Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Heidi Brown, 1999- 2012

George Calef's great old Labrador Heidi Brown, who was based in Whitehorse in the Yukon but hunted all over North America, has died at thirteen. She probably hunted more species than any other living dog; here are some thoughts from George.

"Heidi Brown passed away early this morning in the cabin she loved, and knew as home, secure and peaceful in Brodie’s arms. She was born on the Ides of March 1999 so she was 13 year 6 months and 16 days old, and had begun her 14th hunting season, in a career that began with two green winged teal on the Big Salmon river when she was 6 mo old and ended with a fool hen here in her home valley, which we will have for dinner tonight. As of last Dec. Heidi had hunted and retrieved 65 of the 73 species of legal gamebirds in North America. With the possible exception of Virginia rail and Trumpeter swan, I figure the remaining 8 species have no bird dog tradition associated with them, and in the case of Chachalaca and Snow Cock, a dog would even be a liability instead of an asset. She hunted everywhere from the winter prairies of Canada, where she retrieved in icy, whitewater rivers, and sat in wind chills of -80, to the deserts of Arizona where she bravely held up her paws for me to pull out cactus thorns. She dove out of a boat 15 miles offshore in the winter Atlantic and swam hundreds of yards for ducks she couldn’t even see, simply because I told her to, and she had faith that I would be there to pull her in when she came back. She fought her way through water hyacinth too thick to swim through in alligator infested swamps in the Deep South. As Steve Bodio once told me: 'Heidi is the luckiest dog that ever lived.' "


Daniel R. said...

Lucky dog. Love the last shot. Great post!


Just Another Savage! said...

Any time a great dog dies it tugs at my heart.. wish they all could have lived as well and been loved as much!

danontherock said...

Seems like she had a great life but hate to see a good dog pass. Their lives are so short. Looks like Heidi lived a full one though.


Anonymous said...

What is the story on the gun?

It is no piece of junk.


Steve Bodio said...

Gun is an English hammergun, by Needler, about the quality of my old Grant. All in time...

Anonymous said...

My condolences. Time in the field would not be the same without them.

Gil said...

When I hear of the death of a beloved dog, I think of what Napoleon said about the bond between a dog and his man:
“This soldier, I realized, must have had friends at home and in his regiment; yet he lay there deserted by all except his dog. I looked on, unmoved, at battles which decided the future of nations. Tearless, I had given orders which brought death to thousands. Yet here I was stirred, profoundly stirred, stirred to tears. And by what? By the grief of one dog."

Napoleon Bonaparte, on finding a dog beside the body of his dead master, licking his face and howling, on a moonlit field after a battle. Napoleon was haunted by this scene until his own death.