This dog won’t hunt, but that’s okay


Every year around this time, as the temperature drops and the leaves begin to flutter in a whirlwind of red and gold, we are reminded at home of a simple yet lingering fact about our dog Bo.

Thereby ? It’s a failure.

Please don’t get me wrong, he is very good at a number of things you would expect from a pet. He’s truly great at being petted and accepting treats, with the latter talent most likely to blame for what our kind vet calls his “toughness.” He’s wonderful for keeping the house safe from squirrels cavorting along our back porch railings (not one came inside) and knowing what time he’s supposed to be fed (his clock internal would make a Swiss watchmaker proud). He is gentle with children, good on a leash and works hard to add to his repertoire of tricks, which now includes rolling over at least two out of 10 times he is ordered to do.

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In fact, the only real reason anyone could ever call Bo a failure is that he technically failed at the only thing he was originally supposed to do, and that was hunting. The family member who gave it to us, right after we lost our previous pup, intended to use it to retrieve birds, but soon realized it was a losing battle. ‘advance. Perhaps frightened by the sound of the gun, or simply misunderstood the mission, Bo could never be persuaded to bring back a blessed thing.

I think it may still bother him a bit, this stain on his otherwise perfect record. Sometimes when he’s curled up on the couch and a bird sounds outside, he starts huffing and puffing like he knows he’s expected to do something. But once the feathered enemy flies away, he looks somewhat relieved to return to his nap.

As I may have mentioned in these pages once or twice, Bo might first look like God’s idea of ​​a good enough joke, or at least what a puppy would look like if put together at from leftovers. He is strong but not stately, with a barrel-shaped body and stocky legs. He’s surprisingly fast but also quite uncoordinated, so he sometimes looks like he’s trying to run in multiple directions at once. Nevertheless, he is loved.

The past few weeks have been a blur of activity around our house for a variety of reasons, meaning Bo and I haven’t had many opportunities to head out for our fall walks around the lake near our house. When we do, Bo never fails to dive headfirst into the experience. Every leaf and twig is examined, every squirrel warned. He revels in the autumn air and watches everyone as the king of the forest.

So yeah, maybe he didn’t in his first career. Maybe he’s shaped like a Turkish ottoman and he doesn’t know a lot of tricks. But since finding where he was supposed to be, Bo has passed all the tests with flying colors.

This dog may not hunt, as they say, but he was always a good boy.