Traverse Classics: Season's Belle—The Yellow Lab Retriever

Traverse Classics: At our age, my wife and I should have been thinking of babies, not Labrador retriever puppies. But, in Nancy’s defense, I’m mostly to blame.

Hunt behind a great bird dog, and you’ll come to want one of your own. The great ones cast that kind of magic over you.

I was lucky enough to own a really fine bird dog already. And if the old saw is true, you’re only granted one in a lifetime. But I longed for another. Admittedly, I’m a fiend. I needed another dog. You see, the junkie in me craves few things more than that warm kick of adrenaline I get when following a dog hell-bent for leather on bird scent.

Belle is the name of a beauty. Fitting, given that Harper—my first dog—is such a beast. And to that end—or beginning, depending on how you look at it—I went looking for a nice, sleepy female, a gentle puppy that would like sitting in my lap and being stroked under the chin. I was granted just such a pup, a little lady, under circumstances clearly divine.

Belle, you see, came from a litter of one.

“One puppy?”

Friends whom I told would say it just like that. Incredulous.

But always, again: “One puppy!” This time, agog.

Instead of trepidation, I felt giddy at the news. One puppy! And a yellow female at that. It was nothing less than a sign. The magic of it was too much to ignore. Being a mite superstitious, I needed only a short leap to convince myself that this little lady was sent specifically for me, that the fates had spoken, and that already our future together was preordained.

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