Tag Archive | English springer spaniel

Beulah

Beulah was a springer spaniel we got to mate with Hawkeye. She was the runt of the litter and when we went to see her, she was clearly upset and barked nonstop. The breeder left the room and she finally settled down and allowed us to come near. I don’t remember what made us decide to take her, but I remember the ride home. She was only about 25-30 pounds then, and she curled up into a ball, sat in my lap and shivered the entire trip. She bonded to me on that ride home, much to my hubby’s disappointment.

Much more to his disappointment was the fact that although she had a better nose than Hawkeye, and was as quick as lightning, she absolutely refused to learn to fetch. Playing games was simply beneath Miss Priss as we sometimes called her. Therefore, she wasn’t any good for hunting, but she was an expert cuddler. Her timing was impeccable – I would get to the love seat, sit down, and curl my legs up. My legs getting into position and her jumping into the niche and settling down happened at the exact same moment.

Apparently, as the runt of the litter, Beulah was accustomed to getting shortchanged at meal time. The first evening meal, she fought Hawkeye for the food dish, insisting on eating first (and winning!). We quickly broke her of that habit and the one that appeared the next morning. I was making sandwiches for lunch – bread, meat, cheese – and walked away for a second only to see her deftly swipe a sandwich from the counter! Although Hawkeye and Beulah learned to eat peacefully, leftover peas were another matter altogether. I always let the dogs have the leftover steamed veggies, dropping them into the dog dish on the way to the garbage can. No problem – unless the veggie was peas. Peas resulted in a dog fight no matter what, so peas ended up scattered on the kitchen floor. Plenty of space between peas and dog tongues that way.

As was intended, Hawkeye and Beulah mated and I’ll never forget the first litter. We all went to bed as usual, but during the night, Beulah moved to the corner of the bedroom between the nightstand and the dresser (a spot no one but her could get to). I awoke to a single puppy cry, sprang up shouting “Puppies!” and scared my husband out of bed. He went to the garage to get the birthing pen ready and my job was to get Beulah and puppy to the garage (the length of the house plus 90 feet). It was no easy task. Beulah had no idea what she had done and wanted nothing to do with the puppy, so I picked her up and kept putting her under her nose. Once the maternal instinct kicked in, however, I was not allowed near the puppy, so I had to steal it from her. I got the puppy as far as the bedroom door, before I was forced to surrender her. After Mamma was sure she was all right, I swiped her and got to the bottom of the stairs. Then to the kitchen doorway, then to the back door, then a dash as fast as I could to the garage. Out in the birthing pen, when Beulah was having a hard time with one of the pups, Hawkeye came to offer support and was loudly and soundly rebuffed. It was as if she was mad at him for causing her pain. He dutifully kept his distance, but sat and kept watch.

Miss Priss would not get her paws wet if the grass was rain soaked. She would walk down the sidewalk, turn left up the driveway, and then into the grass at the spot she wanted. As soon as she was finished, she went directly to the driveway, sidewalk and porch. She had an occasional mean streak in her. She would get Hawkeye to chase her, going slow enough for him to keep up, and then cut an obstacle so close, poor Hawkeye was doomed. She did it in the house once at a doorway so that he hit the wall and she did it once outdoors with the metal windmill set in concrete – that time he literally sat and saw stars, just like in the cartoons.

She got hers one day though – sort of. It was fall, and we had just picked the dogs up from the vet who had boarded them for a week. As soon as we got home, hubby decided to get the mower out and mulch leaves and I went out the upstairs bedroom window onto the back porch roof to sweep off the leaves. Beulah had had enough of being away from me and jumped out the window. The problem was the roof was sloped and she couldn’t stop her momentum. She hit the ground just missing hubby who was trying to figure out what flew by. My first thought was, “My God – I just picked her up from the vet – how am I going to explain bringing her back so soon?!” She was as stunned as we were, but she gathered herself together and walked back to the porch unharmed. Who says dogs can’t fly?

Hawkeye and Beulah were hopelessly in love. The vet soon learned they had to be boarded together in the same pen or they were absolutely miserable (and made everyone else miserable as well). They also had to be walked together. The night we had Hawkeye put to sleep, she burst through the back door as soon as it was unlocked, and flew to the garage and got there before the door closed (90 feet). We opened the door to find her jumping up against the truck looking for her beloved. After that, she would not let me out of her sight or touch. One time I had to close the door between us as I worked with a client who was allergic to dogs. She sat at the door, cried, scratched and made a ruckus. Hubby tried her favorite treat – cashews – but she would not be distracted. So we decided to get her a companion – a decision she didn’t care for at all.

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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!