posted on May, 5 2018 @ 12:30 AM
Shelby, the Lab, won a Purina photo award out of 100,000 dogs. (I never have fed her Purina food, but anyway).
She was just a pup. She was really proud and I shot her with a medium format camera in some interesting early morning light, right after she came out
of the water (we were training at sunrise). Her picture is trademarked now, and she's been on a few covers. She'd just shaken off and she was
sitting next to a pair of my hip boots on the ground. It's a pretty fantastic picture, and we have a framed enlargement of it on our wall. I just
lucked out with the picture. It's a color picture but it looks like black and white with some pink tones. It's won a few awards too (for dog
photography...and photography in general). She's always been a very 'regal' girl, very proud. She knew what she could do, and she knew no other dogs
could do what she did...and she was really proud of that. She lived her whole life to make her dad proud...and I've celebrated every minute of that
She'd come back, high stepping, out of the most dense cover... up, tail zinging, bird in mouth. She'd find the bird when no other dog could (and
she knew it). All the dogs would follow her, but none would ever try to take "her" bird. And she'd always bring that bird back to me (even if I
didn't shoot it). "See, Dad, I got the bird...when everyone else gave up".
We hunt on a lot of Cabela's land, and in their circles Shelby is a legend. This isn't guided hunts, but rather wild birds.
It's tough to go hunting now and not have her by my side. There's so many dogs, and many come and go, but she's the one everyone always asks
For the past couple years I've explained that "shell" (as I call her) is retired, and they understand, but the legend of Shelby lives on. Probably
one of the finest upland and cross-trained water dogs ever known.
And now she's just my couch potato. A lot older (my how they age). I can see in her eyes, her heart is still in it, but her body is just not.
Of all the dogs who have crossed the famous "Rainbow Bridge", Shelby will be a celebrity.
All I want, is to just have her curl up with me when I cross the same bridge.