The first time Husband took Jed duck shooting, he ran away at the first volley of gun fire. (The dog not the husband.) He sprinted across paddocks, crashed through hedges, and splashed through creeks in his desperate bolt for the Outlaws’ farmhouse.
I had trained him to sit whenever he came to a gate, in order to open it without being impeded by a muddy puppy trying to batter it down with his tongue. Hence when he came to the farmhouse gate he sat in front of it over an hour, waiting for it to open.
Jed’s duck shooting experience was more successful this time round, despite his scooting under the car and refusing to come out. Eventually I went after him, crawling over several cowpats before I could get a good grip on his ear and pull him out.
I put on his lead before we set off after the hunters, who were stalking stealthily towards the creek. I had to coax Jed (it is possible that the uninformed observer might interpret ‘coaxing’ as coercion supported by some muted yet heartfelt verbal abuse).
Jed’s antipathy must have been the IDEA of gunfire, because he didn’t flinch when the guns went off; and when released, he charged across the creek and worked the ground like a pro.
He was extremely excited, and expended much energy swimming around in circles, but after the third duck shower he retrieved a real live semi-dead duck!
Husband pulled its head off.
He said it was an accident. Only intended to wring its neck, he said. Didn’t know his own strength, he suggested. Could have happened to anyone, he alleged.
Jed ran around the paddock with the duck’s head in his mouth.
As a child, I used to dream of the shape my future might take. Funny how NOT ONCE did Prince Charming rip the head off a duck.
I’m just saying