John's Journal...

Buster Brown Was a Dog for All Seasons – Deer, Ducks and Divorce

Buster Brown on Ducks and Life Saving

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: If you're about to drown, Buster Brown, an 11-year-old chocolate Labrador retriever, caClick to enlargen save your life. If your wife finally throws you out, Buster Brown can get you a new wife. If you shoot the biggest buck of your life and the deer runs off, Buster Brown can find the deer for you. If you down a beautiful mallard drake that falls into some high cattails 1/4-mile from your blind, not only can Buster Brown locate your duck, he'll bring it back to you. If while sitting at home watching TV, you feel the need for a cold drink, Buster Brown will go get you a cool one from the refrigerator.

Buster Brown on Ducks:
Terry bought Buster Brown to retrieve ducks and to be his pet. When Terry recognized that the dog had an immense aptitude for retrieving, he purchased the book, "The Waterdog" by Richard Wolters and dedicated himself to train the dog exactly as Wolters suggested. Next Terry decided to campaign the dog in waterdog field trials. In only a few short years, Buster Brown earned the credentials of the American Kennel Club (AKC) Master Title and the United Kennel Club (UKC) Finish Champion. "I entered Buster Brown in field trials to give me a chance to work with him when we finished duck season," Terry commented. "During duck season each year, the dog was my constant blind buddClick to enlargey." When Buster Brown hunts ducks, Terry steers him to downed waterfowl with hand signals and voice and whistle commands. Then using his keen nose, Buster Brown finds the duck and brings it back to Terry across deep water and/or often rugged terrain. Very rarely does Buster Brown come back to the blind without the duck.

Buster Brown on Life Saving:
"To train a dog, you must let the dog understand what you want the dog to do and create a training program to perform that task," Terry said. "Repetition is the Click to enlargekey to successful dog training.  You don't have to spend a great amount of time working with a dog each day to teach him to meet your needs." A few years ago, Terry decided he put himself in harm's way every time he went into the Mississippi Delta region to take ducks with his dog. The possibility of drowning or dying from hypothermia concerned Terry. "I thought one day Buster Brown might have to save my life if I stepped into a hole and went underwater when attempting to retrieve a duck," Terry explained. "I knew Labradors were some of the strongest swimmers of all the dog breeds and could pull loads while they swam." Terry and Buster Brown got in the water at a swimming pool. Terry grabbed hold of the dog's tail and gave him the command to swim back to the bank.

After only three attempts, Buster Brown swam to shore with Terry holding onto his tail. "To keep from dying of hypothermia if you fall in the water, you must ball-up to conserve heat," Terry explained. "But then you can't swim. That's why you need a dog to pull you out of the water." Next, Terry got in the water with his waders on and held onto Buster Brown's tail. Again, the strong, barrel-chested Lab pulled his master to safety. "Buster Brown seemed to enjoy the towing drills," Terry observed. "When my nieces and nephews came to the lake in the summer to swim, I'd let them ride Buster Brown. As each child took his turn, I'd give the dog hand signals to swim out and back with the youngsters. Each time Buster Brown returned, he'd get a big hug and often a drippy kiss from one of the children. "I now know that Buster Brown has the skill, the strength and the know-how to pull me out of harm's way if water goes over the tops of my waders while duck hunting."

Tomorrow: Buster Brown on Women and Finding a Wife

Check back each day this week for more about "Buster Brown Was a Dog for All Seasons - Deer, Ducks and Divorce"

Day 1: Meeting Buster Brown
Day 2: Buster Brown on Deer
Day 3: Buster Brown on Ducks and Life Saving
Day 4: Buster Brown on Women and Finding a Wife
Day 5: Dogs for the Handicapped


Entry 431, Day 3