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A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel

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A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel
River November 2003 to November 2012

She was clearly my best friend for nine years. As we almost always hunted alone, we became a team that was unimaginable. She was heavy, had a crook in her tail, She was my dog. Nobody understood me better then her. And nobody understood her better then me. She would always be ready to go at 3am. Sitting on the truck seat as I was loading the gear, never wanting to be left behind. We would sit in the blind for hours on end and she would always eat half my lunch. There were many days we would hunt all day and not one word was said. Just a pat on her head when she would retrieve the birds.

She always knew what I was thinking, and could anticipate my next move. She would hunt Chuker, Quail, Grouse, Pheasant, and Waterfowl. She liked it all. In my 46 yrs. of waterfowl hunting the last nine seasons with her were my best for sure. She made me laugh, and she made me proud. I can't remember ever loosing a bird with her. Her nose was better then perfect.

I wanted to post this tribute as so many of you have got to know her from a far. I'm in hopes she is looking down on this post with Pride and knowing we had a good run.

My heart is still healing, and I'm not sure if I will be able to go hunting again. Hopefully my new IWS will win my heart as she did. We will see. I was blessed to have the perfect dog.

Enclosed are many pictures of her, most I am sure you have already seen. It has taken me nine weeks to be able to post this tribute. All of you with hunting companions know what Im going through.

Gary March

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I have so many more, but its time to say goodby old Girl, You were the best. We have hunted more in nine years then most have huntedin a lifetime.

Gary March
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
A dog's only fault is that they aren't with us long enough. Good dog's are never replaced, only remembered. I am sure you will remember River forever.

Thanks for posting those pictures.
------------------------------------------------
"When you're hunting, you have to be ethical. You have to come to terms with the impact you have on other creatures, but I'm afraid we're seeing a new generation of hunters who are disconnected from tradition. Half the time, they don't even know what they're shooting. They're so obsessed with the latest gun, the latest camo pattern, and they think you're some kind of sissy if you don't get your limit."
Grayson Chesser
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
Im very sorry for your loss.Thanks for sharing River with us Gary.Something truly special about hunting
with just your dog all the time.I know you wouldn't trade it for anything. Dont worry about not wanting to hunt .Time and your new pup will take care of that.


Best
Bob
.
.
.
.
A LOT OF MEMORIES IN A MAN'S STOOL........
Duck hunting without a dog is just shooting

Last edited by:

Bob M: Feb 10, 2013, 11:32 AM
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
Very sorry for your loss, Gary. Thanks for posting this.
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
I am sorry for your loss. I had not seen any of these pics but thanks for a look into both of your souls. You have been blessed and may you continue to be.
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
Gary,

So sorry to hear this. River will be missed by many, and although I doubt she will ever be replaced, I hope Storm does a fine job of complementing her in continuing your hunting career.

Best wishes

Chuck



"A little learning is a dangerous thing;
drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
and drinking largely sobers us again."


A. Pope
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
Sorry to hear it Gary. That is a beautiful tribute for a wonderful dog.

T
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
Gary, I am very sorry for your loss, it is truly a great tribute to a fine hunting partner, Brian
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
Gary,
I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. I know that I've enjoyed the many stories and photos you've shared with us over the years of the hunts you and River had. The bond was always easy to see. Those photos are a great tribute.

Scott


The perils of duck hunting are great- especially for the duck. ~Walter Cronkite
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
Gary,

I'm sorry to hear of River's passing. I really enjoyed seeing her in Wildfowler magazine and watching on this site. She was a great dog. Thankfully you have awesome pictures and memories to remember her by. God bless.
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
I too am sorry for your loss, Looks like your fine dog had a GREAT life hunting with you and please don't give up hunting ,it would not be fair to your new hunting buddy, scott
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
  Gary, Sorry for your loss. I was wondering what had happened, I was missing your pics and the drive River displayed in them. She was a beauty. John
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
Sorry for your loss Gary.

You have more than the photos to remind you of what a fantastic overall companion River was. Not all dogs tune in and work with us. Some work with us for a while and then decide it's time to work for themselves. If a man or woman is lucky, they will have a once in a lifetime dog. Many a man has taken a break from hunting because of the loss of their once in a lifetime dog. When you bring the next one into the blind, so long as you put the same effort in training as you did with River, it will all fall in place. We learn more with each dog...we make mistakes training them and learn from that and hopefully by not making the same mistake twice, we bring up the next dog of a lifetime...Good Luck with your new dog and I'm certain with time, the dog will be as photo worthy and lunch worthy as River..

