It's corny to eulogize a dog, but I don't care.
Cody. You were born of English Setter champion bloodlines in January of 2000. You were sold to Bob, a field trial enthusiast. Bob kept you kenneled outside with his other working field trial dogs. (For those unfamiliar, field trials are like dog shows for hunting breeds). I'm sure you enjoyed being kept outdoors with your other English Setter and Llewellin Setter brethren. You had a problem, though. While you could find and point birds like your bloodline suggested, your tailed wagged when on point. This is called "flagging", and reduces your score in field trials. I guess you just couldn't contain your excitement, but ALWAYS held point. So Bob had to thin the kennel by one. I was thrilled to get a well trained bird dog for a good price, but concerned that you had never lived inside, been housebroken, or been exposed to kids. I had a 3 year old and a 1 year old. You were about 2 or 3 also. You came into our home, and within a week, the kids were climbing all over you. You were housebroken quickly and soon out of your crate training phase. A few months later, I had you out for the first time hunting at the dry dam above town. You held close when needed, and responded when I pointed my arm to tell you where to go, always quartering well, but looking back at me for direction when that incredible nose couldn't find scent. Your first point with me was a woodcock. I, of course, did not see that bird on the ground, but it came up and flew a crazy spiral pattern like timberdoodles can do. I connected on that one with the 12 gauge Remington that would always excite you when it came out of the safe and into the field case. The bird fell into the creek, and you ran to the edge, barking. I told you to go get it, and you looked at me with a look that said "I ain't going in there!" So, I had to run down the creek with a stick to retrieve the quarry with you trailing and barking with excitement. Eventually, I caught up to the bird, and held it for you to sniff. You looked at me with big brown eyes, and at that moment, I knew we were a team.
You developed into an incredible family pet and companion. The kids loved you, and Ryan's first word was not "mama" or "dada", but "Cody-yo-yo" as I used to call you.
You were my companion at Elverson Hunting Camp when no one else could go. You tolerated me talking to you (because it gets kinda lonely in the Wilds of PA) in complete sentences, and listened intently to my stories, as long as I had food on the plate or in the pan.
You heat stroked in Potter County at our favorite grouse cover in 2012. You were off in the thick cover seeking that beautiful smell of gamebird, when your bell stopped ringing. I came running to the last sound point, expecting to find you on point. When I caught up with you, you were laying on the ground. My boot tried to encourage you to get up, while scolding "Get up, lazy dog!" You did get up, but took three steps falling over like you were drunk as a skunk. I quickly realized what was up, and gave you the bottle of water that I had in my pocket. It wasn't enough. So I left my very expensive shotgun and coat in the woods, and started to carry you back to the truck where more water was, stepping over the recent clear cut timber where grouse like to live. By the grace of God, we stumbled (literally, you were a heavy beast) across a large puddle. After 10 minutes in the puddle you were ready to hunt again. I said "No way, old dog. I'm gonna fish for native brook trout for the rest of this weekend." You were quite disappointed, but at that moment, I knew it was the beginning of the end. We hunted after that, but only for brief periods, and never in the kind of very productive cover that I knew you could no longer handle.
You aged quickly since then. You tolerated a move from the large land at the lake house to town, being forced to walk on a leash always right at my heel with incredible leash manners, or tethered to the dog run when I was too lazy to walk you. You tolerated pain from the arthritis that was killing you. You tolerated not being able to get up, even to move your bowels. You smiled through it all with grace, if such at thing exists when you [censored] in your own bed. I know you hated that.
Old man, you were an elegant, effective, and graceful hunting partner. You were an amazing family pet. You were an incredible companion to me. Through so many changes in my life, you were loyal to the end.
I will miss you, my dear old friend. Happy hunting in the sky, and when I meet you at the rainbow bridge, my aim will be true and birds will be smelled, pointed, dropped, and retrieved. As long as they don't fall in the creek!