The surgeon stepped back from the operating table, removed the binocular loupe from his forehead and smiled.  His four assisting colleagues smiled back.  Only the wrinkles at the corners of the eyes above the surgical masks revealed the smiles, but they were unmistakable.  Seven hours of desperate, delicate work had ended: the vision of the eight-year-old boy on the table, victim of a head-on auto collision, had been saved.
The surgeon stripped off his gloves and dictated his report into the wall phone, ending with a guarded but optimistic prognosis.  Somewhere in the vast teaching hospital his words were recorded on whirling tape, to be transcribed by a night-shift stenographer.  In the waiting room, the child's mother received from him the same report, this time free of medical jargon.  She showered him with tears of thanks.  He hugged her, a gesture so much a part of his nature he was unaware of it.

    In the scrub room he shed his sweat-drenched surgical greens and let the steaming water pour over his athletic six-foot frame for twenty minutes.  He daydreamed, felt the gentle rhythm of a walking horse beneath him, smelled the soft winter air of Georgia pinewoods, heard the chant of the dog handler:  Wooo . . .  Wooo . . .  Wooo . . .  Heah Nick . . .  Heah . . . .
He dressed and hurried through the busy corridors.  Below the enclosed pedestrian bridge linking the hospital and his office building, throngs of Christmas shoppers in heavy coats braved the winds off Lake Michigan.
His receptionist looked up inquiringly, and he gave her thumbs up.  Stacked files a foot thick covered his desk; his heart sank at the sight of them.  On top lay the day's incoming mail, opened and date stamped.  A letterhead caught his eye:
    Lawyers for the Injured

    Notice of a malpractice claim.  He remembered the patient--a skid-row bum with advanced glaucoma.  An experimental procedure had saved the man's sight for a few years.  When blindness inevitably came, the poor devil succumbed to the ads of the ambulance chasers.  All in a day's work.  Modern medicine.  Modern justice.  Modern mess.
He scratched a note on the letter, directing copies to his insurer and his personal lawyer and flipped it into the outbox.  His father would have been devastated by a patient claim.  For him, just a part of the job.  Still, unnerving. He returned phone calls--to an officious insurance clerk questioning a proposed procedure, to other physicians seeking advice, to convalescing patients, to the dean of the medical school seeking support on a point of faculty politics.  He turned to the patient files and dictated for forty minutes.  Now time for rounds.  With luck he could leave for home before seven.  He phoned his wife and left a message on the answering machine.  Recorded voice messages had become his link to colleagues, friends, even family.  He recalled Huxley's Brave New World and felt a twinge of depression.
He traded his tweed jacket for a starched white-cotton one with his name embroidered above the breast pocket, picked up the worn black leather bag his father had given him on graduation from medical school, reached for the doorknob.  Suddenly weariness overcame him.  He sat down, pulled open a desk drawer and removed a short document.

"I leave the rest of my estate to my son James D. Bates, Jr., M.D.  With the security it will provide, I insist he take a sabbatical, and enjoy for a year or two the things in life besides medicine that have meant much to him and me.  I believe it will make him a better man, and a better surgeon, and that he owes it to himself and his family.  If he does not take this advice, I will haunt him (if possible)."

    He smiled at the final reminder of his father's sense of humor; his father had been dead three years now.
Returning the will to the file, he recrossed the pedestrian bridge.  On the sidewalk below, the bundled shoppers bent against the icy wind, engulfed by the driven snow.
He read charts, talked to nurses, examined patients.  To each he gave reassurance and a gentle tease, an unconscious part of his therapy.  On the train ride to Winnetka weariness came over him again.
At the station, his wife waited inside the car; sensing his fatigue, she waved him to the passenger side.  She drove skillfully through the dense traffic around the shopping malls.  Soon they were on a quiet residential street, electric candles in windows, spotlights focused on decorated front doors.  She talked of their Christmas plans, parties in the homes of neighbors, a dinner she would host for his office staff.  He realized he had done no shopping.

    He entered his back door at eight, fourteen hours after leaving for work.  Scents of Christmas pine and baking lifted his spirits.  Simultaneous calls of "Hi, Dad," from his teenage sons lifted them further.  A deep feeling of pleasure passed through him . . . and then the weariness again. He took two beers from the refrigerator, twisted off the tops and handed one to her.  They clinked the bottles and winked, a gesture of long habit.  They joined the boys watching Jeopardy.  In a few minutes, she went to the kitchen to put on supper, and he went upstairs to change to a cotton sweater and khakis.  The boys yelled out the final Jeopardy question and cheered. Over spaghetti they talked of the day's events:  the boys' volunteer work at the Boys' Club gym, her shopping.  He casually mentioned the surgical procedure that had absorbed seven hours of his day.  They applauded.  He nodded and smiled.

