Over these last few weeks since Dash passed away, I've been trying to keep busy with future projects to help me through the loss of one of my two famous "boys". During that process, I've been planning a new series tentatively titled "Dez Young's Traveling Sportsman", and have found great interest in it when I've contacted the traditional outdoor networks. If and when that progresses to the point of "probability", as opposed to "possibility", I will certainly let you know.
In the meantime I want to tell you about a unique project that will become a one time "special" that I'm taping this early fall in New England. One of the most famous and beloved outdoor short stories was written by Corey Ford and is called, "The Road to Tinkhamtown". If you've not read it, you can find it on Google. When you read it, have your hanky handy! It's basically about an elderly man (Frank) and his memories of his beloved Setter (Cider). I am participating in turning that story into a television production. It will be produced in New Hampshire (where the story unfolds) in early October and then marketed to the networks by late winter, once it is edited. It will be an honor to be part of this production. My role will be to be on camera, reading the story to viewers, while "B" roll footage tells the visual part of the story. If it turns out the way I anticipate, it will be one of my most important roles in my television career.
With bird hunting season nearly here as I write this, I am struggling with what to do. So much of my love of bird hunting has always revolved around my dogs. Even as a kid, I loved watching our family dogs (Springers and Cockers) work the heavy brush in the country surrounding my home town of Pendleton, Oregon. As an adult, I've always had hunting dogs around me as part of my family. It seems so strange to not have Dash here in my office when I'm working. It will seem even stranger when I can't just put Dash in my truck and head off to chase birds together. If you've lost bird dogs, you know just how I feel. Anyway, I wish you a safe and successful bird hunting season...and give your four legged hunting partner a pet from me...dez
Hank's Dashing Bondhu (Dash): born December 10, 2001...Died July 18, 2013
He was his dad's boy...smart, energetic, playful and loving. Just like his dad, Hank, Dash found his way into my heart immediately upon arriving at our home at 7 weeks of age. I had retired Hank from his television show, and the network (then called OLN), had requested that I continue with another bird hunting series, if Dash would be at least an equal to Hank.
It didn't take long for my friend and Director Bob Corley and I to discover that Dash was going to be a credit to his dad. In early training, Dash responded to every new learning experience with all the energy and enthusiasm I could want in a puppy.
Throughout the early training I felt confident that we could start a new series that fall. So, at 9 months of age, with Hank as his only on-camera hunting partner, we taped Dash's first three television shows. After that, he and I shared birdhunting adventures all across the country, and in places I was never able to get Hank (Hawaii and Mexico, for instance).
As his skill increased so did his on-camera appeal. He had a beautiful flowing, white coat with chestnut markings, just like his dad. His points were spectacular, he covered ground like a race horse, but would stop in an instant and "freeze" into heart pounding points that his fans loved to see.
Personal appearances were always a treat, just like they had been with Hank. Fans loved to meet him, get pictures taken with him, and in the case of young girls, plant kisses on his nose. Dash was always a gentleman, and showed great patience at every appearance.
He and I taped 62 episodes of Dash in the Uplands together before I retired him from television. Over the last few years, he and I continued to hunt and make appearances together, including his last public appearance this past spring at the 1st annual Bird Dog Jamboree, where he was the featured celebrity.
It's hard to express the love and gratitude I feel for both of my "boys". They not only provided an excellent living for me, but they were beloved members of the family. My wife Karenanne and I will always have wonderful memories of each of them.
For each episode of his and his dad's television shows, I always reminded our viewers (with my tongue firmly planted in my check), to: Never, ever spoil your bird dog. I had one more opportunity to spoil Dash when he collapsed on our kitchen floor that last morning. I raced to his side, got down on the floor, and held him in my arms. I told him how much I loved him and that I would not leave his side. I know the words meant nothing to him, but I wanted him to hear my voice as he struggled. When he took his last breath, I buried my nose in his coat and breathed in his scent one last time.
To all of you who were kind enough to write, phone, Facebook and text...Karenanne and I want you to know how much that meant to us.
Hank and Dash are the only two television bird dogs in the National Bird Dog Museum and Hall of Fame. You can see their portraits when you visit that wonderful facility.
I will always be grateful for having those two wonderful dogs in my life...I have all of their shows on tape to watch whenever I need a "fix" from them. I have Hank's book to read and Dash's audio book to listen to, as well. It's not the same, of course, but it's a chance to be with my "boys" whenever I need them back in my life.
Give your dog a hug from all of us...dez
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