The urban wolf.
Meet Rigby, my Gordon Setter.
I say MY Gordon Setter, with a bit of a smirk. Mine because I paid cash for him, and technically he is a living asset. He belongs to me. The smirking part is that, well, if you were to ask him, HE owns me. In fact he would tell you I am his butler, or manservant. Anything but master or owner.
Rigby would tell you he arranges His 7 day schedule the ways he likes it. Mostly. He is a creature of habit. He has me wake him at 6:03 am Monday to Friday, just after coffee is on, before he lets me shower. On weekends he prefers to sleep a bit later, but asks that we pretty much follow the same routine. He will tell you he doesn’t drink coffee, but very much likes what goes on in the house when coffee is brewing.
First order of business is, well, the business. Then he has me wash the stainless bowl, after soaking in hot water and soap. (While he does his business). He asks that his breakfast be served in a freshly washed and hand-dried stainless bowl. He watches intently to see it is done just so. Next is fresh water in a ceramic bowl, also stated preference. Rigby likes me to sit near him first thing in the morning, while I drink coffee. And read silently to him.
Later he eats his breakfast while I get my apple and cinnamon steel-cut oats ready. Rigby prefers eating the same breakfast Monday through Friday, crunchy round food topped with duck, venison, salmon or beef. Crunchy food is always the same; toppings vary. We both prefer a little different routine on the weekend. Rigs likes hollandaise, a bit bacon fat, or some roast venison and gravy – even for breakfast. I usually have something that involves eggs and toast.
Rigby has arranged a comfortable place for me to work from his home. He normally schedules me solid for telephone, conference calls and computer work until noon. About this time he signals it’s time for a canine break. He alternates between bouncing a cantaloupe sized ball of the back of my head and grabbing my headset gently in his bird sensitive mouth. Or, unceremoniously jumping onto my lap in the office chair provided, to signal my next duty.
The message is clear. Stop work now for hard canine play. He likes it that way.
After that I can do pretty much what I like. Until dinner time.
He would tell you I throw his toys mostly right; that it would be better if our fence was further away; and, that I could use a bit of work on my throwing arm.
Rigby will tell you he has big red truck. He had me bring it to south Oregon to bust him out in the spring of 2011. When I brought the ransom. He immediately changed his name from ‘Springset Princely Quality’ to Rigby, in honor of the 416 Rigby. The 416 is a big game cartridge developed by the house of Rigby two century turns ago. He would remind you that while he is technically a bird dog, 416 Rigby was designed for very big game, Elephants and Lions and such.
In his book about field Gordon Setters, “The Black and Tan Bombshell”, Norm B. Sorby of Springset Kennels, says “talk to your dog like he is a three year old who speaks another language.”
That’s how Rigby talks to me.
He would tell you he has a pedigree, and breeding rights. That he chose to come north to Canada in his red truck with me as driver, to pursue a better prairie life among the Ruffed Grouse, Sharptail, Ringneck Pheasant and Hungarian Partridge. He would tell you that that nice Beretta over and under was a gift from him (true) so I would not embarrass him should we encounter upland birds when we walk in the fall stubble.
Rigby would tell you he likes to go to bed about 10 PM. After that I can have the rest of the day off.
“You don’t own the dog; the dog owns you” — unknown.