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Posts Tagged ‘dogs’

Shorthair, Griffon, Clumber … a United Nations of dogdom. That was the opportunity in Omaha this weekend.

And unlike the U.N., founded with the highest hopes only to wallow in corruption and petty bickering, I found reason for optimism among the disparate dog breed aficionados displaying their canine wares for visitors to ogle, cuddle, andsavor the puppy breath.

If they can, why can't we all get along?

When it comes to our sport, we are all of one mind … I call it the Upland Nation … supporting conservation and the wildlife we love. And while there are many “critter groups” out there, including our weekend hosts Pheasants Forever, we seem to forget the one thing that binds us, bonds us, wraps us and ties us, that we can all consider common ground: dogs.

My seminars this weekend were based on a single philosophy: in dogs we trust. Many of us simply use hunting as an excuse to play with dogs. We respect our canine hunting companions as much or more than our human ones. There is unbridled affection for the long-nosed pursuers of prey with whom we share a field.

But nobody has seized on this as a uniting force. Yet.

I didn’t learn much from my (insert expletive here) father before he left for what he thought were greener pastures. But I did figure out he was a master communicator, crossing gender, societal and economic borders as if he had a diplomatic passport … no lines, no waiting, no boundaries or barriers to his ability to talk with anyone about anything. His secret? He knew enough about many things to find common ground, something of interest to his new friend or business associate. A word or two in someone’s native language.  Sports score, or musical trivia.

We already have all of that. Approach someone wearing blaze orange, ask what dog breed they love, and you’ve found a new friend. Go ahead, make a joke about “swamp collies.” Argue the merits of ditch parrots versus the noble ruffed grouse. We may not share the same political party, morals or values, likely not even the same Zip Code, but we have more in common than most folks united in common cause.

That common cause is the protection of habitat and our right to use it lawfully to find literal and figurative sustenance.

Next time you disparage retriever owners for their goofy hand signals, or spaniel guys for funny whistles, instead inventory your shared priorities. Learn. Enjoy. Transfer that warm fuzzy feeling to houndsmen. And bowhunters. Tweedy fly fishers and face-painted duck hunters.

For as Benjamin Franklin said: “Surely we must hang together or we will all hang separately.”

And what did you learn?

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