Chaneys unleashed

Dog park, grooming, boarding, training, world class Yorkies, pigeons for dog training, wildlife habitat and prairie restoration are all part of the Chaney operation. Have I forgotten anything? Oh, yes. Muffin and Hal Chaney are nice people.

Muffin’s real name is Michelle, but she’s British and has gone by Muffin all her life. Cheerio! She was from Creston and, 20 years ago, brought a friend to Mt. Pleasant to look at Hal’s bird dogs. Her friend wanted to buy one for her husband. Like a fine tuned English Setter, Hal’s eyes locked on Muffin. Muffin never left. Her friend did buy a spaniel pup. The only thing that would have been better, according to Hal, is if the friend had bought two spaniel pups.

Hal Chaney stands in front of one section of wildlife habitat and restored prairie ground. There is an abundance of ox-eye, as well as purple and yellow cone flowers.

Muffin was a dog groomer and Hal a hunting dog trainer. Hal suggested that they open a grooming business, which would be a first in Mt. Pleasant. The grooming business was a success as was Hal’s bird dog training. This was in the heyday of upland bird hunting. A mile north of Mt. Pleasant there were pheasants galore and a mile south it was quail. Magic filled the air and plenty of hunters wanted their bird dogs trained. Hal was one of the best.

But the quail and pheasant population dwindled, as did the need for trained bird dogs. When 80 acres on the Skunk River bottom became available, the Chaneys snapped it up. They built a very nice dog grooming and boarding building, their home and a pigeon coop. Muffin, plus another person, Hanna, are the groomers. Muffin also raises and shows world class Yorkies. Hal takes care of dog boarding, maintenance and grounds keeping. His bird dog training has been replaced by domestic dog training. Wouldn’t it be nice if your dog actually came when you called?

Seventy-two of the 80 acres was part tillable and part CRP ground. Hal has turned all 72 acres into wildlife habitat, mostly for quail and pheasants, but also all native wildlife. This habitat mirrors what was once natural prairie. He drilled in ox-eye, purple and yellow cone flowers (which make tons of seeds for wild birds) and a lot of additional forbs — more than 30 different kinds of native prairie plants, grasses and flowers. It’s a veritable smorgasbord or buffet for quail and pheasants. In the morning, Muffin and Hal sit on their deck and listen to Bobwhite quail whistling, pheasants crowing and turkeys gobbling. At night the restored prairie sparkles with lightning bugs. Swallows and bats crisscross the restored prairie for insects. Deer meander up to Chaney’s house and look in the windows. Finches and bluebirds are a common sight.

The pigeon coop was designed by Hal, and produces a steep 45 degree flush off the floor as the pigeons fly up to perch in the roof of the coop. In this manner, the pigeons, which are used for bird dog training, are being taught to fly in an upward trajectory rather than low to the ground. The pigeons are also trained to return to the coop.

The dog park, part of “Chaney’s Canine Country Club,” is the brainchild of Muffin and Hal. It is in a timbered, shady area and is the only dog park in Mt. Pleasant. There are three penned-in exercise areas for small, medium and large dogs, ensuring the safety of dogs as well as people. All dogs must be approved by the Chaney’s before being allowed in the dog park and there are posted rules and regulations. The dog park is a new idea in this area and hopefully will be a builder. (I took Buddy there and he loves it!)

Hal has an excellent website, www.lindenkennels.com with loads of information and videos on training, dog types, and canine care.

“When I look into the eyes of an animal, I do not see an animal. I see a living being. I see a friend. I feel a soul.” — Anthony Douglas Williams


Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, email him at curtswarm@yahoo.com or visit his website at www.empty-nest-words-photos-and-frames.com


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