Champion by Nature
FIELD DOG LIFE was born out of the allegiance that we have to our hunting dogs because we greatly depend on them in the field. Dogs can shift their focus and attention much faster than we can; we can’t hear all of the sounds they pick up on, and we certainly can’t see as far off in the distance as they can. Our opinion is that the Labrador Retriever does these things best, which is why they are the chosen breed for faith, companionship, and hunting, especially waterfowl hunting.
The Labrador is a dutiful and reliable breed that can withstand the many environments waterfowl inhabit, especially ducks. The Lab is built for the water, from his well-oiled coat, webbed paws, to his short, thick tail; his physical attributes make him an efficient and effective hunting partner. Labs have a gentle tenacity; they approach their work relentlessly yet surrender their retrieve on command. Labs are incredibly loyal, and their intense desire to work complements their eagerness to please. When their job is complete and no longer in a working environment, they default to a calm and gentle family member.
Nonetheless, the mind of a dog who is in service to its owner is always on alert. Even at rest, he is attentive and cares deeply about those who depend on him. In turn, we are grateful to our dogs since they bring love and joy to our days in the field and in our homes.
The Champion Retriever is an earned title, no doubt, but it is born out of duty. For dogs, not unlike people, nature sets the stage for the physical traits that make a Champion. Whether we choose to develop them further or not, a dog is just fine giving us precisely what we need from him. For a dog, the heart of the matter isn’t winning; it is pleasing. A dog will obey those that command him, do what is necessary when asked, and do it as best as he can. Sometimes a dog’s best is near perfect, or sometimes it is riddled with mistakes. Irrespective of how we choose to measure a dog’s performance, there is no doubt that the amount of heart a dog puts into his tasks is consistently grand.
A dog is unbothered by his place on the podium. Yet, he is highly aware of his owner’s satisfaction and thrives in a competitive environment. He is not distracted by a trophy or ribbon; however, he is mindful of a job well done and takes great pride in his work. He is the silent soldier who dutifully follows the chain of command with great courage; he doesn’t think twice about what we ask of him.
The shotgun fires, his head snaps in the direction of the sound, and his moment of glory comes falling from the sky.
A dog, especially a working Labrador, is vigilant with a simple call of duty: do as asked. No matter where or when he hears his name, his response is the same: get the job done. And do it well. The dog with the desire to work and please every day of his life, selflessly lending his best to the hunter by his side, is a Champion in his own right. He will live this way from the time he is introduced to the soft feel of feathers, the call of birds, and the demands of his job. He will finish his days in the field the same way he began them: by the call of his name, with the heart of a Champion.
We dedicate the past seven years to the breed that put us on the map and gave us our mission in life and work, the Labrador Retriever. We are forever grateful for the privilege of working alongside this fantastic breed and writing about one of God’s most magnificent creatures: The Dog.
Happy New Year, and here’s to a year full of champions.