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Rivalry in the Field
a story of men's pride and their dogs
One of my favorite English Pointer stories is about a man who was always boasting about how steady his dogs were on birds and how he could smoke his favourite brand and still shoot a pheasant whenever he told the dog to put the bird up. All this talk went on in the pub after a trial. Every one was engrossed in this top trialing man's stories. Well, he did happen to win that day and who could disagree with him on his only day of glory.

Just then an old friend of mine that came to the trial with me spoke and his words brought a deadly silence to the story teller! I could have gladly shot him, when he said, "You might have won the trial, Son, but you don't know anything about steady dogs." Well you could have heard a pin drop in the pub next door - not alone the one we were in. I buried my head as he continued to tell everyone there about a great Setter he lost while at a trial on grouse and how he did not find him until the next year when he ran a pup of this great dog at another trial at the same venue. "There he was", said the old timer, "nothing much left of him, only his skeleton".

"What happened to him?" was asked by one of the ladies present, "Was he caught in a snare or something?"

"I did not know at first," he said, "but as I got closer I could see six grouse skeletons two feet from his nose! Now if that dog was not steady tell me what dog is!"

He then turned back to the fire and continued to sip at his glass of Guinness with just as much flavour as he told the story. There was no one there to contradict him for we were all thirty years younger than him, and there is no way a young pup will teach an old dog new tricks.

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