Release the White Kraken

By on December 4, 2017

I swear on my best shotgun that I am not making this up to sensationalize my column like some cable TV news reporters might do. No fake news here, I promise.

Don’t let this sweet face fool you. Rosalee is the Kraken disguised as cute lab puppy. Provided photo

Don’t let this sweet face fool you. Rosalee is the Kraken disguised as cute lab puppy. Provided photo

In the first twenty minutes since I sat down to write this column my white lab pup Rosalee, while sitting on the couch next to me (the only piece of furniture we let her on is the couch in my office where I write), started pawing at me and has stepped on my keyboard twice, deleting the first few lines of this story and scratching my arm in the process, actually drawing blood. Then five minutes later I was trying to type with one hand while holding onto the Nylabone she was chewing with the other so she could get a good bite at it and she accidentally nipped my finger, again drawing blood.

Soon bored with the Nylabone, she got down and was silent in the other room for five minutes. That is always a sure sign that something bad is going down. I had to get up to check and, sure enough, she had thrown up on the carpet in the living room. But to show she isn’t a bad dog … all the time … she did eat it all up off the carpet and, believe me, I let her! I just didn’t let her lick me for the rest of the day. Don’t tell my wife, because the pup was giving her kisses just a few minutes later.

Cleaning puke is one of my least favorite things to do and this white dog is a puke dispenser. The reason is that she tries to eat or chew everything she sees. She is a lab pup after all, that’s what they do.

Just the other day I was in the laundry room and reached down to pick up what I thought was a leaf on the carpet. As my fingers touched it I wondered why this leaf was all soggy. Yep … you guess it, more puke.

Luckily for Ms. Rosalee she is cuter than a young Shirley Temple (for those under fifty years of age, please Google). I had forgotten what a full-time job a puppy is.

My older dog Cove is now eight years old and didn’t seem to be half this wild at six months, but he was a good dog almost from the start. They say you only get one truly great dog in your lifetime, and for us that is Cove. We’ve had some very good dogs over the years, but none can hold a rawhide chew to Cove. Unfortunately, he currently has problems with his shoulder that have left him unable to hunt. My vet, even after X-rays, can’t figure out exactly what is wrong, so I have an appointment to take him to Cornell in January. So needless to say, “Pukey” has some big shoes to fill.

For those of you who did not see my first column on the arrival of Rosalee (http://www.westsidenewsny.com/author/t-r-hendrick/ ), I picked her up in Minnesota this past June at eight-weeks-old. Why did I go that far when there are plenty of good Lab breeders in New York? I was looking for a particular bloodline that I have had much success with in the past. Cove came from Wild Rose kennels in Mississippi (uklabs.com); they import many of their stud dogs from the United Kingdom. Breeders in England, Ireland and Scotland breed for the calmest nature, biddability, hunting desire and ability to scent game. I love his smaller size and calm temperament and the switch he turns on when the guns come out … he inherently knows it is game on. When I contacted Wild Rose for another pup, I learned that they were booked for yellow female pups for the next two years so I looked elsewhere. I found a breeder at Diamond J Kennels in Minnesota. He had a litter with some of the same bloodlines as Cove, so I reserved a female pup and two months later made the long drive.

I am now thinking this just might have been a mistake because calm she is not. Rosalee makes Honey Badger seem lazy (for those over fifty, please Google) At six months  she is like a lanky adolescent, all legs, and when she enters a room she comes flying in all arms, elbows and knees sliding on the linoleum floor. My wife says we should rename her Kramer after the character on the TV sitcom “Seinfeld,” but she already has a half dozen nicknames…none of them good.

If her eyes are open she is chewing, chasing or eating something. When you tell her “no!” she just looks at you with those crazed puppy eyes as if to say, “I don’t care what you say, old man, I’m faster than you and am going to do what I want.”

But enough of my pup whining, I promised an update on Rosalee’s hunting training. In October I took Rosalee to Montana to hunt wild pheasant with my son’s two-year-old lab, Genny.  I didn’t expect much from Rosalee because she was so young, but I couldn’t leave her at home for my wife to care for.  Because I knew that after three or four days of watching the white dog solo my wife would crack and run out of the house screaming, “The Kraken is coming, the Kraken is coming!” Also, when I got home Rosalee would certainly have deposited a pile of puke in every room in the house.

In Montana Rosalee had a blast, but she wasn’t really doing any hunting. All she did was run around chasing Genny. At one point Genny went to retrieve a pheasant I shot.  Rosalee promptly ran out and took it from her, then tried to run off with the bird before I could catch her.

The next day I parked to hunt and let both dogs out of the truck.  Before I could get five yards away, Rosalee found the remains of a pheasant someone decided to clean right there by the road. The white dog soon had the guts, including the head, dangling out of her mouth. There was no way I could catch her and remove her prize, no matter what I did to coax her to me. She would only let me get within a few feet of her before she ran off, swallowing a little more each time until she had eaten it all.  And, of course, she puked in the back seat of my truck on the way back to camp.

Now at home I am working with her to be a duck dog because, unfortunately, we no longer have wild pheasants to hunt here in New York. Rosalee is picking up goose wings fairly well, but it’s bringing them back to me that she is having trouble with.

So, my Rosalee update is that the white tornado is winning the early battles, but I promise you that I will win the war. Please keep an eye open for an old guy running down the street screaming, “The Kraken is coming, the Kraken is coming!”

To be continued.

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