-Ron
SHE THINKS MY DUCKBOATS ARE SEXY
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
Great pictures Gary and a very nice tribute to River. I'm very sorry to hear of your loss.

Best of luck with the IWS. I was down after losing my lab one November. But starting with a pup the following spring gave me motivation.
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
Gary, of all the great pics and stories on this site, the ones you have shared over the seasons of yourself and river were always my favorites. Very sorry to hear of your loss, and hoping to see and read of your adventures with the new pup.
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
What a nice tribute Gary. You are correct, we all followed her throughout her career as your buddy. Sorry for your loss - they do become a part of you. River was quite young still - had she gotten sick? I hope you can develop your new pup into a good companion just like you did with River. We can never replace them but we can move forward. If I think on it for a bit, I can remember bits and pieces of the 12 dogs that have graced my life so far - I haven't forgotten any of them but I do move forward to the next one when the time comes and I hope you can too.


Pete


MOLON LABE [mo 'lon la 've]

Technology has it's place, hunting isn't it.

Life's a blink, never have to say ....... "I should have"!

"That human optimism & goodness that we put our faith in, is in no more danger than the stars in the jaws of the clouds." .................Victor Hugo
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
Gary, I am so sorry to hear of Rivers passing. I could tell from your posts how close you two were.

_____________________________________________
http://www.hollandpointmarine.net

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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
Gary,

I remember when Mark & Greg came back from hunting with you and raved about the new pup you had just gotten. Thank you for the many pictures of your hunts with River. That was a water-dog who had a good life and you will miss her.


MLBob

"Art is like an ill-trained Labrador retriever that drags you out into traffic." (Annie Dillard)

....Here's to Joe Wooster, who made me realize that the useful could and should be beautiful; and who firmly believed that decoy carvers were the last free men in America.

https://www.facebook.com/KOOIdecoy?ref=hl

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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
Very nice tribute. Been there before myself and dreading the day I have to go through it again.
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
It's amazing how they capture our hearts.
Your pictures say it all!! John
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
So sorry to hear of your loss Gary.

I was excited to see that you had a new post until I realized what it was about.

Most of us have been down your road.

I too am coming off of a relationship with a "Dog of a lifetime" She will probably never be equalled.

It's won't be easy, but give your new dog a fair chance. He may not be River, but I promise he'll grow on ya!

And I know I am not the only one around these parts, who is anxiously awaiting to see pictures of you and Storm.

All the best my friend,

Jon

"Each decoy you touch holds memories of, past, present and God Willing, future hunts. The places, birds, men, boats, dogs and days you spent doing what you so dearly love and enjoy"- Vince Pagliaorli
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
Gary - I am truly sorry for your loss. For the kind of wounds you have endured my friend, only God can heal. As far as getting past it, unfortunately, we never truly do. We always need to remember. I still carry Callie's collar in my shell bag with me at all times when I duck hunt. I'll never forget her nor, do I want to. I think of her everytime I hunt.

As far as hunting again, strange as it sounds, River would want you to. As a matter of fact, she'd be dissappointed if you quit. She would never want you to stop. She'd want you to take that IWS pup of yours and hunt it like you did River. She'd want you to give it every opportunity to excel like she did from the opportunities you gave her.

You have many more great memories to be made my friend. You will be in my prayers brother. Godspeed! Pat
Pat Gregory
Illinois Waterfowler and Decoy Maker
Duckboat Page Member since 2006

"And when a flock of bluebills, pitching pondward, tears the dark silk of heaven in one long rending nose-dive, you catch your breath at the sound, but there is nothing to see except stars. This same performance, in daytime, would have to be looked at, shot at, missed, and then hurriedly fitted with an alibi."
Aldo Leopold in Sand County Almanac

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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
Gary, Sorry to hear about River, a good dog is hard to replace and a great dog even harder, Just remember time heals all wounds and I'm sure in time you will grow with the new pup and the two of you will become one minded.

Best

Fred
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
A very appropriate tribute to an outstanding partner.
She is definitely looking down approvingly, with that IWS grin.
I have always loved the way she perched upon the dodger in a manner that confirmed that boat was hers.

