and those receive me, who quietly treat me, as one familiar and well-beloved in that home: but will not, oh, will not, not now, not ever; but will not ever tell me who I am.
–James Agee, A Death in the Family

We’ve had Bloom a little more than a year now. He’s an odd bird. I have to remind myself that it’s all relative. Everyone who’s had more than one dog compares the new dog to one(s) before. It’s a little unfair but we can’t help it. Of the four Brittanys, he’s the uniquest dog we’ve had so far. Even my first, Glenna, fit some prior description I had of “dog,” plus I had data from my brother’s Brittanys, and she didn’t deviate enough to warrant pause. Angus almost immediately improved on a known thing, by a good stretch. Peat initially (and easily) fit the antichrist character. Good to have got that learned. But Bloom, Bloom. Bloom. Whom?

We named him after a fictional character we like, Leopold Bloom, from James Joyce’s Ulysses. Joyce’s Bloom is a decent chap, one of the decentest. We thought, hoped, the new puppy would live up to his name. So far, I’d say he’s a good man, boy, dog. But it’s taken the entire time we’ve had him to gain even a preliminary idea of who he really is. He doesn’t show a lot of self-awareness. And there’s something in his eyes that is more like nothing than I’ve seen before. He seems, just lately, to be trying out patterns. We’ve worked with him as consistently as we can, but might as well have named him Enigma.

Still, we love him well. Maybe once we spend time with him on the chukar hills we’ll be able to tell him who he is, but I kind of hope not. I’m finding I’m admiring the mystery a little bit, just as I admire how he moves. He does have the “Angus lope,” but with even more power.

We’ll have more on him soon. For now, here’s a look at him growing. A scene near the end of the video shows Peat and Bloom playing in the yard during snowfall last Christmas Day. Leslie took the video while I played the pipes downstairs.

4 Replies to “Blooming”

  1. yep, on our fourth yellow lab and he is different too. will see how he does once we get into birds and he gets a bit older. taking longer to “grow up” than all the other dogs so there is hope yet!

  2. I’m on my third English setter and they’ve all been so different from each other, in every way imaginable. With my current dog I compared him, rather unfairly, with my previous setter, who to me was a rock star. I think that comparison actually transferred into my work with him and possibly stymied his growth, because my expectations were unrealistic. I hate to admit this about myself, but it’s probably accurate. We’re only now coming into out own together. I’ll most likely be getting a new pup next spring, and I think this time I’m going to get a female, which will make things even more interesting. Good luck with Bloom this season. I’ll be chasing my first chukar of the year in the Quilomene on Sunday and we’re looking forward to it. -Cliff.

    1. Yeah, so keen an observation: expectations are a bitch! Peat suffered in comparison to Angus. Bloom? God, it looks like Peat might suffer in comparison with Bloom! Time will tell. Thanks for the reminder!

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