For the first time since Roy Blount Jr. wrote about his cat Jimmy (in the June/July 2012 issue), felines are getting some overdue representation in the pages of Garden & Gun. This time around Julia Reed is giving cats some love in her column, the High & the Low. But let’s be honest, dogs still hold sway in the pages and around the office. On any given day here, you’ll find Trooper, best anyone can tell a border collie–Labrador retriever mix, whose internal clock is so spot-on he stands up and heads to the door when closing time arrives. Then there’s Bailey, a thirteen-year-old dachshund who prefers to spend her time napping on a cardboard file-folder box.
My dog Pritchard, a Boykin spaniel, has been coming to the office for years (and stealthily ransacking cubicle garbage cans for just as long), but recently my family added another member to our pack, Story River, from Wildrose Kennels. A yellow Labrador named after the tidal river that runs behind Pritchards Island off Beaufort, South Carolina, Story joined us as a seven-week-old pup this past March. Adding a new dog was not something we took lightly, but with Pritchard now ten years old and our children, Sam and Rosie, five and three, we felt the time was right.
We knew quickly that Story was an athlete. On her first morning at home, we watched as she skidded around the kitchen in a fit of pure puppy energy, then leaped over Pritchard, who was lying down in protest of the antics. And as she grew into a lanky teen, we often joked that she was more white-tailed fawn than canine.
As usual, I took great delight in the puppyhood firsts. I took Story to the small pond where Pritchard had learned to swim, only this time the audience included not only my wife, Jenny, but also the kids. We all let out exuberant hoots and hollers as Story paddled effortlessly across the surface. Her first retrieve was special, too, and the first ride in the jon boat. (Not all went swimmingly; her first few times on a lead, she behaved like a helium balloon in the wind.) I hope to have her in the field soon, but as with any gundog, you must start with the basics, and most mornings still find us working on sit, stay, and heel.
Speaking of well-trained pooches, you may have noticed the beauty on the cover of this issue. That’s Raz, a black Labrador retriever in a pirogue at Pecan Island, Louisiana. Raz is more than just good-looking—he works both the duck blind and the upland fields for his owner, Colin Sykes. He’s also equally at home at, well, home, having been known to occasionally commandeer a fine sock, lick the foam off a latte, and hog the bed.
Sounds like just what I’m looking for with Story.
Senior Vice President & Editor in Chief