So sorry for your loss Gary.

Best - Paul

Last edited by:

Paul F Boundy: Feb 10, 2013, 5:37 PM
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
Gary - your words and images have done River proud.
Thank you for sharing them with us.
Clearly, you helped River to become a great retriever.
I, for one, like the pup's chances with your help.
Here's hoping that you have many bright days ahead.
You deserve nothing less.
sarge
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
Gary, So sorry for your loss. Words are never adequate, but many of us know the joys and sorrows of a having that special bond you shared with River..

What great pictures of a wonderful friend. Every hunter should be as fortunate to have as good a dog as River.

Every hunting dog should be as fortunate to have as a good a friend as you.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I never know which is worse: the sorrow when you hit the bird, or the shame when you miss.
http://www.hillmandecoys.com
Mullica Hill NJ
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
That was a really great tribute Gary. Take care.
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
Gary,

So sorry to hear of March's passing. You and her were indeed a team and everyone here fully understands your loss. My heart and prayers go out to you this day.

Take care, Huntindave McCann Smile SHELL ROCK IA. ,,,,,, "As sailors grow older, the wiser ones move to smaller boats." Thomas Firth Jones, Multihull Voyaging
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
I have always found an interesting parallel between our dogs serving their master and us serving our Master. Our dogs seem to do it so much better. Our Master gives us opportunities in life and we choose to follow them or not. And we have to give our pups opportunities and they live to follow them.
Gary, thanks so much for the tribute to River and I am looking forward to the future post of your adventures with Storm in the beautiful country God has provided. So here's to the many grouse and waterfowl the two of you will be blessed with in the future.
...
boykinsbuddy
...just a drop of water in an endless sea
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
Gary, I am truly sorry for your loss. River was a great companion. Remember nothing heals broken hearts like puppy breath. Lets plan on putting some birds in front of a new pup soon.
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
Gary, I am sorry for your loss, too. But, as they say, "time will heal the wound". That new pup will change your outlook and it won't be long and she'll be bringing birds to you just like River did. Good luck!! John
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
Gary thank you for sharing the photos it is a fine tribute to your friend. River will be missed by many
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
So very sorry for your loss, from your posts on the DHBP, I know that River was one heck of a dog and a hell of a friend to you.


Carl
Mobile, AL
DHBP Member since 1998

"Life is too short to drink bad beer."
Disclaimer: This post and/or report is not a substantiation of or reflection on the true accuracy of the present surveying methods. It is only a report on or comment concerning local observation and/or results. Your results and observation may vary based on your location, local water conditions, food supply, weather conditions and migratory patterns "
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
Gary,

I think this will be the first stage to healing the loss River has left. I am pleased you have had the experience in your life to meet the perfect friend. Mine was a English springer called Tor he is the dog I judge all other dogs by
Everything I did with him seemed all the better for him being there.

Your new IWS won't be able to replace river, but give him a chance and he to may find a place in your heart, or at least become a good friend..
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
So sorry for you loss Gary.

Trip.
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
So sorry to hear of your loss. When I first started following this website, it was you and River's photos/exploits that I enjoyed most. I've even given serious consideration in an American Water Spaniel being my next dog of choice some day. No, you can never replace a companion and all the memories that go with them but you can start a new chapter with your new dog. (I know, easier said than done.)..........Good Luck!
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
Gary,
Sorry for your loss, glad you were able to make all those memories with her. It is amazing all she was able to do. You two were lucky to be teamed up together.

I hope the new pup works out for you.

Take care,
Tim
-----------------------------------------------------------------
"Ah Nuts!"

http://snipehunterfishart.blogspot.com/
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
Gary
A great tribute to both you and River. Always enjoyed your posts and will look forward to more with your new pup. Many have said "the wound heals" but we know they leave scars.
wis boz
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
Gary for sorry for your loss. I spent a 15 minute lift ride yesterday telling stories about Gus, my AWS who died in 2007. I can remember when I joined this site and first saw your pictures- I was thrilled to see another curly haired, yellow-eyed hound getting it done.

All the best.

John
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
Gary,

Thanks for sharing River with us, she was blessed to have you.

