As you are aware, I was lucky enough to purchase the last available puppy out of the Harvey/River litter of 2012. At the close of the 2014-2015 hunting season I was taking time to reflect on my past three seasons with Sam and wanted to let you know how he has progressed.
If you will remember my motivation for taking the step into the hunting retriever ownership was a result of my diagnosis of thyroid cancer on February 3rd 2012. Getting that type of news at age 43 has a way of clarifying what you really want out of all aspects of life. I had always wanted to own and personally train a lab but I was apprehensive. Family and business commitments had caused me to postpone getting the pup I had been wanting. All trepidation I had about getting started went away on that Friday in February 2012.
With Gods help and some amazing doctors my battle with cancer has gone well. After surgery to remove the tumor and radiation I have been cancer free for three years.
Having hunted in ducks all my life in the Mississippi delta I had seen both the good and very bad sides of retriever behavior. Remembering the truth in the saying about the importance of good breeding, "People are like race horses and hunting dogs, if God didn't put IT in them then you will have a hard time doing it." I set out to find the right dog for me. I wanted a British blood line Labrador Retriever with flawless temperament, the unwavering need to please its master, superior hunting instincts, and a driven spirit that was easy to train. After two months of research, phone calls, and kennel visits I was fortunate to end up on the phone with you. A couple of days later I was able to visit your kennel.
What impressed me the most about you and the way you operate is that the dogs your kennel owns duck hunt every year. Your focus is not on titles and ribbons but on breeding dogs to retrieve ducks. I put down a deposit on Sam that day.
There is a great deal of joy in owning a dog that turns out to be more than you envisioned on the day you took him home. My relationship with Sam has been that of a constant companion. Between dove, September teal, and regular duck season he has hunted about 50 days per year each of the last three falls. He does everything I ask of him with enthusiasm. I cannot count the times my hunting companions have voiced their praises of him. He goes to work with me a couple of days per week and is always a gentleman. At home he is the perfect family dog. My three children jokingly say that he is their 4th sibling.
I have and will continue to recommend Sporting Life Kennels to friends wanting a first class dog for the field and at home.