A friend of mine wrote this about my dog, Ace. We've traveled many a mile together and he's covered a lot of ground in his days afield. He loves it as much as I do and I love him for that.


An essay by John Gordon

What makes a dog great? What I mean is this, is it about work in the field? Companionship? Loyalty? In my mind it is only one thing that separates the truly special dogs from the endless ocean of good and decent animals working with men today. That one thing is love.
I know, I know, many people measure a field dog in ribbons and trophies, titles and bloodlines. These are all fine if you really believe in them, they really are only so much nylon and plastic and paper. And it is a thrill to see a field champion run a perfect series in spectacular style, rolling over the competition with a combination of keen eyes and flashy drive. I will also tell you that just sitting with a dog on a frigid morning and watching the sun rise together puts a man closer to heaven.
Ace is the title of this literary work and I need to explain who he is and what he means to those that know him best. He is a black male Labrador retriever that just completed his 7000th retrieve on wild waterfowl, a feat that very few accomplish. He hunts many days a year and I would bet if he could talk he would tell you that the last day is just as good as the first. To watch a duck fold and land in a plume of water and mud is the meaning of his life, all other times must seem trivial. His heart and desire alone make him a dog among dogs but it is his love that makes him a legend.
Pat Pitt has hunted the world for everything that takes to air, ducks and geese, upland game, the wild turkey. His travels have brought him friendship with many and respect from all he has crossed paths with along the way. His life is about the pursuit, the camaraderie, the challenge of the elements and the joy of his passion for falling feathers. His dog’s name is Ace.
Northeastern Arkansas is where you need to look to find Pat and Ace in the months of November, December, and January. They hunt every day of the season in the rain and shine, heat and ice, wind and calm. Pat surrounds himself with friends and family on these mornings, they call the place the L’Anguille Lounge. The sounds of laughter, the roar of ripping steel, and the smell of “opening day teal pot” all call this place home. Some years are better than others but I know all the members would agree that there is no other place they would rather be.
January 16th started the way they all do, camp members arising before dawn and heading into the black to greet the rising sun. As the day wore on, ducks were taken and the blinds bled fire into the sky. Pat and Ace were there as always and it just seemed to be like any other day. They were hunting with friends and sharing the bounty of the Lounge. Then the pain set in.
Pat knew something was wrong immediately and called eldest son Patrick. Pure luck or divine intervention was on his side because Patrick was close to an ATV, something that is normally taboo. Pat has always required everyone to walk to the blinds, saying “If I can walk it, so can you.” Patrick was able to drive to the pit and pick up his distressed father and carry him out quickly. Heart attacks never wait for convenience in time or place when they strike, they deal their deadly ways with precision and no care for where and when.
Unable to go along with Pat on his emergency ride, Ace stayed with the others and continued to hunt. He was sitting in the dog box on the end of the pit, this particular one having only one. He wouldn’t move from his place and continued to scan the skies and wait for the smell of burned powder. Another dog was there as well on the bottom of the pit but the hunters planned to send Ace when the time came. This is the point when the stuff fireside tales told over sipping whiskey happened on a cold January morning.
Ducks wheeled over the field and headed for the decoys. They came in fast, eager to join the feed. Shotguns raised, ducks fell, and Ace gathered himself to go. “Ace!” rang out in the pit but he didn’t move. “Ace!” was called again and he never moved a muscle, confusion setting into his mind. They tried again and again and again and he never left the box. He waited for Pat’s voice to sound but it never did. The other dog picked up the ducks while Ace sat quivering and wondering why his world had fallen apart.
The hunt continued and the limits filled. Ace never moved even though every part of him wanted to retrieve those birds. Hunters filled the straps and the guns were cased and everyone left the blind and walked toward the road where the vehicles remained. “C’mon Ace, it’s time to go.” He still wouldn’t move, sure that Pat would appear to take him home. He was finally dragged from the pit with a leash, fighting every step of the way.
Pat survived his ordeal, the doctors and nurses at the hospital in Jonesboro saved his life. Six times he was shocked back into the world and a stint freed the blocked artery so blood could flow again. True to form, Pat was present for the last weekend of the duck season and he commanded Ace to his 7000th retrieve. The pair left together with visions of next season already dancing in their heads. True love? Sometimes you only need to look in the muddy fields of Arkansas to find it.


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Pat Pitt
8740 Cedar Crest Lane
Olive Branch, Ms 38654
662-893-4844 cell901-331-9417
L'Anguille Lounge Duck Club
Ace must be one very special friend and that was one very special tribute by your friend John. Glad you're feeling better, get strong next season will be here before you know it.
Something must have just flew in my eye cause it started to well up a little. Thanks for sharing that.
Now that is a steady dog indeed.
My best wishes for better health to Mr. Pitt and if it is allowed, maybe an extra treat for Ace.
Great story, and a dedicated, faithful partner. What more can a man ask for? Glad to hear the happy ending. I always hate to see a new thread posted under Tribute, but this one had a different conclusion than most. Pat Congats on such good buddy (Ace) and get well
Very touching Pat. Glad to hear you're on the mend and that's a some dog that sits by your side. All the best in your recovery.
Wonderful story........amazing how dogs can touch that spot deepminside us, the one that even many people never do ...... Gonna go take my chess for a swim I think