The Loss of a Fishing Dog, No a Fishing Partner
It began online searching for the cheapest pet I could find, for Katie, my wife. But when I saw her face only a sucker would've said no. Sugar, 6 months old, Westminster Co.
She didn't come on every trip. She couldn't. She didn't sit in the boat like those prototypical fishing dogs. Her enthusiasm wouldn't allow her to. She didn't watch as a fish was landed… Nope, her genetics wouldn't allow her to. Her incredible lust to have that fish in her jowls just overcame her every single time…. None the less, she was my go to partner in crime when the going got tough, because “the going”, didn't have shit on “Sug”.
Grabbing fish and jumping into holes were a few of her purebred Labrador traits that spoiled her “fishyness”, but as any dog owner knows those traits only solidified her as a companion made in heaven. Her loyalty, friendliness, and incredible lust for the outdoors made her the closest of friends for a family of two made three. Sugar has seen more of the Rocky Mountains than any of your closest Leadville 100 buddies. I bet my life on it. Her off the trail routes put our 15 miles to at least 75 for her. She has jumped into the clearest alpine lakes and muddled through the dirtiest of ponds. She has waddled back down mountains to the Boulder Veternarian after eating God knows what, to have the vet say “I know she can't stand up or see straight, but I think she’ll make it...” Sug was born a lab. Her breed and personality have given her a certain passion. She has done those things in search of fish because in our family, fishing is hunting. Her genes simply didn't allow her to differentiate.
She was such a sweetheart in the house you wouldn't have known her lust for the trail. Our first two children were brought into this world to her. She didn't flinch. Rather, knuckled up and deferred to the family first approach. I remember her following Katie during pregnancies and sitting through those painful nights of nursing because if it had to do with the team she was coaching us all by example. But that was her standard, in direct disposition to our societal norms. Perhaps why I loved her so much.
Much like her mentality though, I'll remember the other stories much more vividly. I remember her leaping off a 35 foot cliff to find us as a 1 year old. I remember her submersing herself in white water just to find the boat. I remember her barreling between my legs in that lightning storm on the Roaring Fork asking for it to go away. The only instance I can't remember though is her looking at me and saying I'm abandoning ship. Nope… never… Not even at her bitter end.
Yesterday, after the accident I found myself in a whirlwind next to her at the vet. I stood beside and told her “We have one more run in us Boogs, hold strong for me.”
Her head rose from the table and her look told me, “There's always one more cast pops, you know that. Get me up and let's get on it” I smirked… because after all, with Sug, only a sucker wouldn't…
Cheers to Sug, the “Boogs”. I'm sorry girl. I love you.