In a message dated 10/10/98 3:07:30 PM Eastern Daylight Time, Williecrab writes:
|From: Capt. Willie's Fishin Daze -- and
-- The Adventures of the Cyn-Mel-Sue
Subject: The Story of Brittany, The English Springer Spaniel - The Loyal Cyn-Mel-Sue First Mate Boat Dog (see picture).
WHERE BRITTANY CAME FROM: One summer evening in July of 1993, the Cyn-Mel-Sue and guest fisherman Jim Atkinson, were coming in from a day of cat fishing on the Maurice River. The boat had just been loaded on her trailer, and the Captain was tying her down, when he heard a whimper coming from the reeds growing along the bank and in the water, below the Maurice Town Bridge, about 20 yards away from the boat. The captain checked it out, and found a puppy about 5 weeks old. The pup was drinking the salty river water, and she was very sickly looking. She was a bag a bones, and looked like she hadn't eaten in a long time. She was very small. The Capt. picked her up and put her in the back of the truck, he noticed that despite her problems, she had beautiful markings, red and white, with red spots on her white chest and front legs. She was very friendly, and she suprised the Captain by quickly climbing out of the truck and flopping on the ground. The Capt. put her in the cab, and headed home. The Capt. began a plan. Mrs. Capt. had always wanted a cocker spaniel. Captain and the Mrs. had been looking for one. The Mrs. had her heart set on it.
This puppy was special and the Captain knew he was keeping her. When the Capt. and his ship came home, he let the puppy out in the yard. Mrs. Capt. came out to great him. "Look what I found " he said. " What a beautiful puppy ! ", said the Mrs. The Capt. said "I found her when I came in from fishing, I guess I should take her to the SPCA" . " Oh no! says Mrs. Captain, can't we keep her ?, she's such a cute puppy, I love her ! " Well, OK, I guess so, but I thought you wanted a cocker spaniel ? " Mrs. Capt. said " I want this dog, she is so pretty and friendly." "All right its settled" said the Capt., " we have a dog ." Mrs. Capt. fed the pup, and put her in the old chicken pen. It didn't take long for the tiny puppy to dig her way out of the fenced in pen. How did this little puppy dig out of a pen that had the wire down about 6" into the ground? She was a digger.
The pup was brought into the house, she was sicker than first thought, she was dehydrated, in bad shape from starving and drinking salt water, Mrs. Capt. took care of her all night. The next day Mrs. took her to the vet. She was in bad shape, but with care and work, she began to get healthy, real healthy. Mrs. Capt. fed and played with her, she was a sweet and loving puppy. HOW SHE GOT HER NAME: When the Capt. came home with the puppy, his youngest daughter Billie-Sue came out, "look what I found Billie, a Brittany Spaniel !" Billie-Sue said "that's a cute puppy dad, but its not a Brittany Spaniel." The Capt. said "Oh yes it is, its a Brittany Spaniel, that's what kind of dog this is, and if you don't believe it, look it up!" Billie Sue said "I will look it up, that's a nice dog, but its no Brittany Spaniel, I am certain its a Springer Spaniel." A few minutes Billie-Sue came out with the proof, the puppy was an English Springer Spaniel, she looked like a purebred. " Well I see you are right Billie-Sue, but I was sure she was a Brittany, as a matter of fact, she is a Brittany, that's her name, she is Brittany the English Springer Spaniel!" That's how Brittany got her name.
BRITTANY THE PUPPY: This puppy was special, everyone loved her soon as they met her, she was a loving puppy. She was also stubborn. Growing stronger the Capt. began to train her. She learned to fetch right away, but when she retrieved something, she brought it back, but would not give it up, she kept it in her mouth, and if you reached for it would turn her head and playfully growl. She wanted you to chase her for it. It took a lot of work to make her fetch properly. She also learned to catch a frisbee, she is a great athlete.
The Capt. would come home from work and work with her on leash. This dog didn't like a leash, day after day the Capt. would put on her leash and collar, and take her for a drag. That's right a drag, the dog refused to walk and would try to stay put, the capt would ignore this and calmly drag her around the yard around 3 or 4 times. This went on for bout a month. On day the dog gave in, she started to walk with the Capt. like a good dog, now she loves going for a walk. The spaniel is very smart, she was easy to house train, and learned quickly.
Since the English Springer Spaniel is bred for cold water fowl retrieval, she took to the water and boat right away. She did have to learn to swim right, it took a lot of practice, but sine she is a high nervous energy dog, she would get wound up and swim funny, sort of straight up and down. She would then settle down, and swim right. As the pup grew, she began to be very protective of the yard and family. She wasn't so friendly to strangers anymore. She would bark if someone came around.
One day a friend of the Captain's came to see his boat. As he started to open the yard gate, the Capt. said to wait so he could put the dog in her pen. " No go ahead and let her loose, I'll squat down and won't be a threat, you'll see, "
" I'd better not " said the Capt.
"Let her loose, she'll be okay, I know dogs!" said the friend.
