In the beginning of July 2010 I received a phone call from Bob Farris. He wanted to know if I was still in the market for a pudelponter. I replied that I was and he asked if I could pick a puppy up the next day in Bozeman, MT. I was still working for Best Buy and had to close that evening so I told Bob that I would have to call on some friends to make this work. My buddy Rick agreed to make the drive. I called Bob and all was set.
The plump 7 week old pudelpointer pup was handed to me from my good friend later that evening. While I had dealt with raising a pup before, I had never dealt with raising a pup with another grown dog in the house. It was apparent from the outset that this would be challenging. Gunnr couldn’t quite decide what to do about this pup. He kept his distance. I was also unsure what to do with this pup. In the past I had been able to plan and get time off to get Gunnr acclimated as a pup. That was not going to happen with Coopr, he arrived in the middle of a work week. Coopr would have to spend at least 5 hours alone with Gunnr the next day. I was concerned about the little pup in the kennel with Gunnr. I worried that he might get stepped on or pushed around too much. I decided to put Coopr in the kennel and Gunnr in the yard. This was a poor decision.
When I arrived at home for my lunch break the next day I heard Gunnr barking. Gunnr was standing outside the kennel barking at Coopr. I wondered how long that had been going on and hoped that my neighbors weren’t upset about the barking.
I got my answer the next week in the form of a very thick envelope from the City of Billings. Someone had turned me in to the Dog Gestapo. The letter said that this was my only warning, further complaints would be accompanied by a visit from an officer of the Dog Gestapo.
That’s how Coopr eventually led me to move out of the City.
Coopr’s first hunting season was a busy time. In his first year he would hunt around Billings, make a trip to Froid, MT and hunt quail in Idaho. Coopr pointed his first pheasant alongside a road outside of Froid. The four-month old pointed at a bush, Rick and I were there immediately and the bird flushed from the other side of the bush. Rick killed it, his older dog Rusty retrieved it and through it all, Coopr never saw the bird. Those that knew him more recently wouldn’t know that Coopr was a smallish pup at four months. He couldn’t see over the tall grass. Coopr’s first season progressed. In Idaho he retrieved his first quail from a tree. He was the only dog that would push through the brambles to get that bird. Overall Coopr’s first season was a success. I always felt that I didn’t kill enough birds over Coopr that first year though.
The spring after Coopr’s first season I entered him into a North American Versatile Hunting Dog Natural Ability Test. We began training as soon as the snow was off the ground. Coopr was a very honest dog, with a great nose and stylish point. Coopr scored 108 out of 112 points in his NA test for a Prize II.
We will never know what kind of Utility Score he had in him.
The upland bird population took a nose dive after 2010. It was very hard to find birds in Coopr’s second and third seasons. A couple of highlights: Coopr pointed the only pheasant I have ever killed with my 28 gauge. It was an intense, low, crouching point in stubble that pinned that bird. On one trip Coopr pointed 9 hen pheasants on one walk. That is as remarkable today as it was frustrating that day.
Coopr’s fourth, and ultimately last, hunting season was fantastic. All the promise of his breeding and of his training started to come together. In the uplands Coopr showed great patience and perseverance working out the scent trails of roosters in thick CRP. Coopr would work the wind cautiously and thoroughly. He used this method to point and retrieve six roosters on one walk last October.
On ducks he turned into a steady retriever that could put on a good search.
It was fantastic to jump shoot ducks with Coopr last year. If you are a friend on Facebook I’m certain that you saw the photos of Coopr with this or that limit of ducks or pheasants last year.
I feel cheated. Coopr was really progressing in his training this spring. We had just made a breakthrough in deliver to hand last week! Stop to flush was just ‘clicking’ for him! Then this Friday he didn’t eat his breakfast and Sara told me he had sort of a wheeze. Saturday he again missed breakfast, but still had a pep in his step. By Sunday night it was apparent that we needed to see a vet. By the time of our appointment on Monday it was too late. Coopr died as they tried to help him. A pyothorax infection killed Coopr yesterday. We will never know what he might have become.
We do know what Coopr was, however. Coopr was a happy, go-lucky dog. The hair on his head was always tussled this way or that, but his eyes always burned with love and loyalty. Coopr was the kind of dog that would peak around the corner to see that all was well with his family before he went to bed. Coopr would stand next to your bed waiting for you to awaken. I ache to awaken to his face again.
Coopr was a lover.
Coopr was a gun dog.
Coopr is part of my family.
We will miss you Coopr.