A Thanksgiving Tribute to a Bird Dog

517f80db-c549-449a-b0c2-8f2adf398f66 By Bob St.Pierre

One week ago today, my beloved bird dog, Trammell, passed away at 14 ½ years of age.

As you might imagine, I’ve struggled putting into words the love I feel toward Trammell. Looking for creative inspiration, I’ve read stories of rainbow bridges and heartbreaking eulogies. My hope was to be struck with the kind of divine inspiration for a story worthy of the love, pride, and joy that Trammell truly earned in my heart.

Alas, I’m no Hemmingway, Harrison, Rawls, or Grogan able to pen a timeless tribute to the special place bird dogs occupy in our souls. I’m an average writer and imperfect human being. Trammell brought all the magic to our relationship. She took me to the birdy habitat when my imperfect eyes inaccurately assessed the terrain.  She saved the birds I crippled with imperfect shots.  She brought laughter to hunts when I took the adventure too serious. I’m an imperfect person who was blessed with the perfect bird dog for me.

So on this day of giving thanks, my message is not going to be a thought-provoking perspective or a hot new take on loving a bird dog.  Rather, I only hope my words will serve as a reminder of an unwaveringly brutal fact . . . our bird dog’s lives are too short, so savor every moment.
  • Take the time to cuddle when they’re puppies falling asleep in your arms.
  • Bring your temperature down when they chew up whatever it is they’re going to destroy . . . that’s going to be a story you cherish one day.
  • Don’t worry about rushing them toward perfection as a bird dog. Enjoy the process.
  • Take a picture with every bird, every new state hunted, every family vacation, every Christmas morning, and every memorable moment together. You’ll regret each photo missed because you’re in too much of a hurry to slow down and capture the picture that’ll be with you forever. 
  • Savor every point, every flush, every retrieve, every hunt, and every day. They go by in a blink. 

So on this Thanksgiving day, I have three requests.  

First, give a dollop of gravy on every bowl of Thanksgiving kibble. Your pups all deserve it.

Second, give an extra scratch under your pup’s chin for Trammell and make sure to thank your pup for the joy they bring to your life throughout the year.

And finally, make plans to go bird hunting this weekend. It’s not about a bag limit or being in the birdyest place in the country. It’s about the time in the outdoors with family, friends, and some special bird dog best friends . . . who are all helping to make a lot of imperfect people a little closer to perfect along the way.

Thanks for indulging my #TributeToTrammell and Happy Thanksgiving to all.

- Bob, Meredith, Esky & Gitche

Bob St.Pierre is the Chief Marketing & Communications Officer for Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever where he’s been living out his dream job since 2003. 

Prior to joining Pheasants Forever, St.Pierre was the Assistant General Manager of the Saint Paul Saints Professional Baseball Club. 

St.Pierre also serves as our organization’s host of
On The Wing Podcast and as “The Captain” Billy Hildebrand’s co-host on FAN Outdoors radio broadcasting live every Thursday evening and Saturday morning from the Twin Cities.

Bob and his wife Meredith make their home just a few miles up the road from Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s headquarters in White Bear Lake, Minnesota with their GSPs Esky (7yrs) and Gitche (2yrs).