Tom
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
Gary

Sorry about your loss.
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
Gary, Sorry about your loss you made a beautiful tribute. River will be in good company at the rainbow bridge with my guys until we get there.
"There is nothing- absolutly nothing half as much worth doing as messing about in boats or with boats. In or out of 'em, doesn't matter." Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham

Shiny side up,
Wicker T, Booker T & Charlie Brown
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
What can I say that others haven't already.

So sorry to hear about River.

I was just thinking the other day that I missed seeing your posts and photos. I'm sure its been a rough season for you. I can't image.

Looks like you two had a great run together.

_________________________________


Capt. Brian Rhodes
The Swampers
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
Gary,

Saddened to learn about your loss. Please accept my sincerest condolences.

Best,
Brian F.
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
Sorry to hear of your loss... What a great life you gave her.

"There is only one great dog in the world and every boy owns him"

Vic
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
Gary

Very sorry to hear of River's passing. I can understand your feelings. I had a great Chessie that I lost a few years ago and we also spent most of our time hunting as just a pair. IT has taken a new dog and a young daughter's enthusiasm to join me that has refuled my passion for waterfowling. I hope your new partner will do that for you.

A wonderful tribute to River - awesome pics! THanks so much for sharing!!
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
Believe you/me Gary, I know how you feel. I still think about Shah every day. Wonderful photos! Hitch
_________________________

Board Member
United Waterfowlers - Florida
http://www.uw-f.org


President
Florida Wetlands Forever, Inc.

http://fwlf.org/


Duckboats.net member since 1999

For my photos and video; I use a Canon 5D Mark III, Cinemate/Zacuto hybrid rig, with a Canon 5D backup for photos. I use only L lenses.
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
Gary-

Sorry for your loss. Think of the great days you shared with River in the field and know that your pictures of your hunts with her rank up as some of the best I've seen over the years. Many of us have watched the adventures the two of you shared through your camera lens. You can guarantee that you gave River the best life a gun dog could have ever hoped for.

God Bless.

-D
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
Gary my heart go,s out for you one of the coolist looking dogs i have ever seen
Pat Richter
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
Gary,

So sorry to hear about your loss of River. I always enjoyed reading about your adventures with her and really enjoyed the pictures that accompanied them, this is surely a fine tribute to her. It looks like you two made an awesome hunting team and had some really good times out there on the water. She is surely irreplaceable, but I hope your new IWS is able to measure up to the standards set by River. There are surely more good times to be had in the future and we are all looking forward to reading and seeing the results.

Steve

ADK 46R #9464
7/46W
NE 115 55/115
Mt. Rainier - 14,410'
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
Gary,
Very sorry to hear of River's passing. What a great tribute to a hunting partner that meant so much to you. You gave her a lifetime of happiness doing what she loved to do and she gave the same to you. What the two of you shared can never be replaced but I'm sure your new IWS will give you another lifetime of memories. God Bless!
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
Gary,
As you already know, I am very sorry for your loss. I love the first and third pictures. River was a VERY nice dog . I still laugh when I think of the picture of you training her to retrieve from the water.........
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
Well said, Gary. Your fine tribute to this wonderful gal tells me all I need to know. The two of you are so much like Chili and me----where we hunt alone, and sometimes only a scratch behind the ear is what happens.
She will always be remembered. I know your heart is heavy but with time we are graced with Peace.
Thanks for taking the time to show us these beautiful pictures. I know it is difficult to write about and even look at pictures when you are reflecting upon a hunting companion who never complained. It seems that the tears always get in the way----
Good luck with your new pup.
Al
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
Please accept my sincerest condolences on your loss. What a fantastic tribute! No dog could wish for more!

Sincerely and respectfully

Anthony
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
Gary,

Every contibutor to this fourm knows how much you loved River. I haven't been on much lately but just saw this post and was like Oh My God. I actually got goose bumps.

Sorry for your loss.
Cheers,

Mike
Barnegat Bay Waterfowlers

Sedge Island Gunning Decoys

Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
Gary

That was such a special relationship you had and so many cherished memories created from it. I know this loss is something that will stay on your mind for a long time but trust me it does get better. My heart goes out to you and know that as the weeks pass you will feel a huge satisfaction for the great times you shared and all the things you and River did for each other.

Eric
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Re: A tribute to (River) my American Water Spaniel In reply to
Gary, just saw this very sorry for your loss.