April 13, 2019

Tales of a Not-So-Tough Dog Named Tuff: Hunting Lessons

I will never forget the day we brought our lab home for the first time 5 years ago. We had lost one of our older fur-babies a few months prior- and saw the lab-litter posted online shortly thereafter. We knew it was meant to be for this tiny ball of white fur to come live with us. He would comfortably fit in the hood of my sweatshirt, which is where he snuggled many mornings while I edited photos in my home-office.

“I think we should call him Chief,” my husband said.

I disagreed emphatically, flashing through dozens of horses from days-gone-by named Chief. #alljackasses

“How about Tuff...for Tuff Hedeman,” I suggested, adding fun facts about the bull rider.

It is still a joke today that because I named him, he's my dog. The name is the biggest oxymoron of all.freaking.time. While my husband had high hopes and dreams of many hunting adventures with his handsome side-kick, Tuff mostly hunts for snuggles, kisses, and any spare sock left in sight. #mastersockhunter #mamasboy

Full disclosure: this last duck season, my husband became completely addicted to quack. We appreciate your prayers during this difficult time. #sendwine

During said season, my sweet man decided to give my our sock-hunting pup another chance and started working with him on sit, stay, go get the duck, lessons. Tuff did all the things perfectly, retrieving his rubber-ducky like a champ. Duck calls made him jump for joy...which equally, made the husband jump for joy.

“I think he’s actually going to be a hunting dog. He is smart,” said my sweet man.

“He is smart, but I think unless you get him a wetsuit, he may hate every second of hunting...or drown because he can’t swim...at all,” I replied. (Seriously, he sinks like a rock if you can get him to go near any body of water.)

Nonetheless, the lessons continued until the fateful morning when ducks were brought home from a hunting trip. #deadasadoornail They were laying on the concrete when Tuff’s entire day was ruined. He ran outside, overly excited to see his Daddy when he saw them, sniffed them...and his sweet little heart broke.

“Here, bud...it’s a duck!”

They are not breathing!!! Why aren’t they breathing!?! Hang on, little guy. Maybe I could administer CPR...Mom is going to kill you, Dad. I had nothing to do with the death of these poor creatures, you murderer.

“Here...just sniff it…”

*sniffs again* No!! They’re definitely dead. Too far gone for CPR. I feel sick. I can’t even breathe with that thing near me. I may vomit. These poor ducks…you monster.

“Tuff...just take the duck in your mouth, it's just like your duck!”

Liar. It is not and I will not open my mouth. Absolutely the hell not. Mom told me never to my mouth on the birds...now I see why. She told me they were fragile. Get a crowbar because my jaws are shut and will continue to be shut until you get that lifeless body away from it. I will not take the blame for your wrongdoing...nope...nope...nope. Mom is going to be so mad. She loves our birds.

About the time that Tuff looks like he’s going to have a nervous breakdown, I walk outside.

“What is that, Tuffy?!”

Ask Dad. Tuff sits down, staring back at me wide-eyed, like he’s done something very wrong. Then looks at Kirk, like you’re in for it now. Have fun living outside- I’m taking your side of the bed.

“I think our lessons are over. He’s scared of the dead ducks,”

I giggled to myself.

Oh Tuff- to be named for a cowboy who loved to jokingly call Lane Frost a “puss”...you are indeed, a puss yourself. But if snuggling was an olympic sport, you would be a gold medal winner every time.

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