VOT- Attention Dog Lovers and Readers
  Re: (...)
I know this is probably not the right forum for this, but I know there are many readers and members with kids on here that may appreciate this. It was so moving, I had to share.

I have my favorite children's books. Some I can read over and over, others I can't...they make me cry (*). I haven't seen a book in recent years that would make me put it at the top of an incredible list of greats including: Hatchet, Bridge to Terabithia, Tuck Everlasting, Sounder*, Old Yeller*, Where the Red Ferns Grow*, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, etc. But I found it this week. It may be that I have not picked up many new books, but a lot of the new stuff just hasn't peeked my interest. That changed this week.

I haven't read Shiloh, Marley and Me and a few others that have come out in the past decade, because I didn't think I could take the content. But right before Christmas I saw a new book being readied for the shelves that caught my attention. After reading the back of the book (This version was a paperback.), I knew I wanted to read it. I asked the media specialist if this would break my heart, and she said no...it was a good story. She had read it and recommended it highly. It's written by a Nobel Prize winning author.

The title is Cracker: the best dog in Vietnam . I would highly recommend this book to anyone from 10 to 100. I would even use it at a slightly lower age as a read aloud with a little editing. This book is for people who love dogs and/or war stories. But be warned...while the ending will make you smile....there are tissue worthy moments in the story.

If you're into this kind of thing, or know a kid that would enjoy it, here is a link to some Amazon reviews: Cracker! the best dog in Vietnam

If you know a reluctant reader that likes this kind of thing....buy him/her a copy! Heck get it for yourself and share it with others. It's that good!
Keep your mind wide open.
  Re: VOT- Attention Dog Lovers and Readers by Gourmet_Mom (I know this is proba...)
Daphne, as long as the dog does not die in the end... "Marley & Me" killed both DH and myself. Years ago I read a book called "The Best Cat Ever". Merely thinking about the ending brings tears to my eyes.

my cooking adventures
  Re: Re: VOT- Attention Dog Lovers and Readers by foodfiend (Daphne, as long as t...)
You're safe reading this one. It's got some tissue moments and high anxiety at times, but in the end you will smile through your tears. I have refused to read Marley and Me or watch the movie, but I'd read this book over and over.

One of the coolest parts of the story is that it is told from the point of view of the humans AND the dog! Check your local library! It should be there....but probably in the juvenile section.
Keep your mind wide open.
  Re: Re: VOT- Attention Dog Lovers and Readers by Gourmet_Mom (You're safe reading ...)
Thank you Daphne! I just checked and it's available on Audible.com so that just might be my next book! Bob says he'd like that one - and since he's about 6 or 7 books behind me . . . lol!
You only live once . . . but if you do it right once should be enough!
  Re: Re: VOT- Attention Dog Lovers and Readers by Harborwitch (Thank you Daphne! I...)
Thanks! Must look for this.

Don't have the time to type it in right now, but I have a dog story, from a book, that will have you emptying the tissue box, but in a good way and with a great ending.

For now, though, I must get to bed early, since I need to get up super early to take Allis and her mother to their next flight to the States in the morning. Allis is doing well, and the doctors may make the trips less frequent, after this one, if everything is still going as well as it has been.

Once I'm back, I'll type in the story.
If blueberry muffins have blueberries in them, what do vegan muffins have?
  Re: Re: VOT- Attention Dog Lovers and Readers by labradors (Thanks! Must look f...)
Labs, do you only arrange it, or travel with them. Either way....keep us posted,
Keep your mind wide open.
  Re: Re: VOT- Attention Dog Lovers and Readers by Gourmet_Mom (Labs, do you only ar...)
When I was 10-11 I read "The Call of the Wild"-Jack London--changed my reading life--I have read off and on ever since--many authors--many years without reading, but always returning. I always loved Londons "In Search of a Fire". Mother read to me "Let Slip the Dogs of War" when I couldn't read--dogs have always been my love--I've owned and cared for many--mutts, black and golden labs, golden retreiver, and my precious Scottish Terrier. May they rest in peace.

May the Lord be with Allis--my best to you and her, my friend. You are a good man. Be well.
"He who sups with the devil should have a. long spoon".
  Re: Re: VOT- Attention Dog Lovers and Readers by Old Bay (When I was 10-11 I r...)
Off to look for this one, thanks Daphne.
Retired and having fun writing cookbooks, tasting wine and sharing recipes with all my friends.
  Re: Re: VOT- Attention Dog Lovers and Readers by cjs (Off to look for this...)

I go with them, to the airport, for the outbound trip to make sure all the paperwork is in order and everything goes smoothly. Also, since another group of doctors (who visit here every year and who saw Allis when she was first diagnosed) pay for things not already being covered by the National Cancer Institute (e.g. the group pays for the taxi, breakfast for all of us, the airport tax, etc.) I go to take care of the money for those things, as well. On their return trip, no special financial or logistical assistance is necessary (except for paying our taxi driver when he gets back), I don't accompany them then. He picks them up and brings them to La Ceiba where they get a bus to take them back to their town.

