Archive for the ‘housekeeping’ Category


I have made some adjustments to my Patreon page. I am now setting up a $1.00 per month pledge amount to get my anomalous white weasel to a taxidermist. Samples will be taken from the weasel for DNA extraction purposes to see exactly why it turned white, which is pretty unusual for any mustelid found in West Virginia.

As a reward for your support, I am now planning a monthly chat room for any patreon who pledges $1.00 or more per month. On the last Friday of the month, I will hold an open chat room for patreons. This will start the last Friday in May 2015, which is May 29.

If you would like to make a single donation to the blog, just go through this page and click the “Donate” button to send it via PayPal.

“Get my weasel stuffed for science” is a pretty strange campaign, but it fits, eh?

Every bit you give helps me produce new content, and I do appreciate all my readers and subscribers, whether you can give or not.

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Become my Patreon!


I have decided to launch a Patreon page for this site. I have been writing this blog for several years now, and I now want to push it to the next level.  I have set four goals for this blog over the next few months:  buy podcast equipment,  buy a telephoto lens for my SLR camera,  and buy some better quality trail cameras.

For every monthly pledge of $25.00 or more, I will send you signed copy of the above photograph, which was taken on the coldest day of 2015. Just allow 2-4 weeks for delivery.

If you would like to make a one-time contribution, just use my Paypal account:

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This blog now has 1,000 followers. One of which is me, so we really have 999.  But not too shabby.


This means I’m INTERNET FAMOUS now!

internet famous

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Follow me on Twitter

retrieverman twitter

Just go to https://twitter.com/retrievermantwi

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Click here to hear me tawk!

And make fun of my hillbilly accent…


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my promo photo

Yep. I’m going to be interviewed by Fred Kray of Pit Bulletin Legal News this Tuesday (June 3) at 8 PM EDT.

I’m scheduled to be on at 8:30.

So click here to check it out!

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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.


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.

maddie smiling

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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5,000 posts!

This is the 5,000th post!




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4 million

high point

According my stat counter, this blog will have crossed the 4 million hit mark within the next hour or so.

Thank you for reading, sharing, and subscribing to my work.

It’s been a lot of work. I have put my heart and soul into this project over the years.

I’ve learned a lot.

And I appreciate you for indulging me.

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I often get requests for posts.

I usually do my best to meet the request, and when I had more time on my hands, it was usually done within a week of the request.

I don’t mind doing posts that readers request.

You are the readers, and I’m not writing a diary.

However, over the years I have noticed that I do get a lot of requests for posts on the history of retrievers.

I’ve noticed that those posts tend to be popular, but they generally are only transitory.

Not only that, I have often found where I have been wrong about some of the things I’ve written, but because the post was written so long ago, I don’t have time to go back and fix it.

There are also posts I no longer stand by. Ignore all my posts that talk about the “original appearance” of golden retrievers. At the time, I was under the delusion of “original intent,” which I now believe is simply a fallacy.  The original wavy-coated retriever from which golden retrievers descend varied from heavily-built and beefy to lithe and settery.  The lighter built dogs did eventually win favor because they were more agile on land and faster swimmers.

Also, ignore this post on the history of water dogs. It was based solely upon various historical research that was later largely debunked through genomic studies.

I am willing to admit that I’m wrong.  However, there are so many posts that it would take me several months or perhaps a year to fix all of them.

Such is the hazard of producing nonfiction at volume.

But I still do get requests about these history posts, and I’ve occasionally been asked when I was going to write a book on the history of these dogs.

The answer was always, “I don’t know.”

But I am wondering if maybe there is a market for such a book, and if there is, I think I’d like to write it.

I don’t want it to be as breed blind as Richard Wolters’s amazing (though somewhat flawed) history of the Labrador retriever.

It obviously must contain the history of Newfoundland water dogs, but I don’t want people to have a narrowly construed understanding of what this sort of dog was (or is).  Wolters focused heavily on smooth-coated St. John’s water dogs in the literature, assuming that they were the only type available. They were the only that could be found in Newfoundland during most of the twentieth century.

What I found interesting is that all these Labrador retriever historians quote Lambert De Boilieu, who famous wrote:

The Labrador dog, let me remark, is a bold fellow, and, when well taught, understands, almost as well as any Christian biped, what you say to him.

Never mind the religious bigotry in the statement, but virtually every Labrador retriever history quotes it.

They seem to ignore the rest of De Boilieu’s discussion of the dog in which he talks about the long-haired ones that the British were turning into the wavy-coated retrievers:

 The dogs sent to England, with rough shaggy coats, are useless on the coast; the true-bred and serviceable dog having smooth, short hair, very close and compact to the body. I sent to England a fine specimen of these, but unfortunately the vessel which bore it had the misfortune to be wrecked on the north coast of Ireland, and all hands were lost.

This is why when you read of Dr. Bond Moore’s “Labradors,” which were registered as wavy-coated retrievers, they were long-coated dogs. The golden retriever is also derived from that “bold fellow,” as are all the other large retrievers.

I call this dog a St. John’s water dog.

It is this dog that had the greatest impact on the development of retrievers, for before it became widespread, retrieving dogs were almost always either water spaniels, poodle-types, or various types of purpose-bred mongrel.

In Russia and Scandinavia, laikas and their relatives retrieved shot ducks. And still do today.

But this rugged water dog from Newfoundland had the greatest impact on the development of retrievers today.

If I were going to write about the history of the retrievers, I would have to include big section on that breed.

I have loads of material, most of which I’m not able to use even on the blog.

I could organize all of this material into a manuscript, but I don’t have a clue what to do next.

I’ll just say I’m not interested in self-publishing.

Retrievers are popular dogs. People want to read about them.

I don’t want my efforts to wind up like some poorly thought-out treatise on groundhog baiting with Jack Russells.

I want people to read this stuff.

These dogs are important to us.

I just don’t know where to start.

A book that should be written and a book that I eventually do write are two different things.

So if anyone has any ideas, please leave me comments. If you’d like to email me, please feel free to use the Contact page.


Bonus points if you can name the dog at the top of this post. However, if you can name him, you’ve been wasting too much time reading this blog!




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