Just resurfacing from one of the hardest decisions this family has ever had to make, Frances left us just a few days ago. She was tired of being 16 and living with the drive of a 2-year-old that just wound not fade.
Frances was a unique partner. Love was important but not too much and never ever enough fetching. I am sure many can remember when the hunt was over, she fetched the hulls, then the wads, then steal the water bottles, then the straw clumps, then the mud clumps then “to your kennel Frances”. The drive was intense.
Frances and I worked together and worked hard together, training and building a business that allowed us to do what we love. I was never in the slightest bit in control of her and nor did I want to, she knew what to do and when to do it hell or high water. Trust me we had many hellish moments together, but she was too good to be that robot lab. She would mark a 2-limit barrage, swept the cripple radius, then sweep the shotgun radius before picking up the marked birds. My mind was always blown. When guests would start to ask, I would always just throw my hands in the air and say nothing. Never did I take credit for her abilities, you just cannot train that.
Miles of stitches, impalement’s, drownings and hypothermia, but never did she stop. Holding her in my waders bleeding or eyes rolling back in her head from obsessing in cold water, I always thought it would be work related not old age. I did not mentally prepare for a planned day.
“Taking You To The Limits” is the mission statement that morphed from our drive, she lived by it in every sense of the word.
Frances had career of over 15,000 birds and more than 30,000 training retrieves, plus 300,000 kms by my side. To all of you that worked with her, hunted with her and supported Birdtail over the last 20 years my heart thanks you in so many ways, she flipping loved it more than all of us combined.
My partner is gone.