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This weekend I carried my 13 year old lab, Rowdy, for what I expect to be his last hunt. I was with my buddies that have been with Rowdy since the beginning and we agreed that if he could bring back just one duck, all would be well. We picked a easy place to hunt for him and setelled in. One drake came in, I killed it and he started out of ther blind. There was some ice and he broke through and made the retrieve even though he really did not want to. He brought it back to hand and sat down. In a few minutes he got ansy and wandered away from me. He can't hear and can't see very well so I gave him a few minutes and started to look for him. He was under the tailgate of the truck, I am sure because he can't jump in the back to his kennel.
I patted his head and lifted him in. The remainder of the weekend, he stayed at the lodge and slept beside me.
I've seen far better retrievers but I have never seen a better behaved dog or had a more dedicated friend.
His hunts are through---job well done!
 

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I had a 13 year old do about the same thing

retrieved the first two ducks in cold water- thin ice and then layed down and essentially said- thats it

He is a black lab- no grey- most get grey at 7 or 8

regards from Iowa

Gene
 

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Jim, only someone who has experienced what you have can truly understand. He is not JUST a dog and most times is better than a friend. You have a bond with him that goes much futher than friendship. I have a eight year old Miniture Datsun that will blood trail a deer, retrieve dove and ducks(has to walk backwards to bring the ducks as he is too shortlegged to carry them forward) and tries to be a squirrel dog. He will try to retrieve anything. I take him fishing with me and he will jump overboard to try to retrieve the fish when they start splashing. It will break my heart to lose him but I remember the fun times we've had together. Jackie B.
 

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About a year ago, I took my old GSP Rusty on a quail hunt, It was a great day in every way and I was one bird short of a limit when I decided Rusty was worn out and it was time to head back. About 100 yards from the truck Rusty went on point and I got/made a perfect shot. Rusty went to get the bird and couldn't make it back. I carried him to the truck knowing that was the last hunt for us. We had to put him down a few weeks later due to kidney failure. It was perhaps the most difficult emotional experience of my life and even now it is hard to write about. No regrets though, Rusty had a great life and got in on a lot of great hunts. Sounds like your Rowdy did well also.
 

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My 14 year old black lab died in his sleep last September the 25/26. Broke my heart, but the way I prayed that it would happen. In his prime he weighed 130 lbs and was unstoppable. Several hunts he got more ducks than I, just retrieving lost cripples along the lake. He found and retrieved 9 one hunt. He astounded my hunting companions. Here is a picture when he was 12 years old, his last year hunting. I understand completely Jim. Richard
 

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Jim,thanks for sharing this.Several years ago a friend hunting with me had a very good Lab.The dog was getting old,but still wanted to hunt.

We killed three ducks.Gunner the Labs name went and retrieved the first drake mallard.On his way swimming back to the dog ramp I said I am going to take his picture, it may be his last retrieve.He came into the blind and laid down like your friend.That night he died.The picture is priceless.

Bocephas
 

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I have lost track of how many generations of hunting dogs I am on now. It is always sad to see a good hunting dog get old and slow down but always fun to watch a new pup with good potential getting better and better with every hunt.
 

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Your buddy is retired and I know that he will enjoy what time he has left. You will enjoy it with him, and can relive the great hunts for years to come. What a great friendship you two enjoy. I just got a lab after several years of not having a friend ,we're still getting to know one another My wish is that my dog and I become as close as you and your hunting pal.
Regards
Bruce Specht
 

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I've post this pic before of Chet, my 12 1/2 yr old Chocolate who is laying at my feet as I type! I took him out this year for a "last hunt" but I didn't do my part so all we got was exercise .....maybe he'll be around for one more....I posted this pic at my club with a sign saying "Eye protection must be worn by all"...

 

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It's good that you took your hunting partner out for one last time. I didn't do that with my Britt when she turned 14 because I was afraid she'd hurt herself running around. As it turned it out I had to put her down in the spring. Still regret it to this day, feel I let her down. Still can see the look it her eyes when she was heading for the woods. Ron
 
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