In the Field: Wildrose Deke of Harmony

from Chris Allen


Wildrose Deke of Harmony (Tommy x Susie) passed away just past his fourteenth birthday. Deke was special in many ways. It goes without saying that he was a good retriever. Almost all labs of good breeding can qualify for that. Deke was very focused and loyal. Sitting quietly by my side helping me watch for ducks and he would do this for hours. On public ground we will often have the decoys out well before shooting time and sit drinking coffee. However, Deke felt obligated to sit away from us “guarding” the decoys. Another habit was always sitting beside me on the boat ride and giving the side of my face a good licking. Nice but at 9 degrees not to pleasant. My hunting buddies often tried to get him to sit by them, but his place was by me. There were retrieves that will never be forgotten and places that are full of his memories.

We were hunting in the low teens in a bay mostly ice. The bank we were on had clear spots that we were set up beside. We had killed several ducks and a big group came in and we dropped 3 more. The first two retrieves were easy and fairly close. On the last the wind had pushed the duck down a ways into open space beyond the ice. Deke could break ice only so far and the water became too deep and the ice too thick to break but he kept trying. I went down and waded out to him in water past my waist and he was behind treading water. After a few tries with the gun stock the ice parted and gave him a clear path to the duck with me leaning on one side. Scary in many ways but it’s the one that I’ll remember him by. Sure lots of folks have times that just seem to stick in your mind.


He is missed.  Thanks to Wildrose for such a companion.

Chris Allen

Clarksville, Arkansas

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