Saturday night, my oldest son Nick and I began a 3000 mile road trip to pick up the next member of the family: a six-week old black Lab puppy. His name will be Murph in honor of Bob Murphy, a good friend, a great sportsman, and a true gentleman, something I hope his namesake will become in the next few years.
Murph will become the fifth Labrador we’ve had in this family. The first was Mushroom, a yellow who was our first dog after Mimi and I got married. He lived up in the deer camp with us before we were married.
Then came Beechnut, another yellow named after my favorite chewing tobacco at the time. He was with us for some 14 years. Yoo Hoo, the famous truck drivin’ dog and our first chocolate came along when we were still dairy farming and lived with us through my first decade and a half at Orvis. We now have Pickett, another chocolate I got out in Colorado and the best hunter by far. Pickett is eight and in his prime, but I think it is time to bring in a successor.
Murph will be my first black lab. He has a British pedigree longer than Prince William and was bred by Mike Stewart at Wildrose Kennel near Oxford, Mississippi. One would think with a pedigree like that he will speak the King’s English. That’s where Nick and I are headed. All the seats are out of the Suburban, there’s a bed in the back, and the guns and hunting gear are packed because we’re going to stop in South Carolina and hunt quail at Harris Springs. More to come on that later. We have two puppy kennels in the back, because I’m bringing back Dave Perkins’ puppy as well, another well-bred young lady from another litter that arrived simultaneously with Murph’s.
I don’t know which one of these puppies will end up being Murph. I get second pick out of these five males from a litter of ten, so I’ve tried not to get too attached to any one of the pups in the pictures. One of them will be gone when I pick. I know what I should look for, but I’m hoping the right one will just walk over and look up. If he does I’m sure it will be a sign. One would hope it would be that easy. We’ll see. I’ll introduce you to Murph later, about 1500 miles from now.