Friday, November 26, 2010

saltypaws on casco bay

saltypaws alert and waiting patiently on stockman island, casco bay, maine. october, 2010. photo by denny denham.

my name is addie saltypaws. i am a labrador retriever. my human, denny, and all the rest of the humans, call me addie, but once you get to know me, you'll see why saltypaws describes me best.

last month, denny and i, and some other humans, were out hunting sea ducks (common eider, longtail, black, surf and white wing) on the ledges at stockman island. what i love most in the whole world, besides running in the yard, riding in the car, and being with my human family, is retrieving. that's what i do; that's what i am, a retriever. remember that. seems obvious, i know, but people forget sometimes, and it's important to this story.

when we motor out to stockman, it is still pitch black outside, and rather nippy. once we get there, denny and his friend, bill green, host of bill green's maine on television (wcsh6), set up 2 strings of 12 decoys each in a "v" formation in the tidal zone beside the ledges. the sun is starting to come up on the horizon. we position ourselves against the rocks to minimize our profile, and wait....and wait some more. i hate waiting. i am quivering from tail to toe in blissful anticipation.

finally (yes!) some eiders fly into view. the guys fire. the ducks drop. i am a shaking mass of dog fur. this always happens to me. it's kind of embarrassing, but i am so excited and happy thinking about when i get the ok from denny to play my retrieve game, the game where i jump in the water, and swim out to bring the ducks in. it feels like it's a game to me, but i have been trained well, over countless hours, by denny, to get even better at what comes naturally. at long last, denny lets me get on with it. all this time, while we waited, i have been in my "heel" position. now he tells me "fetch it up" and with hand signals and whistles directs me to the duck that is the farthest out. i leap into the frigid water lightning fast. to me, the cold sea is heaven. one by one i bring in the ducks. i am so happy. if i were a human, i would be wildly laughing out loud.

bill green, host of bill green's maine. daybreak on stockman island. photo by denny denham.
one time bill green, on facebook here, got an angry email from a lady who was quite upset when she saw a story he did about me playing my duck retrieval game on the ocean. she said why would you put a dog in a situation like that? it is cruel and abusive. dear lady, i can honestly tell you if my human did not take me out duck hunting, that would be cruel and abusive. i do not want to stop swimming when the humans are done for the day. i want to keep playing. i am not cold. i am wearing my neoprene vest, the most advanced technology for dogs out on the water. it keeps me afloat - ha, like i need help! - and oh-so-warm - ha! like i wouldn't jump in the water without it!

my human takes great care of me. the bond between us is strong. he loves me and i love him. we go everywhere together. the maine woods, the open fields and the salty sea are my home......

note: addie saltypaws is our lille's mother - and also mother of alex's montana, james' harper, christina's ollie, and denny's luc, as seen here.

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