The retrieve: A seemingly simple act, it is the culmination of a retriever's genetic heritage; it's training and faith in you.
The bird is out there, and the dog knows it. Just waiting for the word to go, the dog will take off like a wheel-smoking dragster and soon resemble a four-footed Olympic long-jumper.
A retrieve is an action-adventure story as well as a journey of reward.
Energy, desire and stamina – the great ones have the fire that has burned in their spirit for generations.
Ducks and geese fly eternally in the daydreams of sleepy retrievers.
The team of waterfowl hunter and retriever has been around for hundreds of years.
The unconditional devotion to their owners and true passion for retrieving keeps them in the blind and by their owner's side – even through extreme weather and when they are not happy about being camouflaged.
Intently gazing upon the downed bird, many retrievers shiver with anticipation as they wait for you to release them.
Bird-in-mouth is the reward – and it shows as many dogs hold their heads high, mouths full of feathers.
Ducks, doves, geese – it truly makes no difference.
Waterfowl dogs come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
It's a miracle that these tiny balls of fur transform into muscle-laden, ice-breaking, mud-sloshing, retrieving machines.
They become waterfowl hunters... not because we want them to do so, but because it's in their blood.
Retrievers become our hunting companion, friend and even part of our family. These dogs are as much a part of what, and why,
waterfowlers go afield as the birds themselves.
All photos in this essay are compliments of DU members. View more great retriever photos in our member photo gallery.