Again, to take care of the funds supplied by that other group, I also accompany them to a local medical centre for the lab work she gets every two months, then I pick up the lab results, scan them into the computer and email them to the National Cancer Institute so they can see how she's doing.


The Call of the Wild was what got me hooked, as well. I was about five or six, and it was an abridged version, but that (and our already having a beautiful, black Lab) was enough.

Now, the story that I promised. The following is from a true story that was published in the book Love of Labs.

Bess' Story
by John Madson
from Love of Labs

On that November day, things were not right. Comes to that, things couldn't have been much worse. Bluebird weather - clear, warm, quiet. The kind of day when Batchtown hunters have been known to fish for crappies from their blinds. At the Batchtown check station, there had been a wishful rumor that a new flight of ducks was on its way - but no one put much stock in that. Not with the forecast of a day in the balmy 60s with no weather fronts up North to push anything southward.

But you go hunting when you can, and Larry and his gunning partner, veterinarian Art Lippoldt, figured that hanging around a duck marsh beats hanging around town. Which, of course, it always does.

And so they headed out to their blind on Turner Island, a maze of shallow sloughs and marshy potholes in the middle of the Mississippi, a half-mile west of the Batchtown Flats. Not once in the two-mile run to the island had there been any sign of ducks. The big island had seen a lot of red-letter days in the past, but this wasn't one of them. Not at first, anyway. "Which just goes to prove," Larry said, "that you never know about duck hunting."

He and Doc set their spread of 75 decoys and sat back with pipes and coffee, contemplating smartweed beds and quiet waters that remained steadfastly duckless.

Doc had his female black Lab, Windy, as usual. They came as a set. Larry had his black Lab, Bess - one of Windy's pups from six years earlier. Bess was swollen and miserable with a false pregnancy of the sort she often had after a heat period, but Doc assured Larry that the condition wasn't harmful, just uncomfortable. "I almost left Bess at home that day," Larry said, "but she sweet-talked me out of it. She wanted to go hunting so bad."

Full sunup, and still no sign of ducks anywhere in the sky. The, Larry remembers, "The flats seemed to explode."

The Eastern sky suddenly was skeined with ducks, newcomers that began working the decoy spreads in spite of the guns. Poultry all over the place - but not over Turner Island. There, peace and serenity reigned under a blue and empty sky.

Still, you hang around, never knowing when a few scraps might fall off the table. From out of nowhere, a lone mallard drake swung over the decoys in easy range. Larry took the shot, and Bess hit the water to fetch in the day's first duck.

An hour later, two drake mallards and a hen came in off the river, answered the calls, and set their wings. Larry and Doc each dropped a greenhead, the birds were neatly retrieved, and tranquility again settled over their blind. Off to the east, it still sounded like a Juarez election. Through Doc's binoculars, flight after flight of ducks could be seen settling into the flats while our two heroes languished with cold guns and dry dogs. Slow torture of the worst kind, sitting under an empty sky while a hundred other guys were having powder fits less than a mile away.

It was more than any duck hunter could endure. Something had to be done even if it was wrong. In late morning Doc said, "Some of those guys are bound to have killed out by now. One of us should go back to the check station and see if we can get a blind over there in Hog Heaven..."

Doc won the toss, and Larry made the run to the landing alone. When he drove his pickup into the check station's parking lot, one look at the traffic told him the trip had been for nothing. As the flights of new ducks had come pouring in, the word had gone out and local hunters were waiting to take over hot blinds where limits had been filled. Larry joined the crowd, but at almost noon he was still twelfth on the list.

Enough of that. "Take my name off the list," he told the officer in charge. "I'd rather be out there on Turner Island taking my chances than messing around here."

He took his time going back. Why hurry? There were ducks throughout the flats - but still none in sight around the island. He hid the boat and walked over to the blind where Doc was grinning the big hello.

"What are you so happy about?" Larry growled.

"Before I let you in," said Doc,"you have to guess what's in the blind that wasn't here when you left."

"Okay. So how many did you kill?"

"I got three blacks," Doc replied.

"What? I'm back there sweating out a line while you're sacking some black mallards?"

"Who said anything about ducks? Look at this."

On the floor of the blind lay Larry's Bess, with three black puppies no bigger than dressed teal. Soon after Larry had left, Bess had begun scratching under the seat of the blind - and once she began whelping, she made steady progress.

She's had two of 'em within the last half hour," Doc explained proudly. "No problems, though. When you told me about her false pregnancy, I didn't pay much attention. This would have made the fourth time in the last two years, right?"

Right - except that Larry suddenly remembered the summer weekend when he'd attended a drawing for blind sites. Some of the hunters had brought their dogs and one big male Lab, in particular, had seemed smitten with Bess. A-huh...

"What are we going to do? Larry asked.

