This dog, ran him hard last duck season, too hard looking back on it. Knew at the time he was suffering more than usual just didn’t know why. Needless to say I’ve spent a small fortune on testing him for any and all ailments only to come to the conclusion on my own that he’s allergic to chicken.
His heart Is big, real big, what dogs' isn’t? I never truly understood how big his was until I ran him on bird, notably the duck.
He’ll swim a mile in cold water against the tide for nothing more than my approval in the form of praise. Watching him work bird has been nothing short of life changing. His nose, marked on bird, is a sight unto its own. He’s made good on my sloppy gun work more times than I’d care to admit. He’s 5 now, doesn’t need a tone or vibrate much anymore.
In the blind, he hears the click of the safety go from safe to hot, he know’s birds are close ,his focus could not be more pronounced. To say ducks have my heart and his as well would be an understatement. Yet here we all sit, primed for fall Steelhead Season, around the corner it is.
To be honest, it was and always will be mine and his first love. He was just a pup when we drove to the Klamath as I’d done years before alone to chase the fish. It was all different from then forward. His first swim, against the current it was, I’ll never forget it, he was looking at me, the distance between us increased by the second, he didn’t know what current was, I did, I think he fought it for about 300 yards before I had to step to the bank and convince him to do the same.
Chased cows on the reservation, took me 45 minutes to separate him from them, it was then I learned an e collar was necessary, never again.
Today, I’d come just short of dying for this pooch (I do have a wife and two girls who rule the world I live in). He has been a light in my life through times of dark. He rides the bow of my sled, in the light of the sun or the shadow of the moon, his nose to the wind, always searching for the fish or the duck.
A life without him would be a life less lived. A life without the Steelhead would also be a life less lived. Hard to explain it to those who don’t chase the fish, to be honest, I’ve not bothered trying much these days, you get it or you don’t, if you do, Fall is what we live for. I look forward to faces I haven’t seen since the leaves last turned and fell to to the current below them.
To brisk mornings and bonfire evenings it is a life lived year over year, fish or, not, I will be there, in that same place, pooch at my side, fog rolling in early morning, wind blowing upstream in the evening.
Hard to believe a river could evoke such emotion, for me, it does, looking forward to wading its banks…