WI dog overcomes snake attack to earn prestigious honor

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DE PERE, WI (WBAY) – A 6-year old yellow Labrador from De Pere, named Feather, has earned some prestigious hunting titles after overcoming an incredible obstacle.

From the time she was just a puppy, Feather has loved her time in the field.

“She had her junior hunt title before she was a year old and loved the work, which is why I decided to send her south,” says June Ashford, Feather’s owner.

To keep Feather’s training going during the winter of 2011, June Ashford sent her to a trainer in Georgia.

“And she went down with a couple other dogs from this area, and was excelling in her training and it was just a freak accident,” recalls Ashford.

During a water drill, Feather’s life forever changed.

“She picked up her mark and as she came in she jumped back in the water and a water moccasin slithered out from the weeds and she landed right on top of it,” says Ashford.

The snake bit Feather several times in the groin, leaving behind a lot of venom. Her trainer rushed her to a local vet.

“They gave her the anti-venom, they gave her all the antibiotics but it was just too much, so got her back to Wisconsin and she ended up down at Fox Valley and they said it was either take the leg off or lose the dog. 48 hours after surgery they called and told me to come pick her up and at first I thought they were telling me to pick her up because she had died and they told me no, they really couldn’t contain her,” says Ashford with a chuckle.

Feather knew her best days were yet to come.

“All of her titles have come after she lost her leg, she’s all heart, no quit,” says Ashford.

“She responds very well, she’s got a big heart, she wants to please, she’s just a great dog,” adds Tom Hendricks, an American Kennel Club hunt test judge.

Hendricks owns the land where Feather trains, and in recent years, she’s become a hunting retriever champion and earned the title of a Master Hunter.

“It’s an intense test, when you get to the master level they’re throwing all the bells and whistles at you. And she passed, she did an awesome job,” says Hendricks.

In the field, Feather runs around like just one of the dogs.

Around town, she’s an inspiration.

“We’ve done some programs with some challenged children and challenged adults and it’s like nothing has to stop you, if you’ve got the will, if you’ve got the talent, you can accomplish anything,” says Ashford.OTHER STORIES PEOPLE ARE CLICKING ON:

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