    They carried their plates to the sink, rinsed, put them in the dishwasher.  After good- night hugs, he headed for the stairs.  In minutes he was asleep. At two in the morning, he awoke.  Her reading lamp was on, she stared at him.  "What's up?" he asked. "Jim, you need a rest--a long break.  Can't you take off a few weeks--go see Homer in Texas?  If you won't think of yourself, you can at least think of the boys and me.  We want you around awhile longer, you know." She was serious, worried, and he knew not to make light of her.  He patted her arm and murmured, "I'll think about it."  In another minute he was again deep in sleep.  He dreamed of his boyhood in South Georgia.

    The alarm sounded at five; he awoke still weary, rolled from under the covers and stumbled into the shower.  His mind wandered, then he remembered the night's dream, and he smiled.
On the train, he made up his mind.  Yes, he could afford a sabbatical.  He had his pension savings and his father's estate, not a large inheritance, but not a shabby one either--the old boy had been a careful investor as well as a shrewd physician.  Later he might set up a practice somewhere away from the incessant pressures of teaching-hospital medicine.  His partners would think he was crazy, but secretly they would love it--he could see them licking their chops over his share of the practice.  They'd mostly been good partners, hard working, dedicated to good medicine.  Let them have it.
On New Year's eve, James D. Bates, Jr., M.D., handed over his practice to his partners, packed his Suburban and headed with his wife Sally for Chamberlain, South Dakota.  He negotiated summer dog-training rights on twenty thousand adjoining acres from ranchers he had known since boyhood, and bought a small ranch with a house overlooking the Missouri River.
In one phone call, Doc negotiated a deal with his best friend since boyhood, Homer Ferguson, now an independent oilman based in Houston.  Homer would visit Doc's South Dakota place as long and often as he could manage in summer.  They would train young bird dogs there on sharptail grouse, Hungarian partridge and pheasant.  They would enter a few prairie trials.  Then, as fall progressed, Doc would bring both men's amateur trial strings south on the circuit; Homer would fly in for the trials when he could.  Doc would handle Homer's dogs in the trials Homer couldn't make.  Then from Christmas until spring, Doc would headquarter at Homer's ranch in South Texas.

    Through his years of medical training and practice, Doc had handled his father's dogs occasionally in amateur competition.  Doc Sr.’s kennel stock had gone on his disability to friends on neighboring South Georgia plantations, so the younger Doc's first task on sabbatical was to put together a string of trial dogs. "Better this for your midlife crisis than taking up with a pretty young nurse," Sally said.  Doc thought she was teasing, but she was deadly serious.

    Soon after word of his sabbatical appeared in the American Field, Doc was invited to judge the Eastern Open Shooting Dog Championship in Virginia in early March.  He jumped at the chance.  He'd renew acquaintances in the field-trial fraternity, look for promising young dogs for his string. March came quickly, and Doc found himself astride a nervous horse awaiting the first breakaway.  At the sound of a familiar gruff voice, he turned in the saddle . .
Jack Slone wore canvas chaps over faded jeans, a denim coat and Russell boots--boots given him years before by Doc's father.  His piercing blue eyes looked out under bushy white eyebrows, over a slightly hawkish nose, a firm mouth and a square jaw.  The knuckles of his weathered hands were slightly enlarged with arthritis.  Sweat stained his gray-felt snap brim.  How many times, Doc wondered, had that old hat been lifted to signal a point?  Jack's saddle--a McClellan--had served his great-grandfather when he rode with Confederate cavalry.  Served Jack's grandfather, too, driving cattle and sheep overland to market out of the Appalachians.  How many times, Doc wondered, had that old saddle been releathered and reframed through four generations of Slones, how many miles had it been ridden?  Over four decades, Jack himself had ridden it in twenty states and three Canadian provinces, training and handling bird dogs.  Check cords, plastic water bottles, roading harness, bits of chain, shotgun scabbard--all the implements of the dog-handler craft--hung from the saddle's many rings.

