For the last 12 years a black-and-tan miniature dachshund has been my fly fishing companion. His stubby little legs have carried him streamside with me to the Swift River in New Hampshire, the Flathead River in Montana, and too many rivers in Wyoming to name. Through it all he has been there for success and failure on the water.
Together, Snickers and I have less than gracefully crossed defunct beaver dams and boulder-hopped our way to beautiful mountain trout ponds. Once he chased a young moose I spooked from streamside willows until I thought I had lost him forever. So faithful a companion has he been that I had to included him in my recent book, Wyoming Mountains & Home-waters: Family, Fly Fishing, and Conservation. No fly fishing lifestory would be complete without Snickers.
I still have a hard time accepting that Snickers has retired from fishing with me. He has already had one back surgery and on our final fishing trip last year he kept up with me like the champ he is... until he didn't. Never has the love in a dogs eyes begged so much as to say, "please, don't give up on me."
I carried him down the remainder of the trail back to the cabin, but instead of hearing birds in the nearby willows, together we heard the insufferable silence of a life changing episode hanging heavy about us. On the way home the decision was made that for his own health and safety he would retire. Hot tears slide down my cheek even as I write these words.
Not only has Snickers been my faithful fishing buddy for my entire adult life, he is also my first dog. Let that sink in for a minute. That's why he'll get the royal treatment while I'm away this summer on the water. But no amount of pampering can erase the heartache when I look down at my feet and a tiny dachshund isn't there, tongue hanging-out and tail wagging, waiting to inspect my catch.
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Cheers & tight lines,