The Well-Trained Dog and the Living Cardinal

How much do you know about grouse hunting?

If your answer is, “What the heck is a grouse?” then you are in the vast majority of humanity.  I was you once.  Then I met my husband.  Now I’m married with a hunting dog and a coop full of training pigeons.  Life comes at you fast.

**Note** In case you care, a grouse is a bird.  It’s about the size of a chicken.  Also, since we get this question a lot, no our pigeons do not die in the course of training.  They’re homing pigeons, so once the dog finds them in a field then we launch them into the air with a pigeon launcher (yes, this is a real thing), and they fly home.  Okay.  Glad we covered the logistics.  On to my story.

Yesterday I tried to get our dog Ruby to come in from the back yard.  I called her, but she wouldn’t come.  I went outside to investigate, and she was on point.  This means she was frozen in place, pointing out a bird for a non-existent hunter to shoot.  I think it was a cardinal or something.  Definitely not a food bird.  I didn’t take a picture, but here’s what our type of dog looks like when she’s on point:


My husband wasn’t home, and I couldn’t remember what he usually says to make Ruby break point.  I tried a few things:

“At ease!”


“You’re free!”


Nothing worked.  She moved only her eyeballs to look at me like, “Hello…shoot the bird…”

She’s fifty pounds, so I wasn’t about to go pick up her frozen-in-place body and haul her inside (on second thought, it would have been hilarious if she tried to hold the pose while I was carrying her!).  Suddenly, I had the perfect idea.

I went inside and pulled out our Wild West board game called Bang.  There’s a cap gun in that game that’s really loud.  I walked back outside and tried to call Ruby in again.  She stayed on point (shocker).

I pointed the gun in the general direction of the bird and shot.  BANG!  Ruby was satisfied and immediately ran to me happily like, “Did you get it?  Wasn’t that awesome?!”  Whatever, dog.  I probably gave the poor bird a tiny heart attack.

Now our neighbors probably think we’re the nutter house.  Well, that ship probably sailed long ago.  They’re simply marking this up as one more reason to move:  “Hey, Maude! Crazy chick next door is shooting cardinals!  Did you call on that house over on the other side of town yet?”


21 thoughts on “The Well-Trained Dog and the Living Cardinal

  1. Pingback: When Your Celebrities…Aren’t | Behind These Hazel Eyes

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