Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Hunting dog excels despite tragic injury

In the summer of 1985, 15-year-old Greg McCallum of Pendleton was training his new yellow Labrador retriever for bird hunting. Then tragedy struck.

“Molly” was hit by a car in Pendleton, and Greg was sure the dog would have to be put to sleep. But the veterinarian looking after Molly was sure the dog would pull through, impressed with her will to live after her left front leg was amputated.

“I didn’t think she’d ever be able to hunt but she was doing so well I decided to keep her,” Greg said in October of 1985, as Molly was running through her paces at the Southeast Washington Retriever Club field trial at the Umatilla National Wildlife Refuge near Irrigon. After the accident Molly was unsure of herself and had very little stamina, but bounced back quickly and the casual observer could hardly tell the rambunctious pup had only three legs.

During the field trial Molly had a little trouble with the first test involving pigeons, but caught on fast. Greg beamed after his dog paddled right to a downed duck, marked and retrieved it from a pond. The Pendleton sophomore knew he had a great hunting dog in the making.

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