When the hunt is over

What becomes of a retired hunting dog?


The luckiest are already part of a family where hunting is the exception, not the rule. But for dogs bred and trained to do only one thing, retiring to the sofa is usually not their fate. The lucky ones find their way to rescues or new homes. The transition can take patience and lots of love.


Recently, seven beautiful hunting dogs made their way to us. Not a Golden among them, of course. Everyone knows that Goldens are too busy being spoiled to go out and work! But we happily offer our help when we have the space. They are all gentle, well-behaved dogs – but this walking on a leash thing is a little new to them. Set them free in a yard and they race; they point; they stare off into the distance as if to say – “let me go find it. That’s my job!”


“If Heaven made him — earth can find some use for him.” ~ Chinese Proverb


Hunting dogs are not only bred to be athletes and accustomed to being with people – they are usually highly intelligent. When they can no longer endure the physical demands of a hunt, their passion for working can be stimulated with mental, obedience, and agility challenges.


These lucky dogs are beginning to discover that they can have a different purpose: best friend and loved companion.


Some are already available for adoption. We’ll need a little help getting out the word that some of our current guests are spotted on the outside. But lucky are the humans who take home the gold within.

“An earthly dog of the carriage breed;
Who, having failed of the modern speed,
Now asked asylum and I was stirred
To be the one so dog preferred.” ~ Robert Frost


Thanks to Rob Kessel, our dog photographer, for generously loaning his images.