DOGS AT WORK: A retrieve that makes you proud

Click here to get the MNSJ Magazine for half price!
Click here to get the MNSJ Magazine for half price!

by Bret Amundson

We all love our dogs.

Most of the time anyway.  Of course there are those knuckleheads out there that seem destined for more couch time than blind time, but for the most part everyone brags about their dog.  And that’s the way it should be!

Owners spend hours in the backyard, bumpers in hand, working with hand signals, whistle commands and the basics.  It should all pay off this time of year right?

Being that I have an outlet such as MNSJ, I probably write about my lab Mika more than I should.  But I like showing her off.  Today she retrieved a blue-winged teal that I’ll write about below.  It gave me the inspiration for “Dogs At Work“, a collection of submitted photos of working dogs.  Please send in yours and we’ll post it.  It’s free to do and you could win cool prizes.    Feel free to add in a story about how your dog made you proud.


My dog isn’t perfect.  I don’t know many that are.  Yesterday, Mika had a pretty good day in the slough.  Aside from her breaking, I was happy with how she worked.   Then she decided to take the big drake mallard and breast him out herself and have lunch on the way home.

This dog does have a bit of an eating problem…as in she’ll eat everything she can no matter how full she is.

Mika sez "No Pictures Please"
Mika sez “No pictures please”

Today she was marking birds and making long retrieves while spending another cold morning standing in the water.   We had a good number of birds in hand, but had lost a few wounded birds that Mika gave chase to, only to watch them dive and not come back up.

Just before we called it quits, we noticed a blue-winged teal swimming with the various coots that had driven us crazy all morning.  A couple water-swat shots did as much good as stern talking to and soon we sent Mika on it.

100414-mika teal retrieve-2

The bird was out of shooting range and she had no idea where it was, but she held a good line and finally spotted it resting on a mud flat.

Then the race was on.

100414-mika teal retrieve-4

At first the teal flapped with its one good wing and widened the gap.   But a determined lab won’t give up until it’s heart literally gives out.  Within moments, Mika closed in and the duck dove.  The yellow dog spun until that brown duck popped up again about 10 yards away.  Again Mika got near and the duck dove.  This would continue and each time the duck would pop up, Mika would be closer.

100414-mika teal retrieve-8

Finally she was close enough that when the teal tried to dive, her head went down with it and came up with a mouth full of feathers.

100414-mika teal retrieve-10

100414-mika teal retrieve-11

100414-mika teal retrieve-12

100414-mika teal retrieve-13

100414-mika teal retrieve-14

100414-mika teal retrieve-15


I tried to capture it best I could, but the distance and the blowing wild rice kept me from getting clear pictures.  But it’s permanently etched in the scrapbook of my mind.

A few fist pumps and it was time to begin the bragging session.

100414-mika teal retrieve-17

We want to hear your “Working Dog” stories, send them in and we’ll post them.

Leave a Reply