    From a farm boyhood in West Virginia, Jack Slone had gone to Korea as a Marine, returning a Master Sergeant.  An escape from a prisoner-of-war camp gave him brief local fame.
Soon after his return from Korea, a friend had taken Jack to a grouse dog trial in Pennsylvania.  Always good with animals, the sport fascinated him.  It became an absorbing hobby, and he developed several grouse dog champions for himself.  Then others asked him to train their dogs, and before he realized it, he was a professional.  He moved to horseback trials, then to the major circuit.  Now in the twilight of his career, he campaigned a small string on the eastern shooting-dog circuit.  Still a fierce competitor, the younger pros regarded him warily, a curmudgeon never to be taken lightly.
The Greenbrier County farm where he was born had always been Jack's home base.  In his major circuit days he traveled in July to the Canadian prairies for summer training.  Then he followed the circuit through the Midwest, down to rented midwinter training grounds in South Georgia.  In the spring, he won money on the golf courses of The Greenbrier and The Homestead and fished for native trout in the Alleghenies.  He also won at gin rummy and poker.  In the sixties, Greenbrier County had been a hotbed of high-tone gambling joints; Jack had moonlighted as a dealer.  He could break ninety-eight of a hundred at will on The Greenbrier's skeet field.  He shot or played cards or golf only with money at stake.

    Born with a musical ear, Jack learned as a boy at his grandfather's knee to play the harmonica, the guitar, then the fiddle.  From the same grandfather, he learned the folk songs of the Appalachians.
For many years, Jack had handled Doc's father's dogs in field trials.   As a teenager, young Doc had gone to Canada for the summer as Jack’s helper.
Before he'd left home that summer, Doc had asked his father, "Is Jack Slone honest?"  Doc Sr.'s reply:  "Yes, but not to a fault.  He can do more with a dog than any man I've ever known, and he will not take unfair advantage of another handler in a trial.  He'll call point for the other man's dog--even if he knows it will cost him a championship.  But like all pros, he's not above tricks when handling.  He's not a saint, but he's got values.  You'll see."

    "Hello, Jack.  What's the story on that derby?" Doc said.
    "Hey, Doc!" Jack broke into a grin at the sight of his old pupil.  "Good to see you.  That's Hi IQ.  He's a grandson of your daddy's ol' Cromwell.  I got him as a pup from your buddy Homer Ferguson.  He's out of Homer's gyp Shonuff.  She died right after the litter was weaned."
Jack handed the pointer's lead to a fellow professional who would be his scout, then lifted foot to stirrup and swung gracefully up on his tall nearly white horse.
Doc looked to his fellow judge and the other handler to confirm they were ready, then punched his stopwatch and said,
"All right, Gentlemen, let 'em go."

Jack blew a sharp note on his whistle.  The white pointer departed as if shot from a gun, and Jack's horse moved off to follow in a smooth easy walk.  Jack and the horse were one.  Doc thought, Jack may be long in the tooth, but as always he has a good horse under him.
Hi IQ sailed along the river-bottom edges.  From the dog's first long cast, Doc knew it didn't belong in the stake--too big a runner for the shooting-dog category.  He found birds twice, however, and handled them with good style and perfect manners.  Jack was furious when the dog was not placed.

"You know, Jack," Doc said calmly, "that derby ran too much for this stake.  I see you listed him in the entry with no owner named--that mean he's yours and for sale?"
"Well, yes--if the price is right," Jack replied, his anger subsiding.
"What are you asking? "
"Five thousand."  The price was outrageous, but Jack didn't bat an eye.
"Got any holes in him?" Doc asked.
"Now, Doc, didn't I teach you there's not a dog alive without some holes?  He's broke on liberated birds--you saw that--and he handles as good as any derby I've seen in many a year.  He's got a natural front-runnin' pattern like his grandsire to boot--and you're right, he's all-age to the bone.  He's got a world of your Daddy's bloodline in him."  (Jack had emphasized qualities he knew Doc admired and appealed to Doc's home-kennel prejudice in hopes of discouraging him from asking further questions.)
"If he's healthy, I'll take him--at your price," Doc said, knowing the price was too high, but remembering his dad had stiffed Jack for some fees at the stormy end of their long relationship.  Jack was shocked to get his price, but more shocked that Doc had not probed about the dog's shortcomings.  He hid both shocks behind a poker face.

