Having said that, however, I usually do take my old retriever along on opening week hunts. She's eight and therefore knows the game, and since I generally hunt alone and live in an arid region where I target mostly small stock tanks, windmill ponds and water holes rather than large feed fields, I don't have to worry about such issues. But this year, even the old lady is staying home. With my part of the country still in the throes of an epic drought and heat wave that shows no signs of easing up, it's just not worth taking the chance. This year, thanks to the heat and the dangers of contaminated water,I can't even let my dog cool off between retrieves with a swim because either there's no water for a swim or what water there is looks like a bad Petri dish culture.