"Just let nature take its course," Doc replied, "and keep hoping for ducks. No sense moving her and the pups as long as everything keeps going as it has so far."

At that point, a lone drake almost knocked their caps off. Doc dropped the greenhead just beyond the decoys, a cripple. "Grab your dog!" he said. "We don't want Bess to get wet!"

Larry seized a black neck with one hand and opened the door to the dog ramp with the other. Off and away went the Lab, with a surging splash.

"Reid!" yelled Doc. "You've got hold of Windy! That's Bess after that duck!"

No whistling or yelling could turn the gallant Bess. Lunging through the shallows, spraying mud and water widely, she finally caught the mallard when it became tangled in heavy smartweeds 75 yards from the blind. Bird in mouth, she trudged heavily back to a warm welcome.

Doc was bent on keeping the pups as warm and dry as possible. A perfect solution was at hand. Three of the mallard drakes and an old towel were arranged on the roof of the blind to form a nest in the warm sun and dry willow branches. It's doubtful that any swamp dogs, anywhere or any time, ever had a more suitable welcome to the special world that would honor them and which, hopefully, they would honor in turn.

"They nestled into those greenheads as if they were trying to retrieve them," Larry said. "And about then, pup number four arrived..."

So did more mallards - a christening gift from the Red Gods, some old hunters might say. As if drawn by the mewing puppies, ducks began coming out of the clear November sky in singles, pairs, small bunches. For the next hour or so, there was no thought of anything back in town, and the most important family problems were those being presented by Lady Bess. The dog chute had to be carefully guarded and blocked, for every time the hunters sounded their calls, Bess would be up and ready to go. As a fifth greenhead was added to the bag, a fifth puppy was added to the little nest on the blind's roof. Soon there was a sixth puppy. The nest was being rapidly outgrown, but the wherewithal to enlarge it continued to drop out of the sky.

"This has to be some kind of record," Larry said as he moved puppies down into the blind to nurse.

"How so?" Doc asked.

"You ever heard of anyone hunting ducks with eight Labrador Retrievers?"

The rest of the hunt was a happy confusion of filling limits and tending a half-dozen squirming objects that were as black and shiny as lumps of anthracite. With 10 drake mallards and six puppies, the hunters decided to call it a day, pick up, and report to the check station.

That establishment was basking in the sweet, smoky ambience that check stations always seem to have when the Brotherhood of the Drippy Nose has limited out. Grinning hunters with heavy strings of mallards and pintails stood about, still sharing the common adventure and the many marvels of the day. There was far more talking than listening.

With carefully calculated nonchalance, Larry laid out 10 mallards on the checking table.

"Looks like you guys did the right thing going back to Turner," said the biologist in charge.

"You know it!" Doc broke in. "How about that? Ten greenheads and six blacks..."

"Six blacks? Are you crazy? That puts you guys way over the limit!"

"No limit on this kind of blacks," Doc grinned, and began hauling puppies out of the pockets of his big hunting coat. That shut off every other conversation in the room. It was the hit of the show, being played stage center to an audience of stern critics - all of whom gave rave reviews. Half of the puppies were spoken for on the spot. After all, blood will tell - and how can any retriever whelped in a duck blind turn out to be anything but a top dog?

Out in the truck, Bess added pup number seven to the Lab population. An eighth and last puppy would arrive at home.


"A hunt to remember," I offered.

"Deed it was," said Larry, Sure, Doc and I both remember when there were more ducks moving ahead of a Northern front, or other hunts with odd twists of luck. Some mighty interesting dogwork, too."

"But I've never seen anything to match Bess' performance that day. It's been over 20 years but I still remember every detail. the way I figure it, the best duck hunts come in three parts: planning, doing, and remembering. I can't say which part is the best. Can you?"

No, I can't.

But if there's anything better than a perfect three-part hunt and eight new Labs, well, Larry and I will keep our mouths shut while you tell us about it.

P.S: Remember that this was a true story. Larry Reid later stated:


The Turner Island litter all survived their unique entry into the world and without exception developed into “good” hunting dogs. (I would have expected as much.) Each was jet black in color with other features such as long legs and somewhat sickle tails indicating part Lab, part black phantom. Their owners all decreed, “My dog was born in a duck blind.” No one could dispute the statement, even though one had arrived in the back of a duck truck, another in the home of a duck hunter.

The record for hunting ducks with eight Labradors in one blind on the Mississippi still belongs to yours truly and veterinarian Art Lippoldt. Grandpa was correct when he said, “A man can say he had a good life if he had one good woman and one good dog.”

I’ve had both; I’ve had a good life!

If blueberry muffins have blueberries in them, what do vegan muffins have?
  Re: Re: VOT- Attention Dog Lovers and Readers by labradors (Daphne,[br][br]I go ...)
Very cool, Labs! Thanks. I'm thinking I may need to check out that book....and share it with two very special duck hunters....make that three with Cricket...LOL!
Keep your mind wide open.

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)