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Mister December 2017 - Chip
Quail counter hobbyist

C
hip lives in the town limits, but he used to make his home at a horse farm on Straight Road. Once a hunting dog tracking quail in the fields, he has adapted to town life, taking his human Gary Ramsey for walks near Neuse Drive.

For his gentle nature and kind manner, TownDock.net names Chip Mr. December.

December 2017 Pet of the Month
Chip has transitioned from farm life to town life.

Chip, an English Setter, came into Gary Ramsey’s life eight years ago as a way to bond with his father-in-law, Pete Parham, an avid bird hunter. Gary had the opportunity to adopt Chip twice. “There was an ad in the Bargain Trader, just about the time we got married,” Gary says, speaking of his wife Caroline. “We thought, ‘No, we’re getting married, we don’t need another dog. Well nine months later, we saw an ad from the same person.”

December 2017 Pet of the Month
Stretching in the grass, Chip limbers up with Downward Dog.

The man had held back a few pups with the intent to breed for shows. Chip’s front teeth came in a little crooked, and he was no longer show dog material. And there was another issue. “I think it was because he was a chronic barker at night, the guy said.” Gary took Chip anyway, and they’ve been together since.

December 2017 Pet of the Month
Chip on the street of his new home.

It’s been nearly four years since Chip last went hunting. At that time, he jumped a flock of quail on some Kershaw Road farmland. Gary didn’t bother to raise his gun, but flushed the covey. He and Chip picked off the singles as they went and Gary had a realization.

When you have a hunting license, he explains, you receive a card asking how many quail you have seen and harvested. “And I thought that would be fun because once the ticks are out of the woods, we could just go count quail without a gun,” Gary says, “and then I don’t get run off for hunting on private property. I’m just counting.” Chip loves that, he said.

“In fact, after we jumped that flock of quail, he was pointing at something just as strong as could be. And I walked over there, and it was a possum. He was pointing this possum and I was like, ‘what are you doing?’”

December 2017 Pet of the Month
Gary, Chip, and the training lure. Natalie supervises from afar.

Now at their new home in town, Gary has a fishing pole with a few feathers tied to it. He casts it back and forth across Vandemere St. for Chip to practice his pointing. Natalie, a black and white barn cat also relocated from the horse farm, joins in.

December 2017 Pet of the Month
Natalie practices her skills.
December 2017 Pet of the Month
Chip on the move.

Chip hits on the sight and scent of the lure; it’s sprinkled with quail scent to mimic the real animal. He stands completely still, tail straight out behind him. He’s lost the pose in his front leg as he keeps all paws on the ground. Usually, a front leg is raised as part of the stance. Gary says it’s because it has been a while since they were out last.

Chip stands still, concentrating on his quarry, until Gary flips the lure into the air again. Part of the practice is to get Chip to raise that front leg again. He can still do it. On a walk at Atlantic Beach, Gary says Chip pointed at a bird on the shore with perfect form. He held it long after Gary and Caroline had passed him by.

Despite the decrease in hunting opportunities, town life has been good to Chip. But then he didn’t like the horse farm too much. Back there, he would run under the horses while they were at full gallop and they eventually began chasing him away. The only downside to being in town is his allergy to a tomato blight in the leaves. His vet says it has affected several dogs in the area. The allergies make Chip’s eyes a bit red, his skin itchier than normal.

December 2017 Pet of the Month
A happy Chip relaxing on the porch.

But it doesn’t stop him. Gary and Chip go on walks near Neuse Drive, often accompanied by Natalie the cat. When they can steal away without Natalie, they head to The Bean and the harbor.

December 2017 Pet of the Month
High-five for a job well done.

Chip enjoys his time on The Bean porch or at the picnic table below, raising a paw to passersby who come to pet him and say hello.

Gary Ramsey has had other dogs that were more agile or loved the water or would play fetch. Chip won’t do any of those. Gary says he has two skills: hunting and being a loving and lovable dog. It is that last skill in particular that makes Chip the December Pet of the Month.

December 2017 Pet of the Month
Gary and Chip.

Celebrity most resembles: Eddie Redmayne

Likes: Quail, Handshakes
Dislikes: Horses, Allergies, Fetch
Preferred Training Partner: Natalie the Cat
Personal Ambition: Transition from Hunting Dog to Professional Quail Counter


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Know a pet that is a standout? Send in some details and a photo to pet@towndock.net. Tell why that pet deserves the coveted TownDock.net Pet of the Month Prize Package --- accolades, a pat on the head (snakes excluded) and a box of Milk Bones ( or snack suitable for the species).

We regret that we cannot offer a college scholarship to Pet Of The Month winners.


Animals caught near the HarborCam attempting to suck up to the judges will be disqualified.