Traveling Trails Less Traveled. By Buckshot Anderson

For July 23rd, 2010 Edition.

Ah - the joys of having a puppy in ones home! There's nothing in the world like it unless it's a baby during it's "terrible two's."

Wifee Poo and I don't generally bring a new puppy into our home until the current adult dog is beginning to show the rigors of old age. Belle, our sixth black Lab is now only seven and in the prime of life. But fate entered the picture and now Belle has Buffy to contend with.

Fate created a situation when an unplanned and unwanted love affair between a roaming male yellow Lab and a young black female Lab resulted in nine wonderful offspring. The litter consisted of two very light colored pups, two brownish pups, one chocolate pup and four black pups. When Peggy and I first viewed the playful gaggle of multicolored dogs it was difficult to believe they all were siblings from the same mama!

Jim, a friend of ours and custodian of the litter, began looking for folks who would "give the dogs a good home", coupled with the fact Peggy has always wanted a light colored Lab, (reason unknown), so, we now own one of the two light colored gals - Buffy!

At first, when we took Buffy home on June 27th, we began to question our sanity of taking on the chore of raising another puppy at our age. Even though we've had lots of practice doing just that, keeping up with all the shenanigans a puppy brings into normal home life is much more challenging for folks that are creeping into their seventh decade! But having an older dog in the home helps dog owners over the really rough spots, after the older dog eventually accepts the reality the pup is home to stay!

My earliest recollections of having dog(s) in the home go back a long, long ways. As a toddler we had two mutts living with us, mixed breeds of an undetermined ancestry, named Jip and Chum. Jip simply disappeared one day when I was about three. Dad guessed he ended up as a meal for wolves or coyotes. Jip was a deer chaser and a hunter caught him in the act and put an end to Jip's deer chasing career.

Next came a black Cocker Spaniel named Pat. Pat was killed by a car while chasing a chipmunk across highway C as Grandma Jorgensen and I were picking blueberries. That tearful pet funeral was the first of many to follow.

Another black Cocker named Pat II came next and gave my family and I 14 years of fond memories. His eyesight failing and his hearing totally gone, Pat escaped from my folk's car in Chicago through an open window and was never seen again. That was a tough time for me, as Pat II was my best friend and constant companion. He also taught me much about hunting!

Between Pat's disappearance in 1955 and our purchase of Duke in 1963 the Anderson household remained dogless. Duke was our first black Lab, a 110-pound male monster that became the first dog for our four kids.

Five more black Lab females followed in Duke's footsteps, Teal, Maggie, Sadie, Siah and Belle, besides three beagles, Bunny, Freckles and Bugsy, plus a "Labraeagle" mixed breed the kids named Piddles. (Name selection needs no explanation.)

Buffy is a typical Lab pup. The "housetraining" was completed in a week with only several minor "accidents" taking place before the little gal figured out whining at the door to do her thing outside was the right thing to do.

Shoes needed to be placed well above floor level to escape the normal puppy chewing and a plastic flyswatter became our weapon of choice in teaching what "no" and "down" meant.

Dad gave me good advise about how to train a new pup when I was in my formative years. Dad only required two pieces of equipment when training a new pup. Quote - "Get a rolled up newspaper and a short section of two by four. Use the rolled up newspaper to train the dog and the two by four to keep the kids from spoiling the dog." Dad's technique seemed to work just fine.

Belle really had her noise out of joint for the first week after Buffy arrived. There was much fanfare including blood curdling growls and baring of fangs whenever the new kid on the block approached Belle's food dish or attempted to play with Belle's dozen or more stuffed animals, balls and chew toys. But, as always, the old dog soon realized all the threats and hair raising did little or nothing to stem the tide and the two began to bond. As of this writing, July 10th, the bonding between the young and the restless and the old pro is about 90% complete.

Getting along with Peggy's two cats is a different story. Meaner and Eva are brother and sister and have lived in the Anderson household for 13 years. They have taken part in training four of our dogs, and I might add have done a fine job in doing so. Meaner, our tough and rough tomcat, (claws intact) is a master with the left hook and the right jab. He uses that combination of punches to teach new pooches to keep their distance, or else! But this time old Meaner met his match. Despite several rounds of boxing with Buffy, and drawing blood with a couple of his punches, Buffy just wades into the battle and sends the old warrior running for higher ground. Eva spends most of her time under our bed hissing and growling while Buffy attempts to invade her turf. We just might have to add "Tuffy" to Buffy as an add-on nickname.

Another phase in a new pup's training is getting acquainted with the out-of-doors and all the sights and sounds that Ma Nature provides. Our local army of chipmunks now have a new menace to contend with, many of which spend a great deal more time scurrying up tree trunks than previous to Buffy's arrival.

Butterflies and dragonflies are objects to chase, and Peggy's prize flowers are easy to pick and drag around the yard.

Lost Creek was a challenge. For the first two weeks Buffy would only get her feet wet as she watched Belle retrieve sticks from the gently flowing stream. But yesterday - well - here's what happened.

We were dog sitting for another black Lab, Bonnie, while her owners were taking a short mid-summer mini-vacation. Belle and Bonnie were having a roaring good time frolicking in the water while Buffy and I watched from an advantage point on our dock. Suddenly Buffy could stand the excitement no longer and took a flying leap into the creek! Actually, her initial plunge was more like a combination belly-flop - cannon-ball dive But wow! Can that pup swim! Next step will be lessons on water retrieves and learning basic commands that all retrievers and hunting dogs need to master. Duck season is only two and a half months away!

Mr. Leon "Buckshot" Anderson is one of the few old time hunting and fishing guides left in Northern Wisconsin.   Buckshot is a personal friend of the family and has known and worked with my grandfather, Howard "Pop" Dean,  both of whom are members of the fresh water fishing hall of fame, Legendary Guide.   Buckshot has authored 7 books on the great outdoors. All of his books can be purchased directly from him, at a discount, by email:  or by mail to: 2220 Deadman's Gulch Road, St. Germain, WI 54558.

Books by Leon "Buckshot" Anderson Click Here

Yes; Deadman's Gulch is the correct name, I have been on that road many times. Sincerely David D. Cruger

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