Sharing is caring, especially with your dogs
By Chad Love
It all started — as most of my philosophical meanderings do — sitting in a camp chair with a dog’s head in my lap, camped somewhere lonesome and lonely in those magical, still-warm days of September’s early grouse season.
Except this time the dog was not merely resting her head in my lap, but actively side-eying my sandwich. This was a problem.
We had been hunting all day, I was tired and hungry, and the sandwich — while merely a sandwich — was the best sandwich I’d ever eaten (because when you’re starving every sandwich is the best sandwich you’ve ever eaten), and I didn’t particularly feel like sharing said sandwich. Especially since she had just eaten her own dinner, which I always gave her and the other dogs before ever sitting down to my own meal.
But there is nothing more moving than the beseeching look of a dog staring up at you, especially one that has just busted its ass all day covering three times the distance you did in search of birds.
What to do?
What came to mind as I sat there pondering this dilemma, were fireflies. Or lightning bugs, as we called them eons ago when I was a kid chasing them across the dusky Oklahoma fields of my long-past youth.
In this life human relationships are as ephemeral and fleeting and unpredictable as the pulsing trail of a firefly across a summer evening field.
They come, they go, they encircle, they disappear, they return, they leave.
They may stay close, or they may fly off forever. Their cadence is the cadence of human emotion, human artifice, human guile, human desire, human weakness, and those are things which are never linear, never certain.
So you chase that which makes you human through the grass and the dimming light.
Sometimes you catch it, sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you catch it and then it escapes. Sometimes you catch it and then, bored or disappointed, you let it go.
Because to be human is to be capricious.
But a dog? A dog is different, better, because a dog is utterly devoid of that capriciousness which makes human relationships so complex, so wobbly, and so fraught with the tinge of the unknown and unknowable.
A dog loves entirely without: without guile, without artifice, without thought, without motive, without condition, without doubt, and without reason.
You will never have to chase what they offer - jar in hand and hope in heart - across an evening twilight.
So the next time a dog sidles up to you, places their head in your lap and longingly side-eyes what is on your plate, just share the damn sandwich.
Because they’re worth it.
Chad Love, the editor of Quail Forever Journal, loves his dogs without guile (and also without his sandwich).
Love your bird dog? Support for Pheasants Forever's Bird Dogs For Habitat campaign continues to provide great places for you and your four-legged friend to roam together.