In 2002 I had a client contact me about photographing some Springer Spaniel puppies with their baby. They said they had 8 pups and I recommended that they bring in only 3 so it would be easier to work with them. I mentioned I was l looking for a Springer because Guido my exisiting Springer was ten years old and slowing down as a hunter. We made a deal and I traded $300 worth of photos for Cosmo. He’s the dog on the right side.
Cosmo was always photogenic. He had these big eyes that would just grab you. As a pup he was extremely playful and after a day of photographing high school seniors I would play tug a war and ball for hours at a time.
We used totake many walks at the park where Cosmo was known as the dog with the frisbee in his mouth. He carried it everywhere.
Cosmo also had his favorite ball to play with in the house. He loved to play tug of war with it.
I introduced Cosmo to hunting when he was only 4 months old. He hunted along side Guido and mostly played during the first year out. He was quickly acclimated to gun fire as I took him down to the gun range and let him hear the shotgunners practicing. He never flinched. The above photo was taken when he was one year and four months old. He caught on to hunting very quick and aided me in a number of pheasant limits.
One thanksgiving my wife Carmen came along while Cosmo and I hunted. We had been married for over 20 years and this was the first time she ever went along. Of course she took the picture which I cherish because I can’t get a picture like this on my own.
We hunted South Dakota every year. Unfortunately Cosmo got cut by barbed wire on this trip and I had to cut the hunt short by a day.
I used to get a grouse permit for the eastern part of the state. You received 3 tags and were allowed to take 3 birds for the season. On this occasion I got 2 grouse with one shot.
We used to hunt the Indian reservation. On this occasion Cosmo flushed 10 roosters one at a time out of a creek area. I shot poorly but managed to get my limit.
On rare occasions bird hunting was so good I would get my limit early and then photograph Cosmo flushing birds. The first photo was taken on the Indian reservation. I got my limit in a half an hour that morning. In 2011 South Dakota was crawling with pheasants and I had some real opportunities for photographing Cosmo at work.
During warm weather Cosmo gets a haircut. Since he has an affinity for water I is much easier to clean him up after a walk. He’s never seen a puddle he didn’t like.
This is Cosmo’s South Dakota retirement hunt. He is 12 years and 4 months at this point. Tbone had hurt himself the previous day and I benched him, hunting only with Cosmo. Although slower than Tbone , Cosmo hunted well that day. He did a good job flushing birds and helped retrieve every bird I shot. The old boy still had it in him.
We had our final hunt of 2014 in Tekamah Ne. Cosmo did well considering Tbone covers twice the territory because of his youth.
Cosmo is slowing down but he still likes to carry his frisbee around and play tug of war with his ball. It is hard to see a dog get old. I will truly miss him when he’s gone. Cosmo is the last of 6 Springers that I’ve owned. It is the end of a dynasty.
During the summer of 2014 I decided to get another dog. It was that, or quit hunting in a year. I had contacted Springer rescue and jumped through all their hoops, which included several interviews as well as paperwork, to get an adult Springer. I was accepted as an applicant but found at the time only out of state dogs were available. On a whim I checked the dog posts on Craigslist. I couldn’t believe it someone listed a Springer. It was a young dog and the owner was in Onawa, IA. The drive was about 70 miles, so Carmen and I went there to check out the dog. Tbone is a very dark brown and because of his color I thought he was a young Springer, who hadn’t filled out yet. He was terribly underweight, tipping the scales at 34 lbs. The seller wanted $75 for him. I was very concerned about his weight and said I would probably have some vet bills with him. The seller dropped the price to $35 so I decided to take a chance. And boy did I get a deal! I just didn’t know it yet.
I took Tbone to the vet. There was nothing wrong with him. He needed shots which I was aware of but no health problems. I took about 6 months and I had his weight up to 42 lbs. The first thing I noticed with Tbone is that he liked to range more than a Springer.
I took Tbone along to South Dakota for a hunt even though I didn’t know the dog very well. I’d only had him 2 weeks and he hadn’t ever hunted where there was a good pheasant population. I did fit him with a shock collar to keep him honest. We got into a field that was thick with birds and all hell broke loose with birds flushing all over. Tbone went ape shit and chased flying birds well over a block and a half. The shock collar wasn’t working and I was scared I would lose him.
I had decided too put him in his cage and just hunt Cosmo and had already left the dog behind when I noticed that the sending unit for the shock collar was set on the wrong frequency. I corrected the problem, left Tbone out of the cage and started hunting again. After a few shocks when he got too far ahead he settled down and hunted well, even retrieving several birds. His style of hunting was a lot different than Cosmo’s but I chalked that up to inexperience.
I took him hunting up to Tekamah with several other hunters and I noticed Tbone seemed to be pointing at times. This is not typical with Springers. When I got home I started googling Brittany images and saw several Brittanies that were a dark liver color. Tbone was a Brittany not a Springer.
In his second year of hunting Tbone matured into an excellent hunter. He is whistle trained and has done a good job of pointing and retrieving birds. I believe he may be one of my best hunting dogs. I did get a good deal!
Photographs are important memories. Take as many as you can and make prints of the ones that are the most important to you. Many of the pictures on this post are also in print form. Your computer will die some day. Don’t lose those precious memories, make prints.