Tag Archive | English springer spaniel

Hawkeye, English springer spaniel

My husband brought Hawkeye home as a puppy in the dead of winter. He cried for his mamma and we tried everything to quiet him but to no avail. Actually, he wanted to be where we were, so we let him come into the bedroom, where he waltzed under the bed, curled up and went to sleep. Some nights he had a hard time finding the best spot under the bed and every once in a while, we’d be poked and nudged as he tried to re-arrange the bed springs.

We set up a three foot high board to keep him in the kitchen which he learned to climb in less than a month. He learned to use the wall on one side, and the board in front of him and he’d just keep trying until he’d scaled to the top. After he got to the point where he could climb it without falling, we put the board in the garage. Later when we moved to a different house, we built a seven foot wood lattice dog pen. The stinker learned to climb that one in less than a week. He’d climb the fence and go sit on the back porch until we got home. If the neighbor tried to approach him on the porch, he’d dash back to the dog pen and climb back in. Then, as soon as the neighbor went inside, he’d climb the fence and return to the porch.

Hawkeye was quite the educated dog. In his puppy stage, he destroyed a dictionary and a Bible.

My husband wanted to train Hawkeye for hunting, so the first thing was to teach him to fetch. Since it was winter and hubby was your typical lazy man, he took his fishing pole, attached a large lure with all the hooks removed and taught Hawkeye to fetch. I distinctly remember warning him that come summer, the lures would all have hooks, but I was just a girl and my opinion was cast aside (pun intended).

Come summer, we went out to the campground with the boat. Hawkeye went everywhere with my husband – errands, the post office – so of course he was going in the boat (the boat with the fishing poles with the lures with the hooks). I stayed behind in the camper since I was studying for the CPA exam at the time. Obviously, hubby forgot the lure training and the dog didn’t. On the very first cast, Hawkeye reached his paw up for the lure. I heard the commotion all the way back at the camper. He didn’t set the hook with his first reach – he set it as he ran around the boat trying to figure out what was going on. Between the dog scampering and two large men trying to grab the dog, they almost tipped the boat over!

Poor Hawkeye was banished to the camper for the rest of the afternoon. The dog who was used to going everywhere with the man paced, cried, whined, jumped up to the window ad infinitum and was absolutely miserable. When hubby and friend returned they were promptly informed that they were never ever going to leave the dog behind again.

Hawkeye’s hunting trips were always successful. He quickly learned what the camouflage coat coming out of the closet meant and was beyond himself with excitement. (So much so that my husband could only wear the coat for hunting.) Hawkeye’s first pair of quail were stuffed by the taxidermist, as was his first pheasant. I was beginning to wonder if we were ever going to eat anything from a hunting trip. One day the guys shot a goose and the goose landed in a pond. Hawkeye’s instincts kicked right in – he did exactly what he was supposed to do. He took off after the prey on command and swam out to retrieve his prize. The problem was that the prize was not quite dead yet. Hawkeye grabbed onto the goose’s neck, and the goose came to and began to wing whip the not yet full grown dog. In other words, the goose was bigger than the dog. The guys yelled for Hawkeye to drop the goose, but he refused. They couldn’t fire another shot for fear of hitting the dog, so they got to the pond as quick as they could. Hawkeye almost had the goose to shore by then, so the guys waded in after them. I don’t remember whether or not we got to eat that particular goose, but I do know that no amount of coaxing or training would ever get that dog near water again.

Hawkeye may have been my husband’s dog, but when he was out of town, Hawkeye became man of the house. Instead of sleeping in the bedroom, he slept at the top of the stairs. At first, I didn’t realize how seriously he took his position. The mailman came to the front door with a package. This wasn’t anything new, so I was completely taken by surprise when, as I held the screen door open, the dog went after the mailman. After that, I made sure to keep hold of his collar if my husband was out of town and anyone came to the door.
Remember how the pup would sleep under the bed? Later in his life, I would put the bedspread and show pillows on the cedar chest which was under the slanted roofline ceiling. The lights would go out and Hawkeye would get to work making his bed. He’d go behind the cedar chest, pull the bedspread and pillows down, and arranger them to his liking. Occasionally he’d be over particular about his bed and we’d have to tell him to go to sleep. He’d stop his arranging and plop down with a huge sigh.

When we would watch TV in the living room and a dog would sigh, one of us people would return the sigh. Hawkeye was the only dog who got the joke and he would wag his tail for us. Later in his life, Hawkeye took to snoring, sometimes so loudly we’d have to wake him up so we could hear the TV!