Wednesday, May 23, 2012

It's going to be a long six weeks...

please forgive the blurry images - it's hard to get the subject to hold still and we don't have a real camera

This is my dog, Sogn. 

He is awesome. You may have read about him here on the blog.

There are some things you may not know about Sogn.

First, he is named after Sogn Valley, in southeast Minnesota (near where we went to college), which is named after Sognefjord, the largest fjord in Norway. Like many of the Minnesota areas that derive their names from the native lands of the people who settled here, the people near Sogn Valley intentionally mispronounce the Norwegian word. Apparently, when people settled the area, in an attempt to blend the old and the new they used old-country names with midwest pronunciations. For example, folks from New Prague, Minnesota, pronounce it "New Prage" - not in the old world way of "New Praag." So, rather than "Sougn" (give me a break, I took Spanish in college - who speaks Norwegian?), we pronounce his name "So-gen."

Second, he likes to bring you things - mostly household things that he shouldn't be bringing you, think dishtowels, shoes, anything on the floor. Sometimes his desire to bring things actually gets very distracting for him. For example, people are his FAVORITE THING IN THE WORLD. Any person. Favorite thing. If you're unlucky enough to be outside when first encountering Sogn chances are he is just going to pounce on you. But, if you're lucky enough to first encounter him in the house chances are that he is going to spend a good minute gathering up seven things to bring to you before he actually comes to greet you. And then when he does, he does that really cute retriever snorting thing while you pet him.

The fact that he likes to bring you things makes it even more strange that he is not actually a great retriever. To a certain extent he is a natural hunter. Once he's in the field and remembers what he's supposed to do he finds and flushes the bird, and he has a soft mouth. I've seen all of this first hand. On more than one occasion I've watched him catch a scent and then flush up a pheasant and look at me expecting me to shoot it down, which I don't, and then he gets disappointed. And, as far as the soft mouth thing goes, last summer when we were out behind a friend's house we wondered where Sogn was. When Calhoun found him around the side of the house he had something in his mouth and when Calhoun made him drop it it was a baby bunny! Turns out he had found a bunny nest and was moving the bunnies from the window well to a spot in the middle of the lawn. None were injured but they were wet and terrified.

But, unfortunately, he's not a spectacular retriever. Oh - he'll apparently get the birds - but he doesn't bring them to the hand like a good retriever is supposed to do. He does just about everything but bring them to the hand.

So, for the next six weeks, my darling dog is off learning how to be a good retriever so he and Calhoun can have an even better bird season. Sadly for us, training is a full-time job and that means no dog tail wags or antics at any time! Calhoun and I are just realizing how quiet it is around here without a sixty pound ball of fur rolling around causing trouble. We're already missing him terribly and wondering why we don't have a backup dog (maybe coming spring 2013?) and are hoping that he's having lots of fun and learning lots while he is away.

A final thing about Sogn is that he is a sweet sweet dog. We had him in Minneapolis with us this past weekend, where we were staying in a house full of friends and people coming and going. And once he gets over the initial panic of enthusiasm of SEEING A PERSON he is the sweetest pup. He likes to be pet and he likes to lean on you while it's happening just so you don't forget he's there. After two years of having an insane puppy, he's finally grown up. He is a calm house-dog who lays by your feet and follows you from the kitchen to the living room just hoping to get some lovin'.

It's going to be a long six weeks....

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