Daisy was a 48 lb. female mix breed (A mix of what, we were not completely sure). She was a stray taken to the pound, in the hopes they would find her a good home. She had been adopted out several times, but always returned back to the pound. Daisy was very kind in nature, good with kids and great around other dogs. However, she was also a high energy dog and can be destructive, if that energy was not channeled to something else. Not everybody has a place in their home for a dog like Daisy. After being shuffled from home to home, Daisy was about to run out of options, and when you live at the pound, running out of options is not a good thing.
Daisy didn’t know it, but her luck was about to change. A man, by the name of Matthew Duncan, had recently lost his dog (Sadie) and was considering adopting again. However, his situation differed from most; you see Matthew was handicapped. He was born with Spinal Bifida and confined to a wheel chair, therefore he did not take lightly the decision of taking care of another dog. After giving it a lot of serious thought, Matthew decided that he really missed the companionship and liked the idea of being able to give a needy dog a home. After checking the local newspaper and the humane society he finally came across Daisy. When he called the Humane Society, he was disappointed to learn Daisy had already been adopted. A little discouraged, he went back to looking. About three weeks later, he received a phone call, the family who had adopted her had brought her back. The Humane Society was calling to see if he was still interested in adopting her, and of course he was.
After Matthew got Daisy settled into her new home, sadly enough he started to see for himself why people kept taking her back to the pound. She was about five months old, larger than he’d expected, and had an unstoppable energy level. Daisy spent her spare time chewing on the household furniture, Matthew’s favorite pair of Oakley sunglasses, and pretty much anything else she could get her teeth in to. Matthew had the back yard fenced in. He hoped it would help her exert some of that energy. Instead, she tried to dig holes to China and barked excessively. Matthew wasn’t sure what to do. On one hand, he didn’t want to send her back to the pound, but on the other, he was afraid she was just more than what he could handle.
To expel energy, Matthew started throwing a tennis ball for her to fetch. During that time, is when he came up with what he hoped was a solution to his problem. Daisy enjoyed retrieving and Matthew and Mark (Matthew’s Brother) had always had an interest in retrievers. So to give the furniture a rest, they decided to work with her some. Starting indoors they worked with her on training dummies. She loved it! Later the sessions moved outside and she continued to progress. She still loved it! Still not really expecting anything from her, they decided to see how she liked the water. Once again, she loved that too. She jumped right in with no hesitation.
Daisy would retrieve in the water or on land, it didn’t seem to matter. It didn’t take them long to realize, that the energetic dog from the pound actually had potential. As they continued to work with her and as she continued to improve the time came that the brothers traditional hunting trip was drawing near. Well they just didn’t want to leave her. She had improved so much, and she truly loved retrieving, they felt the hunting exposure would be the true test of whether or not she was going to make a ‘hunting dog’. Daisy was accompanied by Mark’s Chesapeake, Gunner. With Gunner’s assistance, Daisy was also able to pick up on some things that only experience can teach a dog. So in the matter of a year, Daisy went from the pound to the Pamlico Sound!
On hunting trips to Cedar Island in 2008, Daisy proved her worth. Retrieving downed birds in rough, choppy ocean water is no small feat for a dog bred to be a waterfowl dog. That task is even more impressive when accomplished by a dog whose pedigree was completely unknown. On those hunts, Daisy was able to pick up birds and chase down crippled birds.
As Daisy’s training progressed from 2009 to 2010, she began taking hand signals. As well as becoming capable of executing blind retrieves. As she improved, she began accompanying them on goose, dove, and duck hunts. Who would have guessed that this sweet yet destructive dog from the pound would channel that love for chewing into a drive and passion for bird hunting. Daisy may not of been the right dog for a lot of people, but she was obviously the perfect dog for Matthew Duncan.
The Final Chapter
After Matthews death in December of 2009, Mark cared for Daisy. She accompanied Mark on several more hunts. Daisy had a drive and passion for retrieving that is seldom equaled. On February 2nd 2011 at the age of four Daisy’s life came to a sudden end. The vets speculated heart failure. Her last year was her best and she went out with a bang. She retrieved 29 geese, 91 ducks, 12 doves, and one crow. Not too bad for a dog from the pound.
A special thanks to Tracy Hayes for all the help he gave in making Daisy the fine dog she became.