Duckboats.net
Skip to Content


Home : Main Forums : Tribute :

Old Mama Kai

Quote Reply
Old Mama Kai
Mama Kai was unexpected into our lives. Coming out of working on cattle ranches I had grew up with Aussies and never had experienced the joy of having a bird dog.


Kai was thrust into our existense over 6 years ago. At the time I was managing a cattle operation and guiding hunts for a gentlemen in Western SD. He had 3 different labs that all went lame or had to be put down in a short time and he needed dogs immediately for the upcoming guiding season.


In came Kai, a seasoned pro at 9 yrs old already and older than some labs are priveledged to live, let alone hunt. There wasn't an upland bird that could possibly hide from her nose. Everybody that hunted over her said she was the best working flusher they had ever seen in their lives. She worked 5 -10 yards out back and forth with zeal wether it was 2 or 10 hunters wide. She was a dog owned by the friend of my boss. For some reason at the end of the season when we were done "leasing" her the owners decided they didn't want her back. To this day I don't know why they did that other than to perhaps avoid the heart wrenching process of losing a fine companion such as her but it was so worth it in the end.


My boss had already received 3 new dogs and thus couldn't take her and this is how she came into our lives.


The next 45 days was a whirlwind of bird hunts and late days. She started getting naughty and fat. Having never had a lab before I was not very in tune with their body composition. It wasn't until I was laying on the couch one day that I saw her belly move. Being a father of 3 kids that instantly cleared everything up in my head. The very next day we were blessed with 9 pups. One was still born and we lost 2 the first night. The Vet said in older dogs this was common and that without us giving her extra nutrition it could have been a lot worse.


The puppies were such a blessing and we decided to keep the biggest, blocked headed, lazy, yellow male of the litter. That pup whom we affectionately named Tank has since then turned into what my trainer calls a "once in a lifetime dog." Although I feel like every dog I have is like that in a way.


Since then it has been season in and season out of ducks for Tank as well as being trained by Mama Kai on upland bird. But even last year at age 14 you could see the veteran with of Kai when she hunted alongside Tank. The speed with which she used to move was long gone, and she no longer retrieved birds. Happy to sniff and flush up birds that younger dogs would run past. After seeing a bird into the sky for harvesting she would put her nose down and get back to work.


This past winter she failed to thrive and started dropping weight. The kindness of the old dog shown through and the fire which one burned bright was a small ember grasping to hold on. Incontinence had overtaken her body and thus was not receiving as much freedom in the house as retired dogs should be allowed.


Hunting over her a few times this fall was such a pleasure and these last hunts are something I will remember forever. Putting down an old friend is the hardest decision my wife and I have made in a long time, but with quality of life and her failure to thrive every winter we felt it was the best choice. A long meaningful life of 15yrs old is pretty astounding for a large working hunting lab.


She will forever be missed but legacy carried on in her offspring for generations to come.

The following is a piece my wife wrote online and I think she summed it up great.


And thus we say "Goodbye."


Today was unusually warm for Minnesota, 75 degrees. We started our day early with one last pheasant hunt. As soon as we set out in the field this fifteen year old lab looked at least half her age as she made her way back and forth between Kyle and a friend. It wasn't long before she flushed up two pheasants and retrieved them with almost the same effort. She continued to flush up several more birds that our mighty hunters just couldn't get a bead on. She worked hard for her dad one last hunt.


Next we took her to swim and play with her son, Tank, in the lake where we live. She performed a few more water retrievals before we took her back inside to dry off and rest while we prepared ourselves for what we knew was coming.


One last "load up." The final picture is of her looking out over the lake one last time for her last sunset.


We could not have asked for a more perfect day to send off the most loyal, patient and hard working dog who was gifted to us in her elder years and far exceeded our expectations for life expectancy.


We will always have a piece of her in Tank and each puppy down the line.


Thank you, Kai.
@kyle_wingmaster
Kyle W. Hauck @ Fergus Falls, Minnesota
@kyle_wingmaster
Kyle W. Hauck @ Fergus Falls, Minnesota

Quote Reply
Re: Old Mama Kai In reply to
very nice.
Quote Reply
Re: Old Mama Kai In reply to
Very nice tribute Kyle. It is never easy to read these kinds of posts but she sounded like a special dog.
Quote Reply
Re: Old Mama Kai In reply to
brought tears to this old duck hunters eyes....


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 "