Today, for the first time since we adopted him, Pepper acted like a bird dog - what he was bred to be. On our morning walk, after going up to the house site to close all the windows in case the excavator comes to backfill utility trenches, we walked through the upper meadow toward the homesteaders' old hay barn. A large covey of quail was roosting in the elderberry tree that had, through the years, grown up through the roofless barn. A few quail flew off toward our northern fenceline, and Pepper got birdy - head and ears up, back legs braced, muscles tensed, twitching tail. I let him off the lead and he rushed the covey. They flew, and if I'd had a side-by-side loaded with birdshot, I could have filled my limit in one volley. After he came back, I put the lead on again, and we walked through the field by the side of the driveway and the lower meadow back to the house. He's now taking his morning nap, probably dreaming of quail.