by Bridget Plott

This is our story about Ernie, our HRCH titled, eight-year-old German shorthaired pointer.

Showdowns Erneut Machen, “Ernie,” was delivered to us in the fall of 2009.  We made the decision to buy a new dog to heal our hearts after the death of Mac, hence the name Machen to be made again.

We were in the middle of raising two boys, finishing my paralegal school at Emory, and running a fourth generation alligator tannery; needless to say, life was busy.  As the mom of this outfit, I had never really been a “dog person,” but as my husband loaded the sweet, floppy eared, big pawed pup into his truck every day, I could feel his pride.  I could sense a commitment from my husband to raise his “once-in-a-lifetimee dog.”  Every day he worked with Ernie on obedience. I reluctantly allowed the growing galoot into our house at night, and our sons were giving him the love and attention he needed.  By the time we sent him off to his first trainer, I was grateful for the break.  And by the time he went to the second trainer, I found myself missing the dog, who I now referred to as our third boy.

I accompanied my husband and two sons to almost every field trial in support of making Ernie their once-in-a-lifetime dog.  When we took Ernie to Mexico last year, he got to ride with us in the hunting buggy instead of in the cages underneath with the other hunting dogs.  I laughed as his long brown ears flopped in the wind.  Every once in a while, our youngest son would reach over without looking and place his hand on Ernie’s head and I prayed under my breath, “Lord, please let this dog live a long time.”  Just then, a quail flew up, and my son shot it.  Without thinking, our son gave Ernie that old familiar command to “fetch it up” and off Ernie bolted from the eight-foot tall buggy.  My sons and I looked at one another with eyes that looked like they would probably pop out of our heads.  Remember in the movie A Christmas Story when Ralphie and his dad were changing the tire and he lost the bolts and yelled his first curse word?  Yes, this was just like that!  We all bolted down the stairs of the quail buggy to find all was just fine with our boy dog.  Thank goodness!  We decided that maybe underneath the buggy wasn’t such a bad place for Ernie after all.

As we prepare for another trip to Mexico this year, we can now laugh about our close call, but we hold Ernie a little closer and a little tighter, and know that we’ve accomplished our family goal of our once-in-a-lifetime dog.  It was never easy; we had to lose Mac to get Ernie.  We had long, expensive days at field trials to get here. I’ve swept up enough little brown dog hairs in my home to build another pup.

But our family set a goal, we all worked together to achieve it, and we enjoy the fruits of our labor out in the pines and as we sit by the fire with our sweet boy dog, Ernie.

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