default blog post image

Rants from the Hill: Beauregard puppy

There’s nothing wrong with my old dog, except that she is unlucky thirteen years old, never recovered fully from a coyote attack, refuses to hike more than a few miles at a time, and snoozes while jackrabbits clearcut my gardens. Add to this that we have two young daughters constantly in need of photo opportunities, and it became pretty obvious that it was time for a new puppy on the Ranting Hill. Now, I’ve always owned mongrel bitches that I fetched from the pound for a few bucks and a promise to spay. But this time my wife, Eryn, suggested that I shouldn’t impose my own lack of good breeding on the new family pet, and instead proposed that we complete an online survey to determine which pooch variety would be right for us. It is now perfectly clear that I should never have agreed to this human-canine matchdotcom exercise, but at the time it seemed harmless enough to build a profile of the perfect dog. Did I want a dog that would be tireless in the field, better behaved than my children, and mellow even when I wail on the blues harp? You bet! So we clicked a bunch of boxes, and out popped the result: English Setter. English Setter puppyI’d never heard of an English Setter, and frankly I just didn’t like how English it sounded. But since my agency in a family controlled by women and girls has been reduced to weed whacking and whiskey drinking (though not always in that order), it was soon decided that we would fork over a mountain of cash to score this dog from a breeder on the California side of the Sierra. I’m too embarrassed to say how much this puppy cost, but it was exactly the same amount I’d have paid for a Stihl MS 291 chainsaw with a 20” bar, which is something I’ve always wanted but never felt able to afford. The upside was that after securing puppy naming rights I landed on “Beauregard,” which I taught the girls to pronounce with a jowly southern drawl. Five-year-old Caroline was quick to perfect her “southern accident,” as she innocently calls it, and soon was a dead ringer for Foghorn Leghorn after one too many mint juleps. Read on about Beauregard at High Country News