Sunday, October 24, 2010

Old Friends and New Dogs

Old Friends.........
Steve, Dan, Michael and "Happy" our Gordon Setter......Good times!
Steve, Dan and Happy
For the past 5 years, my husbands best friend Steve, from California, has come to Montana for the opening day of Grouse Season. Dan and Steve met years ago when they were both young. They remained friends through the years as they made a living and raised their families, living in different states.  It was just in the past 5 years that they were able to see each other more often and enjoy the fact that they were both now retired. Steve really enjoyed the bird hunts and fell in love with the Gordon Setters.
Steve with Happy and 2 grouse
Last year, we got together with Steve and his wife Deanette, and another couple of good friends, Ron and Cindy,  and rented a houseboat on Lake Powell. For 5 days we fished and explored, soaked up the sun and went swimming,  all while enjoying good food and drinks, and having a great time visiting and relaxing. It was the best!   

New Dogs.............

This summer we got a call from someone who had a 2 year old, neutered male Gordon Setter and he was looking for a home for him. After speaking with him on the phone, Dan called Steve and told him about this Gordon Setter who needed a home. Steve decided he wanted the dog. He asked Dan to keep him until he could get here, Sept. 1, for grouse season. He sent a check to the owner, and changed the dogs name to "Sport". Dan and I spent the next few weeks getting to know Sport. He is a wonderful dog. Not one single problem. We thought Steve had gotten lucky with this one.

Dan spent time with Sport and put him on birds. I did a post, or two on Sport - the "guest" dog. He needed a little "steady up" but he was doing really well for a 2 year old. He's a beautiful boy and weighs in at about 65 pounds.

I sent Steve pictures of Sport learning and hunting and kept him informed.  We were looking forward to him getting to know his new Gordon Setter and going hunting. Steve was even more excited as he was getting his first bird dog.

In late July or early August, Steve called. It wasn't the usual call to schedule his flight to Montana. This was a call to say he may be delayed. He told Dan he was having a little stomach problem, nothing serious....but he had to go to the doctor and get checked out.

Only a few short weeks later, Steve was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It was obvious he was not going to make it to Montana this year.  He was worried about Sport, even with what he was facing. We assured Steve that we'd take good care of Sport and even bring him to California if he wanted. All that mattered was for him to get  better.

Sadly,  with all the love and prayers that was around him, Steve passed away on Sept 10, 2010.

Cancer is a wicked disease. 

Steve was a good man, a good friend, and a damn fine human being. It was a pleasure to know him the short time I did. I know Dan will always be fond of their friendship and these past few years they had together running bird dogs all over Montana. Steve will truly be missed.

So now, Back to "New Dogs"...........

Steve's wife Deanette, asked us to keep Sport or find him a good "hunting" home.  We really weren't looking for another dog. This all happened just after Happy died. I wasn't emotionally ready for another dog.  He's neutered, so he can't be bred. We have 4 dogs already. He'd be an expense that was not part of the "business". We don't need another dog........BUT..............We HAVE to keep him. He's been here since June. Just look at him for goodness sakes! He's beautiful.....and HE thinks he belongs here.

He's fallen in love with Dan. And I mean serious love! He follows him all over the place. He looks at him with adoring eyes.....literally! So I can only conclude,  it was meant to be. Sport obviously wants to be here.  Dan wants him to be here. And yes, I want him to be here too. I think that would make Steve very happy. I know it does Sport.
So Sport..........
Welcome to the family!


  1. So sorry to hear about the untimely passing of your dear friend. We all plan on living long, happy lives and then something like this happens and you realize how quickly it can all end.

    Looking at the pics of Sport I can see why you just had to keep him. He's an incredibly handsome boy, and I'm sure your friend Steve is smiling down on both of you right now.


  2. Sport sure looks like A Keeper. Good on you all!

  3. Oh my goodness so sorry to hear of your good friend Dan's passing. Yes cancer is a wicked disease, it took my father many years ago. I am happy that Sport has found his place in your hearts and home. No doubt Dan is pleased about that too. He is a beautiful boy!

  4. What beautiful dogs these are. I can see why you love them. I was so excited to see Lake Powell. I had the privilege to go out there a few years ago and we went out on a boat for the day. It is just beautiful. What a great part of the country!

  5. Greyphase, Thank you, and you are so right. We try to appreciate each day as a blessing. Steve was gone way to fast.

    Michael, Yep, Sport's a keeper. A lot bigger than your Gordie....but just as handsome!(:

    Terry, It was Steve who passed, Dan is my husband, but no worries cause we knew what you meant. Thanks for the kind words. You are so right about Sport...he found his PLACE - INSIDE our HEARTS. Gordon's have a way of doing that!

    Thanks Amy. We feel very grateful that we had this trip together before Steve got sick. I look forward to getting back on one of those houseboats one day. What a blast!

