Patty got into some bad stuff out at Hastings Island Hunting Preserve last week.  Everything started out just fine.  We hunted a couple of fields on the north-east side of the island.  Patty pointed up some birds and together we managed to harvest a few.


Then, since neither of us were quite ready to quit, we headed off along one of the major canals between fields of standing corn and alfalfa.  When Patty disappeared into the dry corn, a few pheasants burst up, flushing wild.  But there was no real opportunity to hunt in there.  It had to be eight feet tall.

I called to Patty and a few moments later he emerged from a cross canal.  He’d only been out of sight for a few minutes but in that time he’d managed to find, and get into a particularly stinky mud hole and had a week’s worth of cockle burs.

Mud and cockle burs.


The mud only covered half of him and would mostly rub off as it dried and he ran through more grasses.  The burs on the other hand, were worked into every inch of his feathers.  His tail was so heavy with them that it stood only at half-mast.  The feathered backs of all four legs were matted and thick.  And his ears had so many, that they’d actually become stuck together in a big ball behind his head!

Patty’s ears effectively stapled together with cockle burs.

Now I’ve combed and pulled hundreds and hundreds burs out of Patty’s coat but this time it really seemed like a job for professionals.  They should know how to handle the situation with minimal discomfort for Patty.  Right?

Right.  No discomfort at all.  When he came out from the groomers he was happily bur-free.  But also feather free!  They’d cut them all off of his ears, his legs and especially that beautiful flowing setter tail.

Oh well, it’s a good thing he hunts for a living.  It’s not like he’s a model or something.  Besides, they’ll grow back eventually.

What feathers?




One thought on “A Bad Hair Day

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