One week ago today, our thirteen-year-old Brittany, Dubba, took his last walk in the yard. The decision to end the suffering of a beloved pet is hard, very hard. Carrying out that decision is a burden shared by many. This article is in appreciation for Dubba and the love he showed me, once he got to know me.
A Sporting Life
I’m a supporter of rescue dogs and my life before Wayne has included many. In contrast, Dubba was bred to point birds, specifically quail. He was a master of his craft, teaching many young Brittany pups the art of trailing the scent, pinpointing the hidden location, and then standing stock still until released by the bird taking flight.
Once the hunter brought down the bird, Dubba retrieved it carefully with a ‘soft mouth’, responding to the call of his master, my husband, Wayne. I traipsed behind the hunters one cool Spring morning and watched the symphony of man, dog, and quail in a field, dotted with palmetto islands.
Wild quail hunting is a thing of the past, their natural habitat replaced by housing tracts with cement walls and names like, “Quail Trail Preserve”. Now there are quail breeders and quail brokers. Wayne or his friend, Fred, purchase the birds right before the hunt and place them in the field. When I first saw this, I was taken a back. Consequently, I understand and appreciate the joy of our Brittanys when they are on the hunt.
A Man and His Dog
The bond between Wayne and Dubba was deep, born when Dubba was born in the same home Wayne and I now share. I’ve know Dubba four years. At first he was a bit intimidating. Within a few months, he was seeking me out, rubbing his head against my thigh.
Although Wayne had hopes of breeding our puppy, Sugar, with Dubba, that never happened. Dogs have preferences too. Dubba did not care for Sugar. I breathed a sigh of relief. The thought of raising puppies kept me up nights.
Many years ago, Dubba was a house dog, like his sister, Marilyn and Sugar are today. Dubba, however, insisted on marking his territory inside the house. He received his own house in the yard with an elevated, enclosed and covered area, front entrance, and steps down to the cool cement floor of his spacious kennel. Soon after, a lost, injured American Bulldog found Wayne in Georgia on a deer hunting trip. After diligent efforts to find the Bulldog’s owners failed, Wayne named her Daisy, and brought her home to live with Dubba.
Dogs Have Feelings Too
Wayne and I were worried about Daisy’s reaction to the absence of her friend, Dubba. At first, she was very subdued; barking and eating less, sleeping more. We’ve given Daisy extra tummie rubs, more exercise and attention. She is responding well and seems as happy as she was before. Wayne and I feel better too.
Life Moves On
For all of you who experienced your dog’s last walk in the yard, I feel your pain. I also feel your warm memories of sloppy dog kisses, endless games of fetch, and tender moments. Goodbye dear friend, Dubba.
Dog Mama Dawn