WON Landing Page OCT 2022

Babbs in the Woods: ‘Wag more … bark less’

“Have you let the old girls out this morning?” is a common question around this house. The “old girls” are the two 15-year-old dogs, Lucy and Miss Priss. Lucy came from the pound, or else, “Mom! Mom! She’s gonna get gassed, so we have to take her!” And, we inherited Prissy last year.

Deb Ferns has gone to the dogs this week in Alaska, as she covers the Iditarod as a member of the media. We’ll look forward to hearing from her, in her column sponsored by Brownells and in a podcast here in the near future.

I find that interviewing dogs gives a refreshing spin on a story. I’ve been known to talk to many owners about their famous dogs. For example, a few years ago, I interviewed local TV personality Bill Cooper about his outdoor show that ran in Missouri, and also, I interviewed Pete, his dog. It went like this:

Q: What’s it like working with Bill on the set?

Pete: It’s not bad working alongside Bill – although I do all the work. I run through the brambles and briars to roust out pheasants. All Bill does is shoot and then he wants me to “fetch ’em up” – if he hits one. He always wants me to plunge into the icy cold water to retrieve ducks while he stays in the heated boat blind. Then he growls when I shake off on him. But he pats my head and says, “Good boy” – every time! Too, he scratches my ears – after I dry off.

Q: Do you share a dressing room with Bill?

Pete: I shared a dressing room, actually it was a duck blind with Bill, once. Hope I never see those sights again!

Q: What do you do for fun?

Pete:  Well, it ain’t making puppies. The durn dog down the road always beats me to the punch!

Q: Have you trained Bill to do any tricks?

Pete: Yeah, he chases me around the yard like an idiot when I decide I don’t want to “come, sit, stay” any more.

Q: Do you get tired of retrieving ducks?

Pete: No. Ducks are cool. Try carrying a 3-pound mallard around in your mouth sometime. Feathers tickle the roof of your mouth.

Pete adds: Hope this helps you out some, Barb. Oh, and don’t forget the doggie biscuits when you come for your paw print. Bill said you might want to revise some of these answers. Guess I didn’t use very good language in a couple of places … but I DO have a dog’s life.

Then, a couple of years ago, I wrote a piece for The Outdoor Wire about the carnival atmosphere “Under the Big Top” at the SHOT Show in Vegas.

The only dogs to be found flew through the air at the Dock Dogs competition in the parking lot. The champion, a petite Border Collie named, coincidentally, Nevada, and hailing from Sparks, Nev., revealed in an exclusive interview for The Outdoor Wire that although she loves the competition, she really likes to compete because it gets her out of the house and away from her annoying siblings. Nevada’s human, Shari Robinson, said Nevada prefers to retrieve a yellow ducky, as opposed to the industry-standard dummy. Indeed, Nevada has her own style that includes lying on the end of the dock ogling the ducky before trotting back to the starting position to make the final run before her leap. Her winning flight measured 22 feet, 8 inches.

Here’s why I like dogs: All dogs force us outdoors. Whether on or off the field, dogs add many benefits to human life. Research by Deborah Wells, published by the British Journal of Health Psychology, found that pet owners tend to be healthier in general, but dogs appear to have a more positive influence on health than cats. The study concluded, “Dog owners had lower blood pressure and cholesterol, fewer minor physical ailments and were less likely to have more serious medical problems. Dogs may also facilitate our recovery from illness – even from serious physical problems such as heart attack. There is also evidence that dogs might act as ‘early-warning systems’ for certain types of ailments such as cancer and epileptic seizures.”

My “old girls” make me walk country roads when I don’t feel like walking and they always seem happy to see me. Maybe, like Madam Doeville says over in Doeville – where they love dogs – we all need to “wag more and bark less!”

~Barbara Baird

Twitter: http://twitter.com/babbsbaird
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  • About Barbara Baird

    Publisher/Editor Barbara Baird is a freelance writer in hunting, shooting and outdoor markets. Her bylines are found at several top hunting and shooting publications. She also is a travel writer, and you can follow her at https://www.ozarkian.com.