Recently, I was asked “If you were to get another dog, what breed would it be?” You probably all know that I am seriously fond of Labrador Retrievers, as well as Golden Retrievers. We had poodles when I was a child, and while I loved those two, I’m not sure I would have another. I love me some big dogs!
Way back when I was thinking about getting my first dog (pre-Clover), I was pretty focused on getting a Red Setter (Irish Setter). I also gave a lot of thought about trying to find a Red and White Setter (the original Irish Setter). I was living in Ireland at the time, so I thought it would be easy to find the right pup, but gave up after a lot of searching with no good results.
An Irish Setter, you ask? Why that breed?
Well. It all goes back to my childhood when we would visit my grandparents, aunt and uncle, family and friends on the North Shore of Long Island. We spent some memorable vacations there doing all kinds of fun things like picking peaches and strawberries, fishing with my grandfather, or hanging out at the beach.
My grandfather had a friend named Frank, and Frank had an Irish Setter named Suzie. I don’t really know how old Suzie was at the time, but she was an extremely well-trained dog. She followed Frank everywhere, and when they came over to visit, I was fascinated with her long beautiful shiny red coat. She seemed to enjoy the attention of little kids’ hands petting her as much as we enjoyed being close to her.
Suzie also had some impressive party tricks! On an evening when the adults would converge for a bonfire, some bbq, killer martinis, music, pinnochle, and cold beer, Frank would bring Suzie along. I only saw her do this once, and it fascinated me! Suzie would swoop in and grab a lit cigarette out of your hand, and would eat the cigarette and spit out the filter! She would also wait for someone to put their beer can down, and she would grab the can, flip her head back and drain the beer. I remember hearing “Suuuuzzzzie, stop that!” and it always made me laugh.
If I ever do get an Irish Setter, I’m going to name her Suzie, or Burp, or Smokey.