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Archive for January, 2014

Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait Currier and Ives Wild Duck Shooting A Good Day's Sport

This painting was done for Currier and Ives, and if you want to see romantic portrayals of America from the nineteenth century, look up Currier and Ives prints.

The dogs are the traditional American retriever– the retrieving setter. I know American water spaniels and Chesapeake Bay retrievers are technically American retrievers, but they were regional dogs. And Chesapeakes were often just called “Newfoundland dogs.”

The ducks are a species called a redhead, but I think are better called “American pochard.”  They are very closely related to the pochard duck of Europe.

The British often complained that American setters weren’t as staunch to a point as their dogs were, and they blamed it on the dual purpose function of our setters.

In fact, it has been claimed that the popularity of the retriever in Britain largely resulted in the desire to have setters and pointers hold their position.   They could breed and train for a dog to hold the point very tightly, while another dog did all the retrieving.

But Americans used our setters just as the Europeans used their HPR’s, and this is why outside of those two regional breeds, retrievers did not exist in significant numbers in the US until after the Second World War.

Our setters did the job.

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Smelling the quarry

A rabbit is hidden in the brush pile. Or maybe a grouse.

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Maddie has gone to ground

16-year-old Madeleine has passed.  She was a Jack Russell belonging to my aunt and uncle in North Carolina.

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She was born in Arizona to English parents.

And she was the mother of three litters of pups, and she was a great surrogate mother to both Cammie and Rhodie and to Willie.

And she was good dog.

When she would come to West Virginia to visit, she could be trusted off-lead, and she was very close friends with Kizzy, the golden boxer. I remember watching young Maddie follow the big black dog around as if she were something to be admired and emulated.

I also remember stocking pheasants with Maddie. I couldn’t get them out of the quail cages fast without her trying to grab the bird as it came out.

She was a good dog. She was generally gentle and well-behaved, but if another dog trifled with her or one of the puppies she was caring for, she would fight like a small grizzly bear. I remember when Willie was a small puppy, another Jack Russell tried to pick on him, but Maddie would have nothing of it. She sailed on the other dog, who was a male JRT and somewhat larger than she, and soon had him routed.

I will miss her.

She is the last of that dynasty of Jack Russells that I came to know in my teenage years. They were not these hard-driving, game dogs of the JRTCA-type, which are much more common around here. These were dogs that were scrappy, but they were still good companions.

She is sort of the end of an era.

 

Many Jack Russells from England have a bit of other blood in them. I’ve always suspected that she had a bit of border terrier in her– just from her head shape and her hard, thick coat. When she was younger, she had the border terrier’s markings, too.

That’s the thing about “Jack Russells,” there is still of lot of anarchy among them.

But even now, they are slowly turning into closed registry breeds.

Both Cammie and Rhodie are technically “Russell terriers,” a breed that didn’t even exist until just a few years ago. In the 1990’s, they would have both been called Jack Russells.

Maddie lost her eye to glaucoma a few years ago, which made her look particularly vicious.

But I will always remember her gentle face and tenderness with young puppies.

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It doesn’t matter if they live to be 16 years old.

Dogs just don’t live long enough.

Please keep my aunt and uncle and their two daughters in your thoughts this week.

This is absolutely devastating.

***

Maddie’s final resting place will be next to her mate, the much celebrated and perhaps legendary Timmy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The lion in profile

Six years old.

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Ice pond duckers

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Winter scenes

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Gabe. Source for image is this wonderful post.

Gabe. Source for image is this wonderful post.

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