His name is Hank, he’s something special. A bird-finding machine. My exes still love him. He even smokes cigars
*This article appeared in the Summer 2019 Issue of Project Upland Magazine. To buy a single copy check out Volume One, Issue Two.
There is this famous dog. He has signed hundreds of autographs, and I have them all.
He has hunted border to border, three states wide. He must have over ten thousand retrieves.
He’ll get you out of any jam. When a “Lassie” look-a-like walks by, he just lifts his leg and then looks up at me—he knows. I like to think he sees me as his biggest fan.
He even did my taxes one year. He’s seen it all. A real soldier.
He’s much older than me, so I call him “Sir.” That’s his name—Sir Hank.
Because of Hank, I haven’t been on an airplane in nine years. However, Hank’s new mom, Lacie, and I are going on summer vacation and coming home with an eight-week-old pointer. His name is Frank.
Lacie hates it. I love it. Soon Frank will be the best dog ever.
I mean it. “The best dog” is just that. It’s my gall-damn dog, and I’ll brag if I want to.
But, there is a catch. I don’t own one or even two or three dogs. I have 12. Soon to be 13. That’s my stop. I said that number way back and meant it. Always stopping at 13.
But, the rest I can offer to my someday, someway wife. Who I promised a Boykin. I’m sure that will be the best damn dog ever too.
And honestly it was the best thing that ever happened to me. He is different. My ideal companion. Loyal and funny, but the kind of pack dog that you need to herd the team and bay the bad. He’s that kinda tough. I always wanted a dog you could leave off chain for three days and know he ain’t going nowhere.
His girlfriend is a pointer named Lily. Wow—I love her—maybe my favorite personality. Man, she only talks before food. Never made me mad once.
If Lily was on point on a golf course full of geese, she would become a goose. And she would point long enough for a painter to paint golf course geese and sell the print. Man, what a dog.
Rita is my queen. I absolutely don’t love a dog more in life. It’s Hank’s sister, so go figure. She can do no wrong.
She is a cover girl. Bitches literally hate her. Pearl would like to lead her a thousand yards into a deep canyon hoping to find a hungry lion, but only end up side-by-side pointing a Mearns’s quail.
Damn, have I mentioned Pearl? Pearl is how I cheat on Rita. Not as pretty, but man her high head and cautious, but confident, points just make my jaw hit the raspberries.
If Rita was Miss January, then Pearl is Miss October. I know some guys are trying to steal my girl. Back off.
Because, if you take one more step, the “boys from the block” are gonna show you a thing or two—Jackson, aka “The Reverend,” Mr. Black and his group of fighters including Tommy Gun, Nacho anything, and Connor “The Bareknuckle’r” are coming. Never beaten.
Nacho has so much nose, he once pointed a rooster, and with free paws, he started pointing out fakes, cons, and frauds in the line up.
Tommy migrated here with a jaguar—ran six hundred miles from the US border. Yeah, the jaguar wanted to eat him, but Tommy just brought him a deer every few days. He’s diesel.
Almost through the list. The two twins: Pea and Connor. Well, someone said to me yesterday: “Your only allowed one real good dog in your life, and she is one of them.”
He didn’t say that about Connor. I love Connor though. But this is where things start to slip. Connor has one real good trait. Humping. He would hump a cholla cactus with grace if the wind blew and he thought it waved. But, what can one say?
He is literally the youngest male up from baby Frank, so he may get better at some things, as good as his sister is already. He’s still the best. To Pea, he’s the best brother ever—minus the humping.
So, the point of this story is: no matter what your dog breed or purpose, that dog is always your best friend. You can only have one real good dog—unless you have 13.
Patrick Flanagan enjoys guiding upland hunts full time as owner of Border to Border Outfitters. His love for great bird dogs is apparent when you see his string of 15 dogs that consists of over three different breeds. Border to Border is more than a company name, it has always been a way of life for Patrick. His favorite activities are canoeing the Boundary Waters of Minnesota, running dogs in Kansas, and enjoying a lengua burrito in Arizona.