    Jack had almost passed up the Eastern Open.  With three hundred thousand miles on his truck, she was blowing blue smoke like a diesel.  She'd burned a half case of motor oil on the two-hundred-mile trip, and she had started to miss.  She wouldn't make it home pulling the trailer with two horses, Jack was sure of that.  So with Doc's check for Hi IQ's purchase in his pocket, Jack headed for South Hill, a tobacco-market town ten miles east of the trial grounds, bent on trading trucks.  He spotted his target on a used-car lot--a dually Ford 350, three years old, blue (his lucky color), just seventy-five thousand miles, according to the odometer, which Jack knew might be rigged.  Luckily, the salesman turned out to be a bird hunter.  With a pup for the salesman thrown in, he got the truck for ten thousand dollars--Doc's check and the other half on monthly payments.  The thought of still more debt depressed him, but he had to have a better truck.

    That night Doc couldn't sleep.  He kept going over the details of his dog purchase.  As morning approached, he grew more and more uneasy.
At daybreak, Jack sat alone in the motel restaurant reading the morning paper.  Doc joined him and they ordered.
"How's your new dog this morning, Doc?"
"You tell me.  There's something you didn't tell me, isn't there?  Some question I should have asked but didn't.  Might as well tell me now--I'll figure it out soon enough."
Jack shifted uneasily.
"Don't worry.  Unless he's a fighter or sick I won't cancel the deal--just tell me how you hooked me so I can accept my fate.  I know that dog's got a problem--I can feel it in my bones."
Jack gazed out the window at his new truck.  Doc had noticed the West Virginia plates and knew where his five thousand dollars had gone.
"Well, I'm sure it's a problem you can cure with a little time and effort.  I told you he was dead broke on liberated birds.  His problem is, he won't point wild ones."
"What?  You sold me a blinker--for five thousand dollars!  You old buzzard!  I thought we were friends."

"Now, Doc, keep your shirt on.  He's not a blinker on liberated birds, and all the trials from here to New England are run on liberated birds--you can make a champion out of that dog!"
"You know I hate to run in liberated-bird trials.  How did you make a blinker out of him?"
"Not sure.  I think a boy that was helpin' me last spring got on him a little too strong when he busted a covey of wild birds--probably the first covey he'd smelled--and he took it for a lesson he wasn't supposed to point the wild ones.  He's a damn smart dog.  Doc, you didn't ask, and I told you there's no such thing as a dog without a hole in him."

After a long silence, Doc spoke again.
"Okay, Jack, I'm not going to ask for my money back or--more important for what's left of your reputation, I'm not going to tell anybody what you did to me--but on one condition."
Jack held his breath.
"You've got to come up to my place in South Dakota this summer and help me work dogs.  Bring as big a string to train for yourself as you can round up.  My boys will be there, and they need a hard summer's work.  We've got plenty of room in the house--won't cost you anything but your gas and dog food.  Plan to be there the first of July."
"I don't know, Doc.  I haven't been on the prairies in ten years . . . not since Ann's fall."
"You commit now or I'm telling everybody at this trial what you did to me."
"We'll see.  Let's get out to the grounds.  Ride with me in our new truck."  Jack grinned the way he had that long-ago summer when he and Doc had trained dogs together on the prairies.
Two weeks later an ad appeared in the American Field.
    Returning to the Prairies

    After ten years of summer training in the cool Alleghenies of West Virginia, I will again train on the prairies on the bird-laden lands of Doctor James D. Bates, Jr., at Chamberlain, South Dakota.  Send me your prospect now for evaluation on pigeons and yard work, and maybe I'll bring you back a future champion come September.  Taking a limited string of field-trial and gun-dog prospects, each to receive my personal attention.  My record speaks for itself.

    Jack Slone
    No Sevens Kennel
    Droop, West Virginia
    (Call after 8 p.m. or before 6 a.m.)

    At dawn on July first, Jack set out from the farm.  In the creaking trailer behind his new pickup, his horse Copenhagen munched timothy.  The eight compartments of the dog box behind the truck cab held two dogs each, young pointers and setters.  The four large-dog compartments at the front of the trailer held eight more.  And beside Copenhagen, where a second horse usually rode on weekend trips to nearby field trials, six airline dog crates were stacked on one another and strapped down with bungie cords, holding another six young dogs, bringing Jack's inventory of pupils to thirty.  Twenty-four belonged to customers.  Each had paid Jack twelve hundred dollars against his pledge to send home a dog ready to hunt.  The other six belonged to Jack--at least for now.  He would break them and seek buyers.
The first commandment of trainer economics is, thou shalt not own dogs.  Only if every dog in the kennel brings a monthly check can the trainer hope to stay in business.  Even then the profits are slim.  Most dog trainers--all the really talented ones--could earn much more at something else.  The lure is spiritual, as with farming or music or writing, a love of the work beyond business logic.  Jack sometimes broke the first commandment, buying puppies that caught his fancy, then selling them after training.

