Moses rests next to me. Curled up in a ball his chin resting on his paws. He is fighting sleep. I wonder what he dreams of. Socks? My wife’s dish towels, hopefully birds….the smart money remains with the dish towels. Quiet is a rare commodity in a home filled with the voices of children, and a lurking cat that watches him from the top of the stairs. He sleeps when he can, and when not chewing on the wives' dish towels.
Soon, Moses and I will venture across the highway’s of Kansas. We will pass by fields littered with Quail and Pheasant. Dove’s will be lined upon electrical wires flying to and fro. Much to the chagrin of Moses he will be resting in his kennel, oblivious to all the feathered treats that hide outside the car window. We will pull into a long gravel driveway meet some new friends, and Moses and I will say our goodbye’s. Moses is going to a professional dog trainer.
My daughter cried the day we said Moses is going to a trainer. She picked at her supper, moving her peas and carrots in no particular pattern. “I will miss him, does he have to leave?” Her sweet question piercing my heart. I explained in the simplest of terms as to why. My daughter smiled, and continued to move her vegetables around strategically as one moves chess pieces of a board.
Sending Moses to a trainer was not easy. He will be missed. Over the coming months the house will be empty. There will be less dog hair to sweep, and our cat will once again have rule of her castle. I will miss my friend.
Over the past several weeks it became clear that my abilities to train, and dedicate the desired time for Moses would not happen. Family time, work time, remained important factors in sending Moses to a trainer. Having built a growing relationship with the trainer made the choice simpler. Scheduled visits are allowed and welcomed. Training is not free. It will be noticed in our account. Despite the cost, we are in agreement that this is the best choice for our family. I will work longer hours, write more, to help off set the cost. The choice to send him away was not easy. Emotions ranged from disappointment to anger. With calm hearts and somber minds we believe this will be best for our entire family in the long run. Plus, we will save extra money on maintaining a nice collection of dish towels.
Moses will be arriving home two weeks before upland season starts in November. He will be taller, projecting a more regal posture while filled with the same desire to love and please.
Our adventures will soon commence. Together we will roam into wild places. Learning from each other. Growing together, chasing our prized birds. Until that time, I will see his empty bowl and miss my friend. I will miss having him rest next to me on the couch. Saying goodbye will be hard. Seeing him all ‘grown up’ and with visions of birds dancing through his mind will be worth the wait.
By Erin Woodward
Erin Woodward is a novice bird hunter. He was born and raised in Kansas where he currently resides with his wife and three children. Erin can be found during the fall and winter months venturing across the Great Plains in search of wild game. Summers are reserved for fishing and making homemade ice cream. His works have appeared in: Sage & Braker, Missing Sucks, Hunt Redi, Project Upland and Endless Migration.