Fishing Dog

Discussion in 'Outdoor Adventures' started by flathead willie, May 17, 2006.

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  1. flathead willie

    flathead willie Well-Known Member

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    I used to rent a house on a small hog farm across the road from the James River owned by an old gent named CR Oliver. CR also had a small meat processing operation on the place where he made sausage, cured and smoked hams,ect. and could usually be found with his hand wrapped around a "Barley Pop". People would stop by most every day to lean over the tailgate of CR's pickup and chew the fat over a cold one.
    Well, one day I was out at the barn talking to CR when one of his old buddies came by for a ham. While we were out there talking, I heard some wimpering coming from a burlap feed sack in the back of the visitors truck. I asked him what he had in there and he opened it up and showed me three English Setter puppies....and a brick! He was on his way to the river to drown these puppies. Being a dog lover, especially bird dogs, I couldn't let that happen. I was already raising Blue Ticks and had about a dozen of them. I told him I'd pay for his ham if he let me have the pups, which were about seven weeks old, and he said sure since it would save him a trip to the river.
    I took all three pups and within a couple days found homes for two and kept one I named Gunner. Shortly afterward Gunner came down with Parvo and wound up in a coma at the Vets. I worked nights so every morning I would stop by the Vets on my way home and sit on the floor just holding Gunner and talking to him. I knew from experience that there wasn't much hope for him. To my surprise, about three weeks later, I was holding him and he opened his eyes and licked me. He had made it.
    Gunner and I were inseperable after that. By six months he already was a good bird dog and a great companion. The only thing he liked more than hunting, was fishing! He would stand on the front of my canoe while floating down the river like a big white hood ornament. At the farm pond he would stick his head under water and come out with a Bluegill. When I caught a fish on the river bank he would take it from me and gently carry it away from the water and set it at the base of a tree, then run back to my side and wait for another and do the same thing again until we had our limit and he had a pile of fish.
    One day while fishing from rocks along the rapids, I hooked a Smallmouth, Gunner saw it jump, and like a shot he jumped into the raging river. The next time that fish jumped, Gunner caught it in mid air. As he did, the Rapala came out of the fishes mouth and got caught in Gunner's ear. I opened the bail and fed line as the current wash Gunner, and the fish, downstream. About fifty yards down he finally found a boulder he could climb out on and came running back, put the fish on the rock I was on, and with his paw holding it in place, waited for me to get the hook out of his ear!
    Gunner and I had many more fishing and hunting adventures over the thirteen years we were together. I cried like a baby when a grouchy old neighbor that hated amimals, poisoned him just before his 14th birthday. Now he is in the old cemetary behind my house, in a spot that looks down over the river he loved so much.
     
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