Caleb McIlmoil

On my last post Caleb asked a question of me. “How do you get over the loss of your dogs?” Something I’ll bet at least 50% of all of my readers have had to do at least once. It’s never easy and for most of us, especially me, there are many tears involved.

I don’t know Caleb, but he started hunting chukars about ten years ago so I assume his great hunting buddy was ten or less years old. Although age doesn’t matter I believe it hurts even a little more when a dog has to be let go like yours did. Getting cancer and losing him/her just a week and a half later gives you no time to prepare mentally. And I really mean mentally. In my case, my lost companion was on my mind constantly. Heck, I had lost my best friend.

Best friend may sound a little overboard but it’s true. Who, besides your family, have you spent more time with than anyone else. The bonding, the training, walks in the hills and almost every outdoor activity, your buddy is by your side. Life revolves around you for your dog. Almost everything he does is for you. He is never down when you come around, but always exuberant.

Think of all the things your hunting companion does for you. He points or flushes birds for you. Most dogs would just chase the bird for fun but your dog does what you want him to do because it pleases you. The natural instinct of a dog would be to eat the bird rather than bring it back to you, but your dog would rather deliver it to you because he wants to. And he wants to bring it to you rather than another person. He’s your best buddy out there. I could go on about how many things your dog probably did to please you.

Maybe this is a stretch, but it might be the closest we hunters will ever be to knowing what a mother feels like. Your dog depended on you as a baby depends on his mother. You feed him and nurture him until he becomes a big boy. When something scares him, he comes running to hide behind you for support. And as he becomes an adult you provide him with boundaries to keep him safe.

Caleb, with all that being said, I have never gotten over losing any of my fine canine friends. I don’t think you will ever get over losing yours because he/she was such a great partner. It’s even harder in your case because the end came way too soon. We hope to give them a couple of years of couch time to show our appreciation of their hard work for us. It still hurts, but we have time to prepare for the inevitable. In your case there was no time to prepare. I had one that I had to let go before his time and it really hit me hard. I felt terrible because he didn’t get to live the life he deserved. The tears I shed were for him not for me.

Man, it’s hard to say how to get over it. That’s one of the reasons I started my blog “Tuckers Chukars” many years ago. It was a way of remembering Tucker and then the rest of my canine friends and giving them the tribute they deserve. To this day I sometimes get a lump in my throat when I visit the times we had together back when. I hope you have some pictures of your buddy to remember him by. Write some words on a piece of paper in respect and keep it somewhere close to your hunting stuff and once in a while peek at those words just to remind you how great of a hunting buddy he was. I even tip my hat once in a while in respect as I walk by their ashes.

Another way I show my appreciation for my past canine partners is by firing my first two shots at chukars each year with shells reloaded with ashes from my dogs. Hopefully the lead pellets will bring the bird down,l but either way I still take a break and remember what each and every one had done for me.

Remember your were his/her best buddy also. Your buddy appreciated the good life you gave him. He wouldn’t of been what he was if it weren’t for you. You were all of his happiness. The last thing he would want is to see you hurting. Remember the greatness of your dog as you shed tears. There is nothing unmanly about loving something so much.

My advice to you, Caleb, is to get another pup and get to training. Or if you already have another dog, get up on the hill and chase chukars. Do it harder than ever in respect for your canine friend. Soon you’ll be remembering all the great hunts on that mountain in stead of your loss.

I’m sure there are others that could add something to help with your loss.

Caleb, I’m so sorry for your loss and hope to see you on a mountain some day with a new dog and maybe we can pass some memories of our past canine companions.

Good luck to you and God Bless.

Published by jakeandgrady

Hunting has been a favorite past time for me for 55 years but the last twenty five years I have been consumed by chukar hunting and more specifically chukar hunting with fantastic dogs. In this blog I hope to pass on any information I can about chukar hunting but more than anything I want to showcase what will probably be my last two chukar dogs, Jake and Grady. I am 70 years old, Jake is 8 and Grady is 3 and I'm hoping to stay on the chukar mountain until I am 80 when Grady will be fetching my final chukars.

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