The bond between these men and their gun dogs is like no other
I’ll be the first to admit that my best friend is always sporting a fur coat. That’s not because she has expensive taste, but because she’s a black Labrador retriever. Her name is Kahle, she’s 7 years old, and many times I feel like she understands me better than my wife. This is, without a doubt, a result of the many hours we have spent training and hunting together.
The bond between a hunter and a gun dog is second to none, and anyone who has experienced it would concur. It’s a raw love that’s unexplainable. It’s special. It’s magical. It’s real.
Avid waterfowl hunter and Texas City native Avery Fuller understands this bond quite well. He hunts with a 4-year-old white male Lab named Marlin. Marlin is Fuller’s first dog to own and train completely on his own.
“I grew up waterfowl hunting with my Dad and brothers, and we always had family dogs that we hunted with that my Dad had trained,” Fuller said. “Over the years, I learned the strategies and methods that my Dad used on the dogs we hunted with growing up, and I was able to implement them with Marlin.”
Being able to train Marlin has given Fuller a strong since of pride for the many hours of hard work and patience it took to mold the pup into the gun dog he is today, he said. The experience of owning him from the time he was a puppy, and training him as he grew older, created a bond and relationship between himself and the dog that can’t be broken, he said.
“I’ve taken a lot out of Marlin, and he’s taken a lot out of me,” Fuller said. “We’ve both learned from one another and it shows when we are hunting together. It’s such an awesome feeling when someone sees him in action and asks me who trained him, and I’m able to say that I did it myself. It took a lot of patience, discipline and repetition, and it wasn’t always easy. As frustrating as it was sometimes, it was definitely worth it, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
Friendswood resident Logan Laviolette also is an avid bird and waterfowl hunter whose relationship with his gun dog is one of the main reasons he loves hunting, he said. Laviolette’s dog is an 8-year-old black male Labrador named Storm. Laviolette got Storm from a trainer in Louisiana when the dog was 3 years old, and the two have been inseparable hunting partners ever since.
“He is a once-in-a-lifetime hunting dog that comes from a prestigious blood line,” Laviolette said. “His drive to hunt exceeds any hunter that I know. There have been mornings during hunting season in which I was tired and really felt like sleeping in, rather than getting out in the cold and going hunting, but I ended up going anyways because I knew he really wanted to.”
Storm has made some amazing retrieves over the years, Laviolette said.
“He is a 95-pound hunting machine,” Laviolette said. “He loves the sport as much as, or more than, I do. After owning and hunting with him, I can’t imagine ever hunting without a loyal gun dog again.”