    Jack had never been sentimental with dogs or owners, and when his wife Ann had been there to keep the books and send the bills and write the customers progress notes (to go with the Polaroid snaps she took), the business side had ticked along with what seemed to Jack effortless efficiency.  Now that he had it all to do himself, he realized what a chore book work and owner relations had been for Ann--especially the relations part, never his strong suit.  A scribbled half-sentence on the bill was Jack's usual report:  "Pretty good nose, hard headed," or "Fair nose, he don't want to back," or "Excellent nose, tends to loop his casts."  Jack had bought prestamped postcards for progress reports, but chances were he'd forget to mail them.  Of course, the owners would call--Doc's phone number was listed (Doc had a thing about doctors with unlisted home numbers).  Dog trainers seemed to spend more time on the phone than working dogs, a part of the business Jack hated.

    After three hours, Jack pulled in at a rest stop and let the dogs out on check cord to stretch and empty and drink water he poured in pans.  He would do this every three hours along the way.  At noon when he made Parkersburg, the temperature pushed ninety, and he bought blocks of ice, putting one in each dog compartment--a tested air-conditioning system the dogs loved.
Outside Dayton, he blew a trailer tire.  The trailer swayed violently, but Copenhagen kept his feet.  With help from a trooper, Jack changed to the spare.  He would have to replace the trailer tires, a further drain on the slim profits from the summer's work. Four days later at dusk, weary but excited as a boy, Jack rolled up to Doc's house on a bluff above the Missouri River.  He'd almost forgotten the magic of prairie country, stretching limitless before the eye, the mesmerizing wave of grass before the ceaseless wind.

    Beside him on the truck seat for all twelve hundred miles had been a three-months-old English setter pup.   Like hundreds before that Ann had seen into the world and cared for, the pup had been whelped in Jack's kitchen.  It was the first pup born there since Ann's death.  Afterwards, Jack had sat in the kitchen all night, thinking of Ann, completing his second year of grieving.  When the sun rose he had felt his spirits lift.  It had been as if Ann had returned to his side, at the bay window overlooking the river, and had said, "Enough, Jack.  Get on with life.  By the way, that pup is special, and so is the boy who owns him."
While Jack had never kept dogs in the house (except briefly those Ann brought to the kitchen for natal care or psychological adjustment after a training setback), he never got around to assigning Flip a kennel run.  When Flip began his weaning howls at seven weeks, Jack brought him back in the kitchen where he had been born, and from then on he enjoyed the run of the house.  Housebreaking took only two days; after that Flip went to a door and barked when nature called.  He slept on the throw rug beside Jack's bed.  In the truck, Flip traveled in the front seat, not in a compartment in back like the others.  With constant human companionship, he grew calm and affectionate.  When Jack reached Doc's ranch, Flip weighed thirty pounds, rawboned and gangly, with feet and ears too big for the rest of him.
Doc's sons helped Jack settle his dogs at their plastic-barrel doghouses in a pine-grove shelter break west of the curtilage--all except Flip, who would spend the summer running loose, coming into the house at night to sleep by Jack's bed.

    "That pup's going to be big as a calf before the summer's over," Doc said.

    For most of Jack's career, Doc's father had sponsored dogs in Jack's trial string.  Doc recalled many nights from his youth when his father had phoned Jack to talk dogs, the weekend trips with his father to field trials, meeting Jack and Ann and riding the braces, the joy in his father's face when one of his dogs ran a good race (it didn't have to win, but when that happened, his father would be elated).
When he'd gone to settle his father's estate, the volume of "dog business" papers amazed him--letters chronicling fifty years of breeding, buying, selling dogs, their pedigrees--and a whole file cabinet filled with correspondence with No Sevens Kennels:  Ann's neat letters with reports on dogs in training or on the circuit, along with the monthly bills.  Then, as Doc's father's Alzheimer's set in and progressed, copies of letters to Jack complaining about the lack of wins . . . .  A letter from Jack pleading for payment for six months of services and his father's response to the plea--a blistering letter accusing Jack of billing him for training he hadn't done.  And Jack's response to that:

