One of the cool things about my work for Amarillo Magazine is that each month's cover story is so wildly different from previous months. For the September 2016 issue, I wrote about a support group for grieving widows. This month? Hunting dogs.
It was fun interviewing so many different hunters, all of whom were probably more passionate about seeing their dogs work than actually shooting birds. The bond between hunter and dog is a powerful thing—as is the instinct and excitement dogs show when they get out in the field.
In addition to the striking photos by Amarillo photographer Davy Knapp (a long-time friend), this piece gave me a chance to go with a slightly more creative introduction than usual, writing from the dog's perspective.
The dog knows.
As the fall months approach, the morning temperatures turn crisp. The sunlight changes. Leaves litter the ground until finally, early one morning, the dog’s master arrives, in the darkness. He opens her crate.
Maybe he gives a special command, like “Let’s go.” The dog knows what that means.
Maybe he wears a certain coat or boots. The dog knows what those mean, too.
Maybe a small change to the dog’s home environment clues her in. The presence of a certain pickup truck. A travel crate that’s been taken out of storage. A special Thermos. These are small changes to her home environment, but the dog recognizes them. She understands their significance. She can barely contain herself.
It’s hunting season.