White Deer Twins on the Riverwalk

White Deer Twins on the Riverwalk
These rare white deer twins were born this summer and have found a safe home at Dan Daniel Park and on the Riverwalk
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My name is David Hoffman. I teach English and journalism at Averett University, but I have two side interests - writing and photography. I also enjoy walking daily with my English setter, Sadie, and my wife, Elizabeth, on the Danville, Virginia, Riverwalk. As a novice to studying nature, I am fascinated by the slightest facets of the great outdoors, but most of my pictures are of birds - I don't know a lot about them, but I am learning more and enjoying taking pictures of them daily. I also take pictures of plants, other animals, and insects. All pictures posted for each day were taken on the day of my blog entry.

Leave a comment if you have the time or e-mail me at dhoffman@averett.edu


Tuesday, August 17, 2010


(AUGUST 17, 2010) Because I got a later start than usual (I got to the Riverwalk at about 7:15), I didn't take my camera because I knew it would take us longer to walk the 3-4 miles we usually walk, and the morning heat would be oppressive for Sadie wearing her fur coat. Several people asked me why I didn't have my camera, and I responded that I had taken over 300 pictures yesterday and didn't want to have more pictures to work with. That was kind of a white lie. The reason I didn't bring the camera was really all about Sadie.

I've often asked myself why I go to the Riverwalk each morning. Is it because of: A) I enjoy the natural world and being a part of it for an hour or so? B) I enjoy taking pictures? or C) I enjoy being there with Sadie? Actually, all answers are correct, but if I had to choose one answer it would be "C" because it is all about Sadie.

Over the 4+ years we have been walking on the Riverwalk, we have had many interesting events happen that would not have happened had it not been for Sadie. She tends to draw attention, especially when she is pointing, and bikers, walkers, and joggers are constantly commenting on what a pretty dog she is. There are other comments as well, such as:

Does she hunt?
Is she like a bird dog?
Is she that dog that was on that magazine a few years ago (Showcase, July, 2008, to be exact)?
Is she friendly?
How old is she?
Did you teach her to pose like that?

As for that last question, that was raised by a friend who was on his bicycle and stopped to admire Sadie as she was honed in on . . . a butterfly. She was doing her "stealth" moves and moving slowly toward the small insect. She had her tail up, her nose pointed, and was raising each leg, very gently, as she crept toward the butterfly. My friend said, "That's amazing the way she moves. Did you teach her how to do that?"

I said, "Yep. Got down on my hands and knees and showed her how to hunt."

He said, "I'll give you $20 if you will demonstrate."

I said, "I'll do it for $40 and your willingness to help me get up. My pride is worth at least $40."

We laughed and watched as Sadie got within a few inches of the butterfly and, as in 99 cases out of 100, the butterfly flew away, unharmed.

As for the question, "Is she a bird dog?", my response now is, "Yep, but she's really a BUG dog." And, recently someone asked, "Is she LIKE a bird dog?", I responded, "She's not LIKE a bird dog - she is a bird dog." (Perhaps a little snooty?)

I've had people stop to watch Sadie as she poses in her pointing stance. Some have stayed for 4-5 minutes just saying over and over again, "That's amazing. That's simply amazing."

within the past few weeks, someone walked by as Sadie was stalking and asked, "Is she pointing at a snake?" I said, "Naw. Just a bug." Someone asked, just today, "Is she pointing at a bird?" I said, "Naw. Just a bug." Though it's less dramatic than a snake or a bird, it's the truth. Sadie stalks bug - AND frogs.

However, when it comes to frogs, she still hasn't learned that a frog in the mouth is worth 10-15 minutes of foaming mouth. The first time she DIDN'T learn this was a few years ago when she saw a small frog on our driveway and, when the frog jumped," she attacked it and put it in her mouth. The frog emitted some distasteful substance, Sadie dropped the frog, the frog hopped away, and Sadie foamed at the mouth for 15 minutes. I still have to keep her away from frogs or watch her foam for 15 minutes.

A final story. A couple years ago, Sadie had come upon a group of small butterflies. There were 4 or 5 of them, and Sadie started stalking one. She did her "stealth" attack (poetry in motion - very slow motion), and after about 5 minutes had come within about a foot of the small insect. While she was in her point - paw up, nose pointing, and tail straight out - another butterfly landed on her tail. The butterfly stayed there until the butterfly Sadie was stalking flew away (about 2 minutes later). I took a picture which can be seen below.

It was another good morning on the Riverwalk.

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