The Capt. let Brittany loose, she took off like a shot, racing full speed, she never even slowed down as she crashed into the intruder with her teeth on his arm, bowling him over and flattening him. The Capt. loved it, he praised her and put her in her pen. She is a protector. With regular visits to the vet and shots, the dog grew healthy and powerful.
BRITTANY, THE GROWN UP DOG: Brittany is now a grown up dog. She is 4 years old and loves to run. She runs about 25 mph. Each time the capt goes out, he takes her. She rides in the back of the truck, about 2 miles from the loading dock, the spaniel begins to whimper, and when the Capt. lets her out, she runs full speed to the dock. One time the Capt. drove his truck along side of her as she ran full speed for 3 miles, the Capt. made her stop, she would no doubt run herself to death if he let her. When the Capt. is on the water, the dog gets involved in everything she can. If you try to eat, she wants some, she will also eat the bait if you don't watch it. One day the Capt. had a whole raw squid to cut up for bait. The Capt. turned his head for a moment, and the spaniel wolfed it down in 2 bites.
The Capt. doesn't remember when or how exactly the spaniel began to fight crabs. She took interest in them as they ran around the boat, she would chase them, and little by little would bite at them, one day she grabbed one in her mouth and flung it down. Little by little she lost any fear of a crabs pinchers, she learned to attack quickly, and chomp a crab to shreds. If the Capt. flings a crab out of the boat on the mud bank, she dives off the boat and swims to it and fights it, she will even stick her head in the water and get it. One day the Capt. was out crabbing and caught the biggest crab of the day, it was huge. The capt turned his back and the spaniel grabbed the crab and flung it right back in the creek. From that day on the springer was only allowed to attack on command. Brittany usually rides on the back of the ship next to the Capt., but when the Capt. goes out without a guest, she runs on the bow to keep the front of the boat down at full speed. She is a natural boat dog.
BRITTANY GETS LOST: One day in the summer of 1996, the Capt. was fishing in a stream above Union Lake in Millville. The dog dove off the stern of the boat for a swim, the capt guided the boat around a corner and waited for her, she didn't show. The spaniel always would swim around and run on the banks and track the boat, but now, she just disappeared. The Capt. was uneasy, he called and called. He thought maybe the dog had drowned, he took out his anchor and dragged the bottom of the stream, he drove up and down the stream calling for his dog. After 3 hrs of searching and asking other boaters to look out for the dog, he gave up and headed home.
When the Capt. told Mrs. Capt. he'd lost the spaniel, she began to cry , ( and so did the old Capt., but he won't admit it) the Capt. knew he could not rest, knowing his faithful friend was lost out in the wilderness. The Capt. loaded the boat back up, and headed for the lake. He searched and earched and called for the dog, no dog, doggone it.
It was getting dark and looking like rain. The Capt. loaded the boat on the trailer, he stopped at several houses along the road near the lake and asked people to look out for his dog, and offered a Reward. It was a gloomy evening, it was starting to rain hard, and it was almost dark. The Captain's last slim hope, was maybe the dog had worked her way through the woods and wound up on rt 55. It was a long way from where she vanished, and the odds were against it, it was pouring rain and almost to dark to see. The Capt., towing the cyn-mel-sue, headed down Sherman Ave and down some wood paths along the stream - no sign of Brittany. The Capt. headed back on Sherman Ave and turned right on to the on ramp of Route 55. It was over, the dog was gone, maybe someone would find her, how could she have just vanished like that? It was a sad time.
As the Capt. drove up the ramp on 55, he spotted a frail small form. Was that her? It was to dark to tell, the capt drove closer, he jumped out of his truck and ran over, there on the other side of the rail, confused and disoriented, was Brittany, the English Springer Spaniel, she was cut up from thorns in the heavy woods. She was lost, she hardly recognized the Capt., she'd been gone 6 hrs. The Capt. was in shock, how could she have gotten here? He loaded her up and headed home. What a home coming!! Mrs capt came out and hugged the dog, she gave her a good bath, the dog was still out of it, it took her a couple of days to return to normal, she had been in shock. The dog was back.
BRITTANY TODAY: The spaniel is now 4 years old. She is house trained, but most of the time she lives in her pen, she loves the outdoors, and when she does stay in the house sometimes, she likes it, but gets restless and wants to be out pacing in her pen, she has a lot of high-strung energy. She is a good loyal dog, she knows when a boating mission is near. She can sense it. When the dog sees the capt up before daylight, she can barely contain herself. She is a natural boat dog. She is also a natural field dog, a friend of capt willies trains hunting dogs with live quail and pheasants. He and the capt took Brittany out to test her instincts, the quail were let loose, and she tracked and pointed them like she had been doing it all her life, she also took to pheasant as is her nature. She also loves to swim and chase birds in the meadow. She is a powerful swimmer and can swim against the current for a long time.
Springer Spaniel, faithful friend and companion to Mrs. and Mr. Captain Willie.
Capt Willie, creek explorer into the 21'rst century