Doc made his first two water retrieves on Friday. Although they weren’t textbook retrieves and we both ended up in the water, he’s off to a great start. As with Sophie 10 years before him, I waded through ice and water to help on their inaugural water retrieves.
The temperature remained in single digits (Fahrenheit) throughout the morning, although the wind chill was at times clearly below zero. For the first couple of hours we had our opportunities and I missed a couple of shots; I one missed opportunity when Doc went on point with four Whistlers (Goldeneye). I didn’t want to shoot right on top of him so i went around a large bush, but the ducks flushed and I wasn’t able to get a shot.
We then hunted some new area I found while Pheasant hunting with Mia, and came upon some Bluebills and Shovelers. I got two ducks and had it not been for the ice along the banks, I think that Doc would have retrieved them without any trouble. As it was he was afraid to step off the ice.
The two ducks separated with one drifting downstream and the other getting hung up on some moss, both on the opposite side of the stream. I took Doc downstream to get the duck floating away and again, Doc was afraid to step off the ice so that meant leading by example and going into the water myself. He followed but by now had forgotten about the ducks, so I tossed sticks and chunks of ice towards the duck to encourage him to swim close enough to either see or scent the bird.
He was finally able to find the duck and at first didn’t know what to do with it but then did a nice job of retrieving. My clothes and Doc’s fur immediately turned to ice and we went back upstream for the second duck. Again, I needed to wade out with him and this time, he did a much better job of retrieving. We were less than a mile from the truck and walking back, Doc dropped from time to time to roll in the dirt and snow.
My clothes and Doc’s fur was frozen solid long before we got back to the truck and we were both a little chilled, but back home a nice warm shower for both of us went a long way to warming us back up.