The Secret of the Spaniel
It was a nice Derbyshire afternoon nothing was spoiling and the gun was calling gently from its cabinet. I slipped one into its bag and came down the stairs. Sam my young Springer Spaniel was at the bottom waiting excited pacing up and down and round and round.
” It’s OK” I said “you are coming too.”
Sam jumped into his cage and I put gun, cartridges and shooting clothes into the back and off we went to a nearby piece of land just a few miles away. It’s about a hundred acres and overlooks a village a quarry boarders some woodland and is good for crows and rabbits. Today was blue sky and pleasant other days have produced howling gales and driving snow.
I pulled up in the little layby designated by the farmer, got ready and slipped Sam into the field for a scamper round before we set off or tried some training. He has been under my novice tuition for some months.
I slipped two cartridges into the gun and we wandered slowly off down the fields, some time’s there are rabbits in the second field or crows lift from the wood canopy. I sat Sam and walked slowly on. I looked back and he was still sitting just magically beamed by Scotty five yards nearer than where I had left him. I returned him to the original position and set off again with a stern stay command. As I looked back he had his front paw extended about to creep forward. I growled and lifted my hand, the paw went back down and his rear sagged down again.
We walked on creeping up to walls and gaps between fields seeing if we could surprise some un-expecting quarry. It was a slow day nothing appeared or flew over so the peace of the afternoon was maintained and the time out together enjoyed.
We returned to the car. I put Sam in his cage. Looking down the lane in the distance I saw a man walking towards us he had a dog with the characteristic look of a Springer. I put my gun away and slipped off my cammo jacket and trousers. The chap got nearer, it was a Springer.
“Afternoon “ I called as he got nearer.
Nodding at Sam he said “I’ve got it tha knows”
“Really” I replied to this very elderly country gentleman, “and what’s that”
“Springers” he said as if that covered it.
Me looking puzzled, “I see you have”
“Neh lad” he replied. Lad I am fifty one.
“ Springers, I have the secret of Springers”
Well this could be it, words of wisdom, some technique untried by others that this sage of the country side had developed and honed over decades of spaniels and training, this could be the key that a novice would need to aid my training and success with my dog.
He must have seen the hope in my face.
“But it’ll none work fur thee” he said.
“Oh really I replied, now adopting the sceptical attitude of the one on the wrong end of an old stagers humour.
“Ney lad, it’ll none work for thee” he repeated. Nodding at Sam in his crate.
So I am not going to hear this marvellous secret to defuse the Springer.
The old chap bid me “good day” and walked on.
As I shut the tailgate he turned back, smiled and said
“I dunna get ‘em till they’re ten”