Dear Doctor Bates:

You know I would never cheat you.  Since you have lost confidence in me, I am returning your two derby prospects--they will arrive at the Albany airport on Thursday morning on Flight 834 (Delta).
 I am sorry it has come to this.  You can forget about my bills for services.
Jack Slone

When Doc discovered this final correspondence, he wrote Jack and asked him to send the estate a bill for what was owed him.  Jack had responded:

Dear Little Doc:
Your father owed me nothing when he died.  He did more for me over the years than any customer or friend I ever had.  May he rest in peace.
Give me a call if you are coming down to The Greenbrier for one of your surgeons meetings, and I'll take a little money off you on the golf course.
Jack Slone

    After supper their first night, Doc and Jack sat alone on the porch while Sally washed the dishes.  They watched the Missouri River turn crimson, then fall into shadow as the final light left the vast prairie sky and the stars appeared, first one by one, then in a rush.
"Jack, what really happened between you and Pop?  I know he stiffed you for at least three thousand dollars in training fees.  Why wouldn't you let me pay you after he died?"
Jack went to the kitchen for a glass of water.  When he returned to the porch, Doc pressed for an answer.  Finally, with great reluctance, Jack said:
"Doc, I owed your father more than he owed me.  Owed him for my life.
A couple years after Ann and I went on the major circuit I had what they'd call today post-traumatic stress disorder--in those days they just said I turned into a drunk.  It came to a head the winter of sixty.  Ann went to your father, and the two of them somehow coaxed me into a hospital.  I dried out for a month, and your dad put me in the hands of a psychiatrist who figured out my trouble was a little more than just booze.  Your father checked up on me regularly from then on, calling whenever he sensed I might be down.  When Ann had her fall, he got us the best doctors and stayed after them to be sure they didn't slack off.  At the end of his life, your father wasn't himself."

    Doc was shocked.  He'd never heard a word from his father about Jack's drinking problem--he'd known Jack drank in the early years, and then quit abruptly and for good, but that was all.
By the third week in August, Jack had about finished breaking his thirty pupils, and in the process taught Doc's sons a world about bird dogs.  Three of the dogs had washed up completely.  The rest were "country broke" or better.  Overall they were about average, he figured, a few somewhat less in the nose and brains department.  Six showed field-trial potential--three of his own, three sent to him by their owners.  These six he entered in the Iron Nation Club's trial, held just twenty miles up the road.  In the derby stake, he got second and third with one of his and one of a customer's.  By the time the trial ended, he had sold all the dogs he'd brought north as inventory.

    On the Wednesday after Labor Day, Jack started for home.  At the Sioux Falls airport, he shipped a dozen summer pupils to their owners.  Others he dropped off as he passed customers' homes in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.   Sunday afternoon he reached his farm, tired but happy.

    The day before he left Doc's ranch for home, they had worked on Jack's favorite section of training grounds, a huge alfalfa field surrounded by native prairie.  After they finished working the other dogs, they released Flip.  Flip looked up at Jack and barked, turned into the breeze and ran the edge of the alfalfa.  A long cast brought him to a dry slough at a corner, grown up in weedy cover.  Flip had never seen this area before, but his summer's free wanderings had taught him the sort of cover to search. Flip entered the slough and breasted through its high weeds.  The weeds went still; Flip was pointing.  A gleeful bark, the weeds swayed again, and a dozen sharptails rose cackling, set their wings and sailed far across a coolie, the setting sunlight lighting the bronze of their feathers.

    Jack called Flip and fitted him in a roading harness.  As he and Doc rode for the trailer, Flip pulled like a sled dog against his harness; in the months ahead this would develop the muscles in his hindquarters and shoulders.

    "That ragamuffin shag might make you and David Burch a field-trial derby next year--if you don't spoil him to death.  Too bad he's not a pointer," Doc said.

    Flip's ten-minute heat would stay etched in Jack's and Doc's memories.  It was Flip's only training from horseback of his puppy summer, but his daily free runs around the ranch had taught him the habits of game birds.  Jack had been obedience training him since he was six weeks old.  His instincts, passed to him from generations of hunting forebears, had lead him to seek and point birds.  Instincts still more primal told him to chase the flying quarry, whose ancestors had been meals to his ancestors.

to be continued