Saturday, January 17, 2015

Robert Frost and Working Dogs

Teddy Moritz sent me two very nice photos of one of her young working dachhunds, HedgeThreader von Moritz.

Hedge is 13 months old and won her AKC Field Champion title in four field trials, earning four firsts, two best Open and one Absolute. No surprise here!

I think Teddy and I first met 25 years ago or so. Back then she had been at least 20 years into working terriers (more?) starting off as a very young girl with a mini-bull that insisted it had things to do underground.

Teddy has seen every kind of working terrier there is, and she figured out, a long time ago, that size matters in the field, and that bigger is not better. 

Today she digs on groundhogs, red fox, gray fox, possum, raccoon, and she hawks her ass off in season. And did I mention she has lurchers from David Hancock? That too.

So Teddy knows.

She writes about Thread:
Of course I have been working her on rabbits her entire life and the second photo shows the results. She's a valuable member of the team this winter. She weighs six and a half pounds and has an 11 and a half inch chest. Wherever the rabbit goes, Hedge is not far behind.

Just wanted to share this because of your reposting of the Border Terrier spanning blog. Any dachshund with a 14- inch chest is not going to get into tight spots and get rabbits out where I hawk.

She already began working varmints this fall, possum, coon and groundhog but I won't get serious with that kind of work for her until this spring. For now she's a rabbit hunting machine.
Another short exchange with Richard Reynolds on Facebook (it's been at least 15 years since I have seen him!) reminded me of a poem about hunters and walls. It's not germane to how Teddy, Richard, or myself treat any farm land, but it's still a nice read on a cold winter's morning and not entirely unsuited to the topic of dogs and dog size. And had I remembered that this poem was about dogs getting into holes? I had not!
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun,
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
'Stay where you are until our backs are turned!'
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors'.
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
'Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it
Where there are cows?
But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down.' I could say 'Elves' to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me~
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors."

1 comment:

Rick said...

The poem "The Wall" reminds me of a meeting with our next door neighbor at the property line, where we wanted to extend a fence. This was in Calistoga, CA, at the northern end of the Napa Valley, where the valley floor met the surrounding hills. 250 years earlier, the Spanish had made a large pile of stones, about the size of a small car, to mark the extent of what they called the "Carne Humana." In the 20th century, US government surveyors had set a metal rod in the middle of this pile of stones to mark the exact point. From this marker we extended our barbed wire cattle fence up into the hills.