Advice on a Dog Sale - By Tom Word

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Ben Reach religiously followed a policy, preached to him by his father, not to get involved in law suits involving dogs. But ironically, he was asked for advice on bird dog matters constantly. This was because Ben had many friends in the bird dog world and was trusted. He had judged trials over many years and never shown favoritism. Nor did he ever decline to try to help a bird dog professional trainer-handler in distress, and there was never a shortage of them. The profession was by its nature highly risky.

A week never passed that Ben did not have a call from someone in the bird dog world seeking advice. All too often Ben’s advice had to be, cut your losses, get out while you can. But every once in a while the stars lined up so Ben could offer a solution that turned out well for all involved. Of course Ben discovered this success only after the fact. But when it happened it made him feel good, and he enjoyed sharing its story with Sam Nixon, MD as they eased their tired old bones over a shared dram of The Macallan in Ben’s library-conference room at the end of a long week.

Bobby Snead was the son of a Southwest Georgia bird dog man, head dog trainer and hunt guide on Twin Trunk Plantation outside Thomasville. After finishing two years of Community College Bobby had decided to try to go down the road on the All-Age Circuit. He had a thirty thousand dollar inheritance from a maiden aunt and with it bought a used dually (150,000 miles) and horse trailer. He had two dog horses bought cheap as two-year-olds and now mature and well-trained by him as six-year-olds. He had two buddies who each promised to put a dog with him for a year. His biggest hope was a frequent shooting guest on Twin Trunk whom he had met years before while in high school and working part time as a helper to his father with the shooting parties. This man, Walter Rice, had a big fortune made managing a hedge fund of the math-guided sort and wanted to try his hand as an owner in the world of open all-age trials.

Bobby had sought Ben’s advice on where to find a suitable dog or dogs to start Walter Rice’s field trialing experience. Ben had no suggestions. But after that Ben was approached by another bird dog man seeking advice. And Ben immediately saw a chance to help two bird dog pros and maybe get the Field Trial Bug in the bloodstream of someone with the financial resources to help the sport Ben loved.

Ben got a call he had dreaded. The call was from Arch Bain, a sixty-five-year old pro handler Ben had known well for many decades. Arch called to tell Ben he was retiring. The good news was Arch had been financially smart and famously frugal. He would be secure in retirement. The second bit of good news in Arch’s call was this.

“Mr. Ben, all my owners have lined up other handlers to take the dogs I have for them. But I own a coming derby that is the best I have ever had. I want to get him to an owner and a handler that will give him the opportunities he deserves. And I want to get paid for what I have put Into him. I would appreciate your advice on how to do that.”

Ben had a Eureka moment. “ Arch, let me think about that, and I’ll get back to you.”
“Thank you, Mr. Ben. I hope it can be soon, he needs to be worked.”

Next day Ben called Bobby Snead. “I think I may have a way for you to introduce Walter Rice to the game without much risk to you. Can you come see me?” Bobby agreed to meet Ben at Millie’s Diner next morning.

Ben and Sam were in their usual booth in the back when Bobby arrived and joined them. After ordering fried eggs with bacon with biscuits, Bobby asked Ben, “What you got for me Mr. Ben?”

“ Arch Bain is retiring. He’s got a coming Derby he says is the best he’s ever had, wants to sell it but be sure it gets a chance and that he gets what it’s worth.”

“ I don’t want to sour Mr. Rice on the game by having him pay a big price on a Derby that don’t pan out. You know the odds on green Derbies, Mr. Ben.”

“Yes I do, and I think I’ve got a way to give everybody in the deal a shot at what he wants with minimum risk to everybody,” Ben said. “Let’s go to my office when we finish breakfast and I’ll explain.”

When Bobby, Sam and Ben were seated around Ben’s conference table, Ben pulled a scrap of paper from a pocket and placed it on the table. On it in Ben’s unmistakable scribble was written a column of numbers:

2000 DC

3000 AAC

10000 NC

Bobby knew at once what the numbers meant. Sam said, “What the Hell does that mean?” Bobby explained the meaning of the numbers and left excited, anxious to meet with Walter Rice and seek authority to make the proposition to Arch Bain. Mr. Rice was at Twin Trunk Plantation, having just flow into Albany in his Gulfstream for a shooting weekend with its owner.

Being a math genius and an expert on odds and risk, Walter Rice liked the proposition and in ten minutes authorized Bobby to make it to Arch Bain through Ben.

Ben put it to Arch Bain who after an hour of Ben’s persuasion accepted it.

So Bobby acquired the coming Derby, call name Tom, registered name Unimpeachable, for Walter Rice for $1000, plus the obligation to pay an additional $2000 for each Derby Championship Tom won, plus the obligation to pay an additional $3000 for each All- Age Championship Tom won, and $10,000 if he won the National Championship.

Bobby, Walter, Arch and Ben were looking forward to the Continental Derby Championship, scheduled for the third week in January, which would soon be upon them.

About the Author

Tom Word
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Tom Word is a lawyer who represents individuals about managing their assets and for amusement writes fiction and non-fiction about bird dogs and humans obsessed with them.


About the Artist

Leah Brigham
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After graduating from Millersville University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor’s of Science in Art Education, Leah began teaching Art to inner city Middle School students in Houston and later Dallas, TX. Leah has shared with her students her passion for art and nature. This passion has sustained her and continued throughout her life in the form of painting and drawing.

Leah was introduced to American Field Horseback Field Trails and has been able to experience the excitement of seeing her own dog, competing for the National Championship at Ames Plantation in Grand Junction, TN ...standing on point, head and tail held high. This has inspired her to create works of art depicting dogs and the wildlife associated with the sport and hunting.

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