I'm equal parts proud and amazed at the stamina and drive of working dogs, most of which is bred into them. Training simply directs their natural instinct towards something that, hopefully, benefits both dog and handler. I thought a short video might show this better than a wordy description from me.
Here, Spud, Dulcie, and Pip are searching for a wounded partridge. I know it came down in these woods, but I can't see where. However, their noses are perfect for finding lost birds in thick cover. The 'Get On' command means go forward. The 'Get in!' command means hit the cover and have a look - something none of these dogs need much encouragement to do. Spaniels especially are happiest rootling around in the bushes.
Spud's delivery isn't perfect but she makes up for it with her work ethic. She never leaves anything un-picked and always returns to me with every treasure. And that's a red-legged partridge for the bag.
Lest you think we're into shooting and completely over the sheep dramas - how does a maggot-infested scrotum sound? The lamb didn't like it much either. The foster ram was laying down too often and starting to walk with a stiff-legged gait. I caught him up and when I turned him over, saw that the castration ring wasn't doing its job properly, and there was a hole in his groin teeming with maggots and infection.
As an aside, I think it goes without saying that you should never read this blog when you are eating.
failures experiences in lambing left me well-prepared. I removed the maggots one at a time with a pair of pliers, worked surgical scrub into the wound, and gave a heavy dose of strep antibiotic injected into the lamb's breast muscle (IM works faster than under the skin). I phoned our friend Terry the vet who happened to be on call that night. I drove the lamb to his house and, while I held the lamb on the workbench in his shed, he surgically severed the spermatic cords to finish the job, gave lamb a shot of painkiller, and praised my administered dose and method of antibiotics. A small but much-needed salve to my ego.
Two days on and foster lamb looks great. He's getting more nimble and therefore harder for me to catch him to finish his course of injections. That's where I'm headed now, right after I put our partridges in the oven for dinner.