I have owned many hunting dogs over the years. These included retrievers, pointers, and hounds. My first dog was given to me as a pup, by my grandmother. I thought that it had the look of a coon hound. I had friends that hunted coons with hounds and it sounded like fun. Actually Brownie was just a mutt. When he grew up he resembles a Labrador retriever only smaller and brown. Brownie was my buddy and companion growing up. He would protect my siblings and I, when we would ride our bikes past the neighbor’s dogs. He would never hesitate to tackle any dog that came after us regardless of it’s size.
Having a pet was alright, but I wanted a hunting dog. Particularly a coon hunting dog. Brownie loved to hunt, but he never showed any interest in raccoons. I even took him hunting with other guys and their coonhounds, hoping he would learn to hunt coon. Brownie just didn’t care the least about chasing raccoons. While the coonhounds were off doing their thing, Brownie would go find a rabbit to chase.
As a pup Brownie would follow me as I was squirrel hunting, never making a sound. Later as an adult dog he would tree squirrels. He would bark treed, keeping the squirrel there until I would shoot it. I preferred to hunt squirrels by still hunting, but as a squirrel dog, Brownie was first rate.
Brownie loved to hunt rabbits. He very rarely trailed one until it circled back around. He was too fast and would lose the scent trail. One time my dad took him rabbit hunting. Brownie jumped a rabbit and dad shot at it and missed. No problem, Brownie caught the rabbit and brought it back to my dad.
Brownie also loved to hunt quail. Actually Brownie loved to hunt anything except raccoons. He seemed to instinctively know what you were hunting for. When bird hunting, he never pointed, he was strictly a flushing dog. You could always tell when he was about to bust a covey of quail. He would get really excited. As a flushing bird dog he was okay.
When I went hunting, Brownie was usually there. If I was going hunting without him, I would have to hide the gun and sneak away. One time I was jump shooting for ducks and Brownie was along. When jump shooting for ducks, you would sneak along a stream or river, and try to get close enough for a shot. When within range I would jump up and as the ducks took flight I would shoot. On that day I jumped a small flock of mallards and managed to shoot a couple. One duck fell in the stream. Not wanting to get wet, I sent Brownie after it. Brownie got the duck and started swimming for the opposite bank, it being closer. I quickly called him and he turned around and brought the duck to me. I made a big fuss over him and from that day on, Brownie was a retriever. He retrieved many ducks and a few geese over the years. I don’t recall him ever losing a duck except one. I was hunting on the White River in southern Indiana. The White River is a good size river with a strong current. I had just shot two ducks, both falling into the river. Brownie got to the first duck and still carrying it, he went swimming after the second one. I had only winged the second duck and it was swimming downstream for all it was worth. I called Brownie back, I had to call several times. He did not want to give up on that second duck. I don’t know how he thought he could carry two ducks anyway. For a mutt, Brownie turned out to be a respectable retriever.
Brownie and I hunted together from about the time I started hunting, until I was through high school. After that I left home and never got to hunt with him again. Brownie was killed by a car while hunting, doing what he loved best.
Brownie never did become the coon dog I thought I wanted. But he turned out to be so much more. Life is like that. So often we think we know what we want and what is best for us. But God may have so much more planned for us. God sees the big picture, that we can’t see. We find it when we quietly seek His will and trust Him. Too often we miss out on God’s best because we are simply willing to settle for less.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11
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