July 12, 2024

Teal was a 60 pound black Labrador Retriever. She was a tenacious, hard-charging duck dog. She only had one master and that was me. She taught me more than I ever taught her.

We got Teal when she was 4 months old. Actually, my wife got her as a pet 13 years ago. I saw Teal as an opportunity to get into duck hunting.
I watched a few training videos and started getting her ready for the upcoming hunting season. Before I knew it Teal was my dog 100% and had snubbed my wife. Teal’s mission in life was to make me, her master, happy.

I taught her how to be one heck of a duck dog. She did it all, took hand signals, did blind retrieves with ease, and even passed every hunt test she ran in. Teal did everything I asked of her without hesitation.

Teal taught me many things too. We were hunting the river on a 10 degree morning when my brother-in-law shot a duck in the middle of the river. I sent Teal and she went without hesitation into freezing water to chase down a crippled duck and bring it back.

We were hunting a slough covered in Lotus so thick you could barely see the water. I shot a wood duck in the middle of the Lotus jungle. I sent Teal into this mess after the crippled duck and she went without hesitation. She was out of sight busting through the Lotus for at least 30 minutes. I came to the conclusion the duck was a lost cause. She would not give up. Another 15 minutes passed when she came out of the Lotus, face bleeding and raw, with the duck.

Again, we were hunting Station Camp Creek when a friend of mine shot a duck on the other side of the stream. Teal didn’t see the duck fall. But I sent her and again, she went without hesitation. She got to the other side of the stream and I gave a whistle blast, she turned to watch me. I gave the back left hand signal, she did it perfectly. Then I gave another blast, she turned and I gave her a left over signal. She went left and made an awesome blind retrieve.

A year ago last January Teal made her last retrieve for her master. Her body was covered with cancer and started to shut down. We went for one last retrieve. I grabbed a retrieving bumper and tossed it for her. I sent Teal and she went without hesitation even with her hurting body. She brought it back and went to sleep in my arms. If real men don’t cry then I am not a real man.

So what did Teal teach me?

She taught me when the master asks you to do something, you do it without hesitation. She taught me to trust the master no matter what the circumstance. She taught me when the master asks you; don’t give up until it’s done. She taught me to listen and look for signals from the master. She taught me that no matter how bad it gets, follow the master’s commands. She taught me to only follow one master. And she taught me to LOVE serving the master.

I will tell you straight up, I love Jesus. I feel like the Lord talks to us everyday we just have to listen. I try my best to live for the Master the way Teal taught me. I fall short everyday, but I keep striving. Its funny how the Master talks to us, are you listening?