Something Had To Give

Bronson Terrier Standing
Bronson Standing
Bronson Working Terrier
Bronson Working Terrier

It was the usual affairs of rallying around friday night to get everything done so saturday morning could be a day free of anything else only digging.

Saturday morning came and when the alarm clock struck 6.30 am. I got up and took all the dogs out for a run in the field adjacent to the house, the main aim was for the dogs that were coming with me to empty out before we headed off on our journey.

I was taking a couple of young dogs with me this morning, my main goal for the day was to get a good honest dig to the young Bronson dog, who so far had done nothing wrong in his short career as a working terrier.Its funny because the free ones always seem to work out and it was by pure luck that i aquired this excellent young dog.A freind of mine who wanted a decent working terrier had been blistering me to ring around some lads i knew keep good working terriers.

I tried one or two lads knowing that they wouldnt want to part with their up and coming stock.I tried to pawn this off to my mate when i got the knock backs but he wouldnt leave me alone.I said i would ring one more freind and if he had nothing thats the last person i would ring.

Now i never thought for one minute that i would get a dog of any discription from the guy i rang, not because he wouldnt give you one, its just this lad digs alot and he is always short on dogs to work and he keeps a decent no of good working terriers.

To my suprise after i had explained my case he generously offered a young unschooled dog that was ready to go.Now i know this mans stock for many years and i knew this would be an opportunity of a lifetime to get something from his blood so i headed off with my mate to collect this young terrier, i was a little jealous thinking about what he was going to get, not in a bad way as i knew i would get to dig this dog regular if he worked out.

We collected the dog gave our thanks and headed home.Now we took the dog in the feild a few times and he was slow to start, my young mate had no patience at the time and offered me the dog to run on and see what i could do with him.As you can guess i jumped at the chance.

So getting back to the morning in question, Bronson had turned himself around in a couple of months, he had self entered and we had dug him a handfull of times in some fairly easy earths, the main reason for this was he was an extremly hard worker so caution had to be taken into consideration so as not to spoil what looked to be a promising worker.

Well on the morning in question I had decided to try him in a place i knew well, its a place ive dug quite a few times over the years and i know the earth fairly well, well at least i thought i did, this morning was to tell a different story.

We entered the young dog and i had expected this dig to be fairly straight forward, anything from 2 to 5 foot ive dug this one at and never any deeper.The dog was on almost immediately and we left him to settle for a time, had a smoke and a little natter as you do before we got down to business.The box was reading 8 foot which alarmed me straight away as well as suprised me.

There were 3 of us on the morning in question and we got to work straight away, it was a hard dig through alot of roots and some fairly hard ground, we took it in turns and got through it as quick as we could, the closer we got the more we could hear dog and game exchanging their views.It was all action and i knew the dog would be doing what he had done in his other digs, i mean he wouldnt have known how hard or deep the dig was going to be.

When we were about two feet away things started to slow down underneath us, all the time i was digging i was hoping the dog was learning to calm down and stand off slightly rather than try and be the boss all of the time.

Bronson Terrier Standing
Bronson Standing

The action was getting less and less until it stopped completly, i thought maybe they had moved on but i just kept digging, on breaking through i could just about see the dog and when i put my hand on him to help him out i knew something wasnt right, truth be known i knew what i had feared all along with this dog.His body was cold and limp and i removed him straight away, this young promising pup was dead, i worked on him for about 10 maybe 15 minutes and it seemed like a lifetime but there was nothing i could do, a hard game dog on a testing dig with his game equally as hard and aggresive something had to give, unfortunatly it was the dog. I left the game run for another day, its funny because people see us as some kind of barbaric monsters, i have as much respect for the game i dig as i do my terriers and although i had just lost one of my dogs the quarry deserved to go free, i mean what was the point in me killing it.

The hardest thing for me to do was ring the guy i had originally got the dog from and tell him what had happened, but him being the sportsman and gentleman he is he knew were i was coming from and how i was feeling, some folk will just never get what our dogs actually mean to us.

As time went by and i had tried to weigh things up in my mind i thought about alot of things, things like what if he had of just sat off and only tried to work his game when needed, or what if i had went to another earth that day, if he had more chances would he have learned to slow down his working style.I kept running things around and around in my head and one day i was out digging to a dog that was nearly 5 years old, a dog that had alot of digs under his belt and had never done anything wrong.We entered him this day in the way we always did and he quit, he just gave it up and through the towel in.This is a dog that used his tounge nearly all the time and only ever engaged when he really needed to and he gave it up, i looked back to the day with the young dog and realised id rather bury them game than bury them a cur.

RIP Bronson.

Madra Dubh.


  1. ive got a 4yr old chorkie and have been taking her were there’s rabbits since she was 2 and a half but she hasn’t really been taking interest until last summer when she caught a rabbit now she is down holes every time i take her but that’s the problem I only want her to go down holes that I no wont be fox or badger as I don’t want any harm to come to her if you guys no any tips or advice that would be great thanks

  2. you where very unlucky with bronson, he seemed like a hard dog, these things happen and there was nothing you could do. we love this sport and we will keep on digging!!. best of luck