  6. How sad about your friend Steve. It's too bad he never got a chance to spend any time with Sport.

  7. I am sorry about your friend. It's too bad he wasn't able to enjoy Sport. But thanks to your big hearts, Sport will be alright. And he sure is a handsome one.

    Take care -


  8. Karen, what wonderful post and tribute to Steve...

    I had the privilege of meeting Steve back in 2005, we hung out and enjoyed Dan playing guitar for a local concert in Heron. The next season, I hunted quite a bit with Steve as Dan was incapacitated from an accident. What a wonderful human being. We had a successful week, and I really enjoyed the walks and hunting with Steve. Last year I got to hunt with Steve again, it was as though no time had passed.

    Dan & Steve's friendship, one that survived the test of time is special, those that include the love of the outdoors, more so.

    Learning of Steve's passing was a real blow.
    This year visiting Dan & Karen was hard, there was a void. But then there was Sport! What a wonderful bundle of joy. He prances, and dances when Dan comes outside. Sweet loving eyes. I am so glad he is a part of your family!

    So grateful you and Dan, these black-n-tans and all those that love them are a part of my life.

  9. K9 Crazy, Yes, that is the really sad part. Steve was really looking forward to owning his own bird dog. Were happy we could share the experience of bird hunting with him. He enjoyed it so much.

    Thanks Casey, I guess once you are a "dog" person, it's pretty hard to turn one away who needs you. It's impossible to turn away from Sport....his big brown eyes won't allow it!

    Tim, I am glad that you are part of the "hunting pack" around here come fall. I know Steve enjoyed your company as well. We will all miss him. And even though he never got to hunt with Sport, Sport will be here to remind us of the good times Steve had when he was here. He carries the name that Steve gave him. Loving him, and hunting him, will be the last act of friendship Dan could offer. And it's our pleasure to do so.

  10. Sport is just a BEAUTIFUL dog. So glad you're keeping him to give him a wonderful, happy, and hunting life. I'm sorry for the loss of your friend. So quickly. I'm sure his wife is happy you're keeping Steve's dog. :)

    Found your blog from HeyBJK and Dennis' Fishing with Dad. I'm not a hunter, but I'm definitely a dog lover. Just gorgeous setters...

  11. Hello Texwisgirl and welcome to Gordon Setter Crossing! Always happy to have more dog lovers here. I just signed up on Fishing With Dad. Loved the story his son wrote. I will have to check out HeyBJK. Didn't know I was there! Thanks for visiting and thanks for joining in on comments. (: We're happy to have you here!

  12. Sorry, I've been busy at work and trying to get my trailer fixed so I can go hunting and haven't been following as closely as usual. By the time you realize there's a problem, pancreatic cancer can be too advanced to do much about. I'm afraid I've had too much experience with it. So sorry to hear about Dan's friend Steve. Hopefully, Sport will take Happy's place and he will remind you of both of them. I'll look forward to hearing more about him as time goes by.

  13. No problem Art. I hope you got your trailer fixed. Sorry you've had experience with cancer.
    I did a cancer walk 2 years ago and carried a small poster of those I knew who had suffered with cancer. I had 11 people on that poster. If I walk next year....I already have 2 more to add. There's still 6 - 8 months before another walk. It's really sad.
    At this point and time, Sport is totally Dan's boy. But no worry, I intend to change cookie at a time.

  14. Cancer is one of those things that I hope I live to see defeated. All of us have a sad story related to it. I finished my repairs on the trailer tonight and I'm going to take it on a short run to Maryland's Eastern Shore on Friday to make sure everything is ok. After that, it's off to Western Md. for some grouse with Erin. Keep those cookies coming. No Gordon can resist. If you need my mom's butter cookie recipe let me know. The dogs would sell their souls for them! I hope I have a good story or two for you in a few weeks.

  15. Have a great trip Art. I too hope you have a good bird and dog story or two....we're a little short of those this year! I'm sure the trailer will be fine. I bet Darlene will enjoy the week end to herself too! lol If your Mom's cookies are THAT good....maybe I should publish the recipe on the blog?

  16. I'll e-mail you the recipe. Flash, my long lost girl, loved them. She had her own tin of cookies and she would go to the tin and bark when she wanted one. till the day she died, she loved those cookies! I'm leaving Erin with Darlene until I'm sure the trailer is ok so the two of them can spend some quality time together. After that, it off to the mountains for some fun and adventure.

  17. We were admirering your website when we came across "Sport". I knew that the day we brought him to you that there is something special about him being there. When you told us that his name would be changed from "Rusty" to Sport, because of Steve's dad being named Rusty...I felt that it was more than a coincidence. I know that the passing of your friend has been painful; however, God sent you comfort and friendship to help heal. I firmly believe that not all angels have wings.....some have paws.....Best Wishes, Randy and Cheryl