It is not that far from Johnson Creek to Sauvie Island if you can fly like a duck, drive your rig, pedal your bike, paddle a kayak or float in a drift boat.
However it took four years for Posey, our lab-mix, to make it from a no-kill animal rescue shelter located on the banks of Johnson Creek to the fields and marshes at Charlton Farms on the island.
Though it seems an unlikely journey for what most believe is a city dog raised in Portland’s luxurious and politically correct off-leash areas, Posey was from a litter of mutts from the Yakima, WA area. When you think about it, it is possible her bitch or her sire were champion field trial dogs, or at least work-a-day hunting dogs in a place where hunting ducks and upland birds is part of everyday life.
We were first in line that morning at the shelter five years ago – ushered into a room full of whining little black pups by a tattooed, pierced and dyed-hair goth chick who groggily introduced us to the litter, pup by pup. “Of course you can rename them if you want.”
The pups all bounced and yelped around the little room except for yet-to-be claimed or named Posey who calmly crawled to curl up on the kid’s mom’s lap and went to sleep.
We will take this one.
At four-and-a- half, Parker Posey is still a lap dog. Her early penchant for being on furniture remains intact as she sleeps on a home-made doggie Ottoman if she is banished from a bed or couch.
Fast forward four years. Divorced. Shared custody of kids and dog. Posey has twice as many places to nap while people are away at school and work. Twice as many scents to sniff and mark on walks around the neighborhood. Also an old chapter in my life reopens as my son and I begin to explore shotguns and bird hunting under the wise guidance of my young friend Joe Furia. After our first season hunting over Joe’s steady Brittany, he suggests we work with Posey to see if she will take to the field. What follows is a spring and summer of trips to the lush fields and ponds of Charlton Farms.
This will be a grand experiment in the outdoors. Of course, like any new venture in the field, it begins with gear acquisition and in a remarkably swift transaction, Alex and I acquire the stuff from a place called Gun Dog Supply (http://www.gundogsupply.com/steve-snell.html). That guy is passionate and it shows.
We are in business. Posey has no idea these new games will create a field dog from a city dog.