his vet with resulting sad news. Tyson, the big hard-charging 80 lb bull of a dog has cancer. A cancer that will rob him of life in a month or two. The news in a call from Steve brought tears flowing freely down my cheeks and does even now. My throat tightens and I am sad for Steve and for Tyson.
You might be thinking “come on it’s just a dog!” I’ve also had to say goodbye to a number of them in the past but none get any easier just because it’s not the first. You see I believe there’s a special unique bond that forms between a gun dog and master unlike that between a human and any other animal. They become an extension of you and can do things that enhance your experiences and your life. They become your best canine friend, one who’s always happy to see you, always there when needed, a great listener and one who always forgives instantly no matter how badly you screw up!
So with the time left I hope we can make it afield one more time and if that isn’t in the cards thanks you big “ear-chewin’ critter!” You’re a hell of a dog!