The Bear, a legend, RIP

New Avon Arms


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Hardest decision to make. Just remember the highlights.

Lock your dog & Mrs in a kennel for two hours & then see which one is happier to see you when you let them out. That's love!


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A lovely tribute to a great companion. Even as I type somewhere out there I fear scrotums are tightening in dreaded anticipation. You were equally blessed to have each other my friend.


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The Bear has unfortunately walked his last walk. He went down hill last week whilst we were in Scotland stalking. He never made it to the hill that week as I didn't consider him "right" at the time. When we got back on Sunday I took him straight to the vet and got bloods done. His red cell count was dangerously low, liver enzymes through the roof and was very dehydrated despite the huge volumes of water he was drinking. The vet suspected a tumour and offered to investigate, but with those numbers it was never going to be good news so I decided to do the right thing for the dog and let him go. At the age of 9 it was too early, robbed of a couple more years in the field.

I got him as a pup. I had labs and cockers in the past but as I was doing more stalking I wanted an HPR and decided on the HWV. He was amazing from day 1. Puppy training was over and done with in 24 hours. One mess in the house, gently corrected and taken outside and he never did it again. His training was going so well that at 14 months I took him to Scotland for the first time. He pointed his first grouse on that trip, something he continued to be very good at, and also experienced his first week on the hill and his first Red Stag. Unfortunately he never grew his wires or a beard. All his siblings did, but his coat always resembled a smooth haired rather than the HWV he was.

As an all round dog he was exceptional. One of those "dogs of a lifetime" you read about. Affectionate, easy in the house, as happy with a cuddle on the sofa as anything else. But when the gun came out a switch got flicked. He wasn't fussed whether it was birds or deer, he loved both. I've shot a lot more deer in his company than ever before. He was my early warning system and my MO in the field changed as a result of being with him, getting the dog into the right place for wind as we approached cover soon told me whether there was a deer present or not, him going on point as soon as he sensed one. He saved a great deal of time in recovery too. No searching for deer that had run into cover after the shot, he was on them within seconds of being cast out - you can keep your thermal, no need for it with a good dog about.

His MO on finding a deer was always to grab it by the throat and give it a good ragging to make sure it had expired before I arrived. He then sat back for me to gralloch and give him his treat. A few years back when he was 6 his MO changed. A guest had shot a Reg Stag badly, I despatched it a long way out and when I was sure it had expired cast the dog out. He got there before me as usual but rather than go for the throat he went straight between the back legs and surgically removed it's testicles, sat back very pleased with himself and waited for me to arrive. It was something that continued but just on Red Stags, never on any other species. It got to the stage last year when I just gave the stalker £20 at the start of the week for the 4 pairs I knew would never make it back to the larder. He was named "The Surgeon" by the lads after that. No one ever wore a kilt again and they were very careful when bending over in front of him.

A stunning dog, a great buddy and he will be sorely missed.
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My thoughts go out to you. Sounds like he had a life of love and adventure.
Best wishes


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So sorry to hear the news. Losing them always hurts so much because of what they give us during their lives. His memory will live on for many years to come both with you, your friends and family, and even here on SD where Nigel’s testicle munching hound may well become a thing of legend!!


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Nigel, the sadness of your loss will quickly be tempered by the memory of Bear’s excellence, pride in a job well done by the two of you and the retelling of his testicle stories. I’ve always been smashed when I’ve had to send a good dog on its way, but it passes quickly into fond reflection and investing energy in finding the replacement. Looking back the sadness we feel is a small price to pay for the terrific times we shared together.

We wouldn’t have it any other way, life without dogs would be so dull.

Godspeed Bear, deer finder, selfless companion and testicle ripper.
New Avon Arms