I should have known better.
The first time Ed Radke called me I ended up in serious hot water with my wife and ownership of a German shorthair pup I had no intention of buying.
This time … well, maybe I should give you the backstory. Seven years ago Deb was in Idaho visiting our daughter and grandkids when I came home to a phone message from Radke, a stranger at the time, saying he had a litter of German shorthairs I should check out. I called him to say that shorthairs were not my favorite breed so thanks, but no thanks.
Radke, a local blueberry farmer who could easily make millions selling ice to Eskimos, somehow convinced me to stop by his place while I was running errands around town. The fact that his home was nowhere near town or any of my errands, didn’t seem to factor into my decision-making process; nor did the fact that I didn’t particularly like the breed of dog he was selling. I went anyway, succumbing to what I’ve come to know as the Radke Effect.
Predictably, everything changed when I was immersed in the puppy pile. Somehow, I walked away with a pup and a very hazy memory of how it happened. A continuation of the Radke Effect.
I broke the news to my wife with a photo of the pup I e-mailed without comment. She responded with … oh, the details aren’t important now. Deb was pretty upset until about 15 minutes after she arrived home, when Silky won her heart and simultaneously got me out of the doghouse.
Now, Silky is seven years old and one of the, if not the, very best dogs we’ve ever had. I wanted a new pup this spring but after banging up my leg I decided to wait a year. When Janet Radke told me of the arrival of a new litter I had to tell her no thanks.
A few weeks later, Ed called to say he was in town running errands and wanted to stop by and see me. At this point all sorts of alarm bells should have been going off, but no, I just assumed Ed was just checking to see how I was doing after my recent injury. Once again, the Radke Effect.
Imagine my surprise when Ed and his daughter show up and unloaded three, seven-week-old puppies into our yard. Oh, boy! Are they fun to watch! Look at that beautiful, solid brown female. Perfect conformation, confident demeanor and of course she’s descended from Silky’s line, so I’m sure she’ll have a strong prey drive, hunting instinct and gentle disposition. But wait! I’m not in the market for a new dog! I’m too smart and too experienced to fall for a cool nose and a pretty face just because she sits on my lap.
Something is wrong here. There’s Deb sitting on the back deck with a puppy on her lap. “I like this one,” she says. It’s the one I’ve been watching. I can see Ed attempting without much success to hide a smile.
“We can’t handle a new dog now,” I say.
“Your leg is getting better fast,” she says. The pup is nuzzling her ear.
“She’ll be a hunting dog,” I say. “We can’t spoil her.”
Radke coughs. But come to think of it, that noise might have been a chortle.
Her name is Bailey. She’s eight weeks old, has a great nose, points birds, occasionally comes when called and has not yet chewed all the shoes I own. In short, she’s perfect, yet another wonderful result of the Radke Effect.
Pat Wray writes about the outdoors. He can be reached at email@example.com
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