I was sitting around feeling sorry for myself. It's the middle of March with snow and ice still on the ground.....presently there is rain falling. Any significant training is not on the horizon.
For some reason my mind wandered into the past and stopped in a duck boat on the Rock River. It was a cold day in November. A friend had invited Taffey and I on a duck hunt. Taffey was three and well trained. His dog was on the "other end" in comparison.
"The moment" is still fresh in my mind. A few mallards came in for a quick look. We both shot with one dropping stone dead in front of us 15 yards from the boat. Another was a cripple that was soon headed downstream.
We had not discussed who would do what, but before I knew it I heard "Tonka" as my friend physically picked his dog up and threw him overboard. I'm positive my jaw was on the floor of the boat as my normally steady Taffey reacted to the bizarre retrieving activity in front of her. The "T" in Tonka was close enough for Taffey and she went, too.
Tonka had not yet come up for air when Taffey was swimming for the close, dead mallard. I decided this wasn't good for Tonka. She responded to a whistle and I cast her to the cripple that was headed down stream. Not much farther around a bend there were sieves and I was immediately concerned.
After Tonka made his "outstanding" retrieve, he was hoisted back on board. Meanwhile, Taffey had reached the cripple and was now attempting to swim back up river against the current in the middle. She was making zero headway. All those hours in the training field teaching her to be honest backfired. I could not get her to take an over to the shore. We upped anchor and went to retriever her. Taffey will be thirteen years old this June.
Ten years later, I can still see Tonka's "flying" entry.
Taffey at three years old