Meet Bella, at least that is my initial name for her.  She is a 7 week old female chocolate lab.

If you didn't already know, I'm a dog lover!  But after moving to Wyoming from Idaho several years ago, I lost my best friend and hunting companion of 9 years - Sophie the Golden Retriever. It was a sad time for me initially and I have been wanting to get a new hunting buddy to fill the void for a couple of years, but just hadn't run across the right dog, until now.

A new puppy wasn't something I set out to find, in fact I have been looking at the regional animal shelters from Billings to Denver and from Salt Lake City to Rapid City for the right animal to adopt.  But after several months of looking, adding my name to wish lists and combing through shelter websites at adoptable animals nothing had sparked my interest.

Then a friend informed us of a litter of pups that were ready to go home and sent over a picture of one of the pups.  I was intrigued!  I've never owned a chocolate lab. Most of my dog experience has involved owning yellow labs and golden retrievers.  My last 2 dogs were both golden retrievers and some of the best in the field that I have ever hunted. In my hunting trips with friends who've owned chocolate labs I've seen some great hunters in their own rights especially around the water.  I have always admired the poise and personality, strength and tenacity possessed by those animals.  But having trained and worked with golden retrievers primarily in my past, was I ready for something new?

If you didn't know, Labrador Retrievers are the most popular dog in North America, known for their energy and loving companionship.  As a hunting dog, they are among the best breeds for both waterfowl and upland game.  Figuring the types of hunting I do most as well as the waterfowl waters where I hunt, I know I need a strong dog that can handle the currents and temperatures of the lakes and rivers here in Wyoming as well as be able to retrieve a large goose from it's icy waters.

This go round, my next hunting buddy will be this cute little chocolate lab!  Meet my newest hunting buddy - Bella.  School is in session for both her and I.  Wish us luck!!

Not to mention that her new big brother Willis has already committed to showing Bella the ropes around her new home.