Greetings fellow gundog enthusiasts, upland and waterfowl hunters, weekend hunt testers, field trialers, houndsmen and anyone else who loves sporting dogs. My name is Chad Love and I am the newest addition to the Man’s Best Friend blog. Some of you may already know me from the Field Notes blog, but hunting with dogs – in all its forms – is a singular passion of mine and I am very excited to begin contributing to the excellent body of work already established by David DiBenedetto.
I am incredibly honored to be writing about gundogs for Field & Stream, for it was within its pages that a young, dogless suburban kid from a broken home first discovered the world of gundogs through the stories and columns of the late Bill Tarrant. Reading his words was a big part of the beginning of my interest not only in gundogs and upland and waterfowl hunting, but in all hunting and fishing. And it is not hyperbole to say that without the influence of a man I never met, yet felt I knew intimately, that I wouldn’t be the person I am today.
I got my first gundog in college (see photo. Yes, mullets were in style back then), and I’ve been happily owned by them ever since. They’ve taught me things about myself the best shrink couldn’t. They’ve made me weep with joy, curse in frustration, laugh in delight and simply stare in awe and amazement. When I’ve lost loved ones my dogs have helped mend my broken heart with a lick and nudge of their muzzle, only to break my heart all over again when they themselves die. And while digging their graves, some old and rheumy-eyed, others lost in their prime, I’ve sworn “Never again, the pain’s not worth it.” Which is a lie, of course. The pain’s always worth it because that’s the deal we make to experience what they have to give and teach us. We may have bad days or weeks or months, we may get distracted with the daily complications of modern life. But as long as a dog has a leg to rub against, a hand to lick and eyes to look into, they’re happy. And I think we can learn a helluva lot from that.
And of course, I’m not alone in that. That’s why you’re here, too. That’s why David started this blog and why you read it, because we all know that dogs train us as much as we train them. I currently have one old Chesapeake Bay retriever and one young English setter and they teach me something new every day. And from day one that’s what this blog has been all about, a community of shared experiences with dogs as the common thread. What I’d like to do is continue that, and maybe add a little of my own perspective to the mix. I sincerely hope you continue to enjoy reading the blog as much as I’m